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  1. #1
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    new tandem advice

    Sorry if this has been covered before but I searched and could not find a similiar thread. My wife and I are in the market for a mountain tandem. We presently have a Calfee coupled carbon road tandem that we love and travel with extensively. We are both experienced mtn bikers who presently ride Maverick ML-8 with Duc forks which we also like. We live in Alaska and also ride fat tire bikes in the winter so bikes are a part of our lifes. We are a 350 lb team with my stoker being a very strong rider. Our evening mtn bike summer rides are many times on rolling wide single track trails that are cross country ski trails in the winter. Our longer rides are more technical single track point to point or loop rides in the mountains here with roots, rocks, streams etc. What would you buy?

  2. #2
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    I'm biased toward the 29er platform, so I'd recommend the Fandangos from mtbtandems.com - it may not be the ideal bike for a smaller team (but still very good), on technical single track, but everything else (including winter) would be great on that platform.
    GET Bret Weir, I said.

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    Why not very good for a smaller team? We are under 300 lbs and the Fandango 29er seems to work pretty well for us?

  4. #4
    PMK
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    Coupled Calfee, very nice...

    We own a Fandango 29r and are very happy with it. It is a great xc bike for us.

    I do know though that depending upon how much and large those rocks and roots are, you might also like a Ventana suspension tandem.

    We are biased, only on account of not riding other off-road brands. However we are also picky about setup and know both of these bikes work very well.

    If you are testing the waters first and looking at used bikes, Cannondales are great entry points for a quality tandem at very reasonable cost.

    PK

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    I have talked to Alex at Mtbtandems and he has me interested in the Fandago and the full suspension ventana. He seems to favor the 29er platform for a tandem but we have been on full suspension bikes for many years all the way back to Pro-Flex so I am very torn. What has been peoples experiece with 29er suspension. Are the rear chainstays so long with this setup and does it affect the shock setup dramatically. How about stoker comfort on the hard tails. At this time we are not interested in used, it seems to me that the top mountain tandems are a bargain compared to high end road tandems. Thanks in advance for any recomendations

  6. #6
    Zipper
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    Greetings, not to discourage the 29'r fans out there but just to bring up another option I am copying this info from another thread for you to look at being that you are in a very tough climate an if your planning on riding year round this may be something to look into.

    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco
    For the moment it is a unique frame, a test for geometry and front suspension setup. If it works as expected or after some tweaking, it will become a stock Sandman model.

    I couldn't wait and plopped dirty and on narrow rim wheels in it to see what it will start to look like. The fat tires certainly look like they "belong" in there... .
    It's an XL up front and a M for the stoker. It's BIG !



    and here is the full thread as well that you can check out more info if you like.
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...77#post7606577
    Zipper aka Rob

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    We owned an old Fandango 26er that we sold to buy a Ventana ECDM full sus. We also test rode a Fandango 29er. We felt if racing was our interest the Fandango hardtail 29er would be our weapon of choice. We chose the Ventana strictly baased on stoker comfort and have been very happy with it. The ECDM is now offered in a 29er configuration. Many of the areas we ride are very hardtail friendly but some have long sections of big roots and rock gardens.We would slow down for these on the hardtail( although not that slow as 1 time I launched Pat off the saddle and unclipped her and rode the tandem out from under her on a log over leaving her unhurt but sitting on the ground) where the Ventana is more a point and shoot. Alex at MTBTandems is a good person to talk to and very knowledgable.
    Ed and Pat Gifford
    the Snot Rocket tandem
    Toms River, NJ

  8. #8
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by giff07
    We would slow down for these on the hardtail( although not that slow as 1 time I launched Pat off the saddle and unclipped her and rode the tandem out from under her on a log over leaving her unhurt but sitting on the ground)

    Ed and Pat Gifford
    the Snot Rocket tandem
    Toms River, NJ
    I bet Pat had no complaints about a new bike after that. Sorry Pat... I had to laugh, normally I just say hang on, but could 100% see this happening to us.

    PK

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    That may have had something to do with our choice! All I can say is she holds on "real good" now.
    Ed

  10. #10
    Rohloff
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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress
    I have talked to Alex at Mtbtandems and he has me interested in the Fandago and the full suspension ventana. He seems to favor the 29er platform for a tandem but we have been on full suspension bikes for many years all the way back to Pro-Flex so I am very torn. What has been peoples experiece with 29er suspension. Are the rear chainstays so long with this setup and does it affect the shock setup dramatically. How about stoker comfort on the hard tails. At this time we are not interested in used, it seems to me that the top mountain tandems are a bargain compared to high end road tandems. Thanks in advance for any recomendations
    I'm currently between stokers, but I've done a lot of research into mountain tandems. I've got a lot of experience with road tandems (Santana Ti-700) and numerous rigid and FS 26ers and 29ers. I'd go for a 29er FS tandem.

