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  1. #1
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    26 , 27.5, 29 full suspension, hardtail

    Wheel size- I am not tandem expert but I prefer a 26 inch tandem over a 29. I bought a 29in tandem and my friend a 26in. I have ridden and raced them both and feel more comfortable on the 26in but teammate likes to race the 29er thinking it must be faster on the long gravel roads between the single track.

    The advantages of a 29er are mainly better traction and the ability to rollover stuff (and not endo) Since the stoker is directly over the rear wheel I do not feel traction was ever a problem. I have never had a problem rolling over stuff especially given that you can only ride over certain things without damaging the timing chain (endos are rarely a problem) The 26in seams to accelerate and turn better. It also feels lower which gives me more confidence in technical terrain. Since my wife and kids will only ride my road tandem I am getting ride of my tandem however my friend wants to keep mine and sell his 26in. Like I said...he feels it is faster and it does have better parts. I have posted it on MTBR and bike forums


    Full suspension Vs Hardtail-
    I prefer hardtail but many are going to full suspension on single bikes because there is not a great weigh penalty. I like the hardtail for the efficiency, weight benefit, and less maintenance however a thudbuster seatpost is essential since the rider is directly over the wheel. If you are like me you hate maintenance but know that you will be replacing drive trains more frequently on tandem mnt bikes. I just hate having to replace pivots and the squeaking that can develop quickly.

  2. #2
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    If you're buying new, you'll have that range of bikes to choose from. Many don't buy new, however, and the used market can be fickle. IMO riding a tandem is more fun than not having a tandem, so in the end I'm not as concerned about what the wheel size is.

    We've had various issues with rear traction on our ECdM, but have never had any instance of an endo. Might be a factor of terrain, but tandems more easily keep their rubber side down.

    I actually love maintenance, as maintenance is what keeps us from having failures on the trail. There is some increased wear on a tandem versus a single bike, but then we put a lot more (and harder) hours on the tandem than on our single bikes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    We've had various issues with rear traction on our ECdM, but have never had any instance of an endo. Might be a factor of terrain, but tandems more easily keep their rubber side down.
    Tough call with the stokers input...almost anything large we cross is basically a controlled crash. Sometimes not graceful, but ridable.

    One reason, and I know a lot of people dislike the ATC fork, we ran an ATC fork on the Fandango, was confidence in just hitting stuff and using monentum to carry us over.

    Handling wise, a Fndango vs an ECDM 26, they are different. Each is a good handling machine. With you having ridden both it becomes more which you prefer.

    Maintenance wise, Thudbuster LT vs ECDM pivots. About equal on total time. The Thudbuster saw more maintenance with less time involved each incident. The rear pivots on the ECDMwent a lot of miles and had no problems. Bought the Ventana special tool and pulled all the bearings, cleaned, regreased and reinstalled. Should be good for a long time. So a few hours max on the ECDM in one sitting, or many 1/2 hour maintenance items on the Thudbuster LT. Both work. Again, this is a stoker preference.

    All the best with it.

    PK
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  4. #4
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    How good a wheels do you have on your 29? I don't have a tandem, FYI. I normally run stock Trek Mustang wheels, but demo'd a set of $600 Stans Crest wheels. It rode like a different bike. Light wheels are good, and a cheap way to do that is go small. But big is good for lower rolling resistance. The weight penalty with going larger won't be as great with a better-quality wheelset.

    As for ht/fs, it seems to me the main factor is the type of trails you ride. What do most people use? Here in N Ga you see about 80% hardtails. Very few rocks and just your occasional roots on fast curvy singletrack mostly.

    I was on vacation, very rocky, lots of drops, I now understand why fs can be beneficial Would definitely get one if I lived there.

  5. #5
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    If you can afford FS, get it, I wish we had... there are really not a lot of negatives and the positives for your stoker are worth it.

  6. #6
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    FS allowed much higher speeds (and longer rides), and we have relatively smooth trails here in SoCal. But your stoker will vary.

  7. #7
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    I went from owning many FS & HT single bikes then I got my first taste on a 26" tandem.
    I really enjoyed riding the C-Dale, But after getting the 29er HT
    (Thanks Alex!!!) I can tell you it flat out handles & climbs better than the 26"...
    What I love about the Fandango over the C-Dale is the low stand over that is built into these.
    Also being in the SoCal area this Rig makes many trips to the beach and paved bike paths so a FS wasn't for my Team...

    Talking about stand over on the C-Dale we couldn't fit a Cane Creek LT so a ST was used and now on the 29" we have the LT and so far not one complaint.

    Paul tell me about the Maintenance that needs to be done on a LT...
    I got the cover for it to try and protect it from the dirt, sand, water and all...

  8. #8
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    Re: 26 , 27.5, 29 full suspension, hardtail

    Quote Originally Posted by XC Mike View Post
    I went from owning many FS & HT single bikes then I got my first taste on a 26" tandem.
    I really enjoyed riding the C-Dale, But after getting the 29er HT
    (Thanks Alex!!!) I can tell you it flat out handles & climbs better than the 26"...
    What I love about the Fandango over the C-Dale is the low stand over that is built into these.
    Also being in the SoCal area this Rig makes many trips to the beach and paved bike paths so a FS wasn't for my Team...

    Talking about stand over on the C-Dale we couldn't fit a Cane Creek LT so a ST was used and now on the 29" we have the LT and so far not one complaint.

    Paul tell me about the Maintenance that needs to be done on a LT...
    I got the cover for it to try and protect it from the dirt, sand, water and all...
    Hey Mike, I can fill you in on the maintenence needed for the thudbuster LT as I just had to rebuild mine after about 15-1600 miles.

