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Advice on used tandem purchase

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Advice on used tandem purchase

Old 06-27-20, 11:11 AM
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Oxbowfarm
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Advice on used tandem purchase

My wife and I are shopping for a used road tandem that we will probably put a good gravel tire on so that we can ride both road and trail. The pickings are slim for a small medium/small sized bike. Yesterday we tested a 2006 Cannondale road tandem that we felt comfortable on but it was a bit out of our price comfort level. Tomorrow we are taking a short road trip to test a small framed 1991 Santana Sovereign and a 2007 Cannondale road tandem. They are both priced within budget and about the same. The Santana has a drag brake and the Cannondale has disc. Providing the condition is about the same what would you recommend and what issues should we look for?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-27-20, 09:53 PM
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WheelsNT
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I donít know how experienced you are on tandems, so if you have lots of experience then some of this may not apply. But let me offer some conventional wisdom ó

The most important thing is fit. Of course you want the touch points (bars, seat, pedals) to be capable of being set up similar to your single bike, for both captain and stoker. Additional tandem-specific fit depends on how you start and stop. Many teams use some variation of ďThe Proper MethodĒ for starting and stopping. Full writeup: The Proper Method. In short, the captain straddles the bike with feet spread wide and sits down on the top tube while the stoker climbs on and gets clipped in. This means two things for fit: the captain needs a little more standover room on a tandem than a single, and the stoker needs no standover room at all ó after all, putting feet down is the captainís problem! Now, there are many teams that start and stop in some other manner that works for them, and thatís fine. But if youíre new to tandems then Iíd strongly suggest you not get a frame thatís too tall for the captain.

Purely on the mechanical side, the Cannondale will be a modern bike. The rear over locknut dimension (OLD) should be 145mm, which has been the mainstream tandem standard for quite a while. New hubs are readily available. Thus, whatever drivetrain is on there will be easily upgradable to anything you want, and replacement parts will be no problem. I think it should be 9 or 10 speed, and if so, I wouldnít feel a need to upgrade.

The Santana will have originally come with 7 or (possibly) 8 speed gearing, and the OLD will almost certainly not be 145. At some point Santana decided they wanted to build stronger wheels and so they went to a custom OLD of 160mm. This does build a stronger wheel, but whether the benefit over 145 is necessary is debatable for most teams. If your team weight is super heavy (500+) it might matter more to you than lighter teams. Iím not a Santana aficionado, so I donít know when they went to 160. But I donít think they ever used 145, before that they were on 140. New hubs are available for 160, although the selection is more limited than for 145. The selection of used 160 wheels is similarly more limited. On the 140 side, there might be one source for 140 hubs if that. So either way you have less choice and options there than the Cannondale. Apart from repairs, the more immediate reason this matters is that if it still has the original 7 speed on there I would want to upgrade to something with more. The Santana will also be a quill stem. You can get an adapter that will allow you to use threadless stems, so thatís not much of a problem, but it is one more thing you need to do.

Bottom line, if it were me and both bikes fit the same, I would get the 13 year-old bike rather than the 29 year-old bike. But you have to ride them and see how they feel to you.

Oh, another thought ó Santana and Cannondale each have different ideas about how tandems should handle. Some people like each of them, neither is right or wrong. But those bikes will definitely handle differently, so be sure to think about that when you test them.

Hope that helps. Post back if you have more specific questions.
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Old 06-29-20, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Oxbowfarm View Post
My wife and I are shopping for a used road tandem that we will probably put a good gravel tire on so that we can ride both road and trail. The pickings are slim for a small medium/small sized bike. Yesterday we tested a 2006 Cannondale road tandem that we felt comfortable on but it was a bit out of our price comfort level. Tomorrow we are taking a short road trip to test a small framed 1991 Santana Sovereign and a 2007 Cannondale road tandem. They are both priced within budget and about the same. The Santana has a drag brake and the Cannondale has disc. Providing the condition is about the same what would you recommend and what issues should we look for?

Thanks in advance!
I had converted a couple of Mid-2K's Cannodale MT800 / MT8000 /RT2000 for disc road riding, on the latest project (MT800) I am using Di2 shifting with a set of Assault disc carbon wheels. I estimate this latest project will cost about $2000 US (without the wheelset since I already had it. Frame cost: $700 U.S. Di2 components $900 U.S. other parts $400 U.S Carbon disc fork $150 U.S..
Frame performance is excellent and since frames options are not many in this range. (Aluminum with disc brake mounts front and back.) A carbon or Titanium frame can cost $2,500 and up!.
I even got to hide (internally) All the Di2 wires, had a friend drill thru the aluminum tubing. I can load some pics. It looks really cool!!

Last edited by Alpaca06; 06-30-20 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 06-29-20, 05:06 PM
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Thanks for the advice. We are not very experienced but we have learned that fit is the number one priority. We looked at both bikes. The Santana was in pristine condition and was a joy to ride (for me) but my wife could not get comfortable. She loved the fit on Cannondale so we went we that.
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Old 06-29-20, 08:36 PM
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Glad it worked out for you. Once you get enough posts to put up pictures, add some shots of your new ride!
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Old 06-29-20, 09:00 PM
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Russ Roth
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Probably the better choice. I've got an 07 c-dale mtb tandem that I've converted to drops, really like the ride and the newer components are nicer, enjoy the ride.
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Old 06-30-20, 07:17 AM
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Getting the right fit is paramount. And IMHO, a 15 year newer Cdale is a better bike than a 1991 Santana.
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