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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 04-28-14, 10:40 AM   #1
SJX426 
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QR or Nuts on the rear axle

The Burley I bought came with a rear skewer but has a solid axle and nuts. Every time I go someplace I usually remove both wheels so I can minimize the width of the bike. I use a Yakima hitch rack and clamp the TT.

I am thinking of going back to the skewer for ease of use, with maybe an internal cam type for maximum clamping force. This is a 1994 model with a 6 speed Suntour Accushift drivetrain. There is room for a 7 speed but the BarCon won't work well with it.

What is your experence of axle durability? Have you had issues with hollow axles on tandems?
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Old 04-28-14, 11:07 AM   #2
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There are numerous QR tandem hub offerings from Santana, Chris King, White Industries, Shimano, Phil Wood, and others. Most posters here, including myself, run QR rear hubs.
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Old 04-28-14, 11:46 AM   #3
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There are numerous QR tandem hub offerings from Santana, Chris King, White Industries, Shimano, Phil Wood, and others. Most posters here, including myself, run QR rear hubs.
+1 What mstyer said.

We've always used QR's on our tandems and have never had a problem and we are a larger team. I do the same thing with my rear rack, this gets it to almost between the outside mirrors.
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Old 04-28-14, 05:14 PM   #4
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Been using QR hubs (front and rear) on our tandems since 1975 and for about a quarter million miles. No issues.
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Old 04-28-14, 07:53 PM   #5
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You replaced the original hollow axle with a solid axle, I presume?
If you have a freewheel hub, there may be an argument to be made for a solid axle being more durable. Depending on what kind of hub, team weight, riding style, luck, etc.
Guessing that the QR hubs that zonatandem has had 'No issues' with includes at least a few freewheel hubs.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:14 PM   #6
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I suspect I would stay with whatever the bike or the wheels came with, assuming they worked ok.

I have had a number of tandems with solid axles/nuts, especially the early ones from the late 60's to early 70's.

The first several tandem wheels I built, to go on frames I had built, were based on Phil Wood hubs which I ordered with their nutted axles. Came with a 3/8" stainless steel allen wrench to tighten them. Very strong.

Starting about the 1980's most tandems came with Q/R hubs and I just used them as is. None failed. Many miles...

/K
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Old 04-28-14, 11:23 PM   #7
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JanMM:
Yup, you guessed right; had a few tandems with freewheels and had no issues with those utilizing QRs.
On our first custom tandem in 1977 we were told that QRs were not suitable on tandem rear wheels, except for Campy ones; so that's what we used.
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Old 04-29-14, 08:58 AM   #8
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OP,

You made a good point to be aware of maximum clamping force. Just because QR failures have not been reported does not mean that QR are the most optimal fastener format. QR were designed purely for convenience, not performance.

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Old 04-29-14, 01:05 PM   #9
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We had a 1993 Burley Duet with a nutted axle, and a freewheel. The axle broke. Replaced with a QR hub with a freehub, cassette.

The replacement is still going strong 15 years later.

Modern Tandem hubs with QR are stronger than what came on your Burley, in part because the placing of the bearings on hubs using cassettes as oppossed to frewheels.
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Old 04-29-14, 05:58 PM   #10
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I had an 89 Burley with a solid rear axle and freewheel and the axle broke. If your tandem has a freewheel, the bearing are inboard which stresses the axle. A solid nutted axle is stronger.
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Old 04-30-14, 07:08 AM   #11
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Thanks for the responses. I may go ahead and order a hollow axle to see if it will work. The hubs are original 1994 vintage Suzue “Sealed” cup and cone 48 hole. This is a 6 speed with enough space to replace it with a 7speed and still allow the chain not to rub on the frame. With an internal cam skewer, it might work out alright.
@JanMM, no I did not replace the axle. One of the former or original owner may have. This bike, although very rough from environmental exposure, looks like it has very few miles on it, or it was very well lubed and cleaned. Lots of salt corrosion and rust on the frame. Some parts like the cranks show more on one side than the other indicating storage in a hositle environment!
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Old 04-30-14, 11:55 AM   #12
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Based on our experience and tandem rider's, with that exact hub, I'd replace the entire hub. Going from freewheel to free hub makes a difference in supporting the axle.
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Old 04-30-14, 03:40 PM   #13
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The difference in strength between a hollow axle and solid axle in minimal. Strength and stiffness is proportional to the diameter to the 4th power. Let's say you have a 10mm diameter axle that will break in bending at 10000 force units; if you drill a 5mm diameter hole down the center it will break in bending at 9375 force units - a difference of 6%. To totally recover from the 5mm hole in the axle, the 10mm would have to change to 10.153mm diameter. This is basic Engineering.
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Old 04-30-14, 04:01 PM   #14
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My Odd 1 off touring bike being built in Eugene in 90, and using the same dropout as Burly's tandems ,

I can say the vertical dropout is fine with a QR axle .. I used, and continue to, one of Bullseye's hubsets .
after being happy with a Phil Wood freewheel hub before that ..


But , the overwhelming market preference these days is Cassette freehubs .. these days tandem ones got threaded for the

now Discontinued , Arai drag Drum Brakes . if you've got those you may continue using them (if you can unscrew it.)

in 48 spoke and 40..
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Old 04-30-14, 06:44 PM   #15
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I have no experience with freewheel hubs on tandems - both the tandems we have ridden since 2000 have had freehubs. The only rear axle I've ever broken was on a Cannondale hybrid with a freewheel (QR). That's one small data point.
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Old 05-01-14, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Based on our experience and tandem rider's, with that exact hub, I'd replace the entire hub. Going from freewheel to free hub makes a difference in supporting the axle.
Good advice.
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Old 05-02-14, 07:42 AM   #17
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Thanks all, I am aware of the differneces between freewheel and freehub configurations including the moment arm differneces due to bearing locations. This is a 6 speed as originally sold. I plan to milk it as far as I can as I am not interested in replacing the hub, cog set, derailuer, and shift controls that are likely to be included. The bearings are fine with marginal cones. Yellow Jersey has replacement axle and cone kit, which I am thinking of going for. I will just need to get a skewer with internal cam. The one I have is an external cam skewer, which is fine for the front but I would prefer better clamping at the rear.
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Old 05-02-14, 08:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
I will just need to get a skewer with internal cam. The one I have is an external cam skewer, which is fine for the front but I would prefer better clamping at the rear.
I definitely agree that if you're going to do it, you need an internal cam skewer, with that dropout.

On our Burley, we pulled the rear wheel out of the drop out, while pounding up a steep grade out of the saddle, taco'd the wheel.

Admittedly, that was likely operator error from under tightening the QR, but it's definitely possible to pull the wheel out of that drop out with a weak, or improperly adjusted QR.
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Old 05-02-14, 08:59 AM   #19
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@merlinextralight, impressive! Lots of torque in those lower gears with two pairs of legs!
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