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Tandem touring fork

Old 05-19-20, 12:49 PM
  #1  
bikeinxs
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Tandem touring fork

COVID has us thinking about doing some loaded cycle touring on our tandem which would necessitate us swapping out the fork as I'll want front and rear panniers. This would be an occasional thing so keeping our carbon fork for normal use and just installing the touring fork when I need it will work just fine. We are set up with 180mm hydraulic brakes on the front and a 12 mm through axle. I'll use 650B wheels with 43 or 48 mm tires.

So, any recommendations for a good steel fork? Alternately this CoLab fork https://www.cyclemonkey.com/forks/colab-cross-fork looks like a nice (although pricey) option. Anyone used it?

Thanks
Steve
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Old 05-19-20, 01:16 PM
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Another thought: trailer? We are friends with a team which rode from Seattle to Quebec with a trailer. They heartily endorsed their choice after that trip. Then last summer, they and 2 other teams of friends rode from Seattle to LA, coastal route, again with trailers. Again success. These are both strong teams and the extra weight of the trailer was not an issue for them, not compared with the convenience of the trailer and the handling advantage of an unloaded bike.

Another thought: we are not a strong team but managed to do multi-week camping tours in hilly terrain by reducing weight, down to 44 lbs. including everything except the naked bike. We did that by only using rear panniers and a frame and bar bag and using our ultralight backpacking gear. Certainly not everyone's choice. The bike was hard to handle with us on the ground, but once up and moving it was wonderful except that we couldn't rock the bike while standing. The load only took about .5 mph off our cruising speed on the flat.

I'll have to leave it for others to answer your questions.
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Old 05-19-20, 06:22 PM
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Not sure if you are talking about your Speedster or the True North tandem. Several of the tandem shops here in the US sell steel replacement forks that would probably work. I see Tandems East has one for $275. Also, you could probably purchase the Speedster steel fork for your model from Co-Motion.
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Old 05-20-20, 06:29 AM
  #4  
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I donít think anyone offers a stock tandem-rated fork with 12mm thru axle. You might inquire with the folks who are making tandem forks ó R+E, Co-Motion, Chinook ó if they would build you one.

The Colab forks are solidly built. They include mounts for a pannier rack or cargo cage. Compared to the steel or Ti forks above, theyíre pretty stiff vertically, but itís up to you if that matters.
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Old 05-25-20, 04:21 AM
  #5  
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Thanks for the advice. I'm going to give the CoLab fork a try. I'll report back to the group once I have some experience with it.

I am very impressed Carbonfiberboy that you were able to do a long tour with just rear panniers. Even when we used to tour on singles we never went down to two panniers per bike.

We did consider a trailer. We have quite a few years of experience hauling our kids around in a Chariot. While I know that a touring trailer can be a completely different experience I can't shake the deep seated feeling that trailers are very heavy and very slow. So we'll go with what we know, front and rear panniers.
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Old 06-29-20, 05:24 PM
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My CoLab cross fork showed up today. I was a bit worried that this was going to be a massive heavy beast but it tips the scales at 590 grams. Definitely beefier in the lower section than the ENVE fork it's replacing but I'm not going to worry about the 130 gram weight difference particularly for the flexibility of a front rack and fenders. Now I just need to wait for my front axle conversion kit for my hubs. Hopefully I'll get this on the bike in the next couple of weeks and then I'll post some photos.
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Old 06-30-20, 06:19 PM
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We have the Co-lab fork on our BinghamBUILT. tandem. Very stout and tandem rated according to the vendor.
A member of our club got a new Calfee late last year and I looks have the same fork (with Calfee's paint and decals, of course).
I like that it has the dynohub line routing. No under-the-crown fender mount, but not big deal, really.


Co-Lab Carbon fork
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Old 07-05-20, 07:19 PM
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When you mount a rack how do you protect the carbon fork? Do you just put a rubber washer between the fork and the rack?

Also what is that thru axle?

I mounted mine. Looks pretty good.


Last edited by bikeinxs; 07-05-20 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 07-10-20, 08:00 AM
  #9  
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I've put 200 km on the new fork. I didn't expect there to be any difference in bike handling because the geometry is the same between the Colab fork and the ENVE Cross fork it replaced. I initially thought I was just imagining it but the bike feels more precise, more dialed in. There are two decent downhills on the loop we did yesterday. With the ENVE fork we always had just a bit of speed wobble at about 70 km/hr. Nothing too disturbing, just squeeze the top tube with your knees and carry on. With the Colab fork the bike was rock solid. Not a hint of vibration or wobble. Everything else about the bike was identical (I did install a 15mm axle conversion kit on the front hub).

