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Old 06-27-18, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by quickrelease5 View Post
wow, this is a real head scratcher. it would be great to test ride these carbon tandems, but in the east there is not a tandem shop that I know of that has 15K bike test bike, and to compare the two bikes, side by side, would seem to be almost impossible. So, I guess It's nice to get a bunch of opinions here and then just act on faith, probably blind faith.
I have not posted in this forum for years principally due to the endless drumbeat of Santana bashing.

I recently returned from a Santana tour of Tahiti where my wife and I rode our Santana and raced it in the La Ronde Tahitienne that was a UCI sanctioned race. We were 6th out of 77 tandems. This trip was a Santana cruise where we had 75 cabins full of cyclists with most riding tandems and some on single bikes. And some brought both single bikes and a tandem and rode both. I had the opportunity to observe riders and their tandems and etc.

I own a 2006 Santana Sovereign aluminum frame. Prior to that, we owned a 1980 Santana chromoly steel frame. So I cannot help with the question on the Synergy with first hand experience per se. And I am not a died in the wool Santana loyalist or fall prey to the Santana marketing or any other brands marketing.

I will say that if you are a bicycle enthusiast that likes to customize your bike with special wheels, have multiple wheel sets and many other options, some of Santana's proprietary design will limit your choices or make them more expensive. At that point, it does not matter if Santana's technology is superior or not if it limits a customers choice and that customer is unhappy. It strikes me that this is the area to do due diligence. If you want deep section carbon tubular wheels or want to run a rear disc for time trials, a Santana will leave you frustrated.

Taking the other side of the argument, Santana's equipment choices and selections have suited us over the years and we found the bikes to be reliable. For example, we had not issues with our tandem on the Tahiti trip or need of a mechanic. That was not true for some of the other tandem teams with tandems from competing companies and I am sure that a team needed a Santana tweaked.

I have an interesting anecdotal story about tandems and weight. On the Tahiti trip, we had to load and off load the bikes from the cruise ship onto a barge. The barge would take the bikes ashore. To get the bikes down the gangplank, we used teams of volunteer cyclists.

I did it once and got stuck in the middle of the gangplank. So each bike was handed from person to person on the gangplank and I got to lift each bike up to the next person. After about 25 tandems went up the gangplank, I really started to appreciate Beyonds and Calfees. The steal tandems were just nasty to lift especially after lifting a lot of bikes. Also, it is amazing how much stuff cyclists hang on bikes that make them heavy. Some cyclists put on the kitchen sink and that can turn a 25 pound bike into an anchor. I only did that duty once.

Manufactures compete on weight so if one wants a really light frame one has to pay up for more exotic materials and engineering. IMO, I do not think a couple of pounds of frame weight will affect the performance of a tandem but lack of stiffness or poor ride quality or poor reliability would be something I would find unacceptable. I do not see an issue with either choice you are considering unless you are a very heavy team. Then only a test ride will allow you to know for sure.

Braking is a BF tandem multithread discussion. What I have found is that rear disc brakes do NOT work well as a drag brake. They overheat and outgas causing loss of braking power. The larger the rotor and pad, the more braking power one has and the longer it takes before the larger rotor to heat and pads outgas. That is true with my Santana 10 inch rotor. Smaller rotors overheat more rapidly.

We did the Santana tour that went through France and we climbed Mount Venteux. On that trip, we took our road bikes because we wanted to climb Mount Venteux on the road bikes and we did not want to descend it on our tandem. All the tandems on that trip went up Venteux. Fortunately, we went down the back side and the roads were smooth, wide with good visibility. MacCready told all the teams not to rely on the rear discs as a drag brake and to get off the bike and let the brakes cool. Some did and some did not and a few burned out their rear discs and had to go to bike shop and get new parts.

So if you are a fairly lightweight team and do not do long mountain descents, then any disc setup will work. The more the team needs additional braking power, the more Santana's larger disc may be an advantage.

You have a high class first world problem. Which super bike do you want?
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