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  1. #1
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    The El Gran Jefe Thread

    Well now that Sherwood has made the El Gran Jefe happen (thank you Sherwood for making such awesome tandem frames!), it's time for the El Gran Jefe thread.

    I suppose we'll need to start with the usual. What's your build? Throw in some pics. Then we can add all the banter about what's working and what we plan to upgrade or change.

    Here's our build:
    Small Ventana el Gran Jefe / Raw Aluminum color
    150 / 197 thru axles
    Industry nine hubs Nextie 90 mm Wild dragon carbon rims running tubeless
    Bud & Lou tires
    11-42 Sram cassette with Wolftooth conversion
    1x10 with 28t tooth chainring Race face ride cinch cranks 190mm spacing right side drive and RF Bash guards (FR & RR)
    Easton Carbon bars low rise (FR) High rise (RR)
    Control tech Stoker stem
    Thompson (FR) & Niner (RR) seat posts
    Wtb Rocket V (FR) & Terry Liberator Gel (RR)
    TRP Spyke brakes 203 Shimano rotors, Avid Speed Dial Levers
    Sram XO Shifter
    Sram XO, type 2 rear derailleur
    10sp chains all around
    RS Bluto fork with cane creek headset, I will likely test out a rigid fork as well.

    During our ride today
    The El Gran Jefe Thread-fullsizerender.jpg

    After our first ride (night ride)
    The El Gran Jefe Thread-img_0885.jpg

    Action shots from Saturday's rideThe El Gran Jefe Thread-fat-tandem1.jpgThe El Gran Jefe Thread-fat-tandem2.jpg
    Last edited by ds2199; 03-01-2015 at 08:26 PM. Reason: added photos

  2. #2
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    How is your drive train set up?
    Will a 29+ wheelset fit in the rear?
    What a sweet ride!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    How is your drive train set up?
    Will a 29+ wheelset fit in the rear?
    What a sweet ride!
    Thanks!!

    I believe that a 29+ will work. Alex or Sherwood may be able to chime in.

    Regarding the drive train. I am utilizing standard Race Face Turbine Cinch with the triple spider (this is actually a modular design for the spider and it's pretty flexible as to how you set it up).

    For my set up, I have the he timing chain is in the middle position (FR & RR). I have bash guards in the outer position (FR & RR). The granny position is not utilized up front. The rear is utilizing the granny position with a 28t narrow wide chainring. As noted above, the cassette is 11-42 and the deraileur is SRAM X.0 (type 2 with a clutch).

    So far it is working very well, but we only have a few rides on it.

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    Bluto 100mm? Does the handling feel slow or fast? Do you think a taller fork would make it handle better or worse?

    My frame is on order, two to three weeks, the introductory price is gone, now it's $1899, so we went with a stock color: Grinch Green

    We're starting with a 650+ build, Bluto 100-120, Trax Fatty, Scraper rims (45mm id), 15x150/12 x 177, I9 or Hadley hubs, FSA Comet 100m fat bike cranks (strong, inexpensive, good BBs). The fat tire wheel set will be Large Marge and Floaters. Both sets of wheels will serve double duty with my fat bike.

  5. #5
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    The El Gran Jefe Thread-fullsizerender.jpgThe El Gran Jefe Thread-fullsizerender_4.jpgThe El Gran Jefe Thread-last-import-2.jpgHere is our build frame serial #2
    Small Ventana el Gran Jefe / Mango Tango color
    135/ 197 thru axles
    Hope fatsno hubs, sapin spokes, brass nipples
    Nextie 90 mm Wild dragon carbon rims running tubeless
    Dillinger 5 studded tires
    11-40 Sram cassette with one up conversion
    1x10 with Raceface 30 tooth chainring
    Race face ride cranks 190mm spacing right side drive
    Easton Carbon riser bars
    Control tech Stoker stem
    race face alu seat posts
    Wtb seats
    BB7brakes 180/160 may get larger rotors after we get some miles on to figure it out
    Sram XO grip shift right shifter
    Sram x9 rear derailleur
    9 speed timing chain
    907 Whiteout carbon fork with cane creek headset

  6. #6
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    What were your reasons for choosing the Whiteout fork? Would you feel comfortable riding it hard on chunk in the summer?

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    Oops. I meant comfortable in the sense of protecting from harm your valuable person in the stokers seat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    What were your reasons for choosing the Whiteout fork? Would you feel comfortable riding it hard on chunk in the summer?
    The choices for a tandem fat bike fork are few and far between with none actually approved or rated for tandem use. The Bluto does not have a good reputation for cold use here in Alaska, the LBS don't even try to sell them anymore it seems. I know the owners and developers of 907 bikes and components and we discussed the Whiteout fork and they felt it was up to the task. We have them on our single 907 whiteout bikes and they are pretty beefy and in fact may get a redesign to take some weight out for future production. I can see it absorb the bumps nicely but of course it is not as supple as a suspension fork. As this is primarily a winter bike for us I don't anticipate a bunch of rocks hits etc on dirt but I still think it will be fine. We have two full suspension Ventana tandems for summer use. It has the correct geometry for a non suspension fork on the Jefe frame according to Sherwood. So far the bike is a blast to ride and we are off for ride here in a few minutes after work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    Oops. I meant comfortable in the sense of protecting from harm your valuable person in the stokers seat.
    I knew what you meant, must keep those awesome stokers safe and happy. I am so lucky to have an awesome wife / stoker who likes to ride as much as I do and tolerates my really bad bike habit. Plus if we ride singles she drops me so go figure why we have tandems.

  10. #10
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    I forgot to mention, we are currently riding with around 9-10lbs of pressure on 4.8" Bud/Lou tires on 90mm Nextie rims.

    I think we can go a little lower, but I wanted to start higher and then come down from there.

  11. #11
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    Ohhh, that's nice!

    A 42T cog sounds like some rough treatment of a freehub. What does I9 say about that?

    Tandem-rated Bluto? That's a TON of [potential] braking power up front with the big contact area [if you hit a dry patch].

    BTW - for someone who asked, there are 29er wheelsets for fatbikes at, I think, thehouse and bikesdirect. Not sure if they would cut it in tandem use, but there are some available.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Ohhh, that's nice!

    A 42T cog sounds like some rough treatment of a freehub. What does I9 say about that?

    Tandem-rated Bluto? That's a TON of [potential] braking power up front with the big contact area [if you hit a dry patch].

    BTW - for someone who asked, there are 29er wheelsets for fatbikes at, I think, thehouse and bikesdirect. Not sure if they would cut it in tandem use, but there are some available.

    -F
    Yup and Yup.

    I am pretty sure there are no "tandem rated" 190/197 hubs. We'll take our chances. I wanted what I believed to be the best engagement hub.

    Yes, the fork is NOT tandem rated. I don't intend to use this bike in the same way that we would our regular mtb tandem (king hubs, 34mm fork etc.).

    It's a snow bike! I appreciate your concern. I am not advocating that others go out and build a bike with the same specs that I have. I know how I intend to use it and am prepared to deal with the consequences if parts are not up to the task.

    Cheers!

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    I am using a 40 tooth and a carbon single fork on ours as there are no tandem rated fat tire forks. As Dan (ds2199) and I are using these tandems as snow riding tandems I also am quite confident these will work. We both have true mountain tandems with tandem rated forks , hubs, rear suspension etc that we ride on the dirt. As this discussion and on other treads there is not one off road tandem that can do it all and the Jefe is a great ride but not a one quiver bike. IMHO YRMV

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    I will be running Onyx hubs, they are similar to the Stealth, but with slightly less drag.

    I don't know that anyone has run this type of hub on a tandem, so I guess we're beta testers.

    The only thing that is "tandem approved" on the Jefe is the frame.

    The fork will be fine, though the forces on a tandem fork are high, tandems also don't receive the same abuse as a solo bike; i.e. we ride slower, we don't jump, etc...

    We'll be running our Jefe mostly on dirt, so I'll let you know how the Bluto handles. My plan is to add three to four bottomless tokens so the fork ramps up faster

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    Interested to hear how the Onyx hubs hold up. I have some friends that ride the BMX hub and another that is building up a set of 29 wheels with them. They seem pretty solid.
    I just put in the order for our El Gran Jefe today. Planning on using Derby on Industry 9 29+ wheelset for gravel (what the wife thinks we are getting the bike for) and either 65mm Nextie carbon on I9 and/or Clownshoes for off road. Bluto seems like the safest bet for a fork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
    Plus if we ride singles she drops me so go figure why we have tandems.
    This ensures you're always in-front of her!

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    Ended up with a single speed Jefe tonight. While out for an after work ride we took on some technical single track. It was icy and rutted, after we crossed a creek on a ice bridge we had a short pitch of 40 yards at probably 20% grade and broke a chain right at the top. At the same time trying to keep the bike upright I pulled apart the SRAM xo grip shift shifter. Fortunately the chain broke two links from the master link and I was able to shorten it and get us out of the woods with a single speed. In stead of riding home 10 miles in low gear we called our son for a ride. It was interesting riding the big tires in hard icy conditions on tight single track as the bike bounces a lot on the dillinger5's at 8 lbs. We had more pedal strikes then normal so it will take some more practice on the tight trials to clear everything better. Tomorrow I'll see if I can put the shifter back together and replace the chain. My wife thought it was still a good ride and an adventure,I'm so glad she loves this stuff.

