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I bought a Santana Rio Tandem! Any advice?

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I bought a Santana Rio Tandem! Any advice?

Old 05-11-22, 02:45 PM
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dgodave
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I bought a Santana Rio Tandem! Any advice?

Hi All, I just bought this lovely blue Santana Rio. Its in quite good shape. Most "consumable" parts dont show too much wear tho all the bearings have the feel of no service in decades. This will be a major upgrade from the 1972ish Schwinn Twinn we've been riding, which is a beast of a bike. I did discover a slightly bent rear axle which I'll have to replace.

Any words of advice on issues I should watch for as I get this bike rolling well? I'm an experienced cyclist but an inexperienced tandemer.

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Old 05-13-22, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
I did discover a slightly bent rear axle which I'll have to replace.
Blue is the fast color. A "slightly" bent axle....perhaps you mean the rear triangle is bent? Not an easy fix and may cause persistent shifting problems. Also, the timing chain needs tightening, adjust the eccentric.
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Old 05-13-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
Blue is the fast color. A "slightly" bent axle....perhaps you mean the rear triangle is bent? Not an easy fix and may cause persistent shifting problems. Also, the timing chain needs tightening, adjust the eccentric.
Nooo not the rear triangle thankfully. Its the axle in the rear wheel. You can see the slight bend when you spin the axle by hand. The bike tracks great when I ride it with another wheel.

Thanks for the head up on the timing chain. I need to learn how to do that, and what the proper tension should be.

Oh and blue was not the fast color with the Schwinn Twinn.

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Old 05-13-22, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Thanks for the head up on the timing chain. I need to learn how to do that, and what the proper tension should be.
The eccentric on Santanas (captain's BB) have 2 hex set screws. Loosen both and rotate the eccentric by placing a pin spanner (or something of you own creation) into the holes outside of the diameter of the BB. Hopefully this has been done recently and it is not frozen. Wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the right crank arm, pull the eccentric out and clean/regrease (same for the seat posts, clean/regrease). I guess it is an Al frame, so steel/Al electrochemical locking is not an issue? If you cannot sufficiently tight the chain, it is stretched. Either remove two links or better to replace the chains (link 2 chains together after removing proper # of links). Rule of thumb on tension, grab chain at center, should move up/down about a centimeter or so. Too tight will over time damage the BB's. My guess is that your stoker will enjoy the loss of the carnival-ride like swaying of your old tandem.
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Old 05-13-22, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by IPassGas View Post
The eccentric on Santanas (captain's BB) have 2 hex set screws. Loosen both and rotate the eccentric by placing a pin spanner (or something of you own creation) into the holes outside of the diameter of the BB. Hopefully this has been done recently and it is not frozen. Wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the right crank arm, pull the eccentric out and clean/regrease (same for the seat posts, clean/regrease). I guess it is an Al frame, so steel/Al electrochemical locking is not an issue? If you cannot sufficiently tight the chain, it is stretched. Either remove two links or better to replace the chains (link 2 chains together after removing proper # of links). Rule of thumb on tension, grab chain at center, should move up/down about a centimeter or so. Too tight will over time damage the BB's. My guess is that your stoker will enjoy the loss of the carnival-ride like swaying of your old tandem.
Thanks! That is really helpful. I will adjust the BB before this weekends ride and then remove/reassemble the whole thing next week. The frame is steel, and both seatposts and stem looked clean and greased when I removed them. Neither chain is stretched at all yet. The bike is in pretty great shape generally.

The bummer is the rear axle tho, as its a nice wheelsmith wheel which I want to preserve. Sheared the notches off the freewheel trying to remove it. That thing is welded on there. Not to mention finding the right axle.
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Old 05-14-22, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
Hi All, I just bought this lovely blue Santana Rio. Its in quite good shape. Most "consumable" parts dont show too much wear tho all the bearings have the feel of no service in decades. This will be a major upgrade from the 1972ish Schwinn Twinn we've been riding, which is a beast of a bike. I did discover a slightly bent rear axle which I'll have to replace.

Any words of advice on issues I should watch for as I get this bike rolling well? I'm an experienced cyclist but an inexperienced tandemer.

So it looks like you have no braze ons for the rear rack. Santana used to sell a rack that mounted to the v brake bosses; it was made by Old Man Mountain…their current racks probably aren’t spaced for 160 mm, but I can’t imagine it would be very hard to bend one a little.

Also, sit back and marvel about how someone spend $2500 for this “mountain” tandem and then probably never took it off road.
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Old 05-14-22, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 72andsunny View Post
So it looks like you have no braze ons for the rear rack. Santana used to sell a rack that mounted to the v brake bosses; it was made by Old Man Mountain…their current racks probably aren’t spaced for 160 mm, but I can’t imagine it would be very hard to bend one a little.

Also, sit back and marvel about how someone spend $2500 for this “mountain” tandem and then probably never took it off road.
I like fatter tires even for road riding. But most of the roads here are "gravel".

Thanks for the rack reference. I'm gong to try one pannier on the current rack for day ride stuff. See how that goes. We do like to bring lots of stuff for different conditions including maybe a fancy picnic. We'll be more fun than performance oriented.
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Old 05-15-22, 09:37 AM
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Check your rear dropouts for alignment. The most common cause for a bent axle is poorly aligned dropouts.

Have fun.
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Old 05-23-22, 10:43 AM
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Re bent axle

You can get a new rear wheel from Santana. Probably also a replacement axle and bearings.

The RIO is an excellent tandem. The frame is a light, but very stiff butted CroMoly steel.

I have a 1985 XL model that never fails to please. Replaced tires with Schwalabee 26x1 3/8" which ended all issues with flats.
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Old 05-24-22, 09:27 AM
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Your Rio is probably vintage late 80s, likely 1989ish. We had the same model as our first tandem, bought used in 1994, so I'm pretty familiar with the model. Around 1990 Santana switched to threadless forks/stems. Be aware that your rear dropout spacing is a non-standard 140mm, not the 160mm that Santana started using in the early 90s, and not the 145mm that most of the rest of the tandem world uses. I highly doubt that Santana still has parts for that. The good news is you can find used 7-speed tandem wheelsets pretty cheap on Ebay, etc., if you keep your eyes open. If you get a new wheel, you can go with 145mm and just slightly spread the dropouts to accommodate. Bent axles are not uncommon on freewheel hubs on tandems, as the axle is not well supported due to the inherent design of freewheels vs freehubs (cassettes). Do yourself a favor and upgrade to a cassette hub (I'm assuming you have 7 speed rear?).
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Old 06-09-22, 10:33 AM
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On the topic of rear spacing for older Santanas, it's worth noting that "Boost QR" hubs have 141mm spacing, and could be used to build-up modern wheels for those older bikes. They are inexpensive and readily available.
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