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  1. #1
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    ECDM Tapered Steerer - rear susp.

    Looking at couple of used FS Tandems.
    My preference by far is for an ECDM and have a few questions about their Steerer Tube and rear suspension. On my single MTB's and road tandem, the taper steerers are so good/stable that I would never consider going back to a straight 1 1/8. Unfortunately, so far that is all I've seen on used MTB's. So my question is what year did Ventana go to the 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 taper? Are there very many MTB tandems out there with taper's?

    Also can anyone tell me how big the performance improvement was of Ventana's change from the horizontal positioned rear shock/suspension to the current generation perpendicular designed ones on the ECDM's.?

    Any other thoughts or suggestions on what else I should keep in mind in my search would be appreciated.

    As back ground we an older 290 pound team. Road tandem riders for 25' ish years. I also currently race MTB's in XC in cat 3. The MTB tandem will be for single track and moderate to easy XC racing for fun....no Leadville type action for us.. I want to get this used MTB purchase right the first time and welcome help.

    Thanks
    Bill J.

  2. #2
    PMK
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    Bill in regards to the tapered headtube, that is recent stuff from Ventana. At the earliest it was production model year 2011. If you need to run a single crown fork, tapered is the way to go. I prefer double crowns so the gain of a tapered headtube would be a stronger, less flex headtube area. The reality of the single crown is which one do you plan to run and are you will to shorten the travel to make the bike turn?

    As for other manufacturers, there are some frame builders that use the Ventana rear end and build their frame design around it.

    As far as rear shock position, I have not ridden both. I will say that Sherwood is not dumb about shock and suspension linkage geometry. Consider also, the horizontal design was based around a Fox ALPs series. Air shocks do have a compression ratio and this is something designers must consider to build a good rear suspension. Ultimately though, many teams ride the older style bikes and post here with great experiences. The limiting factor on the horizontal design is parts availability.

    I'm guessing you plan to run 26" wheels?

    PK
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  3. #3
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    Only the newest Ventana ECdMs will have the tapered HT. We bought our S&S ECdM in February 2011 and it has the 1-1/8" straight HT. Maybe S&S bikes get the straight HT still, but they weren't making the new version yet, even in aluminum.

    On the one hand, we're a 340lb team (plus gear and water), run the straight HT, and a big Marz 66EVO front fork. We've never had an issue with HT strength on our old aluminum frame or our current 4130.

    On the other hand, this is Ventana we're talking about. If you find a sweet deal on a <2011 frame but feel the straight HT is a deal-breaker for whatever reason, ship it off to Ventana and tell them what you want. I bet Sherwood will have no problem putting a tapered HT on. He probably won't convert a horizontal rear to a vertical rear, but...

    But, again, this is Ventana/Sherwood. Call them up. No one better to get the skinny about the rear suspension design changes and their effects.

    There aren't any other common tandems (Cannondale, Ellsworth) out there with tapered HTs.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys for the info on the Steerer tube subject. My take a way is not to worry about the straight 1 1/8 and move on.

    The rear suspension design is a bit less clear but I did wonder if any older style system's shock might present replacement or upgrade challenges. I'll be sure to do more home work if an older style Tandem comes to the top of my list. Again, I don't want to end up with a tandem that I'm going to want to replace in a year due to under-buying this time.

    PK...regarding 26 vs 29....
    I find my single 29ers (Epic Marathon and RM Element 950) much easier to ride and truthfully, just simply require less skill to ride faster than I did my 26'ers. The only shortfall for me are tight turns on a 29er but now, even that is solved with the recent purchase of the Element which is very 26'ish in the tight stuff.
    ......so, based on my single MTB experience, I would choose a 29er Tandem in a heartbeat if I could find one in my $2 - $4K price range.....probably quite unlikely.
    My question now is, am I thinking about this 26-29 subject correctly or is there a different dynamic going on with tandems that I should be considering?

