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What's a good MTB tandem or frame to build one up on?

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What's a good MTB tandem or frame to build one up on?

Old 07-16-20, 03:03 PM
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sapporoguy
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What's a good MTB tandem or frame to build one up on?

We took our Co-Mo Speedster onto some fire roads above the Pacific the past few weekends, from Tennessee Beach to Muir Beach. Great fun! except we had to push it uphill a bit when we lost traction, and it was a little shaky downhill. We'd love to ride on more of those roads.
So: I'm thinking we need a mountain-bike tandem!
I'd want to either buy a used one complete, or convert a good solid frame myself.
I'd probably prefer building one up. Because it would be funner! And I could buy lots of stuff.
Any advice?
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Old 07-17-20, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
We took our Co-Mo Speedster onto some fire roads above the Pacific the past few weekends, from Tennessee Beach to Muir Beach. Great fun! except we had to push it uphill a bit when we lost traction, and it was a little shaky downhill. We'd love to ride on more of those roads.
So: I'm thinking we need a mountain-bike tandem!
I'd want to either buy a used one complete, or convert a good solid frame myself.
I'd probably prefer building one up. Because it would be funner! And I could buy lots of stuff.
Any advice?
You don't say what year your Speedster is so don't know if you have one with disc brakes. If you do you could build-up a set of 650b wheels which would give you the ability for wider tire options. If I was looking to build up a fire road bike I'd consider a Canondale MBT which would give you a great platform to create a great gravel bike. The Salsa Powderkeg would be a nice frame set to find and build up. Something to consider is the cost of building up a bike from scratch part -by-part which can get spendy. A couple of great bikes out of the box would be a Co-Motion Mocha 650bx50mm or Java 700x50mm (50mm = 2.0")
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Old 07-17-20, 03:04 PM
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sapporoguy
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
If I was looking to build up a fire road bike I'd consider a Canondale MBT which would give you a great platform to create a great gravel bike. The Salsa Powderkeg would be a nice frame set to find and build up.
Thanks. Those look like good suggestions after a quick googling. I'll start watching Craigslist.
The Speedster is 2005, with front V-brakes and rear disc and V both. But we ride it on roads every day, so I'd rather not switch it over, and I'd also like higher clearance. You're right that buying a bike complete is likely cheaper. But I'm an obsessive modifier and would probably change over half the parts anyway! And I have boxes of parts I could use and keep costs down.
That said, if I found a good complete bike at a good price, I'd rather have complete.
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Old 07-23-20, 10:31 AM
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We have a Ritchey Double Switchback Breakaway tandem. We are running Spinergy 700C wheels from House of Tandems. It has done some long gravel rides on towpaths in France and some cow paths in the Scottish Highlands.

It is setup as a flat bar touring bike. I am running Hope V4 brakes with the vented rotor in the rear. I originally used Hope E4 brakes and they were not up to the job. I contacted Hope and they told me in no uncertain terms to switch to the V4.

It has also done some MTB single track in France when Google Maps sent us down a MTB trail when the EuroVelo6 route was less than 1 mile away! That was not fun at all, but we made it.
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Old 07-23-20, 11:16 AM
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The one I want is a Fandango or Jefe, in a year or two when Iím shopping again. I donít foresee affording an ECDM thatís not college-aged
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Old 07-24-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
We took our Co-Mo Speedster onto some fire roads above the Pacific the past few weekends, from Tennessee Beach to Muir Beach. Great fun! except we had to push it uphill a bit when we lost traction, and it was a little shaky downhill. We'd love to ride on more of those roads.
So: I'm thinking we need a mountain-bike tandem!
I'd want to either buy a used one complete, or convert a good solid frame myself.
I'd probably prefer building one up. Because it would be funner! And I could buy lots of stuff.
Any advice?
I see so many bargain Cannondale mountain tandems on CraigsList that this would be my choice. I also happen to ride an old Cannondale mountain tandem. Spoiled by its solid feel. I have never had any problem with what others refer to as the "high captain bottom bracket." Mine's old and doesn't have much room for front suspension, so my 5" travel Fox shock results in less than ideal steering. But the long travel benefits far outweigh the steering issues. If you find a newer model set up for discs, then you're set. (I'm running a disc in front, Magura hydraulic rim brakes in back.) $500 for a complete bike is not uncommon. $800-$1,000 is the norm. BUT you'll have to source a shock in most cases.

This is probably the cheapest way to get an off-road able front suspension tandem.

It's a total blast and I highly recommend it!
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Old 07-24-20, 01:21 PM
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Just as a counterpoint. The tandem I have is an early-00's Burley Samba. It's a mountain bike only in the same sense as the early mountain bikes that were basically flat bar 26" versions of touring bikes.. It is heavy, noodly, low riding, has clearance for only 2in tires if you're lucky. It's seemingly identical to the contemporary road tandem except that the brake bosses are for 559 and not 622 rims. It's great for riding around the neighborhood. I wouldn't try it for Mountain Biking per se.
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Old 08-04-20, 06:29 PM
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My wife and I bought a Burley Rock-n-Roll brand new back in 93 as we were already tandem riders as well as off road riders from very early 80s. We picked the Burley because it was relatively cheap but still rode like a solid, quality tandem. First thing we did was pull the straight bars and install XO-2 and XO-3 bars (capt and stoker respectively) as we were also riding XO-1s for our daily commutes and loved the moustache bars. We wanted a general beater, something we could take into the Berkeley/Oakland Hills, run over to Marin for a day of off roading , and make local evening runs to the micro-breweries that were much fewer in number back in those days. We are still riding the Pub Crawler today (its been so lettered since it was new..,I did the lettering at the same time I exchanged the bars). Pic is from last week, a little dirt ride at South Shore with a visit to the Hangar for a beer....life is good on a tandem.

Reminds me of what Rivendell is doing with their tandems the last couple of years....Grant, did you ever see this leaning on a wall in front of Triple Rock or Bison Brewing back in the day?

Last edited by Markeologist; 08-04-20 at 06:34 PM. Reason: typo
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