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  1. #1
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    I need help upgrading my Burley Samba to singletrack destroyer

    Hello all,

    This is my first post here at MTBR. I am posting to look for advice on upgrading my 2001(ish) Burley Samba (size M) tandem. It has V-brakes installed and a 1 1/8" fork. My wife and I will primarily use it for moderate single track and maybe some offroad bike touring. We want something that can handle mountain bike trails, but we are also not looking to break the bank on a new/used ECDM. I already put a Cane Creek Thudbuster LT on the rear seat, so that applies to all options.

    I came up with 4 options and I hope you will look at them at tell me what you would do. If you have a 5th option you think is better or some hybrid option I am very interested. All of these just involve modifying the front fork/brake/wheel. There is not a lot I can do to the rear wheel, I am just going to get as big a 26" wheel as I can for the back.

    1. Upgrade to 26" wheel suspension fork (Suntour Epicon X2, 100mm travel $200), Avid BB7 disc brake w/ caliper/roter/cable ($100), Avenir Joytech disc wheel and generic tire ($100). Total cost around $400

    2. Upgrade to 29" suspension fork (Rockshox xc32tk, 100mm travel, $250), Avid BB7 front disc brake ($100), Avenir Joytech wheel and generic tire ($100). Total cost around $450.

    3. Upgrade to Surly Moonlander 26" fat fork ($115), Surly Rolling Daryl front wheel and Knard 26x3.8 tire ($275+$90), Avid BB7 Brake ($100). Total cost around $600.

    4. Upgrade to Surly Krampus 29inch fat fork ($100), Surly Rabbit hole wheel and knard 29x3 tire ($275+$90), Avid BB7 disc brake ($100). Total cost around $600.

    These are all pretty different I think. The fat front tire may be great, I don't really know. I also don't know how much impact a 29" regular or fat tire would have on our riding comfort/handling. I like option 4 the best, I think the bike would look pretty awesome and we would be able to ride over about anything, plus the large front wheel would add some clearance for our front and rear cogs. My hangup with option 4 is the possible uncomfortable/awkward bike geometry it may create. Please tell me what you would do.

    Steve

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozierSL View Post
    Hello all,

    This is my first post here at MTBR. I am posting to look for advice on upgrading my 2001(ish) Burley Samba (size M) tandem. It has V-brakes installed and a 1 1/8" fork. My wife and I will primarily use it for moderate single track and maybe some offroad bike touring.

    Steve

    Go with the low-cost option and save your money for the new bike you'll want when you figure out how much fun you're having.

  3. #3
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    You read my mind with option 3. I have been thinking of doing this to my burley also. I'd love to go full fat tandem, just don't have the fat wallet for that project.

  4. #4
    Long Live Long Rides
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    As an experiment I tried a 29" suspension set up on the front of our Cannondale. It sucked. The steering was atrocious, and I'm not usually that picky about things like that. I can't speak to the Fat bike front, but I would stick to 26" and start saving for the next bike.

  5. #5
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    #1 sounds like the most sure bet in terms of performance and handling.

    I would modify that approach to include better parts that would be worth migrating to a new bike if and when it happens. If it doesn't, you'll still have some forever parts on the front that will really tell you how long you can live with your present big bike. IMO fork and brake performance are too important on singletrack to be relegated to the cheapest parts possible. Is that fork tandem rated? My guess is no.

    Better parts and better bikes actually save money and time in the long run, not to mention provide more fun in the interim. Value as opposed to cost. I mean really, a cheap tandem is like putting in a cheap swimming pool. It's a luxury item.

    Yes, we are nudging you toward a new bike. Very subtly

  6. #6
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    Fat tires have tremedous grip, they will slow your handling down, going to a 29'er and Fat tire is doubling that effect (lengthening the A to C of the fork). Options 1 and 2? Neither of those forks look strong enough for tandem use unless you two are a very light team. But you are still going to get noodle action out of that wheel.

    However, for a bit more $$ try the Dirt Jumper serious from Marzocchi, it's tandem rated, Marzocchi DJ1 100mm 1 1/8 White Fork 2013 | Marzocchi | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    I'ts what I have on my ECDM with a 350+# team. You'll need a thru axle front wheel Easton Vice 26" Wheel Oe > Components > Wheel Goods | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Add the Front brake and decent tire and you're into it for ~$400 with much better performing parts.
    -Aaron G.

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

  7. #7
    Professional Crastinator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trails4Two View Post
    As an experiment I tried a 29" suspension set up on the front of our Cannondale. It sucked. The steering was atrocious, and I'm not usually that picky about things like that. I can't speak to the Fat bike front, but I would stick to 26" and start saving for the next bike.
    ditto

    Quote Originally Posted by Ciclistagonzo View Post
    Fat tires have tremedous grip, they will slow your handling down, going to a 29'er and Fat tire is doubling that effect (lengthening the A to C of the fork). Options 1 and 2? Neither of those forks look strong enough for tandem use unless you two are a very light team. But you are still going to get noodle action out of that wheel.

    However, for a bit more $$ try the Dirt Jumper serious from Marzocchi, it's tandem rated, Marzocchi DJ1 100mm 1 1/8 White Fork 2013 | Marzocchi | Brand | www.PricePoint.com
    I'ts what I have on my ECDM with a 350+# team. You'll need a thru axle front wheel Easton Vice 26" Wheel Oe > Components > Wheel Goods | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Add the Front brake and decent tire and you're into it for ~$400 with much better performing parts.
    ^^^Excellent option.