    Bill J.

  5. #5
    PMK
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    Bill, $3500 should buy you a newer style bike with vertical shock rear end and a good build.

    While 29's do roll nice, and are good for taller riders, don't sell a 26 ECDM short.

    PK
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  6. #6
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    There are a few stories here in the Tandem forum of those that have switched from 26" to 29" ECdMs. I've only ever ridden the 26" version, so I can't comment. PMK has a 26" ECdM and had a 29" Fandango (essentially a hard-tail version of the ECdM). But it's also a locality factor - trails of some regions would scream for a 26 or 29" bike, depending on terrain.

    29" ECdMs have only been available for a year-and-a-half or two. Not a lot of supply for the prices to come down much, but you may luck into a $4K 29" bike if you keep your feelers out.

    There are couples that race tandems, but in the main the tandem experience to me is more about doing it together than doing it 10/10ths. In that regard, 26/29 doesn't matter as much.

  7. #7
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    I know this is a head tube/steerer tube thread but wheel size was brought up soooo.

    I ride a 29er single but a 26er FS tandem. I am 6' 4" tall and the 26er tandem is waaay tall already.

    Question to those who ride 29er tandems. For a given frame size, are they taller yet?

    Would really love to test ride one as I love the 29er single. How do they handle? Are you having good luck with wheel strength?
    Last edited by Stevoo; 12-06-2012 at 12:24 PM.

  8. #8
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    Have you looked at the Captain Standover measurements at ventanausa.com? In the 17/16 size, which is what we ride, it goes from a 26" 29.42" to the 29" 30.86". So there is a significant difference between the two, but perhaps not as much as you might think. But then you also have to consider the TT design, and that you won't have that standover over much of the 29" frame since the TT comes up sharply towards the HT.

    That said, they also list the same 26" standover for the S&S bike, and the TT design is different so I'm not convinced the measurements are the same. IIRC they're also spec'ed around a 100mm fork, and few run something like that these days. Ventana lists fork length at 493mm, but that's A to C.

  9. #9
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    PMK has a 26" ECdM and had a 29" Fandango (essentially a hard-tail version of the ECdM). But it's also a locality factor - trails of some regions would scream for a 26 or 29" bike, depending on terrain.
    This is 100% true. we rode many miles on our Fandango. We have many miles on the Ventana ECDM 26. We were able to choose a bike based on where we were riding that day.

    The two tire platforms handle entirely different. 29 relies on the front tire a lot for good handling. The 26 relies on good frame geometry and is more forgiving of tire choice. (This all has to do with headtube angles, trail dimension, fork offset and sag).

    Wheel strength is fine on both with quality wheels. No doubt the 26 wheels are stronger and better suited to serious bending / flexing abuse. ( I want to edit this to clarify, both wheel types are strong, however there were some times when I would ride the "B" line with 29 wheels for fear of folding it, whereas the 26 wheel has not yet had me back off to save the wheels.)

    Standover is over rated. Tandems are tall, tandems require the frames to be longitudinally very stiff. Tandeming off-road on technical terrain is not like a road tandem riding. The stoker must always be aware that without warning she needs to unclip (or hug a tree) to prevent a topple. If you ride open terrain standover is even less important. Also, the lighter the stoker or stronger the captain can be a basis for standover in regards to just holding the bike up while stationary. A stoker with good balance and trust is also easy to abuse behind you.

    PK
    Last edited by PMK; 12-08-2012 at 06:16 AM.
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  10. #10
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    We have both a 26 and an S&S 29r EDCMs. both have straight steerer tubes and we run dual crown shocks. When we built the 29 this spring Sherwood did not have availability of a tapered head tube as the coupled bikes are steel. I don't notice any flex at the head tube area on either bike. As all the coupled bikes are essentially custom he actually was able to give me more stand over height on the 29r. We do notice the longer wheelbase on the 29r but it still seems to be the go to bike for us. We ride a mix of single track and double track here in Alaska and in Moab. Our last trip with the 29r in Moab we seemed to clear more then our friends on their 26 while in the past we have been about equal. On the rolling stuff the 29r absolutely leaves the 26 in the dust. The 29r is the plushest bike we have ever ridden period. Having said that you can not go wrong with a used 26 especially one with the vertical rear shock. Some of the older 26 with the horizontal shock have tire size limitations
    so be aware of that and it is not any easy conversion to a different rear triangle.