    Basically, the 8 pivots (4 per side) ride on du bushings that need to be pressed out. The rebuild kit from cane creek includes a small tool that is held in a vice. It also includes a hex head screw and a couple of washers.

    The tool is held in the vice and allows you to press out the old bushing while at the same time pressing in the new bushing.

    The process took about 30 minutes and that included cleaning everything.

    You'll know when they need to be replaced as the pivots will be really loose and squeak constantly. There is a good video on the cane creek site that shows you how to do it.

    Hope that helps.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhopton View Post
    Hey Mike, I can fill you in on the maintenence needed for the thudbuster LT as I just had to rebuild mine after about 15-1600 miles.

    Basically, the 8 pivots (4 per side) ride on du bushings that need to be pressed out. The rebuild kit from cane creek includes a small tool that is held in a vice. It also includes a hex head screw and a couple of washers.

    The tool is held in the vice and allows you to press out the old bushing while at the same time pressing in the new bushing.

    The process took about 30 minutes and that included cleaning everything.

    You'll know when they need to be replaced as the pivots will be really loose and squeak constantly. There is a good video on the cane creek site that shows you how to do it.

    Hope that helps.

    Agree, several simple rebuilds vs one suspension pivot rebuild. Either way, no free lunch and both systems are proven and good.

    PK
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    As for ht/fs, it seems to me the main factor is the type of trails you ride.
    Roger that. Along with how you want the bike to feel on them.

    We've had a (Fandango) HT for a few years now. For pure trail riding, I'd rather have a FS, but we do more than trail ride. With a rigid fork, the HT is a great bikepacker/tourer. And with a sus fork, we can still ride everything that we could if it was a FS. Just more thud in the back.

    Everything is a compromise, including owning a tandem quiver. Pick which shortcoming you can live with.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC Mike View Post

    Paul tell me about the Maintenance that needs to be done on a LT...
    I got the cover for it to try and protect it from the dirt, sand, water and all...
    Mike covered it well.

    In the don't replace the bushings, you can always tear it apart and use a non lithium based grease. But replacement is typically better.

    All of the TB we ran had the dust boot installed.

    Kept the sand and yuck away from the pivots.

    The tool kit and bushings are not that expensive.

    You may also want to carry in your trail pouch, spare elastomer if you run gray and the tools to swap it. Gray is known to split and eject.

    PK
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  12. #12
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    Re: 26 , 27.5, 29 full suspension, hardtail

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    How good a wheels do you have on your 29? I don't have a tandem, FYI. I normally run stock Trek Mustang wheels, but demo'd a set of $600 Stans Crest wheels. It rode like a different bike. Light wheels are good, and a cheap way to do that is go small. But big is good for lower rolling resistance. The weight penalty with going larger won't be as great with a better-quality wheelset.

    As for ht/fs, it seems to me the main factor is the type of trails you ride. What do most people use? Here in N Ga you see about 80% hardtails. Very few rocks and just your occasional roots on fast curvy singletrack mostly.

    I was on vacation, very rocky, lots of drops, I now understand why fs can be beneficial Would definitely get one if I lived there.
    Dennis, I'm not sure where in North Georgia you're riding that you aren't finding rocky, rooty single-track? The only place i can think of is Jackrabbit.

    Have you ridden the Pinhoti trail in Dalton? Stanley gap? Bull mountain? Bear Creek, Windy gap, Milma & Tibbs? How about Mountaintown?

    The north ga mountains offer an incredibly rugged and varied terrain to choose from that is, IMO, anything but "smooth and curvy"; except Jackrabbit.

    I can't tell if you're riding a tandem, but if you are, we'd love to join you for some local riding. In fact, we are hitting Bull Mtn tomorrow for a 50 mile loop in preparation for the fools gold 100 next month.

    Mike

  13. #13
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    Cool just watched the video nice and easy!!!
    Thanks Mike, Paul

  14. #14
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    mhopton: I have never ridden any of the trails you reference. I live near Harbins, Tribble Mill, and Ft. Yargo. I have also ridden Unicoi, Conyers (96 Olympic track), Heritage Park, Athens East park, & Big Creek -- all piedmont except Unicoi. I don't know if you've been to any of these or not, but there are roots, but typically every 25'-50' apart and not big. There are short sections that would be no fun on an ht if they were longer, but they are the exception. Conyers has a rocky section, riding over some large exposed rock faces as well as some rocks to navigate over on the trail, but stull very doable by an intermediate rider on ht. There is one little feature at Tribble Mill I have been to chicken to attempt. But NOTHING like North Bank and Buttermilk trails in the James River Park in Richmond VA that I visited recently. James River Park System Mountain Bike Trail, Richmond, VA I will be posting pictures eventually.

    Unicoi is technically easy.

    I have done some road tandem and in fact have a ride scheduled with a buddy who I helped work on one of his tandems. But no, I don't have a tandem and have never ridden off-road tandem. I really appreciate your invitation however. I really enjoyed my James River ride. It's convinced me I need to travel to different trails more, so I will check those out for sure. Thanks!
    Last edited by DennisF; 3 Weeks Ago at 11:32 AM.

  15. #15
    PMK
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    Pinhotti 1, 2 and the other linked trails at the top are fun on a tandem but not all sections are easy. Sure were a lot of tire marks sliding off the edge and into the trees from other bikes, and that one stepper DH we found that ended with a creek crossing...that was interesting keeping the speed safe AND not ejecting the stoker.

    We sure found some rocks, big rocks, both up and down the trails.

    Agree with Mike...JackRabbit = fun but smooth.

    Damn I need my stoker healed up.

    PK
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