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New Calfee Adventure Tandem

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New Calfee Adventure Tandem

Old 09-23-20, 01:58 PM
  #1  
merlinextraligh
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New Calfee Adventure Tandem

Finally got the new Calfee Tandem. Technically, its a custom modified Tetra. The goal was a dual use bike that 1) would ride on the road as close as possible to our Dragonfly, and 2) be capable for gravel and bikepacking.

Calfee's Adventure tandem has a bit different geometry than their road tandems, with a bit different angles and a higher bottom bracket. So instead we started with a Tetra frame, to have the same road geometry and modified it to be off road capable.

The modifications are 1) rear stay clearance to allow 650b wheels with 45-50mm tires, 2) rack mounts front and back, 3) Colabs TA15 fork to allow wide tire clearance, 4) extra water bottle mount, 5) reinforcement from rock strikes to captains bottom bracket, 6) longer captain top tube to reduce toe overlap with bigger tires.

The groupset is Ultegra Di2, hope brakes, FSA seatposts stems and bars. FSA crankset, veer carbon fiber belt.

We spec'd two sets of wheels. Road wheels are 55 mm Calfee private branded with White Industries hubs, and 25 mm tires. The Gravvel wheels are also Calfee private label, but 650b with 45 mm tires.

Have just ridden a couple of miles to bed the brakes in. But so far it rides very comparable to the Dragonfly.




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Old 09-24-20, 05:15 AM
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Spectacular build!
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Old 09-24-20, 12:36 PM
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Boootiful!
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Old 09-27-20, 03:25 PM
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A familiar looking bike. Some nice improvements over ours which was one of the first " Adventure" Calfee tandems. We ride ours more then the dedicated road Tetra. You will love the bike!!
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Old 09-27-20, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
A familiar looking bike. Some nice improvements over ours which was one of the first " Adventure" Calfee tandems. We ride ours more then the dedicated road Tetra. You will love the bike!!
We do, and we took advantage of your experience in specing it. Thank you.
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Old 10-22-20, 06:21 PM
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Wow! I hadn't considered Calfee before, but it looks awesome!
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Old 10-25-20, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Magnum PI View Post
Wow! I hadn't considered Calfee before, but it looks awesome!
We came to our first Calfee from a relatively high end Co-Motion Robusta. The Improvement was so great, that we felt somewhat let down riding the Co-Motion and decided to get this Calfee for our second home, and also add the off road capability.

Calfee’s carbon fiber frames are very rigid laterally, even compared to an oversized aluminum tubed frame with a lateral tube.

At the same time, the CF construction gives a more comfortable ride. Also Calfee does a good job in working with you to get the bike they way you want it.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:50 PM
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So, we’ve ridden it enough now on and off road to form some impressions. On road, it rides and handles very similar to our Dragonfly. Riding both of our Calfee’s I think is about as close to riding a high end single race bike as you can come on a tandem.

I haven’t weighed it, but I’d guesstimate the Tetra is 2-3 pounds heavier than the Dragonfly. ( slightly heavier frame, disc brakes, and a bigger cassette.) However I can’t say I feel the extra weight riding, and it’s more than 10 pounds lighter than our previous gravel bike.

The frame is as stiff as the Dragonfly, but has a little bit less vibration damping, and the rides feels a bit less lively. This would be expected, given the lighter high modulus tubes used on the Dragonfly.

Off road with the 650b wheels, it’s very capable doing forest roads, and easy single track. Its one draw back is a low bottom bracket. You need to be aware of where the bb and the pedals are going over difficult terrain.

The height of the bb on our bike is Calfee’s standard road geometry. The bbs on the Stock Calfee Adventure Tandem are higher for better ground clearance. We made the conscious choice of the lower bbs to keep the road handling of our Dragonfly. The “Swiss Army” do everything approach to the bike did require this compromise. If off road, particularly more technical off road was the priority, I would stick with the stock Adventure geometry.

