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New tandem - can't decide on hubs, crankset or fork

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New tandem - can't decide on hubs, crankset or fork

Old 01-09-19, 01:43 PM
  #1  
bikeinxs
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New tandem - can't decide on hubs, crankset or fork

My wife and I are deep into the process of selecting/specifying our new tandem. Most of the decisions are easy for us but I'm looking for advice in a couple of areas.

It will be a gravel tandem, Di2 11 speed triple, hydraulic disc brakes and SNS travel couplings. Probably titanium but that's still a bit up in the air. My current burning questions are around what crankset to use and what rear hub spacing. Team weight is about 320 pounds but we will do some credit card touring so things could get heavy.

I get that 145 mm is the standard for tandem rear hubs, but are there any good thru axle options in that size? Phil Woods has a thru axle hub rated at a 280 pound team (which has to be rare) and from what I can tell Chris King and DT Swiss are still quick release skewer. I am not going with QR skewers as I've had bad luck on a couple of bikes with hydraulic discs and not able to get repeatable alignment with skewers.

Tandem cranks seem few and far between. I have Shimano Ultegra on our Speedster and Race Face on the Ibis, neither of which makes tandem cranks. Curious as to what people are using and what works for 11 speed. I'm not going to use a Gates belt. I know they work for thousands of people but I'm not going there. I considered a drive side timing chain but I'll take the extra gear inches provided by the triple.

My main question around forks is whether to go with front rack mounts. I'm assuming that if I do my only option is a steel or Ti fork. Curious as to if anyone has experience with this. We've got 30,000 km on our wound up fork on the Speedster so I have no issue with carbon otherwise. We're past the point in our lives where we'll be lugging a tent and stove on the tandem but credit card touring is definitely in our future so we need some luggage space.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-09-19, 02:42 PM
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Here's an interesting fork. Anyone used one of these?

https://www.rodeo-labs.com/rodeospork/
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Old 01-10-19, 07:04 AM
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We use an Axiom rack the does not require mid-eyelets and works with discs. All you need is a fork that can take a little bit of clamping in the middle.
However, this would likely collide with your desire to get away from QR.
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Old 01-14-19, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeinxs View Post
Tandem cranks seem few and far between. I have Shimano Ultegra on our Speedster and Race Face on the Ibis, neither of which makes tandem cranks. Curious as to what people are using and what works for 11 speed. I'm not going to use a Gates belt. I know they work for thousands of people but I'm not going there. I considered a drive side timing chain but I'll take the extra gear inches provided by the triple.
We opted to use Lightning cranks when building up our Co-Motion as 165mm stoker cranks are typically unicorns.

Pricey, but highly customizable.
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Old 01-16-19, 11:33 PM
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There are still a few options for traditional left-side timing chain tandem cranks. If you are okay with square taper, you have DaVinci Designs, Rene Herse and Middleburn. You might also be able to find Stronglight tandem cranks if you troll the EU vendors. For larger spindle cranksets your limited to Lightning or Middleburn AFAIK. I'm not sure if Co-motion sells their new tandem cranks aftermarket.

There's no reason to go with anything other than 142mm thru-axle on the rear hub. 145mm QR is effectively dead. It's legacy and supported by some boutique wheelmakers for the time being. Our Paketa runs 135.mm QR with disc rotor and it's fine with Shimano hydraulic calipers. Not sure what you are referring to about alignment issues. 142 TA wasn't quite established when the frame was built. All the major hub manufacturers have 142 TA options. DT Swiss, White Industries, Chris King, etc. There's no shortage of options. The front hub depends more on what fork you end up fitting.

Last edited by tkramer; 01-16-19 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 01-17-19, 03:17 PM
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If you use a double instead of a triple chainring you have the option of a right side chainline and the ability to use standard cranks. We’ve upgraded to Sram eTap and the shifting is so much better than Ultegra triple we were using before.
For wheels I’d be building up a dt240s 142 TA hubs with custom layup Light Bicycle rims. Dtswiss freehub bodies are easy to swap so you’re covered if you change to a XD or the new Microspline system.
We do 6 to 8 weeks of credit card touring a year. If you pack well then 2 rear panniers and a handlebar bag are plenty. If you need more space then you’re trying to take to much.
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Old 01-20-19, 08:00 PM
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We went with the DaVinci crankset and White Industries hubs. DaVinci uses a square taper bottom bracket which might put some people off. Both manufactures have multiple options available for their products making it easy to configure initially then change your setup later if your needs change. Whisky offers several forks rated for 350 lbs. They will take a fender but would be more difficult to add a front rack. If you are credit card touring do you really need a front rack? Consider a frame bag if you need more space.

