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-   -   Getting a new tandem for a noob. (https://www.bikeforums.net/tandem-cycling/1244878-getting-new-tandem-noob.html)

Vasir 01-09-22 02:31 PM

Getting a new tandem for a noob.
 
Hello!

I had a Raleigh Pursuit tandem that was way to big for us, but we made it work somehow. we've put on a great many miles but now im in the market for a new one and have realized that these days its on Co-Motion and Santana.
I spoke with someone at Santana a few times and I like them if for nothing else, their knowledge and ability to have human conversation.

Co-Motion just briefly replied and said look at the carrera model.

Because of the limited availability of tandems at the local dealers, I have come to determine that I either need to go down with my fiancee and visit one of these dealers that does have one 2-4 hours away, or just buy one online and have it built for us.

I have talked myself into spending ~$10k on a eScape with the 'pro-build kit' and do a 3 tone paint... While I am very well away that is a good chunk of money, I also acknowledge I will be keeping it for years.

During my mental acrobatics selling myself a used car in the form of a bike I found a localish dealer that happens to have shuttered their business as they are moving out of state for retirement, taking advantage of the CA bay area prices- I don't blame him.

He has a Sovereign in small for ~$2600 and a eScape in medium for ~$4500. He said the small would be just fine for me and for our riding (20-60 miles at a time), we would never notice the difference between the two models and to just go for the Sovereign.

I appreciate his willingness to not upsell me, but would I be selling myself short on an already great discount i'm getting?
To me the specs are damn near the same and the real price difference is in the fame?

I appreciate you all in advance!

-Ben

Specs below:



Specs on Sovereign:

Model – Frame: Sovereign tandem, Scandium, Small. Color: Candy Yellow over Red

Fork: Santana Chrome V-Brake. Allows up to 42mm tire

Shifters / brake levers: 3 x 10 - Ultegra 6703 shifters for mechanical brakes

Brakes: Front: Single digit v-brake, Rear: Bengal MB 700 Tandem w/10” disc

Front derailleur: Ultegra triple 6700-3

Rear derailleur: Shimano XT GS (medium cage)

Crankset: Santana carbon with modular spider, 175 and 170, Shimano Octalink

Drive rings and cogs: Chainrings: FSA 53/39/30, cogs: Deore XT 11-36

Wheelset: Spynergy Xaero with white spokes

Tires: Continental Gatorskin 32mm

Captain stem: Control Tech, 1-1/4” x 31.8

Captain handlebar: Santana drop, round alloy, 31.8mm

Stoker stem: Control-tech 29.8 x 31.8 bar

Stoker handlebars: Santana alloy bullhorn

Seat posts: Santana alloy 29.8mm

Saddles: Terry chromoly Fly and Butterfly

Headset: Tange Sekai Technoglide threadless 1-1/4”



Specs on eScape:

Model – Frame: EScape tandem, Scandium, Medium. Color: Candy Red over Silver

Fork: Santana Carbon V-Brake. Allows up to 42mm tire

Shifters / brake levers: 2 x 10 - Ultegra 6703 shifters for mechanical brakes

Brakes: Front: Single digit v-brake, Rear: Bengal MB 700 Tandem w/10” disc

Front derailleur: Ultegra double 6700-2

Rear derailleur: Shimano XT SGS (long cage)

Crankset: Santana carbon with modular spider, 170 and 170, Shimano Octalink

Drive rings and cogs: Chainrings: FSA 50/34, cogs: Deore XT 11-40

Wheelset: Spynergy Xaero with white spokes

Tires: Continental Gatorskin 28mm OR 32mm (not sure)

Captain stem: Control Tech, 1-1/4” x 31.8

Captain handlebars: Santana drop, round alloy, 31.8mm - might be carbon

Stoker stem: Control-tech 29.8 x 31.8 bar

Stoker handlebars: Santana alloy bullhorn - might be carbon

Seat posts: Santana alloy 29.8mm

Saddles: Terry chromoly Fly and Butterfly

Headset: Tange Sekai Technoglide threadless 1-1/4”
​​​​​​​

Leisesturm 01-10-22 11:07 AM

Wow. Welcome. Whoa ... that is quite the o.p. A lot to unpack there. But I will start here: it is NOT just Co-Motion or Santana. I am not knocking those brands at all, but there are other options: Cannondale, KHS, Trek, Burley and those are the mass market options. I know much less about the custom builders but there are options there too: Rodriguez? Especially since you are considering used, look at Tandem Classified's. What is your budget? Really? I respectfully suggest that, before you drop $10K on a custom Santana that you spend another season or two on a properly fitting lesser bike, learning what you really want and don't want. Yours and your stokers dimensions and what you want to do with a tandem is more important information to us than the specs of the bikes you are considering, but, as long as we are there, if it was me I would be looking more at the 3 x 10 than the 2x10! And the first thing I do to ANY triple I get my hands on is toss the 30T granny for a 26T or even 24T. On its face, the Sovereign could work just fine, but it should fit you and yours! Be careful that that dealer doesn't just want it off his hands. I am 'only' 5'10" and I am always on a LG. Even if it means getting a 10mm to 20mm shorter stem, I'll do that before considering a smaller frame. YMMV.

