Tandems: riding and maintenance

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Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:51 am

Who rides tandem regularly here? I've been riding as the captain for a bit over a year and have come to like it a lot, although there are still a few things that elude me (like remembering to call out when I want to stop pedalling). We recently bought a nice older trek tandem to augment 26" Apollo for faster road riding but the down tube shifters on the trek are proving hard to manage. Was contemplating upgrading to ergo shifting to try to ensure two hands on the bars at all times.
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by BNA » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:10 am

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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby Comedian » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:10 am

I've got an Apollo tandem. Biggest issue is the eccentric bb. Not a great design..
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby Mike Ayling » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:58 am

Mary, my wife of 40 years had never ridden a bike as a child and was not interested in starting to ride throughout our marriage.
Then about two years ago a fellow KBTC member advised that he was selling his entry level Indi tandem which we test rode and purchased.
Flat bar with trigger shifters so no problem with gear changes, hands on the bars at all times.
We now have a flat bar Thorn touring tandem with Rohloff hub. This is not a fast bike because the gear ratios are not close but good for pootling and and touring as there are 14 equally spaced ratios.
There is a trick when changing gears down because you have to pause pedalling between changes so I just call out "change" we pause for a second I turn the twist grip and the gear is in.
You can also change gears when stationary, e.g. at traffic lights. Everyone on a derailleur bike has been in a too high gear after stopping at lights at some stage and on a tandem it is worse than a single.
We love our Thorn but they are not for everybody who rides a tandem. It is quite heavy, about 24kg and you can get a light weight road tandem for 2/3 of that weight but you pay your money and you take your choice.

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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:10 am

Been riding a tandem for a long time. At times it lies idle for long stretches though :| , but we have done some fairly long tours (2-3 weeks) on it.

With a regular partner I've found you get to read each others pedaling style. I keep pedaling mostly but hardly ever call when I stop, just don't stop pedaling all of a sudden. The only thing I usually call for is "bump". Shifters on the downtube would be a real pain. I had it set up this way on my first tandem - bit of a cheapy. Mostly I'd favour thumbshifters or Sti (we have flat bars).

As far as the EBB is concerned that is the best way to go - otherwise you need a chain tensioner which adds complexity and drivetrain drag. There are different types of EBB solutions and some are easier than others to set. I did hear from a friend that his tandem EBB doesn't have enough range so he is going to need to fit a half-link to his chain. That's poor design. The EBB should give you at least bit over 1" of movement to allow a full link to be added or taken out.

Tandems are a great buzz for a couple or family to get out riding together, especially if one is a lot fitter/stronger than another.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:42 pm

Nice to see a few others riding tandems!

Re: the Apollo and the eccentric BB. It's not a nice design at all (held in place by two external screws) - was pleasantly surprised when the Trek arrived that it has a much nicer wedge system that could probably be retro-fitted to an Apollo if you got the parts cheap enough. I think this particular bike (a Trek T100) did originally have flat bars on it, but somebody has converted it to downtube shifting and drop bars at some point without swapping the stems.

We've been slowly trying to address it: bought a nice control-tech stem for the stoker which has put the drop bars in a much nicer position for him, although the captain will have to put up with the giraffe like stem on the front until I can track down something shorter that will fit the 1 1/4" threaded steerer. I think Nitto make a threadless adapter but for the $100 it would cost shipped here I will just put up with things at the moment.

Re: conversion to ergo shifting. I have to do it and should probably be out in the shed doing it now, but I am restricted a bit by the shimano 7 speed freehub on the tandem specific 145mm spaced rear wheel. Shimano RSX road levers would probably be ideal (although I have no idea whether the Deore rear shifter will work with a shimano road shifter). I can't work out whether it's possible to upgrade the freehub body to a later model 10 speed compatible one as the shimano tech docs don't seem to have this particular hub listed (another shimano deore item). If we start wanting to go faster I suspect we'll be looking at new wheels.

For the moment I've decided to use some 8 speed Campagnolo ergo levers instead, given that the cassette spacing is identical to 7 speed, but tracking down a suitable rear derailleur proved expensive - ended up with a NOS Campagnolo Themis medium cage job from the early 1990s that I'm now afraid to fit because it hasn't been out of the box in 20 years and probably belongs in a museum, and I am not sure the chain capacity of it is quite as long as the existing Deore unit. My major problem with the downtube shifters isn't so much with the rear anyway, but the big chainrings require no small amount of planning to shift. I hated the grip shifters on the apollo with a passion but I will grudgingly admit they did allow more control of the bike while shifting.

