We've got a Viking Saratoga MTB tandem with various upgrades and I'm now building up a second tandem on what I believe is an Orbit frame. It looks exactly like this.
The frame is suitable for both 26" and 700c/29" wheels and we want to use it for longer distance rides with the option of some fairly tame off roading, canal tow paths and forestry tracks for example.
Something equivalent to a CX bike with flat bars would be better than a full on MTB.
It's traditional for tandems to use 40 or even 48 spoke wheels, yet downhillers get away with 32 spokes and they look like they put far more strain on the wheels.
So, in the real world, is it a good idea to ride an off road tandem on say, Stan's 700c Alpha 400 or Flow 32h rims with Small Block 8 tyres with a combined rider weight of ~160kg and day luggage only ? Would the 26" version be noticeably stronger ?
We'll be using a Rohloff hub and disc brakes, so we are stuck with 32h on the rear at least anyway and have no need for a braking surface on the rims.
Any other recommendations for a rim & tyre that's reasonably fast on road, yet still reasonably durable off road ?