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    AK... That sucks. Glad you made it out ok.
    What types of chains are you using (SRAM, Shimano,etc.)? Any that you would recommend over another? My plan is to go Shimano 11-sp and then 10-sp for timing chain.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    AK... That sucks. Glad you made it out ok.
    What types of chains are you using (SRAM, Shimano,etc.)? Any that you would recommend over another? My plan is to go Shimano 11-sp and then 10-sp for timing chain.
    I've had good luck with SRAM 10sp stuff on other bikes. I am pretty sure that we have broken a Shimano 9sp, a Wipperman 9sp, SRAM 9sp and SRAM 10sp over the years.

    I have not found any particular chain to have frequent problems for us.

    11sp has not been in the mix. I've only ridden it on my CX bike (non-tandem).

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    The broken chain was a mechanic's fault (me). When I built the bike it was not shifting quite as well as I wanted with the 40 tooth ring so I had added two links to the chain due to extra b screw adjustment. I had just repressed the pin instead of a master link on a SRAm chain it works ok on 9 speed but not on 10 speed as the plates are just too thin. I was just a dummy. The shifter went right back together when we got it home so no real harm just put a new chain on and away we go. It was fun seeing what we can ride in the snow and ice on the technical single track. Traction is a factor in what you can climb but the studded tires are very helpful. We are definitely putting a load on the components with two people standing to climb etc but nothing that the other mtn tandems don't go through. Is great to have a stoker who likes this as much as I do!!

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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

  22. #22
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    Frame shipped today, Grinch Green :-)

    Lots of bit and pieces coming into the shop, Onyx hubs are in transit, WTB Scraper 650b rims, Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks 170mm, SRAM X9 drivetrain, all the rest is typical stuff.

    We're running a 11-36/40 cassette with a Wolf tooth. I'd like to get the Praxis 10speed 11-40 steel cassette once it's available.

    Spykes calipers and speed dial levers from the Fandango.

    I'm going to use a minus one degree Angleset headset, starting a the zero (no angle) change, then see how an additional degree of angle feels. I expect well go to a 120mm fork once something burlier than the Bluto is available.

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    Seat post 27.2 or 30.9?

    We ordered a Thudbuster 27.2, which is the same as the ECDM, just wanted to double check.

    Hubs were delayed, the "red" hub bodies were out of spec, so they ugraded for free to a custom two tone "black with red splotches", should be interesting, shipping today, wheel build this weekend.

    Frame should arrive today or tomorrow.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Seat post 27.2 or 30.9?

    We ordered a Thudbuster 27.2, which is the same as the ECDM, just wanted to double check.

    Hubs were delayed, the "red" hub bodies were out of spec, so they ugraded for free to a custom two tone "black with red splotches", should be interesting, shipping today, wheel build this weekend.

    Frame should arrive today or tomorrow.
    30.9 seatposts.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ds2199 View Post
    30.9 seatposts.
    Thanks, we have another post coming in the right size

    My buddy has a shop, normally I'd do all my own ordering and buildimng, but he wants to do the build because he can get better prices...and because he thinks it's cool, so why not.

    The Onyx hubs arrived yesterday, they are really nice, no "clicking" in freewheel, spin is very smooth, an interesting concept if they work. The rear hub is a 170mm TA, weight was 585 gms without axle, so just a tad bit more than a typical "no brand hub" with a steel freebody.

    I'm building the wheels this weekend, then we'll start assembling our Grinch Green Jefe.

    BTW, the green color is quite nice, it's an iridescent green, lighter than granny smith, almost a lime. Fit and finish is very nice, drop out design is very well done. Essentially the Jefe is like the Gordo, but much longer

  26. #26
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    My partner says we absolutely have to get a tandem fat bike. She doesn't ride mountain bikes alone but is game for about anything on the back of our Fandango as long as she doesn't get bumped or scraped off. She says she will pay for the tandem fat bike (damn, she is a fine woman!) but being a responsible sort of guy I'm looking for a lower-end build. So, help me spec a bike based on the Ventenna frame. I can do my own assembly except for pressing in the headset.

    Some background: I'm 170 lbs and 6'2" and she is 150 lbs and 5'10". The bike would be used for snow about 3 months of the year and slow dirt and chunk for portions of the rest of the year. The Fandango would fill in the gaps.

    I have a single fat bike (made by Singular) from which I can borrow the wheels for the tandem, thereby saving about $1000. the rims are Holy Rolling Darryls and the hubs are Novatechs that are set up as quick release (135 and 170) for the single fat bike but can be quickly converted to thru axles. The cassette is Sram 10-36 and the rotors are 160 mm. The Singular came with a burly steel fork that might serve well as a tandem fork thereby allowing me to buy a lightweight Sarma carbon fork for the Singular (hah!). The Singular fork is painted white which doesn't match the stock colors of the Ventenna tandem.

    So, here is my first crack at specing a build. I welcome your suggestions for other options as long as I can keep the cost about $3700.

    Ventanna frame (Large, 170 QR) $1,800
    Cane Creek 40 44/56 $78
    Rigid fork ? (9x135 mm QR or 15x135mm TA) $300
    FSA Comet Fat w/bb 22/36 (2) $360
    Black Absolute (26T) Narrow wide, 64 BCD $54
    KMC X10.93 chains (3) $84
    Sram X9 type 2.1 long cage $103
    Sram X9 rear shifter 10 sp $61
    Avid BB7S $240
    Avid Speed Dial 7 $29
    Easton EA70 Wide Flat Bar, 9 deg sweep (2) $108
    Syntace Force 109 90mm x 6 deg rise $70
    Control Tech 190-230mm x 35 deg $68
    Race Face Turbine 30.9mm x 400mm (2) $136
    Salsa Lip Lock seatpost clamp (2) $44
    WTB SST Race Saddle $54
    WTB Speed She Comp $36
    Brake cables and housing $30
    Derailleur cable and housing $30
    Quick links $5
    Labor to install headset $30
    Total $3,720

  27. #27
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    Funny that your partner said you gotta have a fat tandem. I sort of had the same thing happen. I was trying to reason with my wife saying, "we really don't NEED a fat tandem"... but hey, I'm glad we pulled the trigger, it's a blast!!


    A couple of notes for your "budget build".

    you do not need seatpost clamps, unless you are looking for a color other than black, so you can save $44 there.

    I would guess that you could save a $ here or there if you were patient and hunted around on ebay, but it seems that you will have a good set up there!

    So you'll be getting a new wheelset for your Singular? Or just swapping back and forth?

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    Guys... quick question. I am running the 170/177 rear spacing. We are having some issues with the timing chain interfering with the chain stay (100mm spindle). Anyone have this issue? If so, how did you remedy?

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    You will blow up your wheels, the hubs won't last for more than a few rides, you'll be stuck out in the middle of nowhere

    Seriously, you're gonna need a good set of wheels. The least expensive option is to rebuild your existing wheels with quality hubs. The upside of this is that you'll have a primo set of wheels for you solo fat bike

    If you're gonna ride off road (dirt, rough terrain), I'd get a suspension fork. You can wait... but then you'll be spending money on a rigid fork that could be used toward a Bluto. $500 for a Bluto 100mm. Use extra tokens to increase pregression.

    FSA Comets or SRAM X5 are fine cranks, but I'd suggest 170's for the stoker (also the pilot if you can) as pedal strike is a PITA on tandems. The problem is, all the 170 cranks for both mfgs are on backorder.

    Use steel timing chains and a steel drive chainring, they will last longer and they are less expensive. Use an inexpensive seat tube mount chain keeper to prevent chain drop to the inside; the timing chain will prevent chain drop to the outside.

    Use two nine speed chains for timing.

    The frame comes with seat post clamps and EBB, so don't buy them unless you want a color other than black.

    You need a thudbuster for your partner, long/large. Just do it, or she may not like you as much down the trail Also, consider getting her a better seat, she is in the least comfortable position and will have the least amount of suspension. I got my wife a Terry endurance ($80). I ride the MTB seats, my butt is like iron!

    Get a stoker stem that takes an oversized mtb bar and has the longest boom; you can always get the boom down.

    We are halfway through our build, so far it's going well with a few hitches.

    The Jefe is a beautiful frame, very well designed

    The Grinch Gree is very nice, almost luminescent.

    Heading for Moab/Grand Junction on Saturday!!

    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    My partner says we absolutely have to get a tandem fat bike. She doesn't ride mountain bikes alone but is game for about anything on the back of our Fandango as long as she doesn't get bumped or scraped off. She says she will pay for the tandem fat bike (damn, she is a fine woman!) but being a responsible sort of guy I'm looking for a lower-end build. So, help me spec a bike based on the Ventenna frame. I can do my own assembly except for pressing in the headset.

    Some background: I'm 170 lbs and 6'2" and she is 150 lbs and 5'10". The bike would be used for snow about 3 months of the year and slow dirt and chunk for portions of the rest of the year. The Fandango would fill in the gaps.

    I have a single fat bike (made by Singular) from which I can borrow the wheels for the tandem, thereby saving about $1000. the rims are Holy Rolling Darryls and the hubs are Novatechs that are set up as quick release (135 and 170) for the single fat bike but can be quickly converted to thru axles. The cassette is Sram 10-36 and the rotors are 160 mm. The Singular came with a burly steel fork that might serve well as a tandem fork thereby allowing me to buy a lightweight Sarma carbon fork for the Singular (hah!). The Singular fork is painted white which doesn't match the stock colors of the Ventenna tandem.

    So, here is my first crack at specing a build. I welcome your suggestions for other options as long as I can keep the cost about $3700.