The trek weighs 18-19kg or so, it's a rocket when it's wound up but we're still struggling a bit with our climbing (I'm not the strongest climber as it is). I figure we should be able to climb at speeds approaching that of normal road bikes but the really steep stuff puts us into the hurt zone far worse than a single road bike. It would be nicer to have closer gearing than the 7 speed cluster allows, although with ergo shifting this might not be as critical as I shouldn't have to plan the shifts quite so much.

As a tandem team we're now pretty used to each other so perhaps the communication thing isn't quite so critical as it was when we started. I'd like to try a Thorn with the rohloff hub (would save having to remember to downshift when coming to intersections) but the Trek was only $600 by the time we got it up here to Armidale, such a bargain and since the frame was shared with more road oriented Trek tandems I figure we can ride it for quite a few years before we outgrow it.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby il padrone » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:07 pm

7spd cassette is the narrower freehub body. 8ps is the same freehub as 9sp, so if you are changing it's just as good to convert to 9 - what I did with my old touring bike set-up and later with my wife's, it is not difficult. And the RD doesn't matter, as long as it has the chain wrap capacity. 7sp works very well with a 9sp cassette. It's the shifters that matter, not the RD.

For a tandem rear wheel you could do well with this:

Shimano HF08 tandem rear hub - 145mm OLN
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Run 8, 9 or 10sp cassette on it. Threaded on the left side for an Arai drum brake - no longer made but you may track one down second-hand or NOS. Great for added braking and reduced rim heating on longer descents.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:37 pm

I've been riding and racing tandems for a couple of years now with a Vision Impaired stoker John, I previously rode a flat bar tandem with my wife. I am John's race pilot and he rides during the week with other pilots, and I ride during the week with my two kids.

John has been borrowing an old Apollo as his mid-week bike which has it's share of interesting quirks including managing to strip the small cog off the freewheel. We previously borrowed either a Hillbrick or a Cannondale tandem as a race bike on a weekend, until I got mine. I am involved as both a pilot and mechanic with a mob that provides bikes/pilots for vision impaired riders. However it is easier when you have your own bike and don't have to readjust all the settings.

I bought my bike which was old and neglected (including a wasp nest in the stoker bars) and upgraded it with some old 9 speed Dura-Ace brifters and an XT RD and some wheels. It came with two chainrings on a triple compatible crank and it worked well for a while with the brifters, but the surrounding terrain dictates that a triple is mandatory for us. I fitted a small chainring and a longer BB but had to revert to a downtube friction shifter for the front, since my brifter was only a double. The old FD didn't quite have the throw to make the extra distance for the triple so I bought a new 105 triple FD. I have to say that the new FD with the low hanging inner plate changes really well with the downtube shifter despite chainrings that don't have any shifting ramps or pins. So well in fact that I don't have any plans to source a triple brifter as a replacement. It also helps to remind me to announce the front shifts or at least think about them first.

I don't communicate enough as a pilot, I let my feet do most of the talking when it comes to a pause in pedalling. It is fortunate that my stoker has a Flyer saddle to soak up all but the worst of the bumps. :)

It seems that all eccentrics have less than enough movement to allow you to take a whole link out of the timing chain. You need some sort of kludge, a half link is one solution, they are available in both 3/32" and 1/8" versions. Another is to run a ghost chainring with the long chain for a while until it lengthens sufficiently to be able to remove a link (any old ring will do for a ghost ring, width is not important, neither is wear). The most elegant solution is to replace the timing chain regularly so that the rings don't wear out either.

I think that IP may have overlooked the difference between the cable pull of the Shimano and Campag systems but yes 8spd Campag shifter and RD should run with 7spd shimano cogs, I'm not familiar with that model RD though.

