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  1. #1
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    Upgrades -- path to financial destruction

    I find myself standing on the edge of the great swirling weight weenie vortex and feel it pulling me in...

    We bought our tandem about a year ago amid a lot of pondering. Wanted something we could ride for exercise and get to doing some century rides. Figured someday we would enjoy doing a bit of bike touring. Maybe travel with the bike. And it is our first tandem. So we had to balance the bling factor and money with what we really needed or was prudent to spend. As much fun as a $10k tandem might be it felt/feels just a bit extravagant. So we chose a Co-Motion Primera Co-Pilot. Figured we could ride and enjoy and if things worked out maybe add a few upgrades in the future.

    We have enjoyed the bike and it works pretty well for us. We did add a Thudbuster ST to the back end. Biggest downside is at 43 lbs it is not a lightweight.

    So the other day one of my dream upgrades dropped into my lap. I picked up a very lightly used Gates carbon belt drive for half the new price. But I will need new cranksets to go with it. I could of course pickup up a set of FSA Gossamer cranks for $430 or the much sexier FSA SLK carbon cranks for $1080 which are about 175g (6 ounces) lighter. That seems like a pretty big step in $$$ versus the benefit but they would look really cool on the bike

    So on a bang for the buck basis what upgrades and and in what order would you do here with a motivation towards reducing weight/increasing performance?

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    Just ride the bike as is until you completely wear it out. Then decide whether to rebuild it or replace it.

  3. #3
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    This topic is loaded.
    My first bit of advice for losing weight is lose the Thudbuster and purchase a carbon fiber seat post and get a professional fit.
    I've done wheels, belt drive, carbon fork, and stoker carbon seat post.
    By far the biggest change (and inexpensive) I could tell immediately was new tires. I'm guessing you have the 28mm Conti gator skins. Heavy, strong tire. I replaced with 25mm Schwalbe ZX and boy is there a difference!
    I will be the first to say the 'skins are practically bullet proof (with over 3,800 miles and no issues), but I absolutely love how the ZX makes the bike feel.

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
    So on a bang for the buck basis what upgrades and and in what order would you do here with a motivation towards reducing weight/increasing performance?
    Unless you're already in peak form, ride the tandem as often as possible and set performance goals. Chances are, you'll lose more weight than you could ever take off the bike while increasing performance.

    Seriously, I've chased the grams away from bikes and fitted all kinds of blingy parts and wheels. They're placebo's at best UNLESS you're already pegging the performance meter. Now, it's fair to say that a souped up, lightweight tandem can certainly motivate you to ride harder and more often, as upgrades are often times a motivational tool.

    However, all of that said, if you're wheels are of the 2,300 gram variety you can sex-up the performance and get a good pound off the bike by going to a lighter weight conventional wheelset that'll hit the 1,900 gram mark for about $650. If built right, no worries. Then again, since you have a set of wheels that will serve you well for travel, you could throw caution to the wind and shave off about 1.5 lbs and really get a nice plush ride by moving to something like a pair of Spinergy wheels. Those will do what a carbon fork does if you don't have one of those yet. If you're jones'n to get more weight off and add more bling, then a carbon fork would be the next thing to swap out. Again, about a pound less than some steel forks.

    After those two things, the price per gram starts to go up. A carbon stoker post isn't a bad move, and a Thomson Masterpiece for the captain's post is a nice choice for light weight + strength.

  5. #5
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Vrooom, I'm curious why your current cranks won't work with the Gates rings. Please provide more info.

  6. #6
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    I think you'd be surprised how little difference shaving weight off will make. Find a calculator that let's you enter grade, power, weight, etc. and run some numbers to check for yourself - here's one to play with http://www.coastsci.org/Power/ClimbCalc.html It's certainly nice to ride a light bike, but perception is often more than reality. On a given climb, time gained or lost will be roughly proportional to weight gained or lost - in percent....of total mass. So if you want to climb a hill 5% faster, simply by saving weight, you're going to have to lose 5% of the weight of you and the bike somehow. Assuming a 300 lb team and a 40 lb bike, that means shaving off 17 lbs.

    You do have a good starting point of a well-made relatively stiff frame. So, go for all the sexy upgrades you want, they'll may even make you faster from the placebo effect. Just realize that saving a few grams here or there isn't going to make a significant difference.