We’re using 42mm Gravelkings now. I think I’m going to go to 48mm, to get just a little more ground clearance

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Old 10-27-20, 07:35 AM
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Very nice tandem!......
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Old 10-27-20, 08:02 AM
  #10  
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What hub standard are you using on this? I just sold my cannondale and I'm thinking of using it as the down payment on a new frameset from Harry Havnoonian or someone closer to Long Island where I can get it ordered to my specs. Had me wondering if tandems are starting to come with thru-axle boost rear ends which is only 3mm wider but stronger and incredibly common now or even just 142 which can still be close to evenly balanced though I'd think 148 would be better.
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Old 10-27-20, 08:51 AM
  #11  
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142 thru axle. We had 148 Boost
on our Co-Motion Java.
not sure I can tell any practical difference
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Old 10-28-20, 09:33 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
What hub standard are you using on this? I just sold my cannondale and I'm thinking of using it as the down payment on a new frameset from Harry Havnoonian or someone closer to Long Island where I can get it ordered to my specs. Had me wondering if tandems are starting to come with thru-axle boost rear ends which is only 3mm wider but stronger and incredibly common now or even just 142 which can still be close to evenly balanced though I'd think 148 would be better.
We have 142 x 12 on both our Calfee adventure and Calfee road and they have been perfect with zero issues.
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Old 10-28-20, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
What hub standard are you using on this? I just sold my cannondale and I'm thinking of using it as the down payment on a new frameset from Harry Havnoonian or someone closer to Long Island where I can get it ordered to my specs. Had me wondering if tandems are starting to come with thru-axle boost rear ends which is only 3mm wider but stronger and incredibly common now or even just 142 which can still be close to evenly balanced though I'd think 148 would be better.
142mm and 148mm thru axle are really common on new tandems. 148mm seems to be more popular for road, gravel, and MTB tandems.

In spite of the nominal dimensions, 148mm thru axle hubs are 4mm narrower than 145mm quick release hubs. 135mm quick release and 142mm thru axle hubs use the same hubshell, bearings, and axles. Similarly 141mm quick release and 148mm thru axle are practically identical. Most hub brands (notably except for Shimano) offer end caps to convert from QR to thru axle or vice versa.

The added stiffness that people associate with thru axles generally comes from the use of stiffer dropouts. Most quick release frames and fork use simple plate dropouts, which are less laterally stiff than the rest of the frame. Thru axle design doesn't work well with plate dropouts, so hooded dropouts or large forged dropouts are de facto required. On suspension forks, the thru axle itself adds a meaningful amount of torsional stiffness.
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Old 11-05-20, 08:51 AM
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Beautiful Tandem!
Just curious - looks like you have a 'solid' seatpost for the stoker. I think this is reasonable on the road, but my stoker would NOT like having any type of rear absorption - a rear suspension on the bike or a shock absorbing seatpost - for gravel or offroad. Are you happy with the setup?
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Old 11-06-20, 07:48 PM
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Rigid seatpost hasn’t been an issue. Bigger tires with lower pressure create some suspension.

Also, to me there really is no difference between the position of the stoker in relation to the rear wheel than to a single rider to the rear wheel.

So riding a tandem with a rigid post should be no different from a single, with the exception that the stoker has less opportunity to see what’s coming.

In our experience, some communication, loose elbows, and knees, obviates the need for a suspension seatpost. YMMV.
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Old 11-07-20, 05:06 PM
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Your Calfee is a thing of beauty. Congrats and thanks for the review. I have a few questions:
1) Given that this is your second Calfee, and an adventure version, I'm curious why you didn't go with S&S couplers. I would expect them to be more of a weight penalty on a Calfee, but seems it would be worth it for overseas use.
2) Mind giving us an idea what the overall price came to? I anticipate it's in the $15-$20k range, but would be curious to know where it ended up.
3) If you had to choose just ONE Calfee, which would it be? I assume it would be this one due to its greater flexibility in use and wheel options.
4) Why did you opt for 142 boost over 148? I guess it's greater hub availability? Or stoker heel clearance?

Wow, that's the dream road tandem for sure. Congrats again.

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Old 11-07-20, 09:16 PM
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1) I’m a bit of a weight weenie, and the added weight of couplers, and expense kinda goes against my grain. Pre-Covid, we’d travel overseas maybe every year or so, and we just take or rent single bikes.

2) With the two sets of wheels a touch under 20.

3) It would be this one given the flexibility. Also, the Dragonfly was spec’d when were racing and trying to win at a national level. All out performance on the road, and the marginal weight advantage isn’t a priority for us now.

