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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 06-25-13, 12:48 PM   #1
Tarantulae
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First Tandem - Santana Arriva?

My g/f and I rented a tandem bike the first time last weekend. We did a 32 mile ride and both loved it. We started looking around for used tandems for sale in the area, and came across this one. I just wanted to get some opinions on it from people who know more than me. Here is the picture and the description provided that it was posted with. We are of course going to check it out in person and make sure the fit is good for both of us. Thank you for your advice.

Edit: Oh yeah, I am 5'10 and she is 5'6. Most likely I will be captain and she will be stoker, but given that we are pretty similar in size, we're hoping to get a tandem that would accommodate both of us in either position.


Santana tandem with new GPX Elite drive train and XT Rear derailleur dura-ace shifters, has rear drag brake . In great shape Great starter tandem.
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Old 06-25-13, 01:18 PM   #2
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Without seeing more close-up pictures on condition it looks like a nice bike. It doesn't have the integrated shifter/brake lever but may ride with those and is something you could upgrade. It appears to have a drag brake on the rear which are very nice to have especially if you live in the Denver area, or want to sell it separately. Wheels would be most likely 700c which would be best but can't tell from the picture. If it fits and you can get it for the price it looks to be going for it would be a great first bike.
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Old 06-25-13, 01:56 PM   #3
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look at it closely, check BB, headset and wheel bearings for excessive play (easy to fix, but good negotiating point), check spoke tension by plucking every spoke (should be high), check wheels for true, check brakes for function, and tire inflation; then test ride. If you like it, buy it. Santanas are great tandems.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:49 PM   #4
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One thing to be aware of with Santanas is all the proprietary components and specs that make it more difficult, costly and effective to upgrade.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:55 PM   #5
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Welcome to the tandeming world! In addition to the previous comments, I'd add that you thoroughly go through the Santana website: http://www.santanatandem.com/ . A big difference for Santanas is the 160mm rear hub (most of the other tandem builders use a 145mm spacing). I'd also make sure that you're familiar with the eccentric (captain's "bottom bracket") as there a couple of different types out in the marketplace. From time to time, you'll have to re-tension the timing chain. As you join the tandem community, please remember that communication is the biggest point. You also might reconsider the swapping of positions on the bike.
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Old 06-25-13, 02:57 PM   #6
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Other than the non-standard steerer tube dimension and rear spacing, is there anything major that's non-standard?
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Old 06-25-13, 05:07 PM   #7
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First, thank you all for the feedback. Paul, I do agree that it looks like a great deal, which is why I am not holding my breath for the in-person inspection.
nfmisso, thanks for the checklist to follow on inspection. My g/f is the bike mechanic of us, and I'm sure she will be giving it a thorough checkout. Are there any specific differences with tandems over singles that she might not be familiar with that we should look out for?
Ritter, I appreciate the caution. Our plan for now is to buy this and use it to practice with and get more comfortable for a few years (3-5?) and then possibly consider upgrading to something we buy to fit us specifically if we still love it.
Sprout, I've looked at the santana website, but I'm not sure what specifically you're talking about. I see they put the captain bottom bracket lower for increased stability, but I don't know what that means from a practicality standpoint. Communication is part of what we loved about the tandem. Riding singles, you can barely hold a conversation, and we are not equal in riding ability so often we were too far apart to think about talking. On the tandem, we can chat easily, and very quickly worked out a system for calling out bumps, shifts, stops, mounting/un-mounting and so on. We have read "the proper method" on how to mount/start a tandem, and while the first loop around the rental place was squirrely, I very quickly got a feel and by the end of the ride we were having a lot of fun.

Lastly, unfortunately the seller is out of town for a couple weeks, so any update will have to wait. If we do end up purchasing, I'll take some close ups.
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Old 06-25-13, 05:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmyers View Post
Other than the non-standard steerer tube dimension and rear spacing, is there anything major that's non-standard?
I let the few Santana nonstandard items put me off on buying one and settled on a Comotion. Seven years later the Comotion is sold and there are two Santanas in the garage. Comotion makes good bikes but so does Santana and the few Santana differences are not proprietary. Like a lot of things on bikes these days they are just nonstandard. Choices are limited by having a Santana but there are good choices available.

Rear spacing does limit rear hub choice if you want race wheels but traditional wheels configured with high end hubs from Chris King, Phil Wood, and Hadley are readily available as well as a current favorite of this forum, light weight Spinergy wheels.

http://houseoftandems.com/about/tx2-wheelset-pg93.htm

Cranks using the 73mm bottom bracket shell used by Santana rather than the more common 68mm shell are available from FSA, daVinci, Santana (of course), and any square taper crank from makers such as Stronglight and TA. Lightening that makes probably the lightest tandem crank makes a set to fit Santana. The popular FSA cranks that came on my Comotion were actual designed for a 73mm botton bracket and you had to use a shim to use them on the 68mm shell Comotion.