  7. #7
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    This is (tongue-in-cheek) snarky, but losing body weight will be the biggest bang for the buck. Imagine (and this is not a disparaging comment on your weight) if both you and your teammate lose just five poiunds...WALA 10 pound lighter "bike."

    Dad always paraphrases "you could spend $$$ on lighter cranks or a lighter fork, or you could leave one full water bottle home and route where you can refill on the way.

    I'm envious of the 43-pound weight, that's more than 10% lighter than my LKW.

    On a more serious note, think I would go with the wheels and tires. There you are reducing rotating mass (lighter rims and tires, and moving the mass of the entire wheel closer to the hubs) will probably give the greatest "feel" of a lighter ride.

    ...Now, "looks light" and gram scale discussions...that's something entirely different.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    Vrooom, I'm curious why your current cranks won't work with the Gates rings. Please provide more info.
    The "bolt" pattern is perfect but the offset and clearance are wrong. The Truvativ Elita stoker crank mounts the chainring (or pulley with the Gates system) too close to centerline and thus interferes with the chainstay. I had contemplated spacers but it is a bit more significant space needed than a mere spacer is going to solve. I knew this going in based on documentation on Co-Motion's web site about FAQs on the Gates setup.


    Thanks for the responses. Understand the question is loaded And no offense taken (and agreed) on rider weight being easier and cheaper to drop than bike weight.

    In the end I will probably settle for the Gossamer cranks and a set of Rolf Prima wheels and call it done. Silly maybe but I trust Co-Motion and what they spec for bike content and options. That was how we chose the Thudbuster and the stoker is quite happy with that after purchase upgrade. Would probably follow their line of thought on wheels too.

    I had wondered about the carbon fork... how much smoother are they and how much lighter?

    Another option I had wondered about though was carbon handlebars... are these effective at absorbing vibration like carbon frame/fork? Plus they have options of shape and broader flat spots for hand rests. That sounds worthwhile.

  9. #9
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    The rubber meets the road with the tire, tubes and then the wheels. Most bang for the buck is often found there.

    There are lots of topics here that discuss which wheels and carbon components best dampen vibrations or smooth the ride. Now that wider rims and tubeless tires are being pushed buy vendors more people are accepting that slightly lower pressure in your inflatable tires is a great way to kill road buzz and get a better grip on the road. For the ultimate in lower pressure try wider but still high quality supple tires.

    We don't use a heavy suspension seat post but I would hesitate to remove it unless you have a willing stoker. New components are great but a happy and motivated stoker is priceless.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 02-27-14 at 11:09 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
    The "bolt" pattern is perfect but the offset and clearance are wrong. The Truvativ Elita stoker crank mounts the chainring (or pulley with the Gates system) too close to centerline and thus interferes with the chainstay. I had contemplated spacers but it is a bit more significant space needed than a mere spacer is going to solve. I knew this going in based on documentation on Co-Motion's web site about FAQs on the Gates setup.
    You may very well be correct but be sure that you check out the clearance yourself before you spring for the new cranks. I upgraded my Co-Motion to the Gates Centertrack and was able to stay with the Truvativ Elita cranks. I also saw the caution on the Co-Motion website regarding chainstay clearance but when I actually emailed them to ask, they told me that they weren't sure about whether it would clear or not. Turns out the clearance is tight but will work with about a 2 mm clearance.

    If your stoker likes the Thudbuster (I know mine does), I would definately keep it. I happy stoker is worth a few extra grams.

    I have talked myself off the "upgrade/new tandem" ledge a few times. For me, I ask myself the question of how much better of a bike would I have if I spent an additional $5K or so. The answer is that it would certainly be nicer with more bling but from a performance perspective, not a huge difference. Guess it just depends on how much you are comfortable spending.

    If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would have spent the amount of money I have spent on cycling stuff I would have told them they were out of their mind. Funny how things change.

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    First, I'd think twice about using a used Gates Belt. A seemingly innocent, and unintentional twisting of the belt snaps the internal fibers and will cause the belt to fail under load. Not a good thing. And there's no way to tell if that's lurking in your belt.

    Second, I'd definitely agree that spending money on upgrades will only return very minor performance increases.