    Dirt cheap option: We went with a Surly Instigator rigid fork (which IS also tandem-rated) on our Cannondale + XT/Rhyno Front Wheel + 203mm BB7 brake + Aztec rotor. No, we're not going very fast on the rough stuff, but the bike is pretty much bomb-proof.

    A fatbike tandem seems counter-productive. To get the benefit of the FATness, you need to deform the tire a lot. On a fat front set-up, I have to think the handling would be poor, and the fat tire unstable under the weight, plus horrible rolling resistance.
    However, you can fit a very large tire in the Instigator.

    -F

    PS - the Instigator is about equal to a sagged 100mm susp. fork, so the front was higher than factory, but it handled better by a lot.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  8. #8
    Long Live Long Rides
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    I think a Dirt Jumper would work even if it was a QR. We found a good deal on one and I never noticed any issues with a QR there. On the other hand, if you had to get a new front wheel anyhow....

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all of the advice so far. I like Ciclistagonzo's plan on using the Marzocchi fork and Easton wheel, I will probably end up going with that. I don't want to deal with weird geometry. The fat bike idea seemed pretty fun, but I don't know if I would be really happy with the end result.

    Fleas, can you elaborate on your set up with the Instigator fork? I toyed with the idea of going with that fork as well. I was thinking I could put like a 29x2.3 tire on it and go with no suspension. Do you think a 29" MTB tire would fit? Surly.com says they are for 26" wheels and I emailed Surly and they responded saying a 29" MTB tire would be too tall, but I have seen some posts in forums saying otherwise, just wondering what your take was.


    Thanks,
    Steve
    Last edited by CrozierSL; 03-19-2014 at 05:54 AM.

  10. #10
    MTB Tandem Nut
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    I'd do the Dirt Jumper fork, but that wheel is way too lightweight for a tandem front. You might want to take another look at that part. Otherwise the DJ option seems best.
    MTB Tandems Inc.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrozierSL View Post
    Thanks for all of the advice so far. I like Ciclistagonzo's plan on using the Marzocchi fork and Easton wheel, I will probably end up going with that. I don't want to deal with weird geometry. The fat bike idea seemed pretty fun, but I don't know if I would be really happy with the end result.

    Fleas, can you elaborate on your set up with the Instigator fork? I toyed with the idea of going with that fork as well. I was thinking I could put like a 29x2.3 tire on it and go with no suspension. Do you think a 29" MTB tire would fit? Surly.com says they are for 26" wheels and I emailed Surly and they responded saying a 29" MTB tire would be too tall, but I have seen some posts in forums saying otherwise, just wondering what your take was.


    Thanks,
    Steve
    The Instigator is tall enough to fit a 29er wheel (Ardent 2.4 on 28mm rim with plenty to spare), but the steering was awful ("flip-floppy") with the 29er wheel. The fork is already taller than the stock aluminum C'dale fork, which, with a 26er wheel, was enough to slow down the steering to where it wasn't so twitchy as the front tire bashes through trail debris or plows through ruts. I was able to relax quite a bit as captain = lower shoulder fatigue + longer rides.
    We run a Nevegal 2.3 up front, which is good for trails, but rolls noticeably slow in general.

    We almost did the Marzocchi thing, but we don't want to dull our trail experience too much.

    -F
    Last edited by Fleas; 03-19-2014 at 07:23 PM.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemNut View Post
    I'd do the Dirt Jumper fork, but that wheel is way too lightweight for a tandem front. You might want to take another look at that part. Otherwise the DJ option seems best.
    I went with 20mm as my first filter and then went with cheapest $$, and didn't realize it was only 24 spokes, having said that, my Easton Havoc DH wheels for my Cuervo(for those that don't know the Ventana model history, that's a DH 9" bike) is also 24 spokes and it is one strong wheel. On par with most any 32/36 wheels I've ridden.

    But here's a more pricey option..
    Loaded Precision AMX Signature Wheel > Components > Wheel Goods | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    I have no experience with these though, so no idea if worth it or not.

    To the OP, if you are spending +200 for a wheel then, I'd call Alex up, (TandemNut) and see what he can do for you. May be worth it to get the better tandem wheel now from Alex and it can be used on the next Tandem if you choose to upgrade later.
    -Aaron G.

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

  13. #13
    Old School Legs
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    A Marzocchi DJ2 with 9mm QR White Industries hub, 40 spoke.
    Seems to work just fine for us, and we're a 300# team.
    I'm eating Lean Cuisine for lunch, so I can have beer for dinner

  14. #14
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    I have got everything you need and options. One option is to convert and get nice enough parts so if you decide to upgrade the frame or it breaks you can buy a new frame and keep the parts for the new build.
    Brakes:
    Magura Louise tandem brakes frt/rear (used a couple times and replaced with Hopes that are not better but look nicer) Have brand new rotors and like new pads (includes 4 sets of extra new pads) $125
    29er front Wheel options 15mm axle:
    Chris king hub 36h laced to a velocity Chukker rim (small ding in rim) $250
    Chris King 36H laced to a Sun MTX 33 rim $375 like new
    Fork 29er 15mm options:
    -Custom steel rigid Walt works cost $550 will sell for $250 tandem rated used 3 times-White brothers loop (used a couple times like new $550) 100mm travel.
    I also have a Maxxis Ardent 2.4 I can throw in

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