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Newbies to tandeming & pic of our "new" bike...

Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

Newbies to tandeming & pic of our "new" bike...

Old 03-24-07, 11:11 AM
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MMPC
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Newbies to tandeming & pic of our "new" bike...

Hey everyone - this looks like a fun and helpful forum! I've been a member on BikeForums for several years but just recently got interested in tandeming last summer. My then fiancee (now wife) and I rented a Co-Motion and - to my pleasant surprise - she really enjoyed it! While the cost of a new tandem was out of the question, we began looking for a quality used tandem - and found one a few weeks ago!

It's a 1995 Cannondale RT2000 in incredibly great condition. We got a thumbs-up from a trusted bike shop before we purchased and ended up replacing a few items (front handlebar, saddles, pedals, new tires). So far it's been great and a lot of fun; we've been riding whenever we can. Anyway, I thought I'd share a picture and introduce myself - I'm guessing I'll soon be a regular here and asking really dumb questions.



We do want to add an Arai drum brake soon. We're not the smallest couple and would like to ride in the mountains during the summer. Something in addition to the standard rim brakes to help scrub off some speed just seems like a good idea.
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Old 03-24-07, 12:17 PM
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Welcome to the TF. I'm sure you'll find all kinds of information here to make your tamdeming experience better. There is no such thing as a "dumb question" on this forum. One thing my stoker and I like about the posters on this forum is their patience and understanding for newbies. Ask away!

That's a great looking bike. I'm sure there are lots of quality togetherness in the future for you and your stoker. Best wishes.
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Old 03-24-07, 02:48 PM
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Welcome...nice bike.
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Old 03-24-07, 05:20 PM
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Bienvenidos, su bicicleta esta muy bonita.
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Old 03-24-07, 05:32 PM
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Welcome!
Yup, a drum brake may do you two some good coming off Lookout Mountain and down into the valley!
As transam says: no such thing as a dumb question!
And translating hermes and cornucopia's comments into Dutch . . . Welkom, gij hebt a schone fiets!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 03-24-07, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for the warm welcome!

Well, I guess I've come across my first tandem-related challenge. In making some calls to shops today, it seems adding the Arai drum is proving to be a bit more difficult (and expensive) than I'd hoped. Evidently the Campy hub on our Cannondale is not pre-threaded to accept the brake. More research is required - but this could easily end up costing quite a bit. Bummer...
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Old 03-24-07, 07:44 PM
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Need a hub with threading on both sides . . . don't think Campy makes one +
you also need a 'pacman' gizmo welded to the chainstay.
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Old 03-24-07, 09:00 PM
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Some questions, observations and suggestions.

What model of Campy hubs are on your tandem?
Does the rear hub use a thread-on freewheel or a slide-on cassette?
What brand and model of rim?
What brand, model and size tires do you have on the rims?
Are those Campy 8 speed ergo shifters?
What brand, model, and cage-length rear derailleur is on the bike?

It appears as though your tandem is running on 36h rims front and rear and the rims also look to be fairly narrow, although the tires (Schwalbe?) may be OK... 28mm? Not sure which Campy hubs were fitted to your tandem, but taking a cue from your comment as to your status as "not the smallest couple" I'd be inclined to suggest that you probably need a more robust set of wheels for long-term reliability, never mind the left-handed threading for the Arai drum brake. Campy hubs are pretty tough, but I wouldn't spec them for use by a tandem team that weighed much over 300lbs and, as I said, the rims also look to be lightweight racing-grade... although, fat-tube Cannondale tandems can make rims and tires look deceptively smaller than they really are.

Your shifters appear to be Campy 8 speed; yes? If they are, and if you also have a Campy 8 speed rear derailleur, your bike shop -- assuming they really are a better shop with good mechanics -- should be able to make your shifters and rear derailleur work with a Shimano 8 speed cassette. This is important as it opens up your hub options such that a very affordable 140mm Shimano HF08 tandem hub could be used and those are available with left-hand threading for the Arai drum. The only limitation on the size of the cassette you could use would be the length of the rear derailleurs cage. Again, assuming that you've got a Campy transmission on that bike, I would guess that the rear derailleur is something like a Campy long-cage Racing-T which would can be made to work with up to an 11x32t cassette (been there and done that for several years). You can also use an older model (mid-90's) Shimano XTR rear derailleur with the Campy 8 speed shifters by routing the derailleur cable to the "alternate" pinch bolt position. Again, your bike shop "should" know what that is.

If you're really stetched for cash, the front wheel looks to be OK for up to about a 350lb team as it is a high flange hub and you could simply have the rear wheel rebuilt with a 36h Shimano HF08 tandem hub. I believe they're still offered in 36h models, but 140mm rear spacing may be a problem: spacers on a 135mm model might be required.

However, if you have a few bucks left in your cookie jar, my suggestion would be to get a 40h or 48h rear wheel built around the aforementioned Shimano HF08 tandem hubs, or a similar tandem-specific 40h or 48h wheelset with left-hand threading that often times pop up on Ebay for not too much $$. Your biggest challenge will be finding an existing / lightly used tandem wheelset with 140mm rear spacing, freehub (thread-on cogset) or cassette model. Most tandem makers settled on 145mm or 160mm rear spacing which is what you'll find on used tandem wheels.