    That said, if you want to spend money, I'd consider a few things:

    1) Wheels. Agree with TG that is probably the best opportunity for a performance improvement.

    If you went with Rolf, you'd get both lighter, and more aero (as well as more cool looking). The aero advantage will make a small, but measurable speed advantage, and lighter wheels just feel nicer.

    Also money spent on wheels isn't quite the waste that other upgrades can be in the sense that you can always use an extra set of wheels.

    2) Addition by subtraction.

    There's some heavy stuff on that bike you may not need. The thudbuster has already been noted. Many stokers don't need a suspension seatpost (particularly if the captain is good at calling bumps, and the stoker stands over rough stuff.)

    Ditching the adjustable stoker stem is another opportunity to save the better part of a pound. Some stokers can fit with a fixed stem. My stoker uses a fixed 140mm stem. We found one on close out for $14, and saved close to 200 grams.

    Get rid of one or both disc brakes. Depending on how and where you ride you may not need dual disc brakes, or even one disc brake. If your bike is drilled to accept calipers, you could save close to 2 lbs here with minimal expenditure. Also if you're considering a carbon fork, going to a front caliper opens up fork options, and increases the weight saving you can get from the fork.

    3) Cranks.

    I think in general changing cranks is a very cost ineefective way to save weight. If you're going to invest in new cranks, I'd go with the Shimano Tandem cranks over either FSA's. Shimano cranks (due to the chainrings) just shift much nicer than FSA, so you'd get a performance bump, as well as some weight savings.

    If you really want to save weight by changing cranks, you could go with a single sided 2x10 compact setup. That allows the use of most any regular crankset for the stoker, and substantial weight savings over the typical tandem crank setup. Of course, it depends on whether you can get the gearing you want with a 2x10 setup.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    We purchased a used Speedster in '07. We didn't like the cranksets that were on it, so we changed out to FSA Gossamer cranks and fitted a Gates belt while we were at it. We've gone back to a chain now. The FSA BBs are only so-so IMO. We went through the first 2 sets of bearings fairly quickly and they have some drag from the seals. We're running Phil Wood bearings now, apparently successfully. If your current cranks are an acceptable length and they spin smoothly with little drag, I'd leave them alone. Plenty of time to look at options after you wear them out.

    The bike luckily came with a WoundUp carbon fork, and we like it very much. I'd give it a definitely worth-while. Other carbon forks might be too tight for touring tires.

    Not so much carbon bars. We've been down a few times, though no injuries, and much appreciate the aluminum. Stoker's bar always takes the hit.

    If your stoker is losing power because of bouncing on the Thudbuster, then a carbon post might be worth it. Otherwise not.

    As others have said, our biggest bang-for-buck has been tires. We're running 25mm PRO4 Endurance. 290 lb. team.

    We tour loaded on 28mm tires, but we really worked to get the weight out. Total added to the bare bike weight for loaded camp-touring is 43 lbs., with rear panniers, bar bag, small frame bag, and captain's saddle bag. We cruise at only .5 mph slower on the flat, loaded.

    We're in the process of changing to Kinlin 279 rims and CX-Ray spokes, same Chris King hubs the bike came with. Have the new front on. That seems to be a worth-while change, too, and not too expensive. I build our wheels myself. Not that hard and at least as good as pro.

    Another place we got a lot of bang for very little money was in position. Captain is running a slammed -17 stem. Stoker also has a slammed, short stem. Stoker bars are completely under captain's saddle. That's absolutely huge.

    The biggest bang, though, has been in conditioning and rider weight. We're down almost 20 lbs. since we bought the bike, and our power is way up. We could lose another 15. It has taken us a lot of tandem riding and communication to get the team power up. We're a completely different bike now from when we started tandeming. Getting the power down on the road is the thing. Synchronicity, standing, no rider motion, all that stuff has made a big difference.

    So bike weight, per se, is almost irrelevant in the above list. So many other places to find extra speed. Once you've done all that, then maybe bike weight might, I say might, be important.

  13. #13
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Seriously, I've chased the grams away from bikes and fitted all kinds of blingy parts and wheels. They're placebo's at best UNLESS you're already pegging the performance meter. Now, it's fair to say that a souped up, lightweight tandem can certainly motivate you to ride harder and more often, as upgrades are often times a motivational tool.
    This is very good advice that I completely agree with. However, nobody seems to fully understand it until going through the process themselves for several years.