The 1.25" fork steerer on a Santana is not the 1 and 1/8th that previously used to be used on most tandems but a 1 and 1/8th inch steerer fork will work on a Santana with a headset change. One of my Santanas has a 1 and 1/8 inch steerer fork installed. No big deal.

In summary the differences seem overplayed to me. There are issues with lots of tandems so it depends on the issues that are important to you. For instance I would check the maximum tire width the frame accepts and not buy one that would not use at least 32mm tires. Others may want road bike 130mm rear spacing so that they can use single bike rear wheels. If other aspects of the Santana appeal to you then you can work with the "nonstandard" stuff.
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Old 06-25-13, 08:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarantulae View Post
Sprout, I've looked at the santana website, but I'm not sure what specifically you're talking about. I see they put the captain bottom bracket lower for increased stability, but I don't know what that means from a practicality standpoint.
I was really thinking in the sizing dept., but the first three of the top headings/pulldownds will give you some idea as to the engineering background to the Arriva. Ditto for the tech articles. Just something to think about, especially if component upgrades (or even the bike!) are in the cards. Granted, a lot of the info is borderline trivia, but when you're approached by interested non-tandem folks, you can better respond to the tandem-specific questions.
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Old 06-25-13, 09:30 PM   #10
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My wife and I have an Arriva and after 10+ years still love it. We don't race, so we don't need high end very lightweight components. (BTW, check out how many people have complained about breaking their very expensive wheels.) However, we have been known to really let it run on fast downhills and at 45 mph, it is very stable. We've replaced the 105 shifters with Campy and a Jtek shiftmate, but other than that the only thing that we've had to replace is handlebar tape. If you need proprietary components, Mel at Tandems East has most of what you'll need and if not, pick up the phone and call Santana. I've called them with a couple of questions and they've been very gracious with their answers. When we bought the bike we also looked at a Comotion Primera. This too was a very good bike. I think comparing the two is like comparing a Honda Accord and a Toyota Camry. Neither are Porches but both are very reliable and run well. Both good-pick one. I say if the price is right, it's in good shape and it fits you, go for it!
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Old 06-25-13, 09:45 PM   #11
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I think the primary question truly should be centered around how well does it fit you. Comfort first and foremost. Let everything else cascade down from that point. After all, no-matter how completable, or incompatible the components may be, if it does not fit, if it is uncomfortable to ride. it's a waste of money.

Last edited by CaptainHaddock; 06-25-13 at 09:47 PM. Reason: making editorial changes
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Old 06-25-13, 10:54 PM   #12
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Agree with all of the comments above.
If the bike fits and the price is OK for you, go for it. The Arriva was the lower line of Santana's lineup.
After about a year of riding it, you'll be a lot more knowledgeable about tandems. If you decide on something better/different you can then be more confident.
We are on tandem #5 now and are ages 80/78 and still riding TWOgether since 1975.
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Old 07-08-13, 10:35 AM   #13
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We ended up buying it. Took it home yesterday. Overall it is a good fit. The seller had put a longer headstem on it, so the reach for me as captain is just a little long. We will need to get a shorter stem for it to fit well, other than that, everything is in great condition. The seller does a lot of work on restoring old bikes, and had put a lot of work and care into this santana. The frame is in great shape, and he recently had replaced both bottom brackets with the type with the sealed bearings on the outside (not sure what that is called). He has a nice lever on the drop bars for the drag brake, and also just replaced the derailleur.
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Old 07-08-13, 10:48 AM   #14
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Glad you are happy with your purchase. We love riding together and hope you do as well.
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Old 07-08-13, 07:53 PM   #15
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Tarantulae

Would love to see some pictures of this machine, maybe a posting in the 'what does your tandem weigh?' thread and any ride impressions.

Good luck with the new bike, I hope you and your partner enjoy riding tandems as much as the rest of us here.


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Old 07-08-13, 08:38 PM   #16
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Enjoy and welcome to the world of tandems
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Old 07-12-13, 09:03 AM   #17
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Take it out and ride the daylights out of it! You'll love it!
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Old 07-13-13, 02:50 PM   #18
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Santanas are known for roomy stoker positions so you should have no problem fitting in the back. I have an arriva in that color and size. It was the mid range tandem at the time; 1985. Sovereign > Arriva > Rally(irrc)
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