i am looking to upgrade our tandem to a full carbon fork. are there any recommendations? would a cross fork work?
What year / brand / model of tandem?
I would advise that you stay away from any fork that was designed for use on a single bike unless your team is very very light weight or likes to take risks.
As far as I know there are only two tandem-specific designed carbon forks on the market, the Ouzo Pro and the Wound Up. The Ouzo was designed for newer Santanas and therefore only come in 1-1/4" headset diameter. The Wound Up tandem fork comes in 1-1/8". The Wound Up is available with posts to support canti or v-brakes or drilled to support caliper brakes. I have a Wound Up on my Co-Motion and it does a good job - no complaints, though not super light either.
There may be more out there since my info may be dated by now.
Our new Burley has a very beefy looking Alpha Q carbon fork. I'm not sure if it is the same as their cross fork or is tandem specific, but it sure looks hefty enough to do the job ...
The carbon fork spec'd for that bike is the Wound-Up by Advanced Composites. The rake (45mm) and fork length (387mm) were developed for use on Co-Motion's tandems and the fork is offered in both a caliper and cantilever/V-brake version. It's not the lightest model out there @ 795g w/262mm steerer, but it's certainly durable. About $495 for the caliper version & $525 for the Canti/V-brake version at PrecisionTandems.com. It will slightly alter your Co-Motion's handling to make it even a bit more sporty than it is now.
Originally Posted by rv5869
True Temper makes two tandem-specific forks; the X2 ($450) for caliper brakes with 48mm, 44mm, and 41mm of rake and their beefed-up CX model for Burley ($585) with bosses for cantilever/V-brakes and uses 47mm of rake @ 600g, which is the same rake that your Co-Motion's steel fork is spec'd with. The X2 is superlight @ 465g w/300mm steerer but problematic for some in that it has very short legs (374mm vs. 387 for Co-Motion) which alters the bike's front bottom bracket height, geometry, etc... In essence, you end up with a steeper head tube which necessitates a fork with less rake (e.g., the 44mm model) to net out for handling that is similar to how a Co-Motion would handle with a Wound-Up fork, but with a lower front end (you could find yourself catching a pedal can during corners where you didn't before).
The Reynolds Ouzo Pro Tandem forks come in three different models these days: The original which was designed for Santana and which won't work on your tandem. A 1.125" steerer version w/55mm of rake @ 535g that I wouldn't recommend unless you find your Co-Motion to be too twitchy ($490), and a Canti-brake version at 1.125" with /45mm of rake @ 535g that would work ($490).
There are a few others "floating around" on the Web offered under several different brand names, e.g., Windwood (Nashbar & others), Tange/Santana, and a model from Chuck's bikes that may be produced by Tange. Of hand, I'm not sure what the geometry/specs are for these forks but would note that the Tange/Santana model would be incompatible.
Your best bet for getting exactly what you're looking for in terms of the added benefits of a carbon fork would be to contact either the good folks at Co-Motion (Dwan, Alan, etc...) to discuss your requirements and get their recommendations or to do so with one of the speciality tandem dealers who are familiar with all the various fork offerings and how they match up to Co-Motions, e.g., Mark Johnson at PrecisionTandems.com, Mel Kornbluh at TandemsEast.com, or the folks at Tandem Cycle Works in Colorado. That is, unless you have a great local dealer who's well-versed in the current technology & product offerings.
Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-03-05 at 11:49 AM.
Mark Johnson of Precision wrote the following to me last years.
Advantages would be weight reduction and vibration dampening. The rake is 5mm different. Your fork should be 50mm and the Wound Up is 45. The handling is a little quicker which I personally appreciate. The Santana triplets were slugs with a 55mm rake and the Meridians were like riding a 2 seater by comparison, fun and lively. I ride 44 and 45 rake forks on my regular tandems and love the feel of the road at speed. Low speed handling might not feel quite as stable though but I would not view this as a problem. The cantilever fork would be the way to go then you never worry about tire clearance with the fork.
I would not recommend an Alpha q except for light teams... it has way to much lateral flex. The Wound Up as an aluminum insert in the steerer and its tubular design gives it great lateral stability.
I posted this about the Wound Up years ago:
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 23:16:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Precision Tandems" <Mark@PrecisionTandems.com>
Subject: [T@H] Wound Up Carbon Fork Ride Report <http://catfood.phred.org/query.asp?SearchString=%22Wound+Up+Carbon+Fork+Ride+Report%22&SearchPrefix=%40msgsubject&SortBy=MsgD ate%5Ba%5D>
Hope all of you had a great weekend and were able to get out
Just wanted to share something while it is very fresh in my
mind. My first experience riding a Wound Up carbon fork
equipped tandem was Sunday and I found it very enlightening.
Having awakened too early for my own good (4:30 AM) and
experiencing increasing alertness with each passing minute,
I decided to install the Wound Up and Chris King headset on
the chosen steed for the day, an aluminum Co-Motion Robusta.