I realize this isn't exactly scientific but it does seem like the stiffer fork has had a positive impact. Maybe it's just the bigger/stiffer axle, or maybe it's the combination of a stiffer fork and bigger axle.

We aren't a particularly heavy team at about 300 pounds for the two of us. This wasn't with the wheels in the photo above, it was with Woven deep carbon rims and 700x38 Rene Herse tires.

Whether I'm imagining things or not, so far I am very happy with this fork.
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Old 07-13-20, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeinxs View Post
When you mount a rack how do you protect the carbon fork? Do you just put a rubber washer between the fork and the rack?

Also what is that thru axle?
I haven't added a rack, but the fender mounts have neoprene washers between the tab and fork blade. I wold likely use leather washers if I were to add rack(s).

The thru axle is from Paul Components.
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Old 07-17-20, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeinxs View Post
I've put 200 km on the new fork. I didn't expect there to be any difference in bike handling because the geometry is the same between the Colab fork and the ENVE Cross fork it replaced. I initially thought I was just imagining it but the bike feels more precise, more dialed in. There are two decent downhills on the loop we did yesterday. With the ENVE fork we always had just a bit of speed wobble at about 70 km/hr. Nothing too disturbing, just squeeze the top tube with your knees and carry on. With the Colab fork the bike was rock solid. Not a hint of vibration or wobble. Everything else about the bike was identical (I did install a 15mm axle conversion kit on the front hub).

I realize this isn't exactly scientific but it does seem like the stiffer fork has had a positive impact. Maybe it's just the bigger/stiffer axle, or maybe it's the combination of a stiffer fork and bigger axle.

We aren't a particularly heavy team at about 300 pounds for the two of us. This wasn't with the wheels in the photo above, it was with Woven deep carbon rims and 700x38 Rene Herse tires.

Whether I'm imagining things or not, so far I am very happy with this fork.
After talking to Calfee, I will get the Colab Cross fork and build up a new front wheel with the 15mm thru axle. Why did you choose Woven? I'm not familiar with this wheelbuilder.
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Old 07-17-20, 08:08 AM
  #12  
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Woven Precision is an Ottawa company that started as an offshoot of a local bike shop. They have been around for quite a few years and have built up a very loyal following in the high end market around here, particularly among the gravel/cyclocross crowd. I've had a set of carbon Woven MTB wheels for about 5 years and they are bombproof. I think we were their first tandem wheel build, with their 45 mm deep road rims mounted on White Industries Hubs. Since then they have sold others. After 5,000 km they are still perfect. We run 650B wheels for more adventurous unpaved riding but these wheels have seen more than a fair share of rough roads, potholes and abuse.

As to why I actually went with Woven, that's probably harder to answer. This tandem was a special 25th anniversary present to ourselves and we knew we would be riding it for a long time. I wanted everything about it to be awesome. The Woven wheels are reasonably light and incredibly strong. They aren't cheap but the price is fair for what they are. I talked to them about the application and they were confident that their product would work on a tandem. They look fantastic. I honestly could not be happier about the choice.

We were riding in a local hotspot last week and a young skinny roadie said to me "that's the coolest bike I've ever seen". Priceless.

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Old 07-18-20, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeinxs View Post
Woven Precision is an Ottawa company that started as an offshoot of a local bike shop. They have been around for quite a few years and have built up a very loyal following in the high end market around here, particularly among the gravel/cyclocross crowd. I've had a set of carbon Woven MTB wheels for about 5 years and they are bombproof. I think we were their first tandem wheel build, with their 45 mm deep road rims mounted on White Industries Hubs. Since then they have sold others. After 5,000 km they are still perfect. We run 650B wheels for more adventurous unpaved riding but these wheels have seen more than a fair share of rough roads, potholes and abuse.

As to why I actually went with Woven, that's probably harder to answer. This tandem was a special 25th anniversary present to ourselves and we knew we would be riding it for a long time. I wanted everything about it to be awesome. The Woven wheels are reasonably light and incredibly strong. They aren't cheap but the price is fair for what they are. I talked to them about the application and they were confident that their product would work on a tandem. They look fantastic. I honestly could not be happier about the choice.
It's nice when you have access to a good local builder. The wheels look very good. Do they use 32H lacing? We're about the same weight and think that 28H lacing will be strong enough (esp with 35 or 45mm depth). Are you running tubeless?
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Old 07-24-20, 11:01 AM
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We have 32 spoke wheels. I have run tubeless but our current tires (Rene Herse) have very thin sidewalls and tend to constantly ooze sealant so we are running tubes.
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