Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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!

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-10-18, 07:17 AM   #1
Alcanbrad
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Alcanbrad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New Jersey
Bikes: '15 CoMo Carrera, '98 Santana Visa, a Plethora of road bikes (and 1 MTB)
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Pluses and Minuses of converting to couplers

Oh great minds of the forum, and Tandem Mavens,

The better half and I are talking about getting a coupled tandem to enable and ease traveling with a tandem, however, we don't want to invest in a new bike as our main ride still has a lot of life in her and looking at coupled used tandems has not not been very successful as they are fairly rare and their resale value is high.

I am kicking around the idea of having our old backup tandem converted to couplers (and maybe disc brakes as well). It is a '90's vintage Santana Visa. I have seen mention of folks doing this in past threads, but a search of the forum did not provide any fruitful leads.

If the cost is right and the minuses are not great, the thought of re-purposing our old bike sounds attractive.

-So what are the pluses and minus of doing this?

-Which frame builders are on the short list to consider engaging with to do the work?

-I am assuming that the frame will need to be repainted, so what is the feasibility to have the rear modified to accept a disc brake?

-Any thoughts or advice on a disc ready front fork?
Alcanbrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 12:31 PM   #2
Paul J
Senior Member
 
Paul J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Lancaster County PA
Bikes: 1982 Eddy Merckx Campy Super Record, 1995 Eddy Merckx 10 sp Campy Centaur, Bushnell Tandem, Co-Motion Speedster
Posts: 698
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
It is doable converting to couplers. It can be expensive but maybe not if you have the bike already as you have. One of the issues you can face is if the bike has oval tubing at the coupling points. Couplers are round so that can create the potential for tube replacement which can add to the cost. On "Crazy Guy On A Bike" a couple in Colorado had Bilenky, based in Philadelphia (near your home base) add couplers to their Rodriquez tandem and had good luck. Franklin Frames in Columbus OH might do conversions too. Doing a major restructure like this also provides opportunity for updating the head tube and fork to modern spec's too if you want to change to 1 1/8 un-threaded steer tube.

Good luck on your project!
Paul J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 01:19 PM   #3
oldacura
Senior Member
 
oldacura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lafayette, Colorado
Bikes: 1998 Co-Motion Co-Pilot, 2015 Calfee Tetra
Posts: 910
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 113 Post(s)
Seems like Santana would be the best one to tackle this.
oldacura is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 01:59 PM   #4
2592
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Katy, TX
Bikes: 2005 LeMond Buenos Aires, 2009 Santana Tandem
Posts: 92
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
When we had our Santana built we added the couplers ($1,500) because of the reduced cost to fly. We haven't had a chance to fly with the tandem, and the cost of flying now looks to be the same, coupled or not. If we ever get another tandem it won't be with couplers.
2592 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 02:04 PM   #5
andr0id
Senior Member
 
andr0id's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 2,516
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1315 Post(s)
You should start by looking at the retrofit page on the S&S site and then contacting frame builders in your area that are willing to do retrofits.
Folding Travel Bikes using S and S Machine Bicycle Torque Couplings™
http://www.sandsmachine.com/fbplist.htm
andr0id is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 02:08 PM   #6
andr0id
Senior Member
 
andr0id's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 2,516
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1315 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2592 View Post
When we had our Santana built we added the couplers ($1,500) because of the reduced cost to fly. We haven't had a chance to fly with the tandem, and the cost of flying now looks to be the same, coupled or not. If we ever get another tandem it won't be with couplers.
I've only flown with mine a few times, but on Southwest, it is still a free checked back in the 26x26x10 hard case.
Their requirements are l+w+h <= 62" and <= 50 lbs.

Tandems are supposed to go into 2 cases, 1 for each traveler. Other airlines do suck. Some charge for check bags and some will charge extra for bike even in a normal sized case.
andr0id is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 02:15 PM   #7
Philly Tandem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SE Penna., USA
Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ellsworth Enlightenment Carbon, Niner EMD9, old-school C'dale F2000
Posts: 1,056
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
If you are in NJ, the only place I'd look to do it is Bilenky in Philadephia. They are one of the most experienced retrofitters in the country (maybe the world). I don't think Santana retrofits used tandems.

Tons of threads on here about the pros and cons of couplers, so I'd encourage you to check them out for good background. We have two coupled tandems (Santana Fusion and Santana Cabrio triplet) and I wouldn't buy one without them. But we travel with our tandem about once per year, and the couplers make it much easier and cheaper. Not sure what "2592" means by the cost being the same to fly with and without them, but in my experience that's absolutely not true. We have never paid to fly with our coupled tandems, and we have probably 18-20 round trips to Europe flying with them so far.