As for other gear solutions I can think of a couple (which you've probably already thought of):

- Use an 8 speed shimano shifter (not Dura-Ace without a fiddle) with the existing Deore RD since the spacing is the same for both 7 and 8 speed Shimano.
- Replace the freehub body, SJS cycles has 8-10spd bodies for HF-08 hubs, you might need to check compatibility (John has a spare that I could post to you for a check) It might need a re-shuffle of spacers and re-dish the wheel, but that shouldn't be a big deal for you.
- Use a 9 speed shifter but only 8 cogs, you may be able to use a 10 speed shifter with 9 cogs but I have at least read reports of the 9 with 8 solution working on a 7 speed hub body not of 10 with 9.

As for the drum brake thread there is a Karasawa brake that is a modern clone of the Arai. If you have disc tabs on the frame you can also fit a drum-disc adapter. Drum brakes are great if you need them, pointless if you don't. It is a shame that you missed the CRC clearance sale of White Industries tandem hubs, they were a good price. There are plenty of others around at a less good price.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:52 am

Thanks Cameron and il padrone, I am reasonably sure the campag setup I have sourced will index correctly without having to replace the rear cassette or free hub. I did think about 8 of 9 on it but it seems like less hassle to source a whole new wheel or buy a white industries hub. I think the white ones are about the same price as the old stock shimano one at Jensen's :shock:

My stoker is also vision impaired, although I do occasionally forget when stopped for coffee :-)

We will keep the Apollo for dirt roads I think. Will have to refit the fat tyres it came with. The trek frame has an odd braze on on the left side and provision for an extra brake cable which I assume is for a drag brake. If we regularly rode long descents I might think about buying one but this hub doesn't have the appropriate threading for one.

Maybe I should build some wheels for it...
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby find_bruce » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:25 pm

A nice old steel tandem on gumtree, if you are in Perth - probably a bit $$$ to ship. Certainly makes a change from the usual cruisers sold as tandems.

I had a bunch of fun as pilot for a blind guy I used to work with. Helps to be an extrovert given the number of comments whenever we went for a ride. Only downside was 2 90+ kg guys were able to break chains, spokes etc pretty easily if we weren't careful. I was thinking of setting the cranks offset to reduce this but never got around to it. I haven't worked with him for a few years now & haven't been on a ride in ages.

Am keeping my eye out for a nice tandem. Might have to offer my services as a pilot for the blind to justify it though
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:30 pm

drubie wrote:I figure we should be able to climb at speeds approaching that of normal road bikes but the really steep stuff puts us into the hurt zone far worse than a single road bike. It would be nicer to have closer gearing than the 7 speed cluster allows, although with ergo shifting this might not be as critical as I shouldn't have to plan the shifts quite so much.


It is well recognised that tandems don't handle steep climbs as well as singles. Some blame it on transmission losses but I suspect that it is more to do with coordination. There are a couple of pretty high level tandems around here who have gone to some lengths to try and even out 'snaking' issues. John and I are no lightweights, it has been a long time since I was thought of as a climber. We do road races in F grade, and resign ourselves to being dropped on the climbs by all but the worst climbers, but on the flat we can ride comfortably with E grade. We haven't ridden with anyone who can hold us off downhill though. For our last race we changed to out of phase pedals which certainly smoothed out some of our riding. Difficult to say if we were faster uphill, but we did win that race.

find_bruce wrote:I had a bunch of fun as pilot for a blind guy I used to work with. Helps to be an extrovert given the number of comments whenever we went for a ride. Only downside was 2 90+ kg guys were able to break chains, spokes etc pretty easily if we weren't careful. I was thinking of setting the cranks offset to reduce this but never got around to it.
Am keeping my eye out for a nice tandem. Might have to offer my services as a pilot for the blind to justify it though


That tandem in WA looks interesting, but it has both the plusses and minuses of a 130mm rear wheel. My bike is that dimension (actually 126mm) but it has deep section aluminium rims (880g!) which are holding up so far.

John and I plus bike are 220kg or so but we haven't managed to break anything yet. Maybe we don't produce enough power.