    I was trying to explain to a friend recently how even upgrading to a completely new bike would only lose about 1 kg of weight (8 down to 7 kg), given that their current weight of bike + rider is 80 kg, that would mean that their climbing speed would only increase by 1.25%, and that is in ideal conditions when speed is purely determined by gradient and wind resistance is negligable, in other less perfect situations it would yield less than a 1% increase in speed, which might mean taking 18 seconds off a 30 minute climb, but no more. The person could only think of the idea of the bike weight decreasing by 12.5% and so was certain it would make more of a difference than I was suggesting.

    In addition, FSA price structures are a bit absurd, and the quality of their stuff isn't that great. I'd go for the Gossamers or look at the Ultegras if they would be compatible.

  14. #14
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Couplers are a travel convenience but also a big added weight factor.
    Upgrading can be co$tly and gives minimal return.
    Yes, there is the initial 'oh. that's great' feeling; as stated for many couples it would be cheaper (and healthier) to loose a few pounds.
    Our suggestion: if stuff wears out, replace with something better/lighter: save all your 'upgrading' $$ for your next dream tandem.
    Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_W View Post
    This is very good advice that I completely agree with. However, nobody seems to fully understand it until going through the process themselves for several years.

    I was trying to explain to a friend recently how even upgrading to a completely new bike would only lose about 1 kg of weight (8 down to 7 kg), given that their current weight of bike + rider is 80 kg, that would mean that their climbing speed would only increase by 1.25%, and that is in ideal conditions when speed is purely determined by gradient and wind resistance is negligable, in other less perfect situations it would yield less than a 1% increase in speed, which might mean taking 18 seconds off a 30 minute climb, but no more. The person could only think of the idea of the bike weight decreasing by 12.5% and so was certain it would make more of a difference than I was suggesting.

    In addition, FSA price structures are a bit absurd, and the quality of their stuff isn't that great. I'd go for the Gossamers or look at the Ultegras if they would be compatible.
    Good call on actual weight savings vs. performance improvement. IMHO, there are four reasons for focusing on weight reduction.

    The first is ease of handling the bike when loading and unloading. I know that I can tell the difference between our 29 lb tandem vs 34 lb tandem. Since I have horrible upper body strength, reducing the handling weight of a big awkward load is very nice for me. I can't even imagine trying to manhandle a 40+ lb tandem.

    The second is if you are competing in hilly races. Whether you are just barely hanging on, or trying to put the hurt to other teams, 1% in weight can make all the difference during the most critical portion of the race. If you are looking for every last bit of advantage, bike weight is an issue even if you are still working on team weight. I know on my single, there are times when the bike I ride holds me back compared to the competition (up to 4 lbs difference). It's certainly a lot less effort to spend some $ on parts than it is to up my training by an hour every week and be constantly making sure I eat right. But for me, I'm pretty close to my minimum weight already.

    The third is just for the fun of it. I know I enjoy the analysis and the hunt of selecting just the right part. I tend to focus on bang for the buck (i.e. $/gram when purchasing or upgrading parts).

    The fourth is vanity/ego/bragging rights. Some people just have to have "better" stuff than everyone else.

    As other posters have mentioned, I think the best bang for the buck is new wheels. Definitely go with a "wide" rim (HED Belgium or even Belgium+, Pacenti SL23, Kinlin XC-279, plus all the wide carbon rims out there). I would also recommend Sapim CX-Ray spokes - light, tough, aero (& expensive). We moved from an older set of Rolf's with the narrower rim to a custom set comprised of HED Belgiums, Sapim CX-Rays, brass nipples, WI MI5 front hub, WI Tandem Daisy rear hub in 32 spokes front & rear. Actual weight for the set is 1,700 grams (130 less than the Rolf's). Of course that is for rim brakes, so disc brake hubs would be heavier. After using wide rims for both the tandem and our singles, I don't think I'll ever buy another wheel with narrow rims.