    Ventanna frame (Large, 170 QR) $1,800
    Cane Creek 40 44/56 $78
    Rigid fork ? (9x135 mm QR or 15x135mm TA) $300
    FSA Comet Fat w/bb 22/36 (2) $360
    Black Absolute (26T) Narrow wide, 64 BCD $54
    KMC X10.93 chains (3) $84
    Sram X9 type 2.1 long cage $103
    Sram X9 rear shifter 10 sp $61
    Avid BB7S $240
    Avid Speed Dial 7 $29
    Easton EA70 Wide Flat Bar, 9 deg sweep (2) $108
    Syntace Force 109 90mm x 6 deg rise $70
    Control Tech 190-230mm x 35 deg $68
    Race Face Turbine 30.9mm x 400mm (2) $136
    Salsa Lip Lock seatpost clamp (2) $44
    WTB SST Race Saddle $54
    WTB Speed She Comp $36
    Brake cables and housing $30
    Derailleur cable and housing $30
    Quick links $5
    Labor to install headset $30
    Total $3,720

  30. #30
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    Thanks for the input, Ben. I hadn't thought about the shorter cranks. Pedal strikes are certainly a problem on a tandem when one person can't see the upcoming rocks and the other has limited talent in avoiding them (me).

    I had thought of using a 26T Narrow Wide drive chainring as a way to eliminate the need for a chain keeper. I like the idea of stainless steel but can't think of a Narrow Wide 64 BCD that is made out of steel. Any ideas? I suppose I could just run the rings that come with the FSA Comet (with a chain keeper) and replace them with more durable rings once I grind them up. Kind of leaning towards that philosophy with the hubs too. Since no company has yet demonstrated a great ability to make durable fat bike hubs maybe it makes sense to use up what I have, thereby kicking the can down the road and hoping that durability will be added to version 2 of their products. As long as I'm willing to walk a broken bike back to the car.

    I still have the Thudbuster from the Fandango so that could go on the Ventanna. It is a shame that those posts weigh so much and make strange noises.

    Say, on your build did the chainline work out well with the FSA crankset using the smaller ring as the drive? Also, can you tell what most limits tire width capacity? (chain rub, yoke, chain stays).

    Good luck on your trip. As an early adopter you have an obligation to break parts and and then warn us about how not to set up our tandems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    Thanks for the input, Ben. I hadn't thought about the shorter cranks. Pedal strikes are certainly a problem on a tandem when one person can't see the upcoming rocks and the other has limited talent in avoiding them (me).

    I had thought of using a 26T Narrow Wide drive chainring as a way to eliminate the need for a chain keeper. I like the idea of stainless steel but can't think of a Narrow Wide 64 BCD that is made out of steel. Any ideas? I suppose I could just run the rings that come with the FSA Comet (with a chain keeper) and replace them with more durable rings once I grind them up. Kind of leaning towards that philosophy with the hubs too. Since no company has yet demonstrated a great ability to make durable fat bike hubs maybe it makes sense to use up what I have, thereby kicking the can down the road and hoping that durability will be added to version 2 of their products. As long as I'm willing to walk a broken bike back to the car.

    I still have the Thudbuster from the Fandango so that could go on the Ventanna. It is a shame that those posts weigh so much and make strange noises.

    Say, on your build did the chainline work out well with the FSA crankset using the smaller ring as the drive? Also, can you tell what most limits tire width capacity? (chain rub, yoke, chain stays).

    Good luck on your trip. As an early adopter you have an obligation to break parts and and then warn us about how not to set up our tandems.
    I'd chime in on chainline and tire/frame capacity, but we have 190 rear spacing, so I don't think it is relevant here.

    We use 175mm cranks on all of our tandems. Yes, there will be pedal strikes, I don't think that 5mm is going to avoid pedal strikes (YRMV).

    Regarding narrow wide, I believe you will be stuck with aluminum. I had always used a steel granny gear on the tandem, but this is my first time with narrow wide. So far so good. I can't imagine that it will be the longest lasting chainring that I have ever used, but whatever.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    Thanks for the input, Ben. I hadn't thought about the shorter cranks. Pedal strikes are certainly a problem on a tandem when one person can't see the upcoming rocks and the other has limited talent in avoiding them (me).

    I had thought of using a 26T Narrow Wide drive chainring as a way to eliminate the need for a chain keeper. I like the idea of stainless steel but can't think of a Narrow Wide 64 BCD that is made out of steel. Any ideas? I suppose I could just run the rings that come with the FSA Comet (with a chain keeper) and replace them with more durable rings once I grind them up. Kind of leaning towards that philosophy with the hubs too. Since no company has yet demonstrated a great ability to make durable fat bike hubs maybe it makes sense to use up what I have, thereby kicking the can down the road and hoping that durability will be added to version 2 of their products. As long as I'm willing to walk a broken bike back to the car.

    I still have the Thudbuster from the Fandango so that could go on the Ventanna. It is a shame that those posts weigh so much and make strange noises.

    Say, on your build did the chainline work out well with the FSA crankset using the smaller ring as the drive? Also, can you tell what most limits tire width capacity? (chain rub, yoke, chain stays).

    Good luck on your trip. As an early adopter you have an obligation to break parts and and then warn us about how not to set up our tandems.
    I'd use what comes on the stock cranks, especially since they come with the cranks. A simple nylon hook is lightweight, we're using one of these:
    What Is A Jump Stop?

    The Fandango and Ventana have a different seat post size. The Jefe is 30.9

    There are some steel NW in the pipeline, but none available yet. You can get NW for a 64 BCD: XX1 STYLE - Shimano

    I used the Comets on a 190mm wheel set on my solo fatty, it worked fine, I rarely used the larger chainring. The cranks come with two 5mm spacers, you could always shift the cranks to one side or the other.

    Hubs on tandems suck, even good ones blow up, I'm not sure that any fat hub is up to the chore, but I think using the least expensive/least durable hub is a recipe for a short life. The pawls are the weak link, three pawls tear up fast even on solo bikes.

    If you spend money on one thing, spend it on the wheels, especially a good rear hub and strong rims.

    Addendum:

    We are trialing a new hub by Onyx Racing (Sprag Clutch), it has been used successfully in BMX racing, but it's new to MTB's. In theory it should be the answer to making a long lasting tandem hub, BUT we need to put it through some work outs before it becomes "the answer".

    What's your build timeline?

    Here's their website, for what it's worth: Onyx BMX Bike Hubs

    Here's another more "known" hub maker than builds a similar hub, but with a slightly different system (roller clutch): Home | True Precision Components

  33. #33
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    I may be wrong, but I believe Middleburn makes a NW steel ring. Surly also makes excellent steel rings (although not NW).

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    Correction. Middleburn is AL but have hardcoat option.

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    offtopic
    Last edited by ki5ka; 03-26-2015 at 07:44 PM. Reason: ot

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ki5ka View Post
    Look'n to do Sedona, Moab, Grand Junction next week too! Watch for an orange ecdm and an orange helmet on the capt.
    Be sure to post up about your Moab, Sedona Grand Junction trip (new thread though).

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    Got er done late last night, no real complications other than an axle fit issue on the rear hub (a little filing fixed that!)

    A couple things I noticed in comparison to the Fandango:

    The Jefe has a waaay slacker HA, by degrees, so the handling is very different, not necessarilly bad, I only had a very limited ride last night, so I can't say which I like better. The Fandango is quciker and handles better in slow speed tight maneuvers, but the Jefe seems to be more stable in a straight line (less twitchy). I'm running a 70mm stem, which has me stretched out an inch or so more than my typical fit, so I"ll drop to a 50mm tonight and see how the handling changes.

    The standover is better on a large Jefe than on a large Fandango, BUT, the stoker seat tube is lower, so my 5'10 bride has her Thudbuster nearly at full recommedned extension. The Large Jefe is not all that tall, the "large" aspect of the Jefe seems to be found in the reach. My wife reports feeling less like she's "up my butt" than on the Fandango For me, the reach seems about the same on the two tandems.

    The front end is also quite low in comparison to the Fandango, so I'm using a 20mm riser bar because my "used" Bluto was cut and only has ~20mm of extra steerer tube. I am looking to upgrade the Bluto to something more burly. The Bluto does flex more obviously than the WB Loop. It's not "scary", but I plan on being careful

    Both tandems have about the same wheel base with the Jefe rear dropouts moved all the way forward. I am running the Vee Rubber Fatty Trax 650b x 3.25 on Scrapers, at 20psi they measure out to 3.1". I have over a 1/2" of space between the tire and the chain stay bridge, at least 3/4 of an inch on either side.

    I'm running a Bluto 100mm, five volume spacers, 150psi. This appears to be about right when compared to the feel of a WB 100 at 120psi, though I am ready to pull a spacer if the ride is too firm. I still have lots of tweaking to do. We may get to ride a little tonight, but the real shake down will happen on Antelop Island on Saturday

    Gearing is 24 x 40, I have a 26 handy, but I don't think we'll use it since I'd rather be in my steel gears to limit strain on the Wolf Cog.

    All in all, I found the Jefe to a very high quality frame, super stiff, well designed, awesome drop outs, great fit and finish.

    Completed weight: 44.5#

    If we went rigid and dropped the Thudbuster we could approach 40#

    The El Gran Jefe Thread-kimg0851.jpg

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    The head angle contributes to what I would call under steer with is even more compounded by large 4.8 tires not bad or good just different then all our other tandems. The green looks good on the fat as well, we have a green 26" ECDM that may be a slightly different shade. Sherwood does nice powder coating for sure.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
    The head angle contributes to what I would call under steer with is even more compounded by large 4.8 tires not bad or good just different then all our other tandems. The green looks good on the fat as well, we have a green 26" ECDM that may be a slightly different shade. Sherwood does nice powder coating for sure.
    I'm contemplating an Angleset to reduce HA, just for giggles, but first I want to see how it handles at speed; a little less twitchiness would be welcome.

    The green is almost luminescent; it's the same color as shown on their fat bike (website photo).