Alcanbrad 01-10-22 12:21 PM

+1 on Leisestrum's advice and welcome.

It's not hard to spend 10K on a tandem. From your post I don't know the extent of your experiences with Tandems, nor did I pick up on that if you went for the lower cost opportunity, would it prevent you from pursuing a custom tandem in a year or two?

I would recommend writing down what you and your partner like about your current bike, what you don't like, and what you want to gain in a new bike and share that list here. It will help frame what you are looking for and it will also likely spur comments such as "have you considered...", or "I thought that and it turned out differently..." You get the drift.

At the end of the day it's not how much you spend, it's do you have the right bike for your team and are happy with it.

jccaclimber 01-10-22 02:28 PM

Only because you mentioned the bay area (I'm assuming SFBay), at least one of the bike rental places in SF will rent you a Co-Motion by the day if you want to get a feel for it. I haven't actually ridden either brand you mentioned, but my understanding from those who have is that Santana and Co-Motion tandems have somewhat different handling.

You mention a coupled bike, do you have plans to travel with it?

I've taken the "close enough" approach to many of my bicycles, but I tend to buy used, often ride them first, and only put on as many miles in a year as some here do in a month. I'm normally proportioned enough (or put on few enough miles) that I don't need a custom, but I'm a bit suspicious of anyone who says a full frame size difference doesn't matter for 60 mile rides. If it were a rental for just one day then sure, but not for a permanently owned bike. The one exception that comes to mind is if those two makers have different sizing charts such that the two are in fact almost the same.

sdodd 01-11-22 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by Vasir (Post 22367359)
Hello!

I had a Raleigh Pursuit tandem that was way to big for us, but we made it work somehow. we've put on a great many miles but now im in the market for a new one and have realized that these days its on Co-Motion and Santana.
I spoke with someone at Santana a few times and I like them if for nothing else, their knowledge and ability to have human conversation.

hi Ben - while I'm happy to help you spend your money on a shiny new bike, I think there are better ways to get a feel for what you want.

You should see if there are any tandem clubs or enthusiasts within driving range for you. Tandem owners are usually very helpful and friendly. I would guess that 75% of people would let you borrow their tandem for a day (or hour or whatever) to ride it and get a feel for what you like. Frame materials, geometry, components, etc.

After figuring out what you would like, I would buy used. You will spend 50-75% less money used than new. It even allows you to fly/drive to a likely candidate (or three) to test and confirm.

I'm a 5'7" guy with a really short inseam. (28.5") My wife is similarly short. But I have a long torso, so I spent more time looking for a geometry that was reasonable and a frame material I could live with. Components can be replaced and upgraded all at once or incrementally. Frame should be your deciding factor.

good luck!
​​​​​​​simon

JoeShellharbour 01-11-22 05:02 PM

Hi Ben.
We have a medium frame Cannondale about 6 years old and it is to small for us (we are both around 5' 10" ) but was available.
I ride with a Blind group as a captain and we have the large and extra large cannondales for group rides.
Both the larger bikes are a better fit and as a bonus I don't have my toes hitting the tyre when on sharp turns,
Sadly when we bought our cannondale it was the bigest available and has been verry kind to us and we forgive the toe clash.
But I always option for thr Large or EXL cannondale when captain for the vision impaired as it is one thing I can do without
The only time a medium or samll frame bike is chosen is for a shorter captain with a shorter stoker.
BUt the best recomendation is ride avery bike you can and find the most comfortable and stable bike that makes you happy.
Hope this is helpfull

Philly Tandem 01-12-22 10:17 AM

I've owned and extensively ridden both small and medium-framed Santanas, as I'm basically right in between the two sizes. I ended up selling my medium tandems and bought smalls due to the dropped top-tube Santana uses on most of its newer small tandems. (I had back surgery and wanted the lower standover height of the drop tube design.) You really need to try both frames and see which fits the best. Remember that stems are easy to swap out to get longer or shorter reach. Despite being 5'8" I have a short inseam (29-30"), which makes bike fit challenging. Standover-wise I should ride a small; cockpit fit-wise a medium is better.

Assuming the small fits, and that both are used bikes in otherwise similar condition, if it were me I'd save the nearly $2k and get the Sovereign. The only real difference in spec I see is it's missing a carbon fork, which you can easily add. (I have both a carbon and steel fork for my main tandem, as for touring I swap out the carbon and use the steel fork.) Apart from the lateral tube on the Sovereign, they are similar framesets (Scandium).

And finally, I'd say the Sovereign is worth more like $2000-2200 than $2600. I'd offer $2000 to start.

Chilepines 01-14-22 10:01 AM

I agree with the general direction of spending less and then figuring out what does and doesn't work. But if you already have experience with a tandem and a bunch of miles together on a tandem, you should be able to figure what you need. Overall, fit and spec are going to be more important than Santana vs Co-Motion (or any other brand).
If you feel that your current tandem is too big, you can take the measurements from it and compare to the models you are considering. I'm sure people on this forum can help with understanding frame geometry as it relates to tandems.
Spec really also depends on what kind of terrain you ride, or want to ride. I'm going 2x on my new tandem, but getting really wide range gearing that a tandem needs in 2x is complicated. If you live somewhere more flat, I'd recommend 2x over 3x for a bunch of reasons.


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