    Since it's more difficult to lift the front wheel while ride a tandem, it helps to have bigger wheels for rolling over roots, rocks, etc.. I think FS is needed because I ride rough trails and the stoker isn't going to be able to see everything that's coming. I don't want my stoker standing, squatted above the saddle all the time fearing the next unseen jolt. I want my stoker to be able to sit down, relax and PEDAL!

    There's no problem with 29ers, chainstays and shock setup. It sets up just like a 26er. Add or subtract air to get the proper sag, ride and adjust as needed. With a tandem, the rider weight is way above the average rider weight on a single. I would imagine having the shock tuned by a company like PUSH would improve the suspension performance.

    Ventana has been making their FS tandem and 29ers for many years. They can also add couplers if you'd like. They've built more than a few FS 29er tandems. I think I'd go with them.

    Since you sought the advice of MTBRers, you are now requires, BY LAW, to post a ride review and pictures when you get yours. Looking forward to it!

  11. #11
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by giff07
    That may have had something to do with our choice! All I can say is she holds on "real good" now.
    Ed

    NO DOUBT

    PK

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by clj2289
    Why not very good for a smaller team? We are under 300 lbs and the Fandango 29'er seems to work pretty well for us?
    I think there is a common misconception that 29'ers won't fit shorter teams. While it's true that there is more wheel height to contend with design-wise (especially on single bikes), due to the intersected captain's top tube design required by the taller front end, standover on a 29'er Fandango is actually better than the standover on a comparably-sized 26'er Fandango. In some cases that's also true on the 29'er el Conquistadors. Also, in the case of the Fandango, at least, the bb height is actually the same as the 26'er as well. I think the el Conq 29'er BB is just a touch higher because of clearance for the rear tire at full compression. But for most practical purposes, the bikes are the same ride height and CG, regardless of wheel size.
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  13. #13
    PMK
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    I'm sure that whatever you get it will be good and an awesome performer. Fandangos are tough to beat at any price point.

    ECDM's will lay it down also.

    I'm sure other frames / Bikes will perform also, just that these are the two real players that offer multiple sizes, outstanding quality, and if you buy through MTBTandems.com, possibly the best customer service out there.

    Yes I am biased, but then again I don't say this without being involved in poor customer service from other bicycle industry companies. Ventana delivers the goods in product and service also.

    PK

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    With the advice here and gained elsewhere we are definitely going with the 29er platform. At this point I am gong to wait until after the New Year to order with a March delivery. I am leaning toward the el conquistador at this point as we are definite full suspension advocates on our single and don't anticipate racing it. Now to throw another question out there how many have ridden the Rohloff hub in the 29 platform. I am somewhat worried on the full suspension that the weight might be a serious detriment to the shock tuning. Also I am curious as to why the majority of the off road tandems seem to be Sram equipped. We have always ridden XTR with great results and durability, does it not work well on the tandems? Thanks again for all the insight and advice given. BTW we will be giving MTBtandems our business with this bike as they seem to be the source with good customer service.
    Mark

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress
    Now to throw another question out there how many have ridden the Rohloff hub in the 29 platform. I am somewhat worried on the full suspension that the weight might be a serious detriment to the shock tuning. Mark
    I've been riding a Rohloff on a FS 29er for a few years now. As many have described ... "You don't notice the weight of the hub until you go to lift the bike onto the bike rack." There is very little effect on suspension performance. I think a Rohloff hub would be ideal on a mountain tandem.

    I'd like to build a FS 29er ECDM with a Rohloff some day.

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    Would you need to run a chain tensioner with a FS and Rohloff? Tandems are already heavy enough, and a Rohloff isn't rotating weight like a rim or tire so it wouldn't be as noticeable. We would love the simplicity if we could cough up the initial cash.

    To the OP, I think you are making the right choice with a 29er El Conquistador. MTBtandems is awesome and so is Ventana RE: customer service.

    I'd think XTR shifters/derailleurs would hold up fine on a tandem. I'd probably run a stronger chain though. SRAM seems to be a solid performance vs. pricepoint so maybe that is why they're spec'd on tandems. We run SRAM on all our single bikes so it was a natural extension for the tandem.

