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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 01-18-14, 08:36 AM   #1
jfarwell
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advice wanted - new touring tandem build

good morning
We are planning to sell our 12 year old co-motion co-pilot, and replace it with a slightly smaller bike (I need to re-size as I get older). We will use this bike for overseas touring, so couplers are required. It has always been a tricky to pack our bike, as the lateral tube and the centre of the wheel coincide in the case. The open frame design on some of the newer bikes seems much better for packing. We are going to get a bike that will accommodate wider, high volume tires. We are not interested in a 26 inch wheel tandem, after a bad experience with the one we had for a few years. The 650B wheel size is starting to appear on more bikes. I am interested in hearing from anyone who has experience riding 650B tandems, and which builders I should contact to discuss.
thanks. Joe
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Old 01-18-14, 09:24 AM   #2
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My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Bilenky Cycle in Philly this week. They do some REALLY nice work!
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Old 01-18-14, 11:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jfarwell View Post
good morning
We are planning to sell our 12 year old co-motion co-pilot, and replace it with a slightly smaller bike (I need to re-size as I get older). We will use this bike for overseas touring, so couplers are required. It has always been a tricky to pack our bike, as the lateral tube and the centre of the wheel coincide in the case. The open frame design on some of the newer bikes seems much better for packing. We are going to get a bike that will accommodate wider, high volume tires. We are not interested in a 26 inch wheel tandem, after a bad experience with the one we had for a few years. The 650B wheel size is starting to appear on more bikes. I am interested in hearing from anyone who has experience riding 650B tandems, and which builders I should contact to discuss.
thanks. Joe
We have about 12,000 miles on our Santana that was converted to 650B with a Bilenky 62mm rake fork. Heat tube angle is 73 degrees. Due to tire clearance on the Santana Arrive frame we run tires labeled 38mm, actual width 40mm. Larger 42mm tires don't give the clearance I would like.

We love our bike and found it just as fast with Gran Bois tires as our CoMotion Speedster. I like the steering geometry and the tire size. Rolling resistance is very low with the only downside being the additional weight of larger volume tires. You can read my other posts for more information about the bike.

Bilenky builds 650b bikes regularly. I am not sure of the tubing and how much it would weigh having never had a frame built by them. The fork we have is a good basic unicrown fork which is well aligned.

I have never toured so my question is would you feel comfortable touring with a 650B wheels? Tires and rims would seem to be less available than 700c or 26". Tubes are not a problem as some 26" sizes work well.
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Old 01-24-14, 07:22 PM   #4
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Wayne makes an excellent point about 650B availability when touring. You'll be very hard pressed to find replacement tires, let alone rims, in anything but a large city. And even then, I bet you'd still have a hard time. Of course, would could say that new parts are only a FedEx away, but that's not much consolation when you are stuck for a few days in the middle of nowhere waiting on a part.

It sounds like you have thought through the 26" vs 650 option, but I'm curious what your "bad experience" was? We've had a 26" Santana (Fusion S&S) since 2001 and have used it extensively for regular riding and loaded touring overseas (Europe), and have never had a problem at all. Are you certain your issue was with the 26" wheel size and not some other aspect of the bike's design?
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Old 01-24-14, 08:59 PM   #5
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We bought and configured out Seven Ti a couple of years ago. We did Northern Ireland last summer running Swalbe Duremes in 40mm with fenders. Frame is a "loose tubes" configuration.

You might check out The Blayleys blog about their Seven.
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Old 01-25-14, 02:38 AM   #6
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Do you realize that 650B (584mm ERTRO) is only 25mm larger in diameter than 26" (559mm ERTRO). That means that the radius, or axle to ground distance is only 12 mm (half an inch). And that is assuming the tire sizes are the same. If you put a 40mm tire on a 26" wheel and a 30mm tire on a 650B wheel then they would basically have the same radius and diameter. I therefore don't consider this to be an important difference. 650B is receiving a lot of hype in the MTB world, but that is mostly by manufacturers who are searching for a way to sell more bikes.

I don't know what your bad experience was with 26" wheels before, but I was say that if it is a real concern then the 650B wheels will not really change this.
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Old 01-25-14, 05:04 AM   #7
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We will use this bike for overseas touring, so couplers are required.
650B rims and tires would be very hard to find oversea. 26" (559) is the most commonly available tires in the world except maybe some 28" size used in China/India.

We went to 26" precisely because finding wider 700C tires oversea is already hard. Can't imagine trying to find 650B tires or rim in a strange land. I did spec 48-holed 559 rims for our current tandem because they fit better in the S&S case than 700C. These wheels are grossly over-engineered but I am willing to live the additional weight for more margins.
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Old 01-25-14, 09:40 AM   #8
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650B rims and tires would be very hard to find oversea. 26" (559) is the most commonly available tires in the world except maybe some 28" size used in China/India.

We went to 26" precisely because finding wider 700C tires oversea is already hard. Can't imagine trying to find 650B tires or rim in a strange land. I did spec 48-holed 559 rims for our current tandem because they fit better in the S&S case than 700C. These wheels are grossly over-engineered but I am willing to live the additional weight for more margins.
thanks for all the responses. This information is very helpful as we go through the decision process.
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Old 01-25-14, 11:29 AM   #9
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Koga has made a 700c wheel Folding Tandem, you could get one in NL ,when you get there..


http://koga.com/koga_uk/about-koga/a...veller-tandem/
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Old 02-12-14, 10:35 AM   #10
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Jfarwell,
If you have not spec'ed your frame, I would consider a rear disc brake mount in addition to your caliper brake mount. That option will allow you the ability to change to what ever size wheels you want later. The front fork can also be easily change as needed.
I prefer disc brakes - better stopping power especially for hills and wet weather, and no overheating rims. But, there is a weight penalty. No big deal on a touring tandem. Starting out, we loved our 26 in wheels. We have since went through a set of light 700c and now ride mostly on a set of 29'er. Nice to have the ability to change our mind.
CJ
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Old 02-12-14, 10:40 AM   #11
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P.S.

This is mine. You can put almost any wheel size on that thing.
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Old 02-12-14, 07:57 PM   #12
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I am sorry I don't have enough post to respond to private messages on this forum.

The fork on the bike is an ENVE tapered.
The thing on the handle bar is my 3D printed case for a Galaxy Note 3. I use it for Google maps GPS, Pandora (via the speaker in the bottle cage), and hands free phone call (via a bluetooth helmet headset).
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Old 02-13-14, 11:12 AM   #13
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awsome looking bike. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-16-14, 11:50 PM   #14
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Well if you already are familiar and like Co-Motion... then why not a Primera for touring? You can get it in a co-pilot version, it has no lateral to get in the way and a capable steel frame with disc brakes front and rear. I see that even Co-Motion classifies it as a touring model in their 2014 catalog. Figure about 43 lbs ready to roll with S&S couplings ;-)

Lots of room for larger tires on the Primera frame/fork too (I have 40mm wide fenders with room to spare).
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