If you don't think you will fly more than a few times with it, then maybe the cost doesn't make sense. Or if you'll never need to put it inside a car for transport, etc. Otherwise, we love them.

That said, you may consider selling your non-coupled tandem and putting the proceeds to a used coupled tandem. Might be more cost effective in the long run, as you'll also need at least a touch-up paint job if you get couplers added. I personally wouldn't mess with adding disc brakes to an older frame, especially for a travel tandem (harder to pack IMO), but that's just me.
Philly Tandem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 02:25 PM   #8
2592
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Katy, TX
Bikes: 2005 LeMond Buenos Aires, 2009 Santana Tandem
Posts: 92
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
Not sure what "2592" means by the cost being the same to fly with and without them, .
Just my understanding of domestic flying. Again, we haven't tried the tandem, so it's just what I know about flying a single bike. Some years ago flying the bike was free, now not so much.

Bruce
2592 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 02:29 PM   #9
andr0id
Senior Member
 
andr0id's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Bikes:
Posts: 2,516
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1315 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2592 View Post
Just my understanding of domestic flying. Again, we haven't tried the tandem, so it's just what I know about flying a single bike. Some years ago flying the bike was free, now not so much.

Bruce
*Anything* larger than 62" will incur a hefty oversize fee nowadays and that is in addition to the checked baggage fee on most airlines. The point of couplers is to get your bike into a standard sized piece of luggage to avoid those fees. My single is a 59cm bike, but I can get it into the case. It's kind of like Tetris.
andr0id is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 03:07 PM   #10
bwebel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Bikes:
Posts: 74
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
I had an old single converted by Bilenky. Wanted some other framework done to it, which took some of the sting out of paying for the new paint job as well. Flown with it a few times and it certainly is easier. Only downside is the cost and a little weight.

I think I'd scout some for a used coupled tandem before converting an old one as that would likely be more cost effective.

If you are going to the trouble of converting/repainting the frame then I'd certainly add the disc mounts as it won't be that large of an addition the cost.

Fork choice will depend significantly on the geometry. Not a lot of choices. Maybe look first a the current Santanas and then at the WoundUp.
bwebel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-18, 03:34 PM   #11
Philly Tandem
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: SE Penna., USA
Bikes: Santana Cabrio triplet, Santana Fusion S&S tandem, Co-Motion Pangea S&S, Co-Motion Nor'wester S&S, Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ellsworth Enlightenment Carbon, Niner EMD9, old-school C'dale F2000
Posts: 1,056
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Coupled Santana Arriva on the tandemclassifieds.com site right now for $1500. If it fits you, that's a good price. A tandem retrofit alone at Bilenky is $1800 + paint and other options that you may want.

Tandem Bicycles For Sale, Tandem Bike Components For Sale
Philly Tandem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-18, 01:45 AM   #12
CaliTexan
Newbie
 
CaliTexan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Bikes: 1998 Santana Sovereign and 2002 Bilenky (coupled)
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Bilenky if it's a really special bike

I would gladly recommend Bilenky for your retrofit, but only if the frame you have is custom sized for you or otherwise has something special about it. (The couple in Colorado who retrofit theirs has a custom size.)

We considered a retrofit, but just waited until we found a used coupled frame, and then had it built up by a tandem shop. In the end, it might've been $1000 cheaper, but was a lot more hassle than buying a new bike. (And fittingly, it's a Bilenky (originally built with couplers.)

And we do think that a coupled tandem is worth it.
CaliTexan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-18, 08:18 AM   #13
OneIsAllYouNeed
Long-term wear tester
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Seacoast, NH
Bikes: Travel gravel tandem, KHS CX200 road/gravel, Voodoo Agwe fixie, Gunnar Sport road, Trek T200 tandem, Motobecane Boris fatbike
Posts: 520
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 149 Post(s)
We love having a coupled tandem as our primary tandem. We've taken 2 domestic trips so far and paid $0 in baggage fees (Southwest Airlines). We flew with S&S coupled single bikes for the ~8 years prior and never paid bag fees, either. Our older non-coupled tandem took one trip across the country for ~$300 back in 2010. Couplers were a no-brainer investment for us.

The cost of retrofitting an old frame is definitely in the ballpark of a used coupled bike (if you can find one that fits). It's also not too much of a stretch to think about a shiny new bike or frame with couplers. The best value new travel framesets out there are probably $3000 Ritchey Double Switchback, $4000 Co-Motion Speedster/Mocha, or $5000 Granite Tandem Design custom Ti.

I'll add another recommendation for Bilenky if you want to retfofit your Santana Visa. They have upfront pricing on their website for you. With paint, couplers, and disc tab, the range is $2500-$3550. There might be additional costs if your frame has oval tubes that need to be replaced with round ones.