    The key in this all is to make sure you are enjoying the ride and keep the rubber side down
    '12 English Tandem, '06 Cannondale Tandem (for sale), '07 Cervelo Soloist,
    '10 Salsa Chili con Crosso, '11 Felt Nine Elite, + a few others ;)

  16. #16
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
    So we chose a Co-Motion Primera Co-Pilot.
    Here's the listing at Co-Motion, so we have a reference.

    I don't think that the Co-Motion Primera Co-Pilot wants to be upgraded. There it is, with its zonally-butted cro-moly steel tubing frame and Co-Motion taper gauge w/CNC tandem steerer fork. There is a ceiling. All the components are go along with it. Robust, reliable, heavy. Replace the crank, the wheels, whatever, you've still got a heavy steel tandem.

    We were with the same place with our 1993 Rock 'N Roll. W really like riding it, for example last Sunday. Its cloud-like having 32 mm tires. Its 45 lbs isn't that much slower than our 26 lb. Dragonfly.

    I'd keep the Co-Mo Primera and ride the heck out of it. Ride it so much that your lifestyle is orientated towards tandem riding. Then hatch a plan for a definitive tandem that starts at least with a lightweight performance frame. Then you'll have two tandems, one steel and coupled, good for travel. And another that you use for longer rides, going fast, etc.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    I don't think that the Co-Motion Primera Co-Pilot wants to be upgraded. There it is, with its zonally-butted cro-moly steel tubing frame and Co-Motion taper gauge w/CNC tandem steerer fork. There is a ceiling. All the components are go along with it. Robust, reliable, heavy. Replace the crank, the wheels, whatever, you've still got a heavy steel tandem.
    To be fair, none of us really need to be riding Dura Ace, Record, Red, whatever on our carbon bikes. We upgrade because we want nice stuff not because of any necessary performance benefits (for the most part). The original post mentioned exercise, centuries, and touring - I would argue that a modern steel frame such as the Primera is ideal for that task. Super light materials, wheels, components, etc. would be fine on fast group rides and centuries, but less ideal when you load the bike down for touring. Co-Motion builds some really nice frames, whether steel or aluminum, and equips them with reasonable components. Upgrades, if you have the desire and means, may not be necessary but if you want to upgrade you shouldn't feel that you have to start by tossing out the frame.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
    The "bolt" pattern is perfect but the offset and clearance are wrong. The Truvativ Elita stoker crank mounts the chainring (or pulley with the Gates system) too close to centerline and thus interferes with the chainstay. I had contemplated spacers but it is a bit more significant space needed than a mere spacer is going to solve. I knew this going in based on documentation on Co-Motion's web site about FAQs on the Gates setup.


    Thanks for the responses. Understand the question is loaded And no offense taken (and agreed) on rider weight being easier and cheaper to drop than bike weight.




    In the end I will probably settle for the Gossamer cranks and a set of Rolf Prima wheels and call it done. Silly maybe but I trust Co-Motion and what they spec for bike content and options. That was how we chose the Thudbuster and the stoker is quite happy with that after purchase upgrade. Would probably follow their line of thought on wheels too.

    I had wondered about the carbon fork... how much smoother are they and how much lighter?

    Another option I had wondered about though was carbon handlebars... are these effective at absorbing vibration like carbon frame/fork? Plus they have options of shape and broader flat spots for hand rests. That sounds worthwhile.

    I have owned three tandems in my lifetime. Each one was an upgrade. I only upgraded some parts on my second tandem (Santana Sovereign) mostly because I had it for a long time and there was a lot evolution in bike parts at the time.
    I did have a Thudbuster on that bike and there was no way my stoker would ride without it.
    I would minimize the upgrades and plan to buy a new tandem in the future if you and your stoker plan to keep riding and you have the budget for it.
    looking back at the time I bought each tandem I was wondering if the cost was going to be worth it. In every case the answer turned out to be yes.
    I think you could do better on the wheels than Rolfs. Take a look at this thread:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ss-Aero-spokes

    A carbon fork will be lighter and smoother.