  40. #40
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    Build Kit:
    Frame: Ventana El Jefe Frame, Large
    Fork: SRAM Rockshox Bluto 100mm, five bottomless tokens (had two tokens stock), 150psi

    Wheels:
    WTB Scraper i45
    Stans 20mm tubeless tape, Stan’s Universal tubeless valves, two scoops per wheel
    Onyx Racing Hubs, 150 x 15 TA / 177 x 12mm TA
    DT DB 14ga spokes, brass nips
    Vee Rubber Trax Fatty Tires, 650b x 3.25

    Drivetrain:
    X9 shifter and Type II Derailleur
    SRAM 10sp 11-36 cassette, Wolf Tooth 40t add a cog, 16t steel to replace (15/17)
    Race Face Turbine Cinch cranks with RF Cinch Spiders (64bcd/104bcd)
    Single Speed SS Timing Chain Rings, 32t
    Shimano Steel Chainring, 24t (optional 26t)
    SRAM 10sp drive chain, SRAM 9sp timing chain (1.5 chains required)
    Xpedo Spry Pedals
    Shimano cables and housing, full length,

    Brakes:
    Avid Speed Dial levers, TRP Spike Calipers, Hope 203mm floating rotors

    Cockpit:
    Large Thudbuster seat post 30.9mm
    Kore Twin Bolt Seat post 30.9
    Single bolt stock clamps (came with frame)
    Control Tech Oversized Stoker Stem,“beer can shim” to fit seat post.
    Terri Women’s Endurance Gel Saddle
    WTB Volt Men’s saddle
    Kore OCD 20mm Riser Bar 760mm (pilot), Kore Torsion flat bar 700mm (stoker)
    Ergo Grips
    And a little purple bell 

    Things I'd do differently next time:
    Get a custom crank set that allows left side timing, that way I could have a 2 x 10, maybe ISIS?
    Try an Angleset to increase HA...that'll come in time
    Get a Bluto with a longer steerer tube...or just get a better fork once a Pluto is available
    Maybe get Devinci to build me a fully suspended fat tandem!

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    Nicely done Ben.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
    We have two full suspension Ventana tandems for summer use.
    ...
    Last edited by ki5ka; 03-26-2015 at 07:45 PM.

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    I changed to a shorter stem (45mm from 70mm) and changed to a high rise bar (35mm from 20mm) and that corrected quite a bit of oversteer, but now I feel like I'm driving a bus

    In my experience,a shorter stem helps with oversteer and a lower bar height helps with stability, so with reduced oversteer I'll try dropping the bars a bit and see if I can get a more balanced feel; less like the bus. I may end up with a 60mm stem as a compromise.

    The 35mm riser bar places my grips about level with the seat. For perspective, I have a 32" inseam, the fork steer tube has about 20mm of spacers under the stem. I tend to like my bars on my solo bike a tad under the seat, but on a tandem I prefer the bars to be above the seat so I can get out over the front end and have a more relaxed upright body position; tandems are wonderful in that going over the bars is not a concern.

    I ordered an angleset, +1degree, to see what a steeper head angle will do for the ride.

    I'm so excited, we're loading up tonight, leaving early Saturday, planning to take a short ride at Antelope Island on Saturday evening before meeting the kids for dinner in SLC

    Not that Sherwood is looking for frame design ideas from an amateur, but I think he could reduce the TT by an inch (it's a pretty long TT), steepen the HA by a degree (more neutral, then adjust up or down with an angleset), and shorten the CS (there is a ton of room, the bent ST is not even close to touching, even with teh drops all the way forward), all of which which could get the wheelbase down a couple inches, ~70".

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Guys... quick question. I am running the 170/177 rear spacing. We are having some issues with the timing chain interfering with the chain stay (100mm spindle). Anyone have this issue? If so, how did you remedy?
    What do you mean?

    Is the timing chain hitting the chainstay? What size timing chainrings are you using? Is your timing chain run on the inside or outside of the spider? Can you post a pic?

    I have the same hub spacing, RF Cinch with 2 x spiders, timing chain running on the outside position, 32t steel single speed timing chainrings (no ramps), 9sp chain.

    Edit: I think you're running the timing chain on the inside if I'm reading your build thread correctly. Yeah, that may not be ideal, with the chainstay to chainring clearance typically deisgned to be fairly tight, adding a chain could cause some contact, esp when you start flexing the frame and cranks.

    The outside position works fine for timing, no different than a typical 2 x 10. You really don't need a bashguard since the chain is always on the outside chainring, which protects your legs; the bashguard also makes the cranks wider.

    You could go to a smaller inside ring, 20-22t, but it'll wear fast and it may start slipping due to not having enough chain wrap.

    Fun, fun, dontch' just love learning as we go

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    Thanks Ben... I believe my shop has it figured out. You are correct... we initially ran inner rings, but we will likely run the timing on the outer.
    All the parts are in... but one... that is holding up th entire build. Once she's together, I'll post up pics.

  46. #46
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    Chain stay clearance

    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    ...

    Not that Sherwood is looking for frame design ideas from an amateur, but I think he could reduce the TT by an inch (it's a pretty long TT), steepen the HA by a degree (more neutral, then adjust up or down with an angleset), and shorten the CS (there is a ton of room, the bent ST is not even close to touching, even with teh drops all the way forward), all of which which could get the wheelbase down a couple inches, ~70".
    See photo below regarding "a ton of room" and shortening the chain stay. Remember, it is actually a FAT BIKE frame!

    Although it is versatile and can be used 650b or even 29+ (which might also have some tight clearances), I would discourage him from shortening the chainstay, thus making the frame LESS versatile...

    just my .02 cents


    Not the best pic, but give you an idea of tire clearance.


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    The El Gran Jefe Thread-elgranjefe.jpg

    Just got ours built up last night.
    Build is as follows:
    Bluto fork
    Sram Guide brakes
    E13 captain cranks and Race Face Cinch stoker- both cranks only allow a chainring on the inside of the spider, so I have a 30t on the front and have stacked a 30t and 34t on the stoker. The 34 is on the outside of the 30 but is resting on the inside of the spider. It is VERY tight at the chainstay but no rub so far.
    11-36 10spd on the rear right now- will probably try out an IRD 11-42 as soon as the shop get them in.
    I'm sharing wheelsets with my Pivot Les Fat. Fat wheelset is Nextie 65mm carbon rim with CX Ray spokes on I9 hubs and Big Fat Larry 26x4.7. 29+ is Derby heavy duty 29X35mm carbon rim with CX ray rear/Sapim strong front on I9 hubs with either Knards or Chupacabras. I'm interested to see how both wheelsets hold up. We are pushing 340 lbs.

    The only issue is ebb adjustment. The E13 cranks and right side ebb bolts make it difficult to get a wrench in. I had to cut down a 5mm allen to fit it in with the cranks on.
    43 lbs and change. Would be around 40 set up 29+, 38 rigid 29+ for gravel.

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    As far as the eccentric you might consider a Bushnell as the adjustment is much easier from either side and they are now making them in 100mm. We have them on all of our other tandems and I think they are superior to one that came with the frame

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    Quote Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
    As far as the eccentric you might consider a Bushnell as the adjustment is much easier from either side and they are now making them in 100mm. We have them on all of our other tandems and I think they are superior to one that came with the frame
    Thanks for the tip! If the stock ebb becomes an issue we'll try it out.

  50. #50
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    We just got back from the "Jefe spring break". We rode in four states, drove over three thousand miles, didn't break anything (bike or body), and the only trouble we had was a bad truck battery at the City of Rocks; not the best place to get stuck.

    City of Rocks, Equestrian Trail: Rode up to the Bread Loaves, fifteen miles round trip, mixed dirt, rock, sand. Climbed ~2k. Tough ride, still hadn't figured out the bike handling, cockpit was cramped, fork was too stiff.

    Fruita, 18North: Kessel Run up, Zippity Do Da down, lots of swooping on the downhill, some rock tech onthe way up, firm dirt mostly, some silt and sand. It was a short ride, I'd spen the day on Lunch Loops riding solo, we were till getting used to the set up. Ride got better as we changed the pilot stem for more length and height, further reduced fork pressure.

    Klondike North, Moab: This was our big ride, six hours, started with an out and back on Dino, then rode out to the truck to "find the dog", started the second time out on Agate and Jasper, worked our way out to Jurassic, then started onto the rock at Baby Steps Loop, Insteps, Baby Steps, Little Salty, UFO, then back to the car on Dino. If you know these trails, they are anything but flat! Tons of rock, classic Moab, lots of tough transitions, tons of pedal strikes. I feel like we got the bike pretty much set up as best we can, higher pressure helped with front tire drag.

    Marlton Trail (sp?), near Tumalo State Park, Bend: Classic Bend riding, fast and flowy, silty with some sand, nice way to end the week, four hours of riding along the river.

    Overall the Jefe met my expectations, the frame is very stiff, the 650b+ wheel size was just right (not too wide, just wide enough), the only limittaions were the handling quirks inherent in riding fat tires and having a slack HT.

    The Onyx hubs are amazing, very smooth, super fast engagement, so far they are bomber. I would say that for hub breakers this could be the ticket, but we need more time to make a final conclusion.

    The Wolf 40t big cog was very solid, no skipping and no unusual wear. It rode like it was designed to be part of the cassette.

    I ran a 24t steel Shimano chanin ring for the final drive, we did not drop a chain the whole trip, including six hours of rock descents at Klondike (Moab), that's without a chain keeper.