$200 Disc Tab and Support

3) Tandem Retrofit
$1,795
• installation of 6 S&S couplers
• frame alignment
• S&S tandem coupler wrench
No paint is included in this option. Tandem paint touch-ups are priced to order.

+

Tandem powdercoat $525

OR

4) Tandem Retrofit Package
$3350.00
Complete package includes:
• installation of 6 S&S couplers
• frame alignment
• frame-saver treatment
• S&S tandem coupler wrench
• full powdercoat re-paint
• 2x S&S gray cases
• 6x compression members
• 6x cable disconnects
• frame tube covers
Touch-ups and custom repaints for tandems are priced to order.
OneIsAllYouNeed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-18, 12:00 AM   #14
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Bikes:
Posts: 6,992
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 451 Post(s)
Are you sure the rear triangle is up to the load of a disc brake? I remember my frame builder just saying NO to the notion of putting a disc brake on an old frame I was having him make some changes to. That was just a half-bike, so maybe it doesn't apply.
B. Carfree is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-18, 08:07 PM   #15
PDub62
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Menasha, WI
Bikes: 1998 Bontrager Road Lite, 2005 Trek 9.8, 2008 Santana Arriva Tandem w/ S&S Couplings, 2009 Electra Rat Rod, 2010 Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, 2010 Cannondale SuperSix, 2011 Cannondale CX, 2011 Cannondale Tandem, Xtracycle, Surly Pugsley Necromancer
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We have a tandem and a triple with couplers; it makes travelling with the bike very easy.
I don't know anything about adding couplers to a bike but it seems like a pricey upgrade for what you could get a used bike for. If you're looking to have a travel tandem on the cheap have you considered a used Bike Friday? I haven't ridden one but they seem like a reasonably priced travel option.

Trying to add a disk brake to an older frame seems like a bad idea unless the frame builder is going to replace the chainstay; the forces put on the stay by a disk brake will be significantly different than the forces it was designed for with a rim brake.
PDub62 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-18, 02:28 AM   #16
geoffs
Senior Member
 
geoffs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sydney
Bikes: Co-Motion Mocha Co-pilot, Habanero custom commuter, Seven Axiom SL, Seven Axiom SLX, Blom Track
Posts: 227
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
We have a Co-motion Mocha with S&S couplers and we would never have another tandem without them.
I've lost count of the number of flights we've taken our on over the last 13yrs that we've had ours. The previous tandem that we owned was a steel Santana Sovereign that we bought in '92
It has made many things possible that we wouldn't have been able to do with a non-coupled tandem.
Such as, hiring a 2 door Mini Cooper and getting the tandem inside.
Taking the front off so we could take the tandem up to our hotel room
Put the 2 cases in a standard taxi to race to get the next flight after being delayed by stupid US border security
Some trains only have hanging space for single bikes. No problem when you can hang the tandem in 2 sections.
We've never had to worry about whether or not there is room for our tandem on plane.

If I were you I'd be looking at second hand tandems. I've seen the same tandem as ours which is a step up from a Visa for less than what it would cost to convert yours.
geoffs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-18, 06:35 AM   #17
Alcanbrad
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Alcanbrad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New Jersey
Bikes: '15 CoMo Carrera, '98 Santana Visa, a Plethora of road bikes (and 1 MTB)
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Excellent discussion and great advice and suggestions. After considering it all, we have decided to wait a bit while looking for a used coupled bike.

Being the consummate engineer, I created ye olde spread sheet to do the cost comparisons and interestingly, the cost of converting our old bike with the wheel upgrades was within a few hundred dollars of adding couplers to our newer Co-Mo or buying an existing used bike and bringing it up to our needs' albeit without disc wheels.

So the trade offs boiled down to:

-Upgrading our co-mo - +'s none really, -'s adds weight to our regular ride for the convience of 1 or 2 trips a year. Cost: about even
-Buying used coupled = +'s already coupled, -'s no modern wheels disc brakes, Cost: about even
-Modifying back up back - +'s already set up for our team, -'s conversion to disc breaks may require more exten$ive modifications. Cost: a couple hundred bucks more

So I am still in the camp that we would get more for our money to modify our old bike but the total nut is still a lot of money and we are in no hurry so we are going to keep our eyes open and if the right deal comes along, we'll jump on it, or if not, we'll pull the trigger for the modification.

Thanks again, maybe we'll see some of you at the Eastern Tandem Rally. We shouldn't be hard to spot, we'll be the ones on the tandem
Alcanbrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:14 PM.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    get answers from real people!
Click to start entering your question.
I HAVE A QUESTION