    I am not sure carbon bars help. I have tried some and I wasn't convinced. The bars I use are FSA WingPro Compact.
    They have an oval shape on the top portion and a shallow drop. They are the perfect shape for me, cheap, strong and reasonable weight.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Picture0014.jpgCopy of Us on Co-Mo.jpgpicasabackground.jpgWe are on tandem #5 since 1975.
    #1 was a 45-some pound French Follis 'real' 10-speed tandem with Atom drum brake.
    #2 less than 2 years later found what we did not like about the Follis and what we would like to have; so designed our own tandem and had it built by Matt Assenmacher (Michigan). Reynolds 531 DB racing tubing, bent rear seattube (to shorten the wheelbase) to an incredible 60 and 1/4 inches. All the best components at that time. Phil Wood hubs, BBs and even pedals. 36 spoke wheels (while everyone else was using 48 spokes) and a custom adjustable stoker stem, Mafac cantis. Weighed in at 34 lbs. (with pedals and 3 Hi-E bottle cages). It was light, nimble and f-a-s-t. Rode that bike for 64,000 miles.
    #3 Colin Laing custom tandem. 531 DB racing tubing and tandem guage downtube. Stretched the wheelbase to 63 1/2 inches. Handmade chromed lugs, fastback chromed rear triangle. Weight 35 lbs. Rode that tandem for 56,000 miles. It was a rolling work of art!
    #4 Custom Co-Motion; same wheelbase as the Laing. Chromed rear triangle/fork. Custom paint including an airbrushed desert scene on the boobtube. 35 lbs. Rode that Co-Mo for 57,000 miles.
    #5 Zona custom full cabon fiber tandem with full old-style window cutouts carbon lugs; c/f stoker stem and rear rack + custom c/f stoker handrests. Weight 26 1/2 lbs. 32H front wheel and 36H rear. 63 1/2 wheelbase and top of the line components. Currently about 40,000 miles on that great machine.

    In our decades as tandemistas have had the opportunity to do test rides on 30+ make/models/prototype tandems; also tested many innovations (some which were successful and some that did not perform well).

    Throughout the years our custom tandems have featured things like double spare spoke holder under boobtube; braze-on/glue on for mini garage door opener on stoker stem; custom mount for stoker's water bottle on her stem.
    Tandeming has been a continuing riding/learning experience for us. Now at ages 81 and 78 we still get out on our twicer regularly. We consider a tandem an investment in our good health.
    Beware!!! Once bitten by the tandem bug, there is no turning back!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    Pedal on TWOgether!Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

    Photo #1 : Assenmacher. #2 Co-Motion. #3 Zona.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post

    Another option I had wondered about though was carbon handlebars... are these effective at absorbing vibration like carbon frame/fork? Plus they have options of shape and broader flat spots for hand rests. That sounds worthwhile.
    In our case, carbon bars for the captain were a great upgrade. We made the switch on the day we picked up the bike from the builder. My wife, who rides captain, happened to mention to the shop owner that she was having some pain in her hand that was shooting up her arm. It was becoming enough of a concern that we were worried about riding the new tandem home (we live almost 400 miles from where the bike was built). The shop owner suggested we go with some carbon bars for her since he had had a similar problem and it went away when he switched over. The impact was dramatic; all her hand pain was gone before we got home that weekend.

    I don't know if it is the shape of the bars or the vibration damping effect, but it was a good call.

  21. #21
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    An update (I hate when somebody starts a thread and then never closes the loop):

    Went looking for captains bars with ergo tops and found an ergo carbon Forte set on sale. So we now have CF captains bars. After a 57 mile ride this weekend I would say they have helped. Not perfect but much better. Downside is a bit more creaking sometimes. Will probably look for some ergo TT bars for stoker but definitely sticking with aluminum there for the "crash bar" reason stated above.

    Have been running the Gates belt drive on FSA Gossamer cranks for a bit now. Perfect. No trouble whatsoever and quiet as can be. Generates the most comments when folks check out the bike. The Gossamer cranks are the same weight as the Elita, the Gates pulleys are actually heavier than chain rings, but the belt makes it all up over the heavy chain.

    Picked up a set of Rolf Tandem wheels. Could have swapped parts but the spare wheel concept sounded good. So good looking wheels need good looking brake rotors... and Hope V2 sawtooth rotors fit the bill (totally a bling decision as we will probably never push hard/far enough to need floating rotors). Then a new XT cassette in 11-34 for a bit lower gears for getting up hills. But that required a new rear derailleur so on went a RD-M772 XT 9-speed derailleur to work with the existing Shimano 105 brifters. New wheels and rotors look very good with the rest of the bike and are a better color match to the frame graphics. We have not had a chance to ride in a familiar place to compare before and after yet. We got sucked into the upgrade hole pretty good on this bundle. I do all of my own mechanical work so I now have a bunch more specialized bike tools and probably had more fun figuring it out and working on the bike than riding it. Yeah I am weird that way.