Last edited by Krenovian; 01-20-19 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 01-20-19, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeinxs View Post
Here's an interesting fork. Anyone used one of these?

https://www.rodeo-labs.com/rodeospork/
I looked into this fork as it looks very stout and I have seen a lot of the Rodeo Labs bikes and forks around (I live in the metro Denver area where they have been riding and testing the prototypes of the various versions of the Trail Donkey). I reached out to them and they discouraged use on a tandem. I do think that most manufacturers take this stance, so I don't see it as a deal killer, but I just thought I'd share.
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Old 01-21-19, 01:37 AM
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We are just finishing a tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. Very rough roads gravel chip seal sand pot holes you name it and we rode it. Our whisky cross fork. And 42 mm compass tires tubless were perfect and still let us hang with the small tire teams on pavement and they all had many flats. Us none. Our bike was flawless and the envy of everyone. I wouldn’t change a thing. We rode it as a double with drop bars
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Old 01-21-19, 08:03 AM
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We have put about 3000 miles on the following gear, and it's been all good stuff:
Whiskey FK9905 #9 CX 15mm TA, with fender mounts. Limits to 183 mm disc
e-Tap with hydraulic disc brakes, Gates belt.
White Ind. XMR TA hubs, and now with Light Bicycle carbon rims.
Usually 28 or 32mm tires, with tubes.
It has all been good gear.
Ethan
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Old 01-29-22, 11:06 AM
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Bringing this thread back to life - wondering what the OP ended up with?
I'm in the final stages of a custom build and still don't have cranks. I need 46/30 cranks to mate with a 10-42 cassette which will give me the gear range I need.
Wheels are DT240 with Light Bicycle rims, 148 TA in the rear 15 mm TA front. The rest of the drivetrain is GRX di2 and all in place.
Options for 2x tandem cranks that are not 50/34 seem limited. I'm pretty sure I can convert FSA SL-K tandem crank to 46/30 by changing out the direct mount spider for a direct mount ring. Has anyone done that? Another option is Middleburn with switchable spiders. I've heard that there are issues with part availability, but is that no longer a concern?
Any other way people have solved this?
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Old 01-29-22, 11:58 AM
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@Chilepines it might be worth a call to White Industries. They don't list a tandem crankset on their webpage but, since they make their components in house they might be willing to reverse the threading on a couple of crank arms for you to create a tandem set.
Brent
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Old 01-29-22, 02:07 PM
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I believe DaVinci cranks are made by White industries. TA Carmina also gives you lots of choices for spiders and chainrings. TA chainrings last and last and last-Shimano, not so much.
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Old 02-01-22, 10:57 AM
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We went with DaVinci cranks in 150mm front and rear. I am 5'4", husband is 5'11" and our only regret was wishing we knew how much more comfortable and easy to pedal short cranks were years ago!
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Old 02-03-22, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Chilepines View Post
I'm in the final stages of a custom build and still don't have cranks. I need 46/30 cranks to mate with a 10-42 cassette which will give me the gear range I need.
Options for 2x tandem cranks that are not 50/34 seem limited. I'm pretty sure I can convert FSA SL-K tandem crank to 46/30 by changing out the direct mount spider for a direct mount ring. Has anyone done that? Another option is Middleburn with switchable spiders. I've heard that there are issues with part availability, but is that no longer a concern?
Any other way people have solved this?
We used Lightning cranks to get the 165mm needed for the stoker cranks. Highly adaptable design, downside is cost. Worth an inquiry.

https://www.lightningbikes.com/cranks/index.html
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Old 02-03-22, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by diabloridr View Post
We used Lightning cranks to get the 165mm needed for the stoker cranks. Highly adaptable design, downside is cost. Worth an inquiry.

https://www.lightningbikes.com/cranks/index.html
Yeah - that price is a downside :-(
I ordered the FSA SL-K - hopefully I'm right that they'll work.
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Old 02-04-22, 12:28 PM
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46/30 stoker cranks

Originally Posted by Chilepines View Post
Bringing this thread back to life - wondering what the OP ended up with?
I'm in the final stages of a custom build and still don't have cranks. I need 46/30 cranks to mate with a 10-42 cassette which will give me the gear range I need.
Wheels are DT240 with Light Bicycle rims, 148 TA in the rear 15 mm TA front. The rest of the drivetrain is GRX di2 and all in place.
Options for 2x tandem cranks that are not 50/34 seem limited. I'm pretty sure I can convert FSA SL-K tandem crank to 46/30 by changing out the direct mount spider for a direct mount ring. Has anyone done that? Another option is Middleburn with switchable spiders. I've heard that there are issues with part availability, but is that no longer a concern?
Any other way people have solved this?
I have a couple extra sets of stoker cranks with 46/30 rings at the moment. My primary stoker recently switched from 165mm to 152mm cranks (which has boosted our average speed and resolved any cadence disputes). I have one set with 165mm Sram Rival BB30 crankarms, (left is helicoiled), and an Aerozine 110/80 bcd spider with 46/30 chainrings. It uses the same chainring bolt pattern as GRX cranks. I'm pretty sure I have some 170 or 172.5mm stoker cranks that'd fit the 46/30 rings as well. PM if interested.
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Old 02-04-22, 12:53 PM
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we have a dt swiss 350 e bike hub with a through axle on our tandem.
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Old 02-19-22, 04:19 PM
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Update on FSA SL-K tandem cranks. The modular system is quite flexible so it was easy to switch out the 50/34 rings (which are on a spider) for 46/30 rings, which are direct mount.
We're also a backwards tandem team with stoker (wife) being taller with much longer legs than captain. The cranks only come as 175 front / 170 rear but it is easy to switch the front and rear drive side arms to make it 170 front / 175 rear.
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