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Touring tandem wheels & fork - are they different solo cross/touring counterparts?

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Touring tandem wheels & fork - are they different solo cross/touring counterparts?

Old 06-09-19, 01:13 AM
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Touring tandem wheels & fork - are they different solo cross/touring counterparts?

I want to replace my tandem's current caliper brake fork & 29er wheel with disc fork + wheel. My tandem is a used LBS made steel frame and fork from 1999. I can find many forks & wheel that can be used, but ask you all if there are tandem specific fork & wheels? (Since tandems have to carry additional rider weight). Does any touring wheel (e.g: WTB Stryker TCS) and steel disk fork (e.g Surly LHT or Thorn Disc Steel Fork[Reynolds 525]) do? OR should I look for tandem specific parts? I consulted LBS, the explanation & answers were not convincing and I am hesitant to trust them as this is my first interaction with them. I know they are professional, but I see many professionals corresponding here.

Thanks in advance!
Happy riding!
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Old 06-10-19, 03:21 AM
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I will discuss the wheel(s) question. If you plan on carrying panniers on your tandem, plus two riders, you should consider 40-spoke wheels. Definitely nothing less than 36 spokes. Most bike wheels have fewer spokes and are not designed for the weight loads that tandems have.
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Old 06-10-19, 05:22 AM
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I am not an expert, however, given tandem forks appear beefier and even with a small market there are tandem rated forks, I would not chance using any fork not specifically rated by the manufacturer as tandem rated unless your team weight was within the ratings for the candidate fork. Most half bikes are rated for around a 250 lb max rider weight. If your team is around there, you are probably fine, however, if you have an issue, the manufacturer would likely void any warranty.

I would check the tandem specific dealers (I know Tandems East sells forks) as well is Wound Up. You could also try the tandem manufacturers, they could sell you a fork, or customize one for you.
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Old 06-10-19, 09:06 AM
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In general, tandem forks are much stronger than single bike forks. For the same rider weights, tandems can exert about 4X the force on the front brake. Historically, the single bike forks (Alpha Q, Enve Road 2.0 for examples) that have been accepted in the tandem community have been thoroughly tested (and in some cases reinforced) for tandem use. There are a limited number of disc brake rigid forks approved for tandems: Wound Up Duo and Duo 2, Cycle Monkey Colab Forks, and the custom or production forks made by tandem builders. Last I checked, the least expensive aftermarket tandem disc fork was available from R+E Cycles for $325. I have one on my tandem and it gets the job done.

For touring tandem wheels, I'd recommend a solid hub (DT 350, Shimano LX or better, White Industries, Phil, Chris King), at least 36 (for 700c) or 32 (for 650b or 26") good spokes, brass nipples, and a stiff rim (ie Velocity Dyad, Cliffhanger, or Blunt 35).
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Old 06-10-19, 09:29 AM
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36 spokes, 14-15 g double butted. Deep rim, at least 28mm, and on the wide side, say 23mm outside width. We run Kinlin XC 279 rims. Fork as above.
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Old 06-10-19, 10:32 AM
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The short answer to the question is "no, there is no difference between a single bike fork and a tandem fork". The single bike fork usually has enough overcapacity so that if it is used as a tandem fork there is no issue. Same with brakes. Handlebars. Cranks. Etc. However, that being said, all single bike forks are not equal. There are "stronger" (and weaker) forks available sold as 'tandem forks' which doesn't prevent the rider of a single bike from using them if they feel they need the overcapacity.
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