    The Vee Rubber Fatty Trax were a nice all around tire, they were at their best on slick rock and firm dirt, they were at their worst in loose silt and sand, so pretty much what I'd expect from that type of tire. The Trax provided a nice balance of comfort, traction, and speed. For all of the riding we did I ran the Trax at 20psi, this reduced burps and quickened handling. Tubeless was great, we burped a bunch I generally run tubes on our tandem and tubeless on bikes and munis, so the burping was excessive in this comparison, but we never came close to losing the bead.

    I swapped stems and bars a bunch as I tweaked the cockpit, ultimately I went with an 80mm stem with a medium rise, which set the grips just a tad lower than the seat. The bars I wanted to use were a low rise, but to make up for the short head tube/low stack I had to use a 35mm rise.

    The handling was a challenge, the fat tires were slow and grabby, which when combined with a slack tube, made for interesting times at Moab. In a straight line, the Jefe did well, though it was very sensitive to body english; counter steering skills were essential.

    I am waiting on a CK Angleset +1degree, which will steepen the head angle appreciably, and hopefully quicken the handling. I woudl not wantt o further slacken the HA on the Jefe, being slack does not have the same "benefits" as you might experience on a solo bike because you can't manual.

    The Bluto did amazing, it didn't break, it didn't blow a seal, and it really helped cushion the ride BUT it flexes like crazy!. At times it was unnerving to watch the stanchions flex over drops. In all truth, the Jefe needs a burlier fork, but it'll work for now. Team weight is ~350#, I ran five tokens, stock oil, and found 130psi to be about right. I think 100mm is the sweet spot, this is what we run on our Fandango, any more travel and it would just change the handling for the worse and cause more bobbing and pedal strikes.


    The rest of the build was great, all I'd change is to shorten the stoker cranks to 160mm to reduce pedal strikes; she has 170mm now, steepen the head angle, maybe get a more aggressive tire, and get a beefier fork. I am also looking at reducing rotor size to 180mm, in part so these wheels can be used on my Foes Mutz, but also due to having to mess with bent rotors, and bvecause I just don't know that they are necessary.
    City of Rocks
    The El Gran Jefe Thread-kimg0856-1.jpg

    Klondike North
    The El Gran Jefe Thread-kimg0881-1.jpg

    Bend
    The El Gran Jefe Thread-kimg0893-1-1-1.jpg
    Last edited by Nurse Ben; 04-06-2015 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Add info and pics

  51. #51
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    Well yeah, because your drops are all the way forward!

    What I'm saying is that the clearance is too much with a 26 x 4 and a 650b+ (which is taller than a typical 24 x 4), I had my drops all the way forward and still had an inch of clearance, which translates to ~2" with the drops all the way back.

    He could also bend the seat post tube some more and really tuck the wheel under the stoker cuz there ain't no risk of wheelies

    Quote Originally Posted by ds2199 View Post
    See photo below regarding "a ton of room" and shortening the chain stay. Remember, it is actually a FAT BIKE frame!

    Although it is versatile and can be used 650b or even 29+ (which might also have some tight clearances), I would discourage him from shortening the chainstay, thus making the frame LESS versatile...

    just my .02 cents


    Not the best pic, but give you an idea of tire clearance.


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    Ben, I have yet to find a Vee tire I've liked. You confirmed that in your ride report. Too bad there's a very limited supply of 'fat' 650b tires available today. Heck, finding 29+ tires are still a challenge. But the market is finally starting to see more choices.
    When it comes time to build a summer wheelset, I think I may lean towards 29+.

  53. #53
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    I was out bikepacking the last four days on single fat bikes and one guy was riding 27.5 Hugo rims with Vees that were labeled 3.25 wide (tubeless). He was riding the steep downhills fast and with confidence while I was warming the brakes and struggling with the loose cobbles on my Nates. We were each loaded with about 25 pounds of gear. Both on rigid frames. He sure trusted those tires to hold tight on the crud. He even (inadvertently) pulled off a front end wheelie But he is young and I'm not.

  54. #54
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    Nah, they're fine tires, they really shine on rock and firm single tracks, even wet stuff was fine. They're not quite as compliant and grippy when things get loose like on sand and gravel, but they did float quite a bit better than the Ardent 2.4's that we run on the Fandango.

    If we replace them, I'd go with a nobbier tire that still has a centerline, but nothing with a wimpier sidewall as that big volume really moves around a lot as it is.

    I don't know that I'd go with a 29+, that market tends to have tires with the wimpiest sidewalls, likely for weight savings. Also, the 29+ is going to be super tall and flexy. The 650b+ Trax Fatty is ~1/2" taller than a 26 x 3.8 Nate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Ben, I have yet to find a Vee tire I've liked. You confirmed that in your ride report. Too bad there's a very limited supply of 'fat' 650b tires available today. Heck, finding 29+ tires are still a challenge. But the market is finally starting to see more choices.
    When it comes time to build a summer wheelset, I think I may lean towards 29+.

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    I'd love to see a 650b Dirt Wizard.

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    I just noticed you are a "Wallowa" biker. Where do you live? We're in Wenatchee. Once you get your tandem built, we should do a group ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrusc View Post
    I was out bikepacking the last four days on single fat bikes and one guy was riding 27.5 Hugo rims with Vees that were labeled 3.25 wide (tubeless). He was riding the steep downhills fast and with confidence while I was warming the brakes and struggling with the loose cobbles on my Nates. We were each loaded with about 25 pounds of gear. Both on rigid frames. He sure trusted those tires to hold tight on the crud. He even (inadvertently) pulled off a front end wheelie But he is young and I'm not.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    I just noticed you are a "Wallowa" biker. Where do you live? We're in Wenatchee. Once you get your tandem built, we should do a group ride.
    I now live in Spokane, Washington, but until half a year ago lived in Enterprise, Oregon. I was bikepacking just south of you in the Quilomene wildlife refuge last week and also the weekend before. What an amazing and rugged place. Would like to meet up sometime for a tandem ride. Have a Fandango for now but working on getting a fat bike tandem. The Quilomene is demanding -- probably only a fat bike would do it justice. Or prevent me from getting a dope-slap from my stoker.

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    This looks promising... and will be offered in 650b. Product Spotlight ? Vittoria Bomboloni 29×3.0 | FAT-BIKE.COM

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    Yeah, they all look promising, then you mount them up and the sidewalls are to thin.

    Tandems need beef, more so with a fat tire, the abrasion and the weight are so much higher than on a solo bike. For example, someone recently cut the center of their Fat B Nimble on a solo bike while going over some sharp rocks. I rode the Trax Fatty over knife edged rocks, off drops onto sharp rocks, and didn't even come close to cutting the casing.

    I woudln't touch a tire for a fat tandem that had a casing less less burly than the Trax Fatty. When I get my 26" wheels built, they'll be getting Floaters, another Vee Rubber Product with a kevlar casing and burl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    This looks promising... and will be offered in 650b. Product Spotlight ? Vittoria Bomboloni 29×3.0 | FAT-BIKE.COM

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    Did you get your slack HA figured out? With a stiff leg fork would that correct the angle enough? Any updates for us? Not sure which direction to go with frames, Jefe or custom. If custom I have the opportunity to correct what you have been pointing out. The downside is unproven and higher cost less to spend on quality components....we are thinking 26" wheels and a single speed for beaching it then throw a 10 cassette on the back for trails. Updates and thoughts are appreciated.

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    Still waiting on the headset, they are out of stock. I'm fairly savvy at set up and figuring HTA, I've been playing with this stuff a lot as of late. To me the Fandango (72deg) was a little steep, so the goal is to get the Jefe (70deg) right in the middle: 71deg.

    You can use a Cane Creek Anglset to add up to 1.5degrees of HTA.

    Eyeballing the Jefe next to my other bikes and tandem, it looks a lot slacker than 71deg... so maybe it's the Bluto fork?

    Also, I think the tire friction contributes to the slack feeling, just like on a fat solo bike.

    I think a stiffer fork would help a lot, but it would not correct the slack HTA.

    I know folks are running longer travel forks on their tandems. I run 140mm on my 29er and 120mm on my FS Fat Bike (in process), but I don't think I'd want more travel than 100mm on a tandem, I don't like having huge swings in my geometry when carrying so much weight and inertia, nor do I want to further slacken the HTA.

    I can't imagine riding it SS, though I have ridden a city tandem around a beach town with one gear; I imagine you want SS so you don't run a derraileur?? Switching back and forth would be more of a chore than doing a little clean up after a ride. The 1 x 10 works great, 24 x 40 is just about perfect for steeps when rough running. A Rohloff would be nice if you can spend the cash, belt drive if it could take the torque

    You could call and talk to Sherwood, see what he thinks. Like I was saying earlier, I'd like to see a more neutral HTA that would allow folks to go plus or minus on HTA based on their needs.

    So it depends on what you plan to ride, dirt, rock, snow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnbonn View Post
    Did you get your slack HA figured out? With a stiff leg fork would that correct the angle enough? Any updates for us? Not sure which direction to go with frames, Jefe or custom. If custom I have the opportunity to correct what you have been pointing out. The downside is unproven and higher cost less to spend on quality components....we are thinking 26" wheels and a single speed for beaching it then throw a 10 cassette on the back for trails. Updates and thoughts are appreciated.
    Last edited by Nurse Ben; 04-13-2015 at 01:03 PM.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by ds2199 View Post
    Well now that Sherwood has made the El Gran Jefe happen (thank you Sherwood for making such awesome tandem frames!), it's time for the El Gran Jefe thread.

    I suppose we'll need to start with the usual. What's your build? Throw in some pics. Then we can add all the banter about what's working and what we plan to upgrade or change.

