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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 03-25-05, 02:59 PM   #1
trek616
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Do you need to change both chains at the same time?

I bought a used tandem a couple of years ago, a GT Quatrefoil. The chains look pretty bad. I recently priced the chains and then realized I'd need to replace all 5 chainrings and cassette, too. That priced out a little higher than I want to do right now. Can I replace just the synch chain and rings for now and then do the bulk of the drivetrain later?

Thanks
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Old 03-25-05, 03:49 PM   #2
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If the sync chain is "working" as is, don't bother spending the money on it and, instead, get your drive-side chain, chain rings, and cassette squared away.

Sync chains either work or they don't and you can basically run a chain & the timing rings well beyond normal replacement points without any adverse effect so long as you keep the same "worn-out chain" on the same "worn-out timing rings".

Now, here's a neat trick that's unique to tandems: timing rings can be rotated front to back to get a "second life" out of them with a new sync chain in that, the front & back timing rings wear out different sides of the chain ring teeth. Therefore, instead of chucking them, if they aren't ramped or pinned, you can just remove, flip over, and re-install the timing rings on their respective cranks and essentially have a "like new" set of timing rings or, if they are ramped and pinned, move the front timing ring to the back and the back timing ring to the front and again, you have "like new" timing rings.

If this seems puzzling to you don't worry, it's a "tandem thing". The deal here is, the captain's timing rings wear out on the front side of the teeth from "pushing" and the stoker's timing rings wear on ont he back side of the teeth from "being pulled". Yes, that means what you think it means... don't go there. It is what it is. There are some rare exceptions where "super stokers" are actually more aggressive than the captains and in those cases stoker timing ring wear is far less pronounced than it is with most "average teams".
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Old 03-25-05, 06:26 PM   #3
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We ride hard on our tandem and found that the timing chain is the first to stretch. After making the captain's crank mount adjustment to the max we simply take a link out of the chain and readjust the captain's crank mount. I have yet had to replace any of the Chain-rings yet. The gearing has yet to have any issues or slipping. When we had a MTB it was very important that the timing chain have little play if any.
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Old 03-27-05, 06:38 AM   #4
stapfam
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I find that the drive chain will wear out quicker than the Crossover chain. (Different terminology so-- Crossover is the Pilot to stoker chain, and drive is to the rear wheel.) In 2,000 miles I have not changed the crossover, and it is still good. 3 drive chains so far though. I have found that initially the crossover chain stretched rapidly. It is more noticable as there is not the derailler to take up slack. However, since the first initial adjustment, there has been no more play in this chain.

Mind you, both chains are kept very clean, and well lubricated, even to the extent that they will be re-oiled during a long ride. The drive chain is kept as clean as possible, but does seem to wear out about every 6-700 miles., but this is offroad, and gets a fair amount of stick and abuse with dirt and grit and mud and water on the rides. The crossover chain does not get quite as dirty. I also check the chain rings and cassette for wear, but so far there is not enough wear to say they need replacing. I am not in favour of reversing chain rings, as I have found that the decrease in metal on the teeth, when it gets to the stage where it needs replacing or reversing, will not take the stress of a single rider on a solo for very long before stripping the teeth.
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