Tandems are fun, particularly if your stoker is a hoon.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:49 pm

You race Cameron? How do you go with the licensing racing against singles? I did the ergo conversion on the weekend, made a big difference (thankfully that obscure Themis derailleur works a treat with 8 speed shifters).
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby WyvernRH » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:20 am

Bit late on the thread but I thought I'd throw my ha'pence in. The wife and I have been riding and touring on tandems in UK, Europe and Oz for the past 35 years. We are the proud owners of a 1935 Sun-Wasp, as seen on Sydney tweed rides(our first tandem, found in a basement) and a custom built Swallow tourer we had built in 1985 when we wanted to do the Lands End to John O'Groats ride. The Swallow has a 140 wide rear end and we are happy with the original seven speed 13-32 at the back running to a 50/38/26 triple at the front. You are slower up hills but on the flat you are faster and downhill nothing can catch you!
We have an Arai drum brake fitted at the rear as a drag brake which proved very necessary when coming down long,steep hills with full touring load. Having seen the results of a tyre blowing off a front wheel due to overheating I can recommend some sort of auxiliary brake as a safety feature. If you pick a drum make sure it has cooling fins and is quality make, I have seen the grease boiled out of some drum brake hubs after a long descent and in one event hub case distortion and brake lock up. If you are using freewheels as opposed to a modern freehub hunt down the old SunTour freewheels which have two pawls engaged at all times, not jut one as most other freewheels. We have torn the guts out of several freewheels in low gear but never a SunTour. Campag had a 3-pawl hub system at one point but I never saw one in real life.
The gear levers are on the down tube and i personally don't find this a problem. The gears are not indexed either as this wasn't the go in 1985 in the touring world and I have never found it necessary to worry about it. Maybe bar-ends might be nice one day?
The bike is Reynolds 531 Tandem tubing with the standard Haden eccentric that tensions the transfer chain. As mentioned elsewhere this has insufficient throw to take up 2 links wear and requires a half-link if you want to use it properly. These were easily available in the UK back then so no problems but I haven't seen any in Oz LBS since Christie shut down in Melbourne. Modern eccentrics such as used by Cannondale and Trek don't seem to have this problem.
We have our cranks set with the captain leading the stoker by about 10-20 degrees. We find this smoother than exact matching and just could not get on with the 90deg out of phase setting when climbing. I think this is a personal thing that the crew have to work out!
Tandems are always great fun and you can chat even in the heaviest traffic. Having a stoker to make road signals (and other 'hand' signals if required :wink: ) is always useful.
Cheers
Richard
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:35 pm

drubie wrote:You race Cameron? How do you go with the licensing racing against singles? I did the ergo conversion on the weekend, made a big difference (thankfully that obscure Themis derailleur works a treat with 8 speed shifters).


I wrote you a long answer but lost it :oops: Glad to hear the shifting is working well, don't get cocky though, you still need to announce the changes and back off for a bit though. The short version is that there is no actual problem for racing. I believe that there is even a separate registration categories (at reduced rate) for people with disabilities, just as there are for the very young, and the very old. There are many clubs around the place that already race with tandems but it is hard to get them to do something for the first time. The biggest trap to watch out for is segregation rather than inclusion as this discourages minorities. A couple of weeks ago we had three tandems turn up for a race, whilst they could have put us in the same grade it would have been a particularly dull ride for all of us. In the end one rode A grade, one rode D grade and we rode F grade and we all had good rides. (the 85km/h descent was especially good)

WyvernRH wrote:Bit late on the thread but I thought I'd throw my ha'pence in. The wife and I have been riding and touring on tandems in UK, Europe and Oz for the past 35 years. We are the proud owners of a 1935 Sun-Wasp, as seen on Sydney tweed rides(our first tandem, found in a basement) and a custom built Swallow tourer we had built in 1985 when we wanted to do the Lands End to John O'Groats ride. The Swallow has a 140 wide rear end and we are happy with the original seven speed 13-32 at the back running to a 50/38/26 triple at the front. You are slower up hills but on the flat you are faster and downhill nothing can catch you!
We have an Arai drum brake fitted at the rear as a drag brake which proved very necessary when coming down long,steep hills with full touring load. Having seen the results of a tyre blowing off a front wheel due to overheating I can recommend some sort of auxiliary brake as a safety feature. If you pick a drum make sure it has cooling fins and is quality make, I have seen the grease boiled out of some drum brake hubs after a long descent and in one event hub case distortion and brake lock up. If you are using freewheels as opposed to a modern freehub hunt down the old SunTour freewheels which have two pawls engaged at all times, not jut one as most other freewheels. We have torn the guts out of several freewheels in low gear but never a SunTour. Campag had a 3-pawl hub system at one point but I never saw one in real life.
The gear levers are on the down tube and i personally don't find this a problem. The gears are not indexed either as this wasn't the go in 1985 in the touring world and I have never found it necessary to worry about it. Maybe bar-ends might be nice one day?
The bike is Reynolds 531 Tandem tubing with the standard Haden eccentric that tensions the transfer chain. As mentioned elsewhere this has insufficient throw to take up 2 links wear and requires a half-link if you want to use it properly. These were easily available in the UK back then so no problems but I haven't seen any in Oz LBS since Christie shut down in Melbourne. Modern eccentrics such as used by Cannondale and Trek don't seem to have this problem.
We have our cranks set with the captain leading the stoker by about 10-20 degrees. We find this smoother than exact matching and just could not get on with the 90deg out of phase setting when climbing. I think this is a personal thing that the crew have to work out!
Tandems are always great fun and you can chat even in the heaviest traffic. Having a stoker to make road signals (and other 'hand' signals if required :wink: ) is always useful.
Cheers
Richard


