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Tandem wheels

Old 06-16-15, 10:47 AM
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oldacura
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Tandem wheels

Hi -

I haven't posted for a long time.

We presently own a 1998 Co-Motion Co-Pilot (steel). We don't ride nearly as much as we used to but our financial situation has recently improved and we may spoil ourselves with a Calfee.

With regards to the wheels: is there a consensus of what wheels give the best bang-for-the-buck on a high-end tandem? I'm not looking for something that shouts "these are the best wheels regardless of cost" but ones that provide a good compromise of weight, durability, handling & cost.

Our team age is approaching 115. We weigh a combined 290#. It is very unlikely that we will do any loaded touring. We may or may not consider a rear disc.

Opinions? Thanks.
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Old 06-16-15, 11:22 AM
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jnbrown
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
Hi -

I haven't posted for a long time.

We presently own a 1998 Co-Motion Co-Pilot (steel). We don't ride nearly as much as we used to but our financial situation has recently improved and we may spoil ourselves with a Calfee.

With regards to the wheels: is there a consensus of what wheels give the best bang-for-the-buck on a high-end tandem? I'm not looking for something that shouts "these are the best wheels regardless of cost" but ones that provide a good compromise of weight, durability, handling & cost.

Our team age is approaching 115. We weigh a combined 290#. It is very unlikely that we will do any loaded touring. We may or may not consider a rear disc.

Opinions? Thanks.
I build all of my own wheels and my choice is always White Industries hubs, DT Competiton spokes.
You could use Aerolite spokes on the front but I would stay with Comps on the rear.
For rims I prefer Pacenti SL23 on my road bike but those might not be strong enough for a tandem.
My current wheelset uses Velocity Fusion rims which have been fine, but for a new set I would go with one of the newer wider / deeper rims.
I would suggest contacting Brandon at BikeHubStore.com for suggestions.
We are one year older than you and weigh about 250.
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Old 06-16-15, 07:29 PM
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Our team clocks in at 400lbs and the Rolfe wheels that were stock on our CoMo were rated to 350 and based on the comments online, we did not feel they would hold up to our expectations of longevity, so we upgraded to the Spinergy TX2's from Tandems East. We are very pleased so far, we have about 800 miles on them since March and they are still dead nuts true. I think they are worth investigating.
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Old 06-16-15, 09:05 PM
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Most people on this board have a somewhat limited experience with wheels compared to Mel at Tandems East and Ric at House of Tandems. I would give them both a call and see what they suggest / recommend. If Mike is still at Calfee he would also be a good reference source. We have gone through 4 sets of wheels before finalizing on the set we currently have.
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Old 06-17-15, 05:56 AM
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We are about the same age and team weight as you. We ordered our new Calfee in 2013 with a rear disk and a front rim brake. This summer I changed the disk over to a rim brake, and I like it much better. Much easier to adjust, and it stops the bike just as well. Our touring bike has disks front and back, and it works very well. That bike has White Industry hubs, and so far, I have to say I like them better than the Chris King hubs on the Calfee. Your best option might be to order the Calfee with the fitting and the hub to accommodate a disk (maybe even try the disk) and switch over to a rim brake if it suits you better.
Good luck with the decision

Joe

Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
Hi -

I haven't posted for a long time.

We presently own a 1998 Co-Motion Co-Pilot (steel). We don't ride nearly as much as we used to but our financial situation has recently improved and we may spoil ourselves with a Calfee.

With regards to the wheels: is there a consensus of what wheels give the best bang-for-the-buck on a high-end tandem? I'm not looking for something that shouts "these are the best wheels regardless of cost" but ones that provide a good compromise of weight, durability, handling & cost.

Our team age is approaching 115. We weigh a combined 290#. It is very unlikely that we will do any loaded touring. We may or may not consider a rear disc.

Opinions? Thanks.
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Old 06-17-15, 01:20 PM
  #6  
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I have two sets of wheels. When we bought our Seven Ti my wheel guy built me a set of Velocity Dyad-48s laced to Phil Wood hubs. I have disc and cantilvers in back, and cantilevers in front. Then a couple of years ago I bought a set of Spinergy TX2 from Ric at House of Tandems.

The Velocity's are our touring wheels. I have run 40mm tires at 75psi, very nice ride. But they are good with 28mm.

The Spinergy's are on the bike most of the time, running 32mm Gatorskins with 85psi. Stoker loves them.

If only one set, I would probably go conventional, White or Chris King or Phil Wood hubs in a 36-40 spoke configuration. I have White Industry hubs for my single bike touring wheels, and I think WI is an excellent compromise on quality and $$'s. The rim might depend upon what size tire you intend to run. I like bigger tires.
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Old 06-17-15, 01:28 PM
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We are currently set up with rim brakes front and rear. I have run rear disc and it works well, but for most, non-loaded riding (including all over the Rocky Mountains), I have found that rim brakes (on a deep section rim), are more than adequate for our 275lb team.

