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Santana Synergy VS Calfee Tetra

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Santana Synergy VS Calfee Tetra

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Old 06-25-18, 12:17 PM
  #26  
merlinextraligh
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[QUOTE=OneIsAllYouNeed;20411267]Tandem frames made of steel, titanium, or carbon fiber can all be made "whippy", overly stiff, or somewhere in between. Historically, many titanium tandem frames have been on the whippy end of the spectrum. Tubing and couplers weren't readily available in sufficient diameter for boom tubes; chainstays were the same as single bikes; bottom bracket standards limited space in the most critical location. Comparing a modern, well thought-out Ti frame to an older design, there are substantial differences in lateral stiffness. All the Ti frames mentioned in this thread -- Santana, Granite, DaVinci -- shouldn't disappoint on lateral stiffness. I haven't ridden a Calfee, but I've piloted quite a few Ti tandems. Ti tandems can definitely be made stiff enough for two powerful 200lb athletes; they can also be made to mimic a vintage noodley frame. A good builder should be able to make the bike feel the way the client wants.[/QUOTE]


Not at the same weight. You can make a Ti Tandem as stiff as Calfee Dragonfly, but it would weigh a lot more. Carbon Fiber has a stiffness to weight ratio 4 times higher than TI:




To build a latereless open frame Ti tandem that approached the rigidity of a Calfee Dragonfly with the extra stiffness option, you'd be adding some seriously heavier tubes.



There's a reason that Ti has pretty much vanished from the high end racing market.
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Old 06-25-18, 03:52 PM
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I donít think durability in a carbon tandem for traveling should be a consideration. Our tandem has been in the cases at least 30 times with zero issues save a few paint chips and scratches. We built our new one nude carbon so I donít even have to worry about that. We went thru every frame material on singles and ended with carbon. Would not consider any thing else on a high end tandem now. Even very nice high end Paketa tandems have reputations of hard to refinish or repair. Santanaís latest high end tandem is all carbon with a front disc brake ( a first for Bill).
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Old 06-25-18, 10:54 PM
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While itís theoretically possible to build a much lighter tandem frame from carbon fiber, I donít think anyone has really pushed the envelope. Calfeeís site claims 6.25lb and 6.8lb frame weights for the Dragonfly and Tetra respectively. Iíve heard anecdotal evidence of sub-6lb frames from other builders. My Ti frame would be 7.0lb if it didnít have couplers. I wouldnít want my frame any stiffer. It should be possible to build a respectably stiff, sub-5lb frame with carbon, but I donít think itís currently happening. On the practical side, these frame weight differences are measurable, but their impact on on-the-bike speed is almost negligible.
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Old 06-27-18, 10:12 AM
  #29  
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Our first two tandems were Santana's, mostly due to reasonable starter cost and nicer ride (in our opinion) over CoMotions tested. Our next 3 tandems were Calfee Tetra (2007 frame if I recall correctly that we picked up from a shop in CA), 2013 Tetra frame, 2015 Dragonfly frame. I built up all the Calfees at home and a very competent LBS.

IMO it really is ridiculous that Bill C. is still, in this day and age, attempting to refute front disc brake usage, insisting on his 160mm rear hub spacing w/Quick Release only, and is still trying to perfect his 10" rear rotor & yet-another-best-disc-caliper-ever. The stances regarding "must be tandem rated", then turn around and use standard dual pivot rim brakes on their rigs, seems at odds. Bill's "best ever" list keeps changing over the years, but these items seem to disappear consistently. These points basically say it all.

Our riding style needs are perhaps a bit on the fast and aggressive side of standard. We do like high speed downhills and our brake pads last a very long time - which should say a lot. In the past with rim brakes in the rain, we ended up sailing through a couple intersections where it was really sketchy. For our purposes, rim brakes just won't handle the riding style and conditions we encounter. Modern disc brakes front & rear are a no-brainer.

