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  1. #1
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    My Rig and Story

    So I am new to this tandem forum and wanted to share my story and rig. I have always wanted a mtb tandem for the wife and I but she is not so much on board with that. She is also taller than me which might have made things interesting. Given the cost of a quality tandem I kindof let that go. Recently we were looking on craigslist for stuff and a tandem popped up. I though it was a true mtb tandem but it turns out I was a little off. Regardless I wound up finally going to see it, as the biggest draw was that it would possibly work for me to take out my kids who are 5 and 7. We got to see it and decided we wanted it. The seller wanted 550 at first, but had come down to 450. I then offered 400 and he took it. He then explained that he had purchased the tandem for he and his daughter to ride after his wife had died of cancer. I wanted to just hand him the keys to my land rover d90 to apologize for even beating him down. But instead I have decided to continue the tradition and use this tandem to enjoy quality time with my sons and pay it forward. Here is a pic.




    Maybe a fork. (with as little travel as possible to not offset geometry).
    Definitely some hydro rim brakes.
    Maybe some wheels.
    Upgrade when it breaks.
    Last edited by Rmabus; 06-28-2012 at 07:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nice bike. We have a Burley Duex (road tandem) that started us on our tandem adventure. Good bike, if a bit flexy. Your bike is a totally different design (and material), and with your lighter stokers it should do everything you want it to.

  3. #3
    PMK
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    Agree with Okayfine, with light stokers, a flexy frame is less important. Ride the wheels off it.

    Also, you currently have a plan of getting the kids grown and no more tandems, it is possible that they may enjoy the tandem more than any single bike and you may need to upgrade when they grow. Keep an open mindset, it really is a lot of fun. Also, while single bikes are cool, after navigating a tandem for a while, a single bike is far less challenging.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  4. #4
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    Good luck with the bike and your tandem adventures. Keep it fun and the kids will make it a lifestyle. We started out on the road with a Burley Tosa and rode it for many miles before buying our Co Motion. Another plus is if the kids like it the wife may come around, being tired of staying at home while the "boyz" are out having fun.
    Ed and Pat Gifford
    the Snot Rocket tandem

  5. #5
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    And then you go to Ventana and ask Sherwood to build you a quad!

  6. #6
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    I foresee a game of musical chairs of sorts...

    Everyone gets a turn in the stoker seat.

    Take the tandem and a single for the boys and just switch when someone gets tired of riding solo. Mileage/Fun mucho extendo.

    Have fun!

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  7. #7
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    Fleas. That really is the plan in some ways. My older son is a real wiz on two wheels. My younger son is slow as all get out. My plan is to take both there bikes and let them switch back and forth. My younger son can't touch the pedals so tonight I drilled out the cranks to shorten the rear so my younger son can reach the stroke. I just plan to take a pedal wrench to each trail ride to switch out pedals between laps. I really am looking forward to this.

  8. #8
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    Well we had our first outing on a very dry hard pack trail that means it is loosing up in big clumps. That being said we really need more front end bite. As I leaned in to hardpacked turns the front end would push pretty bad. I wonder what the geometry is on a xydeco and if that might have something to do with it.

  9. #9
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    Define push - push as in slide (loss of traction) or push as in not as quick to turn as a single? Front tire brand/size and air pressure? In a previous thread here a lot of us run 40psi or higher to avoid a wallowy front end.

  10. #10
    PMK
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    FWIW, and I don't know which stoker was on the back, even as hooked up as our Ventana is, it can be very easy to overpower the front tire.

    You have a long bike, more bike to turn weight wise, and if you don't let the bike flow through the turns it will push bad.

    A single bike will pivot much easier, scrubbing the speed with it. Even though the rider is still pedaling with effort, the single will carve the turn. Conversely, a tandem will not bleed off speed, so you really need to focus on riding just an inch outside the main groove as you enter the turn, drop low during the apex and carry as much momentum without turning the bars on the exit, pretty much on the edge of good dirt.