    Here's our build:
    Small Ventana el Gran Jefe / Raw Aluminum color
    150 / 197 thru axles
    Industry nine hubs Nextie 90 mm Wild dragon carbon rims running tubeless
    Bud & Lou tires
    11-42 Sram cassette with Wolftooth conversion
    1x10 with 28t tooth chainring Race face ride cinch cranks 190mm spacing right side drive and RF Bash guards (FR & RR)
    Easton Carbon bars low rise (FR) High rise (RR)
    Control tech Stoker stem
    Thompson (FR) & Niner (RR) seat posts
    Wtb Rocket V (FR) & Terry Liberator Gel (RR)
    TRP Spyke brakes 203 Shimano rotors, Avid Speed Dial Levers
    Sram XO Shifter
    Sram XO, type 2 rear derailleur
    10sp chains all around
    RS Bluto fork with cane creek headset, I will likely test out a rigid fork as well.

    During our ride today
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    After our first ride (night ride)
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    Action shots from Saturday's rideClick image for larger version. 

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    DS can you give us an update. How was the rigid fork thoughts and differences? Have you ridden it in any other conditions? Is this your only tandem if you have others how would you compare them? Anything you would change or do different? Hearing the HTA is slack are you finding the same true does the rigid fork help the situation? What rigid fork are you using? Thank you

  63. #63
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    Large Ventana el Gran Jefe / white color
    150 / 177 thru axles
    Industry nine hubs & spokes mated to Whisky carbon hoops
    45NTH VanHelga Skins (set-up tubeless)
    Magura MT5 Next Brakes mated to 203mm rotors
    Whisky Carbon Bars
    Ergon Grips
    Thomson Captain Stem 90mm
    Control tech Stoker stem
    Loaded Precision seat posts & collars
    WTB Pure V Saddles
    XTR Rear Derailleur
    XTR Shifter
    XTR 11sp. Cassette
    Middleburn Cranks/BBs
    11sp chains drive and timing
    RS Bluto fork
    Chris King headset

    Here's the link to photos. Can't wait to ride this thing with my boys!
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/665982...h/17011800608/
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails The El Gran Jefe Thread-dsc_0307.jpg  

    Last edited by Bacons; 04-19-2015 at 04:58 PM.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnbonn View Post
    DS can you give us an update. How was the rigid fork thoughts and differences? Have you ridden it in any other conditions? Is this your only tandem if you have others how would you compare them? Anything you would change or do different? Hearing the HTA is slack are you finding the same true does the rigid fork help the situation? What rigid fork are you using? Thank you
    I did not try the rigid fork. Planned on using a carbon fork from Borealis, but the Bluto works just fine, so I did not.

    We own 2 other mtb tandems. A Fandango and a Ventana ECDM 29. I have not ridden the El Gran Jefe on on anything except snow. I have bikes to ride on dirt, so I have not tried to make the El Gran Jefe into an all purpose bike. We are riding the Bud an Lou tires and I just don't see the point in riding on dirt. Those tires are pretty slow and would make for an expensive flat if we were to get a side wall cut.

    I did not really notice the HTA. I guess the steering is a little slow, but I chalked it up to the big tires on snow.

    It is not fair to compare the other tandems. They all have their purpose, I guess that is why we own so many of them.

    NurseBen got me thinking of what I would go with if I could only have one. At first I though it might be a 29+, but I think we would miss the full suspension 29 the most because of the type of riding we do.

    Sorry for my non-answer to your questions.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Large Ventana el Gran Jefe / white color
    150 / 177 thru axles
    Industry nine hubs & spokes mated to Whisky carbon hoops
    45NTH VanHelga Skins (set-up tubeless)
    Magura MT5 Next Brakes mated to 203mm rotors
    Whisky Carbon Bars
    Ergon Grips
    Thomson Captain Stem 90mm
    Control tech Stoker stem
    Loaded Precision seat posts & collars
    WTB Pure V Saddles
    XTR Rear Derailleur
    XTR Shifter
    XTR 11sp. Cassette
    Middleburn Cranks/BBs
    11sp chains drive and timing
    RS Bluto fork
    Chris King headset

    Here's the link to photos. Can't wait to ride this thing with my boys!
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/665982...h/17011800608/
    I just looked at the photos on flicker. WOW!!! VERY nice bike! The attention to detail and choice of components/colors of parts is awesome! I am glad that ours is already built, or I may have had to re-think some things...

  66. #66
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    Thanks DS. And thanks again to you, Ben, AK for advice and feedback on this build. It turned out better than I could have imagined.
    Had a chance to weigh it last night... 42lb.7oz.

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    We love our Jefe, though I am still going to play with an Angleset once it goes back into production; CC is behind schedule on some parts...

    The Bluto has a lot of flex and the fat tires have a lot of cushion, which I think feeds back into the "normal" tandem rhythm, so we "dance" a bit more on the Jefe than on the Fandango.

    I ended up gradually extending the stem, so now I'm at 100mm/7deg rise which has reduced some of the work, but I still find the Jefe to have a tendency to wander. I think a steeper HTA will help; and of course a stiffer fork.

    No gear failures to date other than tearing some pins out of the pedals with rock strikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Thanks DS. And thanks again to you, Ben, AK for advice and feedback on this build. It turned out better than I could have imagined.
    Had a chance to weigh it last night... 42lb.7oz.

  68. #68
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    Has anyone run on hardpack singletrack yet? Curious on tire pressure. On my 'regular' fat I run 7psi front, 9 rear. (I am 210lbs. kitted up). So on the Jefé I will have an extra 100~150lbs. of rider. I know I will need to adjust pressure based on the load. I purposely went with the 60TPI VH over the more supple version... beefier sidewall.

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    Dirt single track? Umm, that's all we've run

    We run 20psi on the Trax Fatty, which is comparable in a "squeeze check" to an Ardent 2.4 running 22-24psi. I've thought about running a lower pressure, but the "cushion" is so much better than the Ardents that I've been leaving it alone. Evan in loose stuff the fatter tires hook up better at high pressure than an Ardent running lower pressure (18psi).

    Running tubeless you need to have enough pressure to keep the tire seated. We have had zero problems with "tire roll off" or serious air loss, but we do squirt sealant on hard hits. A day at Moab and we squirted sealant a dozen times, though we didn't lose more than a few psi. This is running a Trax Fatty 3.25" tire on a 50mm rim.

    In terms of fat tires just being fat, they have a lot my friction; and you can't manual or lean/pull back to lighten the load as you can on a solo bike, so running higher pressures reduces the resistance to turning, which can be an issue on certain surfaces (slick rock). I think I'd start high, higher than you'd run on a solo fat bike, then back it off and see how it feels. You may find that the tire "structure" determines low pressure use; i.e. a tire with a soft sidewall will need more pressure to prevent fold and "squirm".

    I don't know the Van Helgas, but I know the Larry, Devast8er, Floater, Nate, Mission, Snowshoe. If I was running a Floater which has a burly sidewall, I'd be comfortable running low to mid teens, whereas the Larry which has a lighter sidewall would be more in the upper teens. Is the Van Helga 60tpi similar to the Nate and Larry 60tpi?

    I'd start with a "squeeze check" that feels like a typical mtb tire pressure you'd run on firm single track, so maybe 15psi, which seems high, BUT it beats walking home

    Can you get the tire to reseat on the trail with a hand pump?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    Has anyone run on hardpack singletrack yet? Curious on tire pressure. On my 'regular' fat I run 7psi front, 9 rear. (I am 210lbs. kitted up). So on the Jefé I will have an extra 100~150lbs. of rider. I know I will need to adjust pressure based on the load. I purposely went with the 60TPI VH over the more supple version... beefier sidewall.

  70. #70
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    Thanks Ben... good feedback.
    I'll give it a start at about 20lbs. and go down from there.
    The good news is the VH's were developed with the Whisky Rim. They are 45NRTH's first TLR fat tire. Needless to say it's a very nice marriage. It was a snap to seat the bead. Nonetheless, I will also carry a spare tube any time we head out.

  71. #71
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    Wow that is one nice lookin' Rig Congrats!!

  72. #72
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    We finally got the Jefe on trails we rode a lot on teh Fandango, so have more feedback on handling "comparisons":

    The area we ride is a Coulee, lots of lava rock, loose rock, and sandy soil, varies from narrow twisty single track to rolling double tracks, mostly flat so we can focus on riding fast and smooth.

    My wife noticed a significnat improvement in comfort with a fatter tire. We did a four hour loop that woudl have left her complaining of "butt pain" on the Fandango, but on the Jefe she had no complaint yesterday or today.

    I played with tire pressure, dropping down from 20psi to about 15psi. This noticeabley improved ride comfort on both ends without causing excessive "squirt" and with not obvious increase in sidewall "squirrellyness". I was a bit leery to go with lower pressures tubeless for fears of losing a bead, but now I'm ready to start messing around to see :how low, can we go?"

    I am running a 100mm stem and I moved the seat forward a bit, this seemed to settle down the wander and it made more room for my wife I also played with narrowing the bars and decided that 760mm is too much; I think it contributes to some of teh steering issues such as exageratted corrections, so I'll gradually take it down to 720mm and see how that rides.

    The Angleset is still on order, once it arrivesI'll be looking for the sweet spot.

    Once thing I know for sure, the Bluto is way to flexy for a 350# team. It works, it hasn't failed, but we need better.

  73. #73
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    I'm going to start building up a EGJ next week and plan to set it up 650B plus for mainly steep rough backroads and moderate single track. Rider weight is under 300 lbs. with gear. Our current tandem is a Santana Smooth Frankenbike with On One non-tandem rated carbon fork and big Hope brakes, and it is way scary due to frame and fork flex under heavy breaking. Not surprising as the bike was never intended for this type of riding.