Nothing on the market is perfect though. I would like to see more modern carbon frame design with shaped tubing rather than using standard straight round tubes lashed together. Landshark seems to do some nice chainstay work, but then I haven't seen any thru-axle rear dropouts on tandems from that builder. Maybe thru axles are not a deal breaker on a fixed (vs suspension) rear triangle, but I do like the standard spacings and hubs available, plus that it does really lock in the rear wheel better than QR.

As it stands, our Calfees have all ridden great. I like to tinker and work my way eventually to the end of my ultimate wish list, which ended up being the Dragonfly.

Latest build photos for 2015 Dragonfly: https://goo.gl/photos/QRRvPFvggZrMXuHA9

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Old 06-27-18, 10:39 AM
  #30  
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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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Old 06-27-18, 11:41 AM
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If we ever might have a use for a drag brake, maybe it would be if on a fully loaded tour with panniers or a trailer. Otherwise we do plenty of Euro tours on super steep twisty grades and really enjoy the rush of high speed descents and technical terrain. The primary danger being vehicle and bicycle traffic so control is essential to avoid issues with that. For our needs, solving "braking power" does not require a single 10" rotor and having a rim brake up front would introduce a huge chance of tire blowout. On the road tandem we use hydraulic brakes with front/rear 203mm rotors. For comparison, our off-road (mtb) tandem we only use 203mm front and 180mm rear (with a lightweight stoker I cannot apply more rear braking anyway... there is only so much traction available). Our brake pads last a frustratingly long time... I have sets of spares just dying to be installed but rarely seem to find the need. FWIW, we never have need to stop and let our brakes cool... I let the fast moving air do that while we ride

The Santanas we had, rode well enough. The first CoMo frame was a bit soft and a dog by comparison to everything we have ridden since. The Sovereign (Team AL) was actually a great ride quality, but there were plenty of times where I was holding my breath when needing to apply a lot of front caliper brake (re: heat & blowout potential). We did make a big mistake with that purchase because we were unaware at the time the very wide rear spacing exceeded my petite wife's biomechanical requirements... she cannot handle wide Q-Factors. Her ITB problems resulted in needing surgery and began and ended with that Sovereign usage not to reappear since moving back to lesser width stances. This may be a corner case and most people probably will not experience the issue, but for us the 160mm spacing is not usable.

Moral of the story, get what works for you - riding style and physical needs.
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Old 07-02-18, 06:23 PM
  #32  
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All the points above are valid. It's really hard to pick a bike off of a spec sheet or geometry. The real point is to see what gives you the most pleasure on the road. Get out and ride it, yes you can get used to anything, but you'll usually find you can feel the characteristics of a frame builders style across most of their models. I like a bike with a lot of feedback in turns and good damping while still being stiff for power transfer and a tiny bit of understeer as I like countersteering on descents. We ride a Santana Beyond upgraded from a sovereign both chosen after trying Calfee's (beautiful bike but the steering is too neutral for my liking) Comotion (really slow over the turn transitions it felt sluggish) we just found Santana designs put the smile on our faces and give us confidence at high speeds. This more than makes up for the issues with proprietary parts, I find with some ingenuity we can do anything we want. We've switched it to gates drive, tried 2X and right side drive and are getting ready to switch to E-tap and hydraulic brakes. A crude comparison to singles: I think the Calfee feels a bit more like many Trek high end bikes, the Santana is more comparable to many specialized models if you have a preference for one of those you might find it carries through. Weight matters to me because we have a travel tandem and 2 or 3 lbs is really noticeable hauling it around, but not that noticeable on the road where stiffness and ride characteristics make more difference. Good luck with the choice and enjoy the journey
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Old 07-07-18, 04:22 PM
  #33  
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Santana changed their tune with the Evolve. A mere $15k please.

Evolve

The Evolve gets a matching tapered fork that sits flush to the frame with an internal headset and features Santana's first front disc brake. With the addition of a front disc we added thru-axles front and rear.