We were to do a local popular century.
As we headed out of town, the vibration dampening qualities
of the straight leg carbon fiber fork were immediately
apparent, something very perceptible having ridden the same
bike chasing the local racers the day before.
Having ridden too many hard miles chasing the racers the day
before, we rode many miles going through an extended warm-up
before standing on a climb. The sensation experienced while
standing was surprising. It can only be described as super
stable and rock solid. We have all heard the term rock
solid and I thought, yeah right. But.... ....it is the
only term that comes to mind which accurately describes the
As we took our first three or four strokes, I thought this
is rather strange and found myself wanting to stress the
bike more with acceleration as it felt so much more solid
and stable. We found standing to be much easier and more
predictable. I assume we make steering corrections for
technique errors and so forth when we normally stand but
with this fork it seems they were truly minimized.
I can honestly say that as impressed as I am with the Wound
Up on my Espresso that the positive effect of the carbon
fork on the tandem far excels that of what I experience on
This is truly a tandem duty fork.... ....losing the
weight taint so bad either.
Just sharing what turned out to be surprising
objectivity.... ....all commercialism aside.
Based on his recommendation, I purchased one from him -- but it's not cheap.
This was for your Meridian Triplet?
Originally Posted by cedo
Yes, it is for the Meridian triplet. Accoring to the company, there is a weight limit of 500 lbs. Since we our total weight (bike + three) is 395 (but growing), I feel safe using it. Installed the fork in the off-season so we have not ridden much since changing from the original steel fork. First impression was better handling and less vibration hence less shoulder tension.
We recently purchased a new Custom Co-Motion Robusta and I thought I would try a Tru Temper X2 on it. I ordered the 44mm rake, installed it and went for a 35 mile ride that included a 45 mph mountain descent to see how it handled. It seemed to quicken the steering a little which as far as I'm concerned is a positive thing. By rotating the ecentric to top front I was able to get the center of the crank spindle as high as the rear one. I put the Wound-Up back on the next day and we rode it for 30 miles and I found I like the Tru Temper better but only because of the quicker steering. It comes in handy when riding in a paceline with singles. We are a heavy team 350 pounds, 6'-3" Captain and 6' Stoker so we put a good amount of strain on a fork and I have to admit when I pulled the X2 out of the box I was a little intimidated by how light it is. I didn't notice any additional flex in the True Temper. Both forks are very solid and stable. The tire clearance on the True Temper is a little tight as a matter of fact with the new Rolf wheels I couldn't get a 25 cm Michelin Pro on and dropped to a 23 on the front.
No kidding. I though my steel fork was light at 935g, but then the sub-500g AME* Alpha Q fork showed up; yikes! We're relatively light at ~280lbs and flex has definitely not been an issue. On tires, never tried a Michelin Pro in the 25mm size, but would note that the 25mm Vredestein Forteza, Avocet Fasgrip, and Conti Gatorskin tires will fit on the True Temper Alpha Q X2 forks.
Originally Posted by TimP
Note: AME was bought-out by True Temper a few years back ('01). For trivia buffs, the "Q" in Alpha Q is derived from the name of the fork's developer, Dr. Kyu (pronounced Q) Lee
Yes, a crossfork would work . . . and you'll be able to mount V-brakes too.
Call me a nervous nellie, but before using any fork not specifically designed and sold for use on a tandem I would contact the fork manufacturer's tech department and get their assessment -- on or off the record as need be -- with regard to the fork's suitability for use your tandem, i.e., provide them with your total expected gross tandem weight (riders + tandem + any expected luggage/trailer weights).
Originally Posted by zonatandem
In general, most forks regardless of materials used are overbuilt to ensure an adequate amount of safety margin is provided to guard against worst case scenarios. Reynolds for instance has, through back channels, previously advised at least one former tandem builder that their stock Ouzo Pro road forks were durable enough for use by lightweight tandem teams, e.g., under 300lbs. However, that assessment did not translate into "endorsed for tandem use" and anyone using a non-tandem rated Reynolds fork on a tandem voids the manufacturer's warranty, i.e., they're on their own or must pursue remedies through the tandem builder who sold the bike fitted with the non-tandem rated fork. Again, as noted in this example, lightweight tandems teams were the exception in that they fell within the max weight limits of certain non-tandem specific forks. CX forks would definitely be the beefiest single bike fork offered so the likelihood that it would be "good enough" for use on a tandem is higher than other models.
Bottom Line: Better safe than sorry. If fork manufacturers believed their standard forks were suitable for use on tandems I don't think they'd have gone to the expense of designing beefed-up versions for use on tandems. Moreover, if you find that a non-tandem specific fork was OK'd for use on a sub-300lb tandem team (or whatever that magic number is), you'll need to be mindful of that limitation if you should change riding parters, have one or both riding partners pack on a few too many pounds in the off-season, or offer up that tandem for use by or sale to another team who might exceed that max. weight limit.
Just my .02.