    I'm wanting a suspension fork and gather that the RS Bluto is adequate but not ideal, due to flex, which I really want to avoid. I am considering using the Carver Trans-Fat inverted fork instead.
    Trans-Fat Fork - Carver Bikes
    Any thoughts?

  74. #74
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    One more interesting fork option. 34mm stanchion and 110 hub seem good.
    Plus Sized Gets Squishy with New Manitou Magnum Pro, Sun Ringle Plus Rims and Hubs

  75. #75
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    The Carver will not be any burlier than a Bluto, they have the same 32mm stanchions.

    A burlier fork(s) is coming with a 150mm spacing, it's just not here yet; if it was I'd buy one.

    The Bluto works, but it's a noodle, so it will "inch worm" during a ride. A cheap temporary route would be to buy a burly steel fork, but the pilot would get hammered.

    The biggest challenge with riding the Jefe on dirt is that the front end tends to wander when climbing, not unlike a solo bike with a slack HTA.

    We did get the Angle Set, I isntalled it last week, but it didn't work out quite as expected. The only option is an external cup and it was a maximum of +1 deg. The external cup added ~10mm of height which is the same as decreasing HTA by 0.5 deg, so we only slackened the HTA by a half of a degree. It did help, but it was insignfiicnat, and it cost me $160.

    The next step for us is reducing the Bluto to 80mm, this will end up putting the front end ~10mm lower than "stock". I don't anticipate this being a problem with pedal strike as we don't generally use all of our suspension unless we're dropping off ledges.

    Our team weight is 350#, Bluto at 100mm, I'm running ~150psi and four tokens, this seems to be a good balance of stiffness without being harsh.

    At speed the Jefe bounces. We're running Trax Fatty 3.25" tires. I may go to a 2.8-3" tire later this summer to calm the bounce. Rear suspension would also calm the bounce, but Sherwood told me I was dreaming

    You could build a wheel with a 110mm hub, but those forks may not be available any time soon, so really the choice is rigid or Bluto.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanduro View Post
    I'm going to start building up a EGJ next week and plan to set it up 650B plus for mainly steep rough backroads and moderate single track. Rider weight is under 300 lbs. with gear. Our current tandem is a Santana Smooth Frankenbike with On One non-tandem rated carbon fork and big Hope brakes, and it is way scary due to frame and fork flex under heavy breaking. Not surprising as the bike was never intended for this type of riding.

    I'm wanting a suspension fork and gather that the RS Bluto is adequate but not ideal, due to flex, which I really want to avoid. I am considering using the Carver Trans-Fat inverted fork instead.
    Trans-Fat Fork - Carver Bikes
    Any thoughts?

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC Mike View Post
    Wow that is one nice lookin' Rig Congrats!!
    Thanks Mike!

  77. #77
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    I went to the MTB Tandem website and looked over the specs for the Jefe; Ventana still hasn't posted anything for the Jefe, and the recommended fork length is 483mm with a 51mm offset.

    According to SRAM, the Bluto has a 51mm offset:
    80mm travel, 491 fork length
    100mm travel, 511 fork length
    120mm travel, 531mm fork lenth

    A 100mm Bluto fork decreases HTA by a degree depending on sag, whcih woudl explin some of the handling issues.

    Next step: reducing the Bluto to 80mm!

    I'm also considering getting a Surly ICT fork which has a fork length of 487mm and a 47mm offset. I would expect that fork to be stiffer than a Bluto, and it does have the correct length, but I'd hate to lose the suspension.

  78. #78
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    Ben... use Bluto in summer... move to rigid in the Winter.
    I am hopeful by this fall we will see a few more fork options for our Jefés.

  79. #79
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    As Dan and I have said I think this bike is going to be hard to make it as a one bike quiver.. We really liked it in the winder with a rigid carbon fork but get on the full suspension ECDM for the summer months. It is fun to watch everyone work to get it to work well and everyone is having some success. Keep on the quest. BTW Oneupusa racks allow our Jefe to fit in their tandem roof rack with the fat tire kit.

  80. #80
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    Though it's not ideal, we do like the Jefe, I think t's just going to be a matter of trying things over time, getting the HA steepened, a stiffer fork, maybe stiffer riding tires.

    I like the idea of having two tandems, but we just can't afford to have that much wrapped up in bikes, maybe if we rode the tandem more often; we ride two to three times a month during the high season.

    In time I'd like to angle toward a De Vinci custom FS with a wide BB (83 or 100), steep HTA, 120mm suspension, a wide rear triangle, and independent pedaling, this would give us the best of all worlds and I could have three wheel sets (26 x 4, 650 x 3, and 29 x 3).

    Swapping forks to an 80mm Bluto this week, ride impressions to follow.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Though it's not ideal, we do like the Jefe, I think t's just going to be a matter of trying things over time, getting the HA steepened, a stiffer fork, maybe stiffer riding tires.

    I like the idea of having two tandems, but we just can't afford to have that much wrapped up in bikes, maybe if we rode the tandem more often; we ride two to three times a month during the high season.

    In time I'd like to angle toward a De Vinci custom FS with a wide BB (83 or 100), steep HTA, 120mm suspension, a wide rear triangle, and independent pedaling, this would give us the best of all worlds and I could have three wheel sets (26 x 4, 650 x 3, and 29 x 3).

    Swapping forks to an 80mm Bluto this week, ride impressions to follow.
    I like where your head is at on this. I also get that most people can't afford to have multiple tandems. I also believe that Da Vinci makes incredible machines. You'll have to see if they'd be interested in such a build. I am not sure if they've even done 29ers. I know they have done some sweet 650b builds (and I know of one in particular that is drool worthy).

    I still think you'll likely end up with a bike that is "pretty ok" and capable for lots of different types of terrain. Maybe not a bike that is outstanding for specific types of riding like XC, or technical trails, or snow.

    Kinda like having a leatherman. It is really handy and I use it a lot. But I will go for a proper knife, screwdriver etc. when I have the choice.

  82. #82
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    We swapped forks last night, we're now running an 80mm Bluto with four tokens at 150psi, Angleset with +10deg. The HTA is now clearly steeper than my other bikes (Atlas, Taro).

    Due to the Angleset adding 10mm of "lift" in the front end, the change with the Angleset is more like +0.5 degrees. Total changein HTA is ~+1.5 degrees.

    The boom height at the pilot's BB is still about 1/2" greater than at the stoker's BB. What I notced most with these changes is that the bar height has dropped significantly.

    I think this frame could be redesigned to place the HT higher on the frame, this would serve multiple purposes:

    First it would allow for a longer fork (100-120mm) which is more typical of the fork offerings we should expect down the road.
    Second it would allow for a higher bar position without having to use extreme riser bars or riser stems.
    Third it would allow for a steeper head angle.

    I'd like to see frames designed around the use of an Angleset, which would allow the end user to increase or decrease HTA based on fork choices and personal preference. Note that Cane Creek Anglesets are external cup design whcih increases stack by about 10mm if the stock cup is internal.

    I may not get a trial ride until next weekend, unless I can convince my wife to ride midweek after work. This weekend I'm building a pergola, yeah!

    Edit 5/19/15:

    Tonight is the night, we're gonna see if going to an 80mm fork makes a difference in the "wanderlust" of the front wheel. Strangely, the Ventana fat solo bike is also spec'd for an 80mm fork...

    I am also starting my Mutz build; full suspension fat bike, and I'm thinking about a 29+ wheel build. The Jefe will definitely have space for the tires, but the Mutz is pretty tight; 1/2" with 29 x 2.4Ardent. I'm thinking same rims and hubs, possibly a Maxxis Chronicle or a Surly Dirt Wizard.
    Last edited by Nurse Ben; 05-19-2015 at 08:40 AM.

  83. #83
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    Boom baby!

    The 80mm fork totally changed the handling on the Jefe. Granted, fat tires still have issues due to their size, such as being sluggish and bouncy, but now the bike handles much better, it more predictable, and there is less front end wandering.

    Here's where I am:

    80mm Bluto, four volume spacers, and 150psi, external cup Angleset +0.5 deg (+1deg cup, -0.5deg for 10mm increase in stack).


    Here's where I'm going:

    At 100mm, four volume spacers, and 140-150psi I tended to use all but the last 10-15mm or travel. On the 80mm fork I am using all of the travel; I may be bottoming out but I have not felt it.

    I added a fifth volume spacer last night, pumped the Bluto up to 150psi, and it felt a little more progressive, but it still seems like we'll use up all the travel, so I may add a sixth. Is there a limit to how many volume spacers can be used??

    All in all changing to the 80mm Bluto was a game changer for me. I had become a bit disenchanted with the handling; had started kicking myself for not get an ECDM, but now I feel like the handling is where it should be for the type of suspension and tires were are using.

    We still get a significant amount of bounce, which is really more a tire issue than frame or suspension flex. I think a stiffer fork would further reduce the "inchworm" effect, however I cam not confident that a stiffer fork will become available in 80mm.

    If I could provide feedback to Sherwood on the Jefe frame or if someone is looking at a custom frame build:

    Build the frame around an external cup Angleset with the cup set at zero degrees, running a 100-120mm fork, with a net HTA of 71.5 degrees (stock is 70.3 with an internal cup headset).

    The Anglesets can slacken the HTA by 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 degrees, but they can only increase the HTA by 0.5 or 1.0 degree. I'm not sure why that's the case, but this was how my Angleset was delivered.

    I think it's important that frames be designed around the type of forks we can expect to see in the next few years. No one is going to build a burly 80mm fork and it's not always possible to reduce a 100, 120, 140 travel fork to 80mm. The standard is 120mm, but even 100mm would make more sense.