  17. #17
    Rohloff
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    Quote Originally Posted by drdoak
    Would you need to run a chain tensioner with a FS and Rohloff? Tandems are already heavy enough, and a Rohloff isn't rotating weight like a rim or tire so it wouldn't be as noticeable. We would love the simplicity if we could cough up the initial cash.
    Yes, you'd need a chain tensioner with a Rohloff on most FS bikes. Tandems are heavy ... which makes the added weight of the Rohloff relatively small ... and it gets even smaller when you factor in the two riders. The weight of the Rohloff is rotating, but it's at the center of mass, so the effect is rather small. The weight of the rim and tire are more significant factors.

  18. #18
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress
    Also I am curious as to why the majority of the off road tandems seem to be Sram equipped. We have always ridden XTR with great results and durability, does it not work well on the tandems?
    Mark
    Our first off-road tandem had an XT rear der, and Sachs (now SRAM) twist shifters. It worked well but was 8 speed.

    If you have ever ridden 8 speed, or even 7 speed, you will recall that solid shift. Not like this soft shifting Shimano 9 speed stuff. Granted it works and works well, but the "feel" is different.

    With SRAM, the 1:1 cable pull rate, gives very precise shifts, which is good on a tandem. Also, it has been said that the flex in a tandem frame is less apt to cause ghost shifts with the longer cable pulls of SRAM.

    FWIW, we have our Fandago, ECDM, and Co-Motion road tandem all running XO shifters, the Co-Mo and Fandango are carrying XO rear der, while the ECDM has an X9. All run the same BB7m brakes. Many options exist and all can work.

    Now if someone would make a stronger spidered cassette...

    I started hinting to the stoker about Rohloffing our Fandango, I got a very stearn thumbs down.

    PK

  19. #19
    Rohloff
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK
    I started hinting to the stoker about Rohloffing our Fandango, I got a very stearn thumbs down.

    PK
    Why thumbs down?

  20. #20
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsdc
    Why thumbs down?
    Couple reasons, one is cost, second is the ability to get home somehow via the McGyver Handbook, third is, even though our 2x9 right side drive works very well, but not perfect, she does not want to fix what isn't broke.

    If we rode a lot of mud, it may be a different story.

    PK

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsdc
    I'd like to build a FS 29er ECDM with a Rohloff some day.
    We just finalized an order for that very setup; the first ECDM 29'er Rohloff we've built. I'm looking forward to putting it together. Once it's built up, I'll post some pictures (it'll be a few weeks; gotta get the frame in first.)
    We'll run the Rohloff tensioner in place of the rear derailleur, and conventional tandem cranks in case they want to run dual chainrings up front later...
    MTB Tandems Inc.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsdc
    Yes, you'd need a chain tensioner with a Rohloff on most FS bikes. Tandems are heavy ... which makes the added weight of the Rohloff relatively small ... and it gets even smaller when you factor in the two riders. The weight of the Rohloff is rotating, but it's at the center of mass, so the effect is rather small. The weight of the rim and tire are more significant factors.
    We took a few minutes to weigh a Rohloff wheel vs a standard wheel and parts in the shop the other day. Seems that when factoring in the weight of the heavier tandem-capable parts like LX/PG950 solid cog cassettes, beefy tandem-capable rear hubs, derailleurs, etc., I don't think there's much weight difference at all for Rohloff vs conventional drivetrain on a mountain tandem. One day soon we'll weigh everything specifically and get some hard #'s (we were rushing to get a tandem shipped). I think the durability and relative immunity to messy conditions make the Rohloff a natural for tandems.
    MTB Tandems Inc.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress
    Now to throw another question out there how many have ridden the Rohloff hub in the 29 platform. I am somewhat worried on the full suspension that the weight might be a serious detriment to the shock tuning. Also I am curious as to why the majority of the off road tandems seem to be Sram equipped. We have always ridden XTR with great results and durability, does it not work well on the tandems? Mark

    Short version - I've owned both, geared and rohloff tandem, and the Rohloff is definitely my preference.

    Long verion - my tandem is custom made for Rohloff, and I came off a 27sp tandem with XT drive train (both 29er). I immediately fell in love with the Rohloff, so much so that I'm building up a solo rohloff bike this winter. I could go on about the benefits of the Rohloff, and as Alex indicated, at not much of a weight penalty at the tandem level. I do a handful of races on the tandem, so the piece of mind that I get from the Rohloff that it'll be great in all conditions (mud, sand, etc), is really nice. There is some disadvantage to long climbs that change pitch, due to the pause in pedaling to shift, but it's infrequent and insignificant IMO.

    If I had stuck with a geared tandem, I too would have switched to Sram. It's just a Sram vs Shimano thing, you can read up on that on another forum. Superior performance from Sram shifting, IMO.
    GET Bret Weir, I said.

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