Your tandem clearly has the pacman on the left chainstay needed for the Arai that zonatandem mentioned, so no worries there. With a left-hand threaded hub and the other hardware needed to make a drag brake work (bar-end or MTB thumb shifter + brake cable/housing routed to the left rear chainstay) you'd be all set for the Arai. If you keep an eye on Ebay, second hand Arai drums show up now and again, but to eliminate the headaches you might be better off biting the bullet and just buying a new one with the quick release hardware and all the other bits needed to make it work on your tandem. A tandem speciality dealer like TandemCycleWorks of Colorado, Precision Tandems, Tandems East, etc.. have these things and, again, if you have a really good bike shop, they should be able to order all the parts needed from their supplier -- Quality Bicycle Products, aka. QBP.

Oh, and one other observation: your stoker's cranks are leading yours by about 1 chain link. You might want to go the other way and have your cranks about 1 or 2 links ahead of hers if she's not already a really strong cyclist.

Anyway, just some food for thought.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-25-07 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 03-24-07, 10:45 PM
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Wow, TandemGeek and zonatandem, you guys are incredible; especially to be able to tell all that from a picture! Yes, it is a Campy transmission - 8 speed rear derailleur but a Shimano XTR derailleur on the front. To answer the additional questions above:

1) Not sure on the Campy hub - I've always ridden Shimano and I don't see it stamped anywhere.
2) Cassette
3) Mavic MA40 rim - 36h
4) Bontrager Select tires, 700 x 25C (new)
5) Not sure if the Campy shifters are "ergo" or not but they say "Carbon" on the tops
6) Not sure on the model or cage-length of the rear derailleur but it's Campy

Thanks for the wealth of information (would have never noticed the cranks!). I've actually already spoken to Pat at Tandem Cycle Works in Denver - might take the bike to him next week to see about options. In the meantime, I'm interested in any additional information you can impart.
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Old 03-25-07, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by MMPC
I'm interested in any additional information you can impart.
What's your total team weight, i.e., your and your stoker's combined weight? Again, I suspect that your bike shop missed the mark on the wheels... If you still weigh close to what you did in November and your stoker is not a petite flower, the rear wheel is sub-par and your new tires are also a bit on the small size for your team. I wouldn't be as bothered by a 40h box section rim, but a 36h MA40 is a stretch. It will hold up for a while, but to last it would need to be carefully checked for trueness and tension by a very good wheel builder who knows how to build tandem wheels and you'd also need to keep an eye on rim for signs of fatigue. Again, what you're dealing with relative to tandems is not only a lower-spoke count wheel, but one built on a hub that most likely has very narrow flange spacing and questionable pedigree. Pat at TCW in Denver will be able to full assess what you have, but IMHO, unless you only plan to play around on this tandem for a while and then upgrade I'd invest in a set of better wheels with a tandem-rated hub and a rim that is also more appropriate for your team's weight with threading for your drum brake.

Front derailleur doesn't matter; they are relatively simply devices that really don't care what you use to tug on their control cable.

Ergo = Campy's integrated shifting design vs. Shimano's STI. Thus, any Campy (or Sachs) brake lever that also has a second lever and thumb paddle for shifting the derailleurs is an "Ergo" shifter.

Your timing chain looks a bit tight.... Have Pat check that too.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-25-07 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 03-25-07, 10:58 AM
  #11  
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We used Mavic 36 H rims for several years, but then we are are a rather light tandem duo (just under 250 lbs for the 2-of-us) and got anywhere from 12,000 to 20,000 miles out of the rear rim before pulling a spoke through. As Mark mentions, front wheel is not so much of an issue, and ours lasted 57,000 miles.
Tandem Cycle Works folks will steer you in the right direction!
Enjoy the C'dale!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 03-25-07, 03:47 PM
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traAgree with Tandemgeek - The rims aren't that strong as the box section is very small.

My experience was that after a few seasons of off-season training (on my single bike) on a pair of MA40s I unlaced the wheel to replace the hub and thought I'd test the strength of the rim. On any new rim I can pull it as hard as I can and it will only flex a tiny bit. On these I pulled it apart first try. The braking tracks weren't all that worn, so I think they had corroded away on the inside from salty winter riding. I think I did see some hairline white cracks around the eyelets beforehand. It's a few years ago, so I don't remember every detail.

If you do want to keep riding them, inspect them very very carefully for hairline cracks. Note that the cracks may show up as colourless if new, black if dirty or white if corroded aluminum rim. I would also do the same on the stems and steerer tube / forks of any second hand bike before riding it fast down a hill.

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Old 03-25-07, 07:13 PM
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I lived and biked in Golden for years. If you want to do Lookout Mountain consider going up the I-70 frontage Road past the Mother Cabrini Shrine. Gentler curves and (when I was there) smoother pavement. Going up or down the front of the mountain past the "M" is more, ah, interesting. There may be another BFer in Golden. He followed his SO there who is a grad student at the school there I understand. Self-Propulsion was a grand bike shop when I was there. There is an active racing team at Mines. Make sure someone shows youu two the short cut to the hospitality suite at the Coors brewery. I have scads of relatives in Boulder, Ft. Collins, and in NE Colorado. If you do some tandem touring that way let me know and I can ask them to put you up for a night.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:23 AM
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OK, you guys have convinced me to start looking at new wheels/hubs; and I'll be sure to look at the Shimano HF08. I'm going to drop in on Pat at TCW this week and see what other guidance he has. It's quite clear after a 20 mile ride yesterday that we really need the extra braking power and - with a combined team weight around 400lbs. (I'm a big guy) - some beefier wheels seem a prudent upgrade as well.

Ken - we plan to ride Lookout Mountain a few times this summer. I've done it on my Bianchi a few times and it's a fun ride. MUST have the Arai installed first for that one though!

Thanks again - to everyone - for all the great advice and guidance!

Last edited by MMPC; 03-26-07 at 09:59 AM.
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