    Likely the front Shimano 105 derailleur will be next to go with an Ultegra version taking its place. I have had a heckuva time trying to get the 105 to shift reliably and hope that the Ultegra will work better (it will at least be in Shimano specs for max chainring size).

  22. #22
    WPH
    WPH is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    We moved from an older set of Rolf's with the narrower rim to a custom set comprised of HED Belgiums, Sapim CX-Rays, brass nipples, WI MI5 front hub, WI Tandem Daisy rear hub in 32 spokes front & rear. Actual weight for the set is 1,700 grams (130 less than the Rolf's). Of course that is for rim brakes, so disc brake hubs would be heavier. After using wide rims for both the tandem and our singles, I don't think I'll ever buy another wheel with narrow rims.
    Rhino

    Those wheels sound great - light and practical. There are many expensive 'performance' single-bike wheels which weigh more. My old Ksyriums are a bit lighter but not for tandem use with an adult team!

    Can you give us some idea of the cost? Also, which tires do you use?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by WPH View Post
    Rhino

    Those wheels sound great - light and practical. There are many expensive 'performance' single-bike wheels which weigh more. My old Ksyriums are a bit lighter but not for tandem use with an adult team!

    Can you give us some idea of the cost? Also, which tires do you use?
    Hi WPH,

    They are very nice wheels! A couple of things to note. Our team weight fluctuates between 285 and 300 lbs (160-170 lb captain, 125-130 lb stoker) and we don't ever add panniers to our tandem (we do pull a 2 wheeled trailer occasionally so that adds a little weight to the rear axle but not much if loaded correctly). Also note that we use rim brakes and a 145mm rear hub, so both wheels have an excellent bracing angle for the spokes. So if your team is heavier, you load your tandem for touring, use a disc front, or have 135mm rear spacing this build spec might not be up to the task. Also, we find it is hard to get out on the tandem except when we are on vacation, so the wheels don't see a lot of use.

    In the US, I have found that if you buy all of the parts through your wheel builder, they will often build it for just MSRP of the parts or even slightly below. So, I would guess that the wheels should come in at $1,000 or less. We're not living in the US right now, so I had to pay a bit more to get some of the parts.

    Right now we are running 700x25 Conti GP 4-Seasons at 110 psi.

    Hope that helps.

    Rhino
    '12 English Tandem, '06 Cannondale Tandem (for sale), '07 Cervelo Soloist,
    '10 Salsa Chili con Crosso, '11 Felt Nine Elite, + a few others ;)

  24. #24
    Senior Member PedalPink's Avatar
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    I agree with Ritterview 100%. We also started with a used Co-Motion Primera Co-Pilot. We rode it 6,000-7,000 miles a year on club rides, local centuries, loaded touring, super randonneur 200k-600k brevets and PBP. We were an early retrofit of Gates belt drive, were one of first to wear one out, replaced by Gates (great customer service experience). It has been disassembled / reassembled too many times to count, wish it had its own frequent flyer number, and is still a joy. But except for the Gates and replacing the fork, we have let it be ... A heavy steel tandem.

    And a few years later we added a Calfee to our tandem fleet. We initially were slightly disappointed with our carbon lightweight $. You need to manage your expectations! (didn't learn lesson and had another surprise when we bought our full suspension ECdM! Another story.) We are a bit faster, especially on hills. We've used it on some 200k-300k brevets, but return to the Co-Mo for longer distances. And we have a tandem to offer to friends to try before they make their own purchase. If your lifestyle is oriented toward tandem riding, the investment in two (or even three!) tandems will be worth it.

  25. #25
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vrooom3440 View Post
    So we now have CF captains bars. After a 57 mile ride this weekend I would say they have helped. Not perfect but much better. Downside is a bit more creaking sometimes.

    Carbon fiber assembly paste will likely take care of the creak.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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