  11. #11
    PMK
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    When we were selling the Fandango, we considered buying an ECDM 29 and swapping the parts over. Ultimately in the end, for us, it seemed the 26 wheels were just as fast as 29 in the places and type dirt we ride (granted this is ECDM 26 vs Fandango 29) and the 26 handling is more suited to me.

    Comparing our previous 98 Cannondale 26 to the Fandango 29, in open terrain the 29 was faster with similar effort.

    PK
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  12. #12
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    There has been a lot of good info for you here. I just wanted to add my .02 cents. We ride an older ECDM circa 2001. It has a 1 1/8" steerer tube and the horizontal shock mount. First thing, it's a Ventana enough said. You can't go wrong with a Ventana. Sherwood services what he sells, we needed to replace a cracked chain stay. It was in stock and we had the part in2 days. Great service, Sherwood and Theresa are tops.
    We are a 375lbs+ team(and add another 100lbs when we tow out 6yr old on his tag-a-long) and we are running a Marzocchi 66 single crown fork and love it. On the rear we are running a Fox float w/ pro pedal. We haven't had any issues at all. I am however looking into upgrading to an rp23.
    When we found our tandem on eBay 6yrs ago we got the serial # and called Theresa and she was able to tell us about the age and any issues about the bike.
    About the sending the bike back to Sherwood to replace a head tube or shock placement I would think that it wouldn't be cost effective. And in my opinion not needed.

    Patrick & Maria
    Fullerton, CA

  13. #13
    MTB Tandem Nut
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    The ECDM went to the vertical rear shock placement in 2003. Prior to that the shock was parallel with the top tube. The leverage ratio also changed for 2003 and onward, which allowed the shock to run lower pressure for a given team weight.
    Ventana does not do tapered steeres on S&S frames; they still use 1.125". Part of this may be to keep the front triangle total measurements correct to fit into the cases, since the front end is higher on the newer designs. Ventana went to tapered steerers on all their aluminum frames sometime last year, including the ECDM. At some point it will be a useful move, I think.
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  14. #14
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    The newer 29'er tandems have more standover than some of the older 26'er tandems. You might want to check frame specs before deciding against a 29'er.
    MTB Tandems Inc.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemNut View Post
    The newer 29'er tandems have more standover than some of the older 26'er tandems. You might want to check frame specs before deciding against a 29'er.
    He speaks the truth.

    I am, ummmm... vertically challenged and we went from a ECDM 26 to the ECDM 29 and the standover is about the same. I can't measure now b/c we sold the 26" bike, but with an inseam of 30" the 29er tandem is a non issue as far as standover.]

  16. #16
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    I posted the 17/16 frame size captain standovers for 26 and 29" bikes above. Ventana lists an increase in SO of ~1.4", with the 29 being higher.

  17. #17
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    I have a similar question to specbill. I am looking at used ECDMs and at the moment it seems to be the older horizontal shock style bikes that are available.

    My question is. If I get an older bike and the rear shock fails would I be able to get a replacement that fits or would the bike be a write off?

    As an example I am looking at a 1999 bike which I believe has the Fox Alps 4R rear suspension which is now out of production (PDF)

  18. #18
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    All you need is to match the eye to eye length and stroke. I don't recall exactly but it may have been 6.5" x 1.5".
    -A
    -Aaron G.

    "Before D.W., "anti-squat" was referred to as pedal feedback."

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