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Experience using singles cranksets on tandem (rethreading left timing side)

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Experience using singles cranksets on tandem (rethreading left timing side)

Old 08-26-15, 11:02 PM
  #1  
mtnbke
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Experience using singles cranksets on tandem (rethreading left timing side)

I'm thinking of eventually trying to build up a Campagnolo component group for a tandem. Campy tandem cranks are as rare as hen's teeth and super expensive. However, peculiar to Campagnolo (or maybe for all high end 10 speed groups) the cranks when they get a bit used or the graphics come off become essentially worthless. What was a $200 crank like a Record 10-speed can be had for like $30-50. I was thinking of taking two right-side (drive side on a single) triple Campagnolo 10-speed cranks and having one of them rethreaded to take a left side pedal to use on the timing chain side of the tandem.

Who has experience rethreading a pedal like this, via a machine shop?
How well did the rethreading work?
What did it cost?
Was the pedal constantly coming loose?
Did it require the use of thread-lockign compound?

Thanks for sharing your information and experience!
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Old 08-26-15, 11:46 PM
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No re-threading necessary . . . use superglue.
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Old 08-27-15, 12:30 AM
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prathmann
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When I reconfigured our tandem to be a kid-back, I used a crank from a kid's bike that was in the local bike shop's junk drawer. So it was a normally threaded crank but turned around so it connected to the timing chain. I did initially have a problem with the pedals coming loose, but using a little locktite on the threads solved the issue. Of course our daughter wasn't exerting any great amount of force on the pedals, but I'd expect you to be able to find an appropriate thread-locker that would hold even for a strong adult.
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Old 08-27-15, 12:34 AM
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Dean V
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I have done it myself by drilling and tapping the crank and using a helicoil insert.
This works very well.
It is something any competent machine shop could do but the problem is they probably won't have the correct helicoil tap and insert.
Some bike shops will have it for repairing stripped threads but I wouldn't trust most of them for being able to convert a right to left thread and getting everything square as they don't have the machinery.
I have also done a reasonable amount of riding with a rh thread on the left side and lh thread on the right. Had no problems with the pedals coming loose. No loctite. Just did them up firmly. With most clip in pedals you will need to swap the shafts and bodies.
Rethreading is the better solution though.

Last edited by Dean V; 08-27-15 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 08-27-15, 08:51 AM
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As Dean noted, typically this is done by using Helicoils. I've had a stripped pedal hole fixed by my good LBS with a Helicoil (non tandem) and it held up just fine.
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Old 08-27-15, 09:46 AM
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2 commments:

1 - I would think that if you had an additional right side pedal, that you could swap the pedal spindle with a left hand pedal so you would not have to re-thread anything.

That said, the threading is to prevent the pedal spindle from loosening due to normal forces encountered while pedaling - you would probably want locktight or diligently check pedal tightness.

2 - I believe you can do this because campy (and fulcrum) cranks have 2 halves with interlocking teeth and a bolt that holds the halves together, however, you may find 2 challenges here: 1 - the crank arms may not be at 180 degrees, but slightly off 180, and 2 - you will need to modify the mechanicals around how the bolt fits through one half and threads into the other. I don't know if the right half has the threads or the pass through.

I am curious how this works out, please keep us informed!

Last edited by Alcanbrad; 08-27-15 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 08-27-15, 01:56 PM
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I'll be using older Campagnolo cranks that don't use the Ultra-torque BB, but square taper BBs, so no issue there.
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Old 08-27-15, 01:58 PM
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I actually didn't think of the two right pedals option. That's brilliant. I never would have thought of that.

Pedals are cheap. If you are patient (veloswap, Craigslist, etc.)
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Old 08-27-15, 03:03 PM
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I did exactly what you are asking when I built our Calfee.
I originally had an FSA SLK crankset on the front but didn't like the wide Q-Factor.
So I bought some Ultegra cranksets cheap off Ebay and had a local bike shop install a helicoil on one side.
The first time it was a little crooked so I bought a second crankset and then they got it straight.
Have been riding for a few years without any problems.
Thought about the two right pedals, but can't be done with the Look Keo pedals I use.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
No re-threading necessary . . . use superglue.
Did this for years.
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Old 08-27-15, 08:29 PM
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When my touring tandem was being made and built up, the builder couldn't find 172.5 cranks for the stoker, so he just did the helicoil thing. After 20,000 miles it's all good. If you can't find a local shop to do yours, you could always mail it to the folks who did mine, Custom road bicycles and custom tandem bikes hand-built by Rodriguez and Erickson in Seattle
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Old 08-28-15, 09:21 AM
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Have you considered using a right side timing chain?
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Old 08-30-15, 06:58 PM
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My next tandem will likely be single-side drive in the hope of reducing stoker BB flex.
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Old 08-31-15, 09:19 AM
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Use the helicoil approach on our Co-Motion since 165 stoker cranks weren't readily available in Ultegra 9-speed.

16 years and 10,000+ miles later, no issues.
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Old 08-31-15, 01:03 PM
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I have normal SLK cranks run reverse on my tandem for the captain. I just use a thread locker and pedal washers (carbon cranks, so I didn't re-thread). not a big deal.


if I want to run clipless I will have to swap spindles left to right.
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Old 08-31-15, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by shlammed View Post
I have normal SLK cranks run reverse on my tandem for the captain. I just use a thread locker and pedal washers (carbon cranks, so I didn't re-thread). not a big deal.


if I want to run clipless I will have to swap spindles left to right.

I think that some symmetrical two sided clipless pedals would work unmodified.
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Old 09-01-15, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
I think that some symmetrical two sided clipless pedals would work unmodified.
single sided or two sided, they will always be backwards. the moving part of the cleat will be in front of the pedal unless you can clip into the bottom and ride upside down.
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Old 09-01-15, 07:59 AM
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Did this back in 2010. The local bike shop installed helicoil and used a little bit of loctite.
We are no "racing-type" tandem riders, but we weight 100 (me)+55 (Mrs) +20 (tandem)kg in total and have done around 4.000 km with the tandem (mostly 2- or 3-day "credit card touring").
We use SPD pedals + shoes.
No problem since.
I wouldn't hesitate doing it again.
[greetings from Greece]
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Old 09-01-15, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by shlammed View Post
single sided or two sided, they will always be backwards. the moving part of the cleat will be in front of the pedal unless you can clip into the bottom and ride upside down.
While not common, some pedals avoid this issue by having all moving parts in the cleat.


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Old 09-01-15, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by shlammed View Post
single sided or two sided, they will always be backwards. the moving part of the cleat will be in front of the pedal unless you can clip into the bottom and ride upside down.
Speedplay road cleats and pedals are symmetrical, so this doesn't matter, they work quite well in this application. You can use the Frogs as well if you grind part of the pedal down. Not sure if the new Szyrs would work or not.
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