^^^ info does not say what front/rear wheel spacings are used. Could be something standard, could be another funky setup. Anyone know?


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Old 07-10-18, 04:20 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
Nothing on the market is perfect though.

I would like to see more modern carbon frame design with shaped tubing rather than using standard straight round tubes lashed
Recently, my opinion regarding the fitted carbon tubes followed by wrapped joints was changed. In the past, I always believed that the wrapped joint construction was a means to a carbon fibre frame that did not optimise the materials properties or exploit the weight reduction.

Recently, I was asked to evaluate, and possibly repair a high end Jamis road bike frame. There was no crash damage, yet the frame was showing distress on both sides of the top tube, down tube and head tube joint / area. Externally, these were minor blemishes, and tiny single cracks in the paint.

The owner, a long time friend as honest as god, never crashed the bike, is easy on his stuff, plus is average build of average strength for a weekend warrior / infrequent racer.

On account of Jamis rejecting warranty replacement, it was decided to see exactly what was going on with the frame, and if it was viable to repair. No doubt I could have added plies to save the frame, but with the bad experience with Jamis, it was decided to see truly why the frame was failing.

I cut a portion of the frame away, making cuts vertically along the headtube then sliced the top tube and down tubes in a mannner to remove the frames forward front side section.

As I do in evaluating damage to composite aircraft components, everything was inspected, measured and documented before ply removal.

With care, each ply was sanded away, in a method, that exposed each layer as it was revealed. Once the carbon layers were stepped until one ply remained, and with notes / photos taken during this process, it became obvious that the very minor visual indications on the frames exterior, was the fuse of impending timebomb failure.

For reasons unknown, either engineering improperly sized the reinforcing plies, the frames production facility cut the plies too small or possibly the person accomplishing the ply layup stacks positioned the plies incorrectly, whatever the reason, the length of the cracked epoxy with corresponding broken fibres was likely 10 times more damage than what was visible.

Sadly, both sides of the frame were failing in a similar manner and pattern.

Essentially, the stress path was not adequate to distribute the loads properly. With this, the carbon was ever so slightly being flexed over the edge of the next ply, causing interply stress cracks in a multitude of directions.

Even with the photos, a written evaluation report, and allowing Jamis to inspect the failure, they refused to warranty the frame.

The Jamis frame failure had me consider many things about the use of carbon fibre in bicycle construction. Long ago, I knew the material was not optimised for bicycle use whether in a molded shaped form or wrapped tube construction.

Seeing the Jamis, and other failures, it became obvious that the Calfee construction technique of wrapped tube joints that I so dislike, is in my opinion a very smart conservative design that has excellent distribution of stess into the tubes, and safety margins far superior to a molded frame. I do not care for the bulbous look, but truly consider this to be function over asthetics.

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Old 07-10-18, 04:39 AM
  #35  
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[QUOTE=merlinextraligh;20411753]
Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
Tandem frames made of steel, titanium, or carbon fiber can all be made "whippy", overly stiff, or somewhere in between. Historically, many titanium tandem frames have been on the whippy end of the spectrum. Tubing and couplers weren't readily available in sufficient diameter for boom tubes; chainstays were the same as single bikes; bottom bracket standards limited space in the most critical location. Comparing a modern, well thought-out Ti frame to an older design, there are substantial differences in lateral stiffness. All the Ti frames mentioned in this thread -- Santana, Granite, DaVinci -- shouldn't disappoint on lateral stiffness. I haven't ridden a Calfee, but I've piloted quite a few Ti tandems. Ti tandems can definitely be made stiff enough for two powerful 200lb athletes; they can also be made to mimic a vintage noodley frame. A good builder should be able to make the bike feel the way the client wants.[/QUOTE]


Not at the same weight. You can make a Ti Tandem as stiff as Calfee Dragonfly, but it would weigh a lot more. Carbon Fiber has a stiffness to weight ratio 4 times higher than TI:




To build a latereless open frame Ti tandem that approached the rigidity of a Calfee Dragonfly with the extra stiffness option, you'd be adding some seriously heavier tubes.