    Where we ride, the single bikes have no clue about how to ride good lines. We can ride their lines, but it is slow and / or makes the front do weird stuff like push. If you ride tandem lines, you may be crossing their lines constantly while you keep a smooth style and line choice. Additionally, there are times when the dirt is soft, and our tandem has pretty much blown out the entire berm. Disappoints the single riders that believe they are motcross stars,but really have no skills towards it.

    In short momentum is your friend, use it to your advantage, don't override the bike or terrain, if the turn is tight, grab a lot of rear brake to "throttle" the stoker or be sure you ask them to back off for the corner.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  11. #11
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    Define push - push as in slide (loss of traction) or push as in not as quick to turn as a single? Front tire brand/size and air pressure? In a previous thread here a lot of us run 40psi or higher to avoid a wallowy front end.
    Important points also Okayfine

    FWIW, we run Panaracers Rampages as a compromise of grip vs roll. 50psi in the Ventana 26 and 45 in the Fandango. Our Cannondale we ran 50 also. No squirm and trying to save the rims...as you probably realized, tandems don't wheely, so everything you go over is a controlled crash.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  12. #12
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    PMK. My youngest was in back. He is about 40 lbs. We actiually were running a brand new forte tire that was a 2.3. Pushing that I was referring to was the front end sliding. I did find that I was having to kindof work the trail with consistency, not so much as on and off as I can ride with with my single. I also noticed braking was really different. The intesting thing about this trial is that it is extremely tight. There was not much give in trail lines before I end up clipping my sons hands on trees. Anyway the experience was great.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK View Post
    the single bikes have no clue about how to ride good lines. We can ride their lines, but it is slow and / or makes the front do weird stuff like push. If you ride tandem lines, you may be crossing their lines constantly while you keep a smooth style and line choice.
    Single riders we ride with always comment on wanting to ride our lines down something technical (or otherwise). I laugh, tell them it won't do them any good, then proceed down the trail in what looks like a drunken sailor in search of the good dirt. Lines? We don't need no stinkin' lines!


    Quote Originally Posted by Rmabus View Post
    PMK. My youngest was in back. He is about 40 lbs. We actiually were running a brand new forte tire that was a 2.3. Pushing that I was referring to was the front end sliding.
    A 2.3 means different things to different companies. We run WTB Dissent 2.5s, and they are actually 2.5 inches across the knobbies. My single has some IRC Mythos that claim to be 2.1s but are actually something approaching 1.8s.

    Front end sliding could be the tandem understeer (too much power, too much lock, squirmy tire, poor tire choice for conditions). Also keep in mind that a tandem in general won't lean over as much as you might on a single. Your Burley doesn't appear to have as high bottom brackets (and, so, center of gravity) as our Ventana. If you're actually sliding the front tire in corners, you may be asking more from the bike than it wants to give. Our rear tire moves around sometimes, depending on conditions, but our front won't typically do more than slide off a rock or the high side of a switchback if we run it wide.

    If your front tire is running lower pressure than 40 or so, I'd start there and see how it feels.

  14. #14
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    I will increase the pressure some up front. The trail were were on usually like pavement but with dryer conditions it was a bit more of a challenge. Could have been worse.

    My 7 year old who was on his own bike that I just built up for him. His brake and brake post had a catch of some sort and his rear brakes were rubbing the whole time. He was totally tanked by the end.

  15. #15
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    You other guys are probably much too experienced by this point to remember when you were learnin' the tandem...

    I seem to recall that when we first started out, if the stoker (and I've had more than a few) was not following me into the turns (i.e. leaning), I was fighting the steering and that would cause the front to push. It seems there is a torque being applied to the frame that opposes and sometimes overcomes the front tire traction. I don't remember it ever causing a crash, but it did take us off line many times until we started to synchronize better. Even a 40# stoker might have enough leverage if they're trying to peek around your shoulder on the high side. You start to lean into the turn, they see an opportunity to look forward - and sometimes lean a little opposite.
    Conversely, once my current stoker and wife got the hang of leaning, we could carve into a turn pretty hard before the tire started to squirm. Surprisingly, the bike is still stable that way.
    That's my recollection anyway.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  16. #16
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    Its funny you mention that Fleas. We borrowed a Fisher Tandem in probably '94 and rode it a good bit. I remember telling my then college roommate to lean WITH the tandem in corners while I put all my weight on my inside hand and outside foot trying to stay a bit more upright. We seamed to handle better that way. I have no idea with my son was doing the other day. He really cannot see around me very well on this so he could have been looking around funny for sure.