    EDIT: I spoke with SRAM about the volume spacers and the maximum is FOUR in a Bluto fork due to travel limitations. However, they said that I could run the fork up to 200psi, so I'll go back to four spacers and stiffen her up a little.
    Last edited by Nurse Ben; 05-22-2015 at 02:45 PM.

  84. #84
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    The parts are coming together for the EGF so I thought I'd post the basics.
    We wil use Hope 4 piston brakes off our existing tandem.
    We are a team weight of 280lbs with gear, and plan to ride rough steep backroads and moderate singeltrack. Wish us luck.

    VENTANA EL GRAN JEFE TANDEM FRAME S/M Grinch Green

    ROHLOFF SPEEDHUB 500 XL, 170mm

    MANITOU MAGNUM BOOST FORK 10mm travel, 34mm stanchions, 48mm offest

    RENTHAL FATBAR 30MM RISE

    RENTHAL FATBAR LITE 30MNM RISE

    CC BAR ENDS

    CANE CREEK THUDBUSTER LT 30.9

    THOMSON ELITE SEAT POST 30.9

    30.9 - 31.6 SHIM

    TERRY LIBERATOR Y SADDLE

    TERRY LIBERATOR X SADDLE

    VEE TRAX FATTY 27.5X3.25 FOLDING TIRES

    THOMSON X4 MOUNTAIN STEM 70MM 10DEG

    JAGWIRE TANDEM SHIFTER CABLE

    WTB SCRAPER 27.5 RIMS

    DT SWISS COMPETITION SPOKES 64

    DT SWISS PRO LOCK NIPPLES BRASS 64

    ROHLOFF OEM2 AXLE PLATE

    MONKEYBONE 180MM

    ESI CHUNKY GRIPS BLACK

    +10MM BRAKE ADAPTER

    CONTROL TECH TANDEM STOKER STEM 31.8/31.6 190-230MM

    HOPE EVO BOOST FRONT HUB

    HOPE 175MM FAT CRANK

    HOPE 170MM FAT CRANK WITH SPIDER

    HOPE THREADED BB

    HOPE DIRECT MOUNT CHAIN RING 32T

    HOPE 104BCD CHAIN RING 32T

    HOPE 104BCD CHAIN RING 36T

    HOPE ROHLOFF ROTOR 203MM

  85. #85
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    @ Tanduro:

    The Trax Fatty 3.25 is a true 3.25, so it's really not much smaller than a typical 4" tire (3.7-3.8"). I found the Trax Fatty 3.25 to be quite bouncy at speed, so we will probably go down a size (3" or 2.8") or switch to a slightly less voluminous tire like the WTB.

    Have you thought about seeing if Sherwood will do a custom head tube or are you going to take your chances on the 100mm fork? If you do a custom, you could spec it for a 120mm fork

  86. #86
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    We've got the frame, so there will be no custom angles. I'm pretty used to a slack HT angle on my trail bike and bouncy tires on my fatty, so we'll just have to see how it feels and adjust from there. Everything has it's pros and cons. May drop the fork to 80mm as you've done or consider an angle set if it is still too floppy. That's the thing with building up a tandem it seems, not much chance to test ride the different options. I'm sure it will be light years beyond our current fully rigid Santana Smooth, so all should be good.

  87. #87
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    I'm curious to see how that fork works for you. I'll admit I was tempted to go that route, though it would require a hub swap. I'm hoping a burlier fat fork will come out soon. Ultimately I want three wheelsets (26 x 4, 650 x 3, 29 x 3) that I can swap between the FS fat bike and the Jefe.

    All in all the Jefe is a pretty nice tandem, it has not required much work other than cleaning the weeds out of the chainrings and lubing the chain. The EBB has been great, I only had to adjust it once after the initial break in. I thought I'd miss the second chain ring, but on our most recent "lap" we were on the road for a few miles and the 26 x 11-40 was plenty. My dog loves the five water bottle mounts.

    I told my wife that a custom FS fat tandem was on my five year plan

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanduro View Post
    We've got the frame, so there will be no custom angles. I'm pretty used to a slack HT angle on my trail bike and bouncy tires on my fatty, so we'll just have to see how it feels and adjust from there. Everything has it's pros and cons. May drop the fork to 80mm as you've done or consider an angle set if it is still too floppy. That's the thing with building up a tandem it seems, not much chance to test ride the different options. I'm sure it will be light years beyond our current fully rigid Santana Smooth, so all should be good.

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    I'll post a photo and give a report when we get it built up and ride a little. I tormented over the fork choosing between the RS Bluto, the Carver Trans Fat, and the Manitou Magnum. I love my RS Pike and Carver's inverted design was intriguing, but ultimately went with the larger stanchion Manitou, as fork flex has been a real problem on our current bike. I have always been a fan of hardtail, but it's hard to argue with a back shock in the right conditions. Good thing my wife if very tough. Seriously I like your wheel idea. It would be cost prohibitive with the Rolloff, so we went midsize, but it gives you lots of options with conventional wheels.

  89. #89
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    Hey all,
    I just ordered a Ventana EGJ frame and intend on using it with a 29+ wheelset...I am hoping to get some help on what might be a good rigid fork that would work well with this tandem. I have checked on the MRP (formerly white bros) snowpack fork, a surly ice cream truck fork but everyone states that they're not "tandem rated", but I'm guessing the RS Bluto isn't either, so not sure if I'm risking anything by putting one these I mentioned on it. I guess I should state that while I like the idea of a sus fork, I'm not sold on the fat sus forks yet...seems like we'll see plenty of other options coming and I hate being an "early adopter." Anyways, any guidance on a readily available 135mm compatible fork would be much appreciated.
    -VeloRyan-

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    Ryan

    I might well be wrong, but I'm not sure a 29+ will fit. We are building ours up with 650B+, about the diameter of a standard 29er. Two thoughts on forks. We built another tandem up with what we thought was a pretty stout On One carbon fork and it flexed quite unnervingly pogo sticking dangerously with steep braking. Not that there aren't stiff enough forks out there, but the stress under hard breaking is surprising even with our team weight of 280lbs. I have also heard folks complain about lack of stiffness in the Bluto and Carver Trans-Fat inverted fork, so we went with a Manitou Magnum 100mm fork with a Boost 110 hub and 34mm stanchions. They also make this in a 29+ if that ends up working out. Of note these are not a tandem rated fork either, not sure there is such a beast. We thought about waiting for a Fox 36 or Pike for a 650B+, but I'm pretty sure they will be much longer travel forks when and if they come out, and I don't want to shorten the travel that much. I am kind of nervous being that early adopter you mentioned with the mid size wheel, tire, and hub, but hey it's only a years salary. We should know soon enough as it will be built up in a week or so and I'll post my observations.

  91. #91
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    I asked when I placed the order if 29+ wheels would fit and I was told that they would (didn't order through/ask Ventana directly though). I'm inclined to believe as the frame fits the biggest fat tires, which in my experience is similar in size to 29x3.0" tires (you've got me a bit worried though, I gotta admit).

    Thanks for the insight on Manitou fork option.
    -VeloRyan-

  92. #92
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    You're probably right about the 29+. Maybe a call or note to Ventana to be sure and nail down max tire width.

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    With the rear adjustable drops, the 29+ should fit fine.

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    29+ fits with room to spare, even with the drops all the way forward there's enough. Our 29+ are on the way, DWs/Scrapers/Onyx Racing. I'll post pics once I have them built.

    As for rigid forks, Carver and the Surly ICT forks are probably fine. Honestly, your going to want suspension, you can get an 80mm Bluto for $500, maybe less.

    The Bluto is not terrible, you just need to run it firm. I really didn't like the ride at 100mm, but 80mm is good.

    Or go rigid and bounce around until the Pluto is released

    Were going riding in the morning!

  95. #95
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    Bacons, this is reassuring news, thanks...now any thoughts on rigid fork options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacons View Post
    With the rear adjustable drops, the 29+ should fit fine.
    -VeloRyan-

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    Surly instigator is tandem rated fork but I'm not sure 29+ will fit. Will Salsa sell a powderkeg fork separately? It will fit.

  97. #97
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    I contacted Salsa last week about the powderkeg fork and they said they will be offering it separately eventually, but it is not currently available.

    Quote Originally Posted by mactweek View Post
    Surly instigator is tandem rated fork but I'm not sure 29+ will fit. Will Salsa sell a powderkeg fork separately? It will fit.
    -VeloRyan-

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    We rode a steep flow trail today, two miles, thirty eight banked turns, steep walls, and it was hoot! The 80mm Bluto at 180psi is just right for us. The 3.25" trax fatty bounce quite a bit, but were going to a 29 x 3" in a few weeks, so that should calm things down.

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    I built the wheels late Thursday and Friday nights, tubeless set up was easy, floor pump and three scoops of sealant.

    Onyx Racing hubs, WTB Scraper rims, 29x3 Surly Dirt Wizards.

    The brakes were harder, filling the new longer line to the rear Guide caliper and gettingbit free of bubbles took a while. The rear brake is still little spongy, but they stop well. They are substantially better than the Spykes, though they still require a lot hand strength.

    We raced this morning, eight mile course, mixed 4 miles of single and double track up, total gain was maybe 2k, then we descended 4 miles of flow trail to the finish.

    Everything worked as expected, the taller and narrower tires were quicker handling, increased ground clearance, and reduced pedaling effort.

    Rear tire clearance is huge, with the dropouts in the middle of the slider we have an inch of clearance. The Bluto fork is a bit tighter, there's about 3/8" of clearance, but it was no problem.

    I think 29+ is the ticket for off road tandems.

  100. #100
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    Nurse Ben, where did you get the Onyx hubs from? All I can find on their site are BMX hubs.
    -VeloRyan-

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