There's a reason that Ti has pretty much vanished from the high end racing market.
These charts and graphs are sometimes cool to see.

I enjoy the way the carbon is so superior, or is it...This chart is in regards to tensile strength, merely one stress load direction induced into the material.

If you find charts representing compressive strength, the carbon will be whale turd low compared to the others.

Carbon is a wonderful material when utilized in specific load directions or stresses. In order for a carbon fibre flat sheet to have what is known as balance, equal tensile strength for all directions, in the ply layup, assuming we are using woven or unidirectional fibres, we must use many plies. At a minimum it will be 4 unidirectional plies at 4 different and specific angle orientations.

To build a carbon flat panel or shaped part and not have induced stresses from succesive plies, the ply stacks must be laid symmetrically.

So, with carbon, or actually most stacked ply composite layups, to mimic and compare to metallics, the composite must have balance and symmetry, or as is commonly referenced, quasi-isotropic.

One of the true great features of carbon composites, when designed properly, is not so much the lightweight, but more importantly, the fatigue resistance.
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Old 07-10-18, 05:59 PM
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Caveat to above, I assumed a certain level of quality of any frame including one of monocoque construction. No less than the carbon forks many of us have been using. After nuding a Whisky fork, it can be a bit unsettling seeing what filler had been applied. Sent that fork back and the next was far better.

FWIW, Calfee is very capable of shaping their tube joints and painting over carbon wrap to give that same lug-less look as the Evolve. Our nude finish Calfee frames are immaculate. It would be interesting to see a Evolve unpainted and what might be visible.
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Old 07-11-18, 02:11 AM
  #37  
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Another carbon tandem to consider is Filament Bikes
I think the tandem shown on the website is owned by someone on this list? The aero tandem on the website was used to set a National time trail record I believe.
As to building with Titanium and the stiffness of the frameset, I ride a Seven Axiom SL which I asked to be stiff as I'm a big guy and crank out a bit of power. My Seven is stiff as, and is great to ride.
I asked them about building a tandem for us with out the lateral tube so I could have the option of using bike packing bags and the response was, No.
They will only build tandem frames at the present time with a lateral tube. Whether this will change sometime in the future I don't know.
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Old 07-11-18, 09:22 PM
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Numerous high end road bikes & tandems thru the years, I have to complement Richard Craddock of Filament Cycles for building us a wonderful machine, plus a work of art. Frame was 2.4 kilos, built with SRAM Etap, Enve SES 5.6 Disc wheels, Lightning right side drive, Ritchey Super Logic cockpit, under 25 pounds. Race geometry which is very responsive to our Power input .
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Old 07-12-18, 08:43 PM
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Your Filament is definitely a dream bike. How is the Columbus Futura disc fork holding up? It doesn't seem to be available in N America.
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Old 07-14-18, 01:12 PM
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Also, House of Tandems (Ric Becker) is has a "Hawthorne" line of custom carbon tandems being built by John Slawta (Landshark).
see: https://www.hawthornetandems.com/

There is a nice looking E-Tandem implementation too.
photos: https://www.facebook.com/Hawthorne-T...6713575190147/


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Old 07-14-18, 01:54 PM
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A lot of talk about Bill's engineering in this thread and I certainly know he has been force (good or bad) in the past but does anyone know if he is still the engineering lead at Santana? With all of the tours and scouting trips for new tours doesn't seem like he would be in the shop much.
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Old 07-14-18, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rlp View Post
A lot of talk about Bill's engineering in this thread and I certainly know he has been force (good or bad) in the past but does anyone know if he is still the engineering lead at Santana? With all of the tours and scouting trips for new tours doesn't seem like he would be in the shop much.
I believe he has a full time mechanical engineer on staff
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