    I guess that brings up the question is how does one corner correctly on a tandem? Captain and Stoker.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmabus View Post
    I guess that brings up the question is how does one corner correctly on a tandem? Captain and Stoker.
    Probably has as many answers as people to provide them.

    My stoker does not lean in turns. _I_ lean the bike over in turns and my stoker stays on the same plane as the bike. In other words my stoker does not add anything to the turn by way of more/less leaning than the bike takes. Typically this is how you'd ask your rear passenger on a motorcycle to act - that's what I use for an example when single riders ask how it works.

    Others, perhaps such as Fleas, have their stokers lean extra to add some turning motion (yaw?) in the corners. Different strokes (no pun intended, but I'll take credit) for different folks.

  18. #18
    PMK
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    The turning in, more so than the apex or exit of turns is possibly one of our worst "discussions" while riding. Granted my stoker is more than 40 pounds, if she locks her elbows, on either road or off-road the bike goes straight and is twice the effort to turn. If she looks around, hang on. Sometimes she even believes the rear handlebars will make the bike steer.

    I have had the bike go straight, fall into turns with miracle saves and also had miracle saves when she uprights the bike exiting corners and we about hit trees. Normally though, once she relaxes, all works out.

    As for the Burley, my last advice is slow down to go fast. I'm still considering the bike is being over ridden and needs to be ridden more fluidly. This will also allow any stoker mistakes / misunderstandings to be less influence.

    Did I ever explain the crash on the ECDM, pretty much a 20 + mph low side. we both pedalled all the way to the ground trying to save it. All I needed was a 4"x 4" section of dirt...the dry leaves had no grip. I was fine, stoker was a bit po'd as she wound up in a thorny bush.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  19. #19
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    I do realize the burley is being pushed a bit but to be honest I am actually kindo happy with the setup. The two trails I will be riding on with it are super tight but super hard backed. Last time I raced my single at this trial we averaged 18 mph. The guy that won was on a road bike with 28mm slicks. The other trail we intend to ride on is not much different. I think a lower bottom bracket should be good.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmabus View Post
    ...

    I guess that brings up the question is how does one corner correctly on a tandem? Captain and Stoker.
    I have had some bad/novice/skittish/nervous/scared stokers. My "training" method was to have them hold onto my shoulders instead of their handlebars. That way they felt the movement/leaning and followed me more closely. It was always a very short lesson. Results were always good.
    Start very easy. Ramp it up.

    -F

    PS - per PMK, wide turns! Front tire almost in the bushes. The trail is only there as a reference anyway.
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  21. #21
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmabus View Post
    I do realize the burley is being pushed a bit but to be honest I am actually kindo happy with the setup. The two trails I will be riding on with it are super tight but super hard backed. Last time I raced my single at this trial we averaged 18 mph. The guy that won was on a road bike with 28mm slicks. The other trail we intend to ride on is not much different. I think a lower bottom bracket should be good.

    There are some places where we ride that are similar sounding. Yes the front tire is easily sliding around if you pinch the bike.

    From the weight of your stoker, it is apparent that the bike has a favorable weight bias on the front tire. If your lines aren't smooth and flowing there is probably not much except practice and control. Another tire may help, but may not. Make sure the knobs are super low height, and the knobs have a lot of sharp edges. Obviously, this tire won't work in soft terrain. BTW, yes there are trails we don't ride, since we can trash a set of tires in one ride.

    Best of luck with it, but it will work out.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

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