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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Salsa Powderkeg or Cannondale Tandem 29er

    Trying to decide between a 2016 Powderkeg and a 2018 Cannondale Tandem 29er. I'm getting a deal on either one where the Dale is about $300 less. I test road the Powderkeg and I really liked the agility of the Salsa compared with my current Trek T900. The rear felt more "connected" unlike my T900 which feels like it's hard to turn. Maybe it's the 24 versus 29 inch wheels? I won't have a chance to test the Dale. I'm drawn to the Dale due to it's better wheels, brakes, and standover height. However, I'm concerned if the aluminum isn't as comfy as the Powderkeg's steel frame? Also the Powderkeg has thru axles, but I'm not convinced it's going to affect the ride. I would like to take it on my local XC ride with some downhill and I'm not sold on the wheels and brakes on the Salsa.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    I have no experience with Cannondale tandems but I have a Powderkeg. I also considered both when I was shopping and the Cannondales do have a better component selection. I picked the Powderkeg for a variety of reasons. One thing that I learned after riding was how crucial ground clearance is when riding off road. The Salsa has an additional inch over the Cannondale which is huge. Your intended use is really important. I planned to use our bike as a gravel road runner but ended up using it on single track (where I think even that extra inch is still not really enough ground clearance). I found the brakes to be adequate if not fancy but the rear wheel was problematic as we broke 2 free hub bodies before upgrading...
    if you intend to ride single track I highly recommend checking out Fandango or Ventana tandems you may find yourself saving money over time due to really robust builds and the frame stiffness and geometry are really spot on. I now also own a Ventana. It has 3 inches more ground clearance than the Powderkeg which is so awesome over rocks and obstacles and the handling is much sharper than the Salsa.
    Good better best. These things are somewhat subjective and your intend edit use really matters most. In the final analysis my opinion is that riding a tandem in the dirt with someone you love is just about the most fun thing you can do. Have fun

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    "XC and some downhill"

    As Jbull discussed, your intended use is going to be key for us to provide you advice. Given your stated use as quoted above, and giving our interpretation of that (especially the "downhill" part), neither the Salsa nor C'dale are going to be suitable out of the box.

    Sure, in various fashion both can be upgraded, but once you get to the point of throwing money at a bike, how far are you from a more capable bike? has some deals (or did recently). Check 'em out before you buy.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    The Cannondale is spec'd better, but if you liked the Powderkeg, get it. They're still shown on the Salsa website, but Salsa has discontinued the bike (confirmed with two different shops, one of which is one of the biggest Salsa dealers nationwide).

    I considered both of these bikes myself (until I found out about the Powderkeg being unavailable), but was hesitant about the low BB height on the Cannondale. I ended up buying a used Ibis Cousin It this weekend...definitely not "apples-to-apples", but I was happier with this option than going with the Cannondale (I have owned two Cannondale MTB tandems in the past).

    I dig steel-framed bikes of all shapes and sizes.

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