4) candidly, I just went with Calfee’s default without much thought. That said our Co-Motion Java had 148 boost, and I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference.
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Old 11-07-20, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
1) I’m a bit of a weight weenie, and the added weight of couplers, and expense kinda goes against my grain. Pre-Covid, we’d travel overseas maybe every year or so, and we just take or rent single bikes.

2) With the two sets of wheels a touch under 20.

3) It would be this one given the flexibility. Also, the Dragonfly was spec’d when were racing and trying to win at a national level. All out performance on the road, and the marginal weight advantage isn’t a priority for us now.

4) candidly, I just went with Calfee’s default without much thought. That said our Co-Motion Java had 148 boost, and I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference.
Excellent!
To be honest, I'm surprised it came in under $20k with both wheelsets. I assumed it would top that amount with just one.

Thank you for sharing!
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Old 11-09-20, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Excellent!
To be honest, I'm surprised it came in under $20k with both wheelsets. I assumed it would top that amount with just one.

Thank you for sharing!
We have a Calfee very similar to Merlin"s that we spec'ed with couplers as we live in Alaska and since we have to travel via air it has been in the cases lots of times. The nude carbon makes packing much easier as we don't worry about scratches as much. You can do a search in the forum for a thread on our build. Calfee Adventure tandem The 142 spacing was because we wanted to be able to go into any bike shop in the world and probably get a hub or wheel while traveling if we had issues. We have two Calfee's and like Merlinextralight we don't notice much of difference in ride to our dedicated road tandem. These models are really the swiss army knifes of tandems. We ride with 650B wheels and 38-47 mm tires on gravel and for bike packing and 700c with 28 mm tires for dedicated good road surface rides. We have towed a BOB trailer yet the bike rides well in all these modes. Calfee is great to work with but plan on little more time then promised for the build in our experience. You won't be disappointed.
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Old 09-06-21, 05:33 PM
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Well done!

We have a Tetra that's optimized for fast road rides. However, we're considering factory mods to increase comfort on longer rides or rough roads. One is increase tire clearance so we can use 32-38mm tires (eg. Schwalbe G-One Speed). We also want to upgrade to hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors. So we need a new rear triangle to complement our CoLab fork.

Does your rear disc brake use a flat mount? Did you route your hydraulic hose along the downtube and boom tube or along the top tube?
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Old 09-14-22, 07:46 PM
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I am currently looking at building a new Calfee, wonder if you could give your input on a few questions.
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Old 09-18-22, 09:33 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Ted Wilson View Post
I am currently looking at building a new Calfee, wonder if you could give your input on a few questions.
Most of us on this forum are happy to offer advise and opinions. Ask away or send private messages. We have 4 Calfee’s and just yesterday my wife came back after her ride and said how much she loves her Dragonfly single. Our Tandems have been amazing and traveled all over the world.
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Old 09-19-22, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Finally got the new Calfee Tandem. Technically, its a custom modified Tetra. The goal was a dual use bike that 1) would ride on the road as close as possible to our Dragonfly, and 2) be capable for gravel and bikepacking.

Calfee's Adventure tandem has a bit different geometry than their road tandems, with a bit different angles and a higher bottom bracket. So instead we started with a Tetra frame, to have the same road geometry and modified it to be off road capable.

The modifications are 1) rear stay clearance to allow 650b wheels with 45-50mm tires, 2) rack mounts front and back, 3) Colabs TA15 fork to allow wide tire clearance, 4) extra water bottle mount, 5) reinforcement from rock strikes to captains bottom bracket, 6) longer captain top tube to reduce toe overlap with bigger tires.

The groupset is Ultegra Di2, hope brakes, FSA seatposts stems and bars. FSA crankset, veer carbon fiber belt.

We spec'd two sets of wheels. Road wheels are 55 mm Calfee private branded with White Industries hubs, and 25 mm tires. The Gravvel wheels are also Calfee private label, but 650b with 45 mm tires.

Have just ridden a couple of miles to bed the brakes in. But so far it rides very comparable to the Dragonfly.




can you post some pix of he bike with the wider wheels/ tires discussed in your post?
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Old 09-23-22, 08:14 PM
  #24  
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Check post no 8
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