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Old 07-12-18, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Santana does this to accommodate different rider sizes, but doesn't address the cadence issue. If you can spend the rest of your tandeming tenure riding at a cadence rate well below (or above) ideal, then more power to you. But that probably isn't a solution for the majority of riders. I wouldn't expect my stoker to do so; I don't imagine she'd expect me to do same. This discussion aims to find an equitable solution for both parties. It has nothing to do with "being a man," chivalry or however else you want to define it.

Let me share a related story. My college roommate trained and raced for years riding 180mm cranks. In hindsight, it never felt quite right. In fact, well into his racing career, he suffered a somewhat unique injury. His quadricep tendon actually pulled a piece of bone off his femur at his knee. I'm not exactly sure this is what happened, but it's close. He recovered and continued training and racing. Many years later, he took advantage of a comprehensive bike fitting and discovered the crank lengths he was using were FAR shorter than they should be. His ideal crank length ended up being something like 197mm. Now, many might assume a 17mm difference in length isn't much. Well, I can tell you that it's a HUGE difference. I rode 170mm cranks briefly. I happened to be riding with a friend who has the same saddle-pedal distance I do. We switched bikes because he wanted me to feel how his rode. His bike had 175mm cranks and I could not believe how much longer they felt. It was like I was turning a circle twice the size of the one on my bike. All by a "mere" 5mm in crank length difference. So this friend of mine, after switching to 197mm cranks, rediscovered his love for riding and racing. It was like he had never ridden a bike properly. He said he felt so much better and that before he never realized how stifled his legs were in terms of strength, feel and fit. And shortly thereafter he realized his unique injury he suffered years earlier was almost certainly caused by training and racing hard on cranks WAY too short.

Well, asking a captain or stoker to simply accept a cadence rate above or below their ideal rate is kind of the same thing. If I were to embark on a long riding season of high mileage, but riding at 20 rpm lower than my ideal cadence, I'd be miserable and most likely suffer adverse knee effects. So achieving a sensible solution is far better than just "sucking it up" in my opinion. Especially given the expense many couples go to with full carbon tandems with carbon wheels and electronic shifting, sacrificing cadence seems like a completely unacceptable and untenable compromise.
If you are correct then millions ... no, billions of cyclists are using a crank length that is completely wrong for them and might in fact be injurious. Hmmm.
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