It is nice to have the flexibility too be able to put the rear disc on if carrying extra weight or planned extremely long descents.

Agree that White Industries is possibly the best bang for your buck.
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Old 06-17-15, 01:32 PM
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oldacura
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My only data point is our current Co-Motion that has Phil Wood hubs with 36 spoke in the rear & 32 up front (I think). The rims are garden variety Sun rims. Though I'm sure these wheels are not light, we have had no wheel issues in about 13,000 miles. We usually run 32mm Conti Gatorskins. People often say that the single biggest way to "upgrade" a bike is with better wheels. However, this can get expensive quickly.
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Old 06-17-15, 01:55 PM
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We have a 2014 Calfee Tetra, M/M Frame, front and rear disc brakes with about 2000 miles on the Tandem and team weight is around 330#. We are a combined age of 125yrs and we do no weighted touring, only metrics and centuries are our long rides.

We bought the Calfee from Mel at Tandems East and they came with the Spinergy TX2's. Couldnt be happier! Plush ride yet responsive, not a single issue.

If you are going to spoil yourself with a Calfee.......buy great wheels!

Call Mel at Tandems East.

Last edited by TeamG; 06-17-15 at 01:56 PM. Reason: addon
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Old 06-17-15, 03:21 PM
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Tandem Cycle Works here in Denver is a Calfee dealer. I was planning on going to them. Many have recommended Tandems East but there is probably some advantage of going to a local dealer (right?). Thanks for the inputs.
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Old 06-17-15, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
Tandem Cycle Works here in Denver is a Calfee dealer. I was planning on going to them. Many have recommended Tandems East but there is probably some advantage of going to a local dealer (right?). Thanks for the inputs.
Mel has sold hundreds of tandems and has a wealth of tandem information. If you want tandem specific details talk to a tandem specialists. I also again recommend Ric at House of Tandems.
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Old 06-17-15, 10:17 PM
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We have recently been promoted to 136 y.o. and are currently ~284 lbs. We wear out rims from winter riding here in the PNW. After trying a few rims on our Speedster, the most satisfactory ones we've used have been the 36H Kinlin 279 rims from bikehubstore:
XC279 - 23mm wide - 28mm deep (BHS C472w)

We've found that deep alu rims are vastly better at preventing excessive rim brake heat buildup during braking, as well as being stronger and stiffer. We are running the original equipment 2003 Chris King hubs, and currently are using Sapim CX-Ray spokes, more vanity and ease of building than anything. Any 15-14 DB spoke would work fine. There's virtually no penalty for running 36H rims, so why not. We tour this rig loaded and almost never need to true a rim. We are running Conti 4000 IIs 28mm tires which measure 32mm on these wide rims and are very happy with this combo.

We are also vaguely thinking a coupled Calfee and would run similar wheels, but probably a rear disk, maybe a front, because we think we still have a few tours left in us. We currently put on a rear drum wheel for touring. It would be nice to be rid of that extra weight. For local sport riding, disks and carbon rims would make sense except financially, but we sure wouldn't tour on carbon or any boutique wheel.

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Old 06-18-15, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
We have recently been promoted to 136 y.o. and are currently ~284 lbs. We wear out rims from winter riding here in the PNW. After trying a few rims on our Speedster, the most satisfactory ones we've used have been the 36H Kinlin 279 rims from bikehubstore:
XC279 - 23mm wide - 28mm deep (BHS C472w)
We also run these rims but 32w front and rear with White Industries Mi6 hubs and db spokes and the new Conti GP4000 II's in 28mm on our Speedster. Been running them all year with no issues and haven't touched em once. We are a 350lb team.
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Old 06-18-15, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by joe@vwvortex View Post
We also run these rims but 32w front and rear with White Industries Mi6 hubs and db spokes and the new Conti GP4000 II's in 28mm on our Speedster. Been running them all year with no issues and haven't touched em once. We are a 350lb team.
And my guess is that standard calipers won't run over these tires? We run Avid V-brakes and are very happy with them, especially the lack of fender/tire limitations. We are running Swisstop GHP2 brake pads, which we find much better than Koolstop of any color. When toed in properly, they don't squeal and seem to have a high heat tolerance.
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Old 06-18-15, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
And my guess is that standard calipers won't run over these tires? We run Avid V-brakes and are very happy with them, especially the lack of fender/tire limitations. We are running Swisstop GHP2 brake pads, which we find much better than Koolstop of any color. When toed in properly, they don't squeal and seem to have a high heat tolerance.
Sorry, I have no idea - we run front and rear discs.
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