My bike sounds a lot like yours, 531T, Haden eccentric and originally had DT shifters and freewheels although mine has a 126mm rear end. I squeeze a 130mm wheel in because freehubs are less likely to break an axle and you can get the infernal things off. We have a 30-39-53 from with an 11-34 cassette and manage to use the full range of gears. The newer eccentrics don't have any more adjustment than the old as far as I can tell, but people are more likely to chuck a chain out and replace it earlier than they used to. Old tandem riders appreciate that timing chains don't need to work with the same parameters as drive chains. You can get 3/32 half links on eBay. In fact I suggested them as an item to a bloke who sold Yabban chains and he continues to list them.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby Mike Ayling » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:32 pm

Good to hear that a lot of you blokes ride with vision impaired stokers. I rode regularly for about two years with a bloke who subsequently moved to Queensland to escape Melbourne's wet winters and I ride with the Vision Australia programme here in Melbourne but this is only about five or six times a year unlike the Fitability Club in Canberra which rides and races most weekends.
Mary and I visited Canberra last year and took part in a Saturday and Sunday easy ride organised by Judy James, one of the Fitability organisers. In January this year we were able to show Judy and her vision impaired husband Robert a few of the Melbourne bike paths.

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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:29 am

ironhanglider wrote:
drubie wrote:You race Cameron? How do you go with the licensing racing against singles? I did the ergo conversion on the weekend, made a big difference (thankfully that obscure Themis derailleur works a treat with 8 speed shifters).


I wrote you a long answer but lost it :oops: Glad to hear the shifting is working well, don't get cocky though, you still need to announce the changes and back off for a bit though. The short version is that there is no actual problem for racing. I believe that there is even a separate registration categories (at reduced rate) for people with disabilities,


Cycling NSW have been particularly unhelpful thus far (maybe I'm just speaking to the wrong people). We will try again with the license next week I think. One thing they told us was that the tandem could not be entered in a normal race, only time trials. This advice is clearly incorrect (no problem with the club itself on that point but we're all paranoid about insurance these days).

ironhanglider wrote:
WyvernRH wrote:The gear levers are on the down tube and i personally don't find this a problem. The gears are not indexed either as this wasn't the go in 1985 in the touring world and I have never found it necessary to worry about it. Maybe bar-ends might be nice one day?
Cheers
Richard


My bike sounds a lot like yours, 531T, Haden eccentric and originally had DT shifters and freewheels although mine has a 126mm rear end. I squeeze a 130mm wheel in because freehubs are less likely to break an axle and you can get the infernal things off.


Richard - I have a set of dia-compe bar end shifters in my spares box if you want to try them - I prefer the original suntour jobs with the stubby levers but these are adequate. I did consider putting the 7 speed indexed downtube shifters on them (I'm far too uncoordinated for shifters on the downtube itself, even when riding by myself) but at the moment they have the micro-ratches shifter blades fitted. Yours for postage.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:57 pm

Insurance is always the go-to excuse for why you can't do anything new. Ask them to prove it, as I suspect it is unfounded guesswork.

From an insurance point of view tandems don't have a risk profile that is any different to single bikes, after all it is the riders who determine the level of risk. Some riders are cautious, some are reckless. All the tandem pilots I know are experienced riders and more conservative than they are on a single bike, you could probably mount an argument that they are safer since they are a moderating influence on a bunch IME.

Tandems racing with singles certainly occurs with the Vikings in any event, handicaps, crits, scratch and of course time-trials. I'll ask around to see where the other tandems race, I'm aware of several in NSW but I don't know them personally. Perhaps those clubs can provide better advice.

Regards,

Cameron
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:48 pm

Thanks Cameron, we'd appreciate any advice we can get on the racing front.

A handicap race would suit us nicely I reckon, but since the stoker is the boss I might just point him at the race calendar and let him choose.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby WyvernRH » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:03 pm

drubie wrote:Thanks Cameron, we'd appreciate any advice we can get on the racing front.

A handicap race would suit us nicely I reckon, but since the stoker is the boss I might just point him at the race calendar and let him choose.


Well I think you would be OK with the Hunter Road club, I know one of the Hadley brothers used to race with a sight impaired stoker on the Kooragang circuit.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:02 pm

Hi Drubie,

One of my friends pointed me in the direction of Matt Formston (and Mick Curran). She contacts him through Facebook but knows of others who would have his email address.
A brief bit of googling brought up a race result at Eastern Creek with the Marconi CC but he was listed as riding for the Central Coast CC. So here are at least two clubs in NSW who permit mixed racing with tandems.

The CCCC website is a bit out of date but the word tandem appears in the results so it would seem that there may be more than one there.CCCC contact us page

As to what is a tandem suitable race? John and I have made a point of racing everything that came along including those that would immediately bring thoughts of 'not suitable'. Notably a hotdog criterium/points race (for a win :D ) and a really hilly course (Orroral Valley - Fitz's Epic riders might know this road) with 80km/h+ descents and corresponding climbs and where A grade struggles to average 30km/h.

Ideally for a race to be really even the tandem will lose contact up the steeper climbs but will pick up the stragglers near the top and chase back on (or away) on the downhills and flats. On flat courses we are at least a grade faster than for a hilly course. Other riders are always happy to get towed around by us when conditions are favourable, convincing them to come past and do a turn is harder, until we come to a hill. We don't have any flat race courses here but a tandem would fit in well in a flat handicap, as the rhythm of a working bunch suits.

I'm getting ahead of myself but as for the finish, the best approach is the Cipollini style. Hit the front at full gas a long way out (300m) and simply dare people to come past. The others like the lead out, and frequently misjudge how long it takes to get past. It also means that you are not subject to anyone else's manouverings.

Some skills training does come in handy (not just for tandems :) ), U-turns need practice to do well, and rapid changes of direction are good to practice too. We have done a few laps of a former crit circuit that was used by the CCC in the 80's. It goes in and out of a carpark on a hill and has 12 turns in 1200m including a U turn and two chicanes one right-left and the other left-right-left. We think that we are one of the best bike handling tandem teams around here despite lacking in the power/weight department, however we probably need to get back to it and do a few more laps to keep sharp.

Keep a watch out for some upcoming posts about wheels and the build of John's race bike.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby Daccordi Rider » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:56 am

Great info guys. Here in SA the team I ride with has just taken on the road tandem riding for Paracycling SA. We are currently training pilots from within our team and getting them out with VI's as we can. A proper compentency based training program starts in April with a view to having stokers who are race ready. The VI's are keen but their ability to get out has been extrememely restricted to just volunteers from the Blind Society. So far we have been able to compete in two TT's which the Port Adelaide Cycling club run, and they have been extrememely helpful. Next up is entering an all tandem team in Cycling SA's cyclo sportif series next weekend.

We are currently talking to various groups about intergrating tandems into racing and starting to get some support from Vets racing here, but plenty of work to do. Good luck to all in their endeavours.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:16 pm

Daccordi Rider wrote:Great info guys. Here in SA the team I ride with has just taken on the road tandem riding for Paracycling SA. We are currently training pilots from within our team and getting them out with VI's as we can. A proper compentency based training program starts in April with a view to having stokers who are race ready. The VI's are keen but their ability to get out has been extrememely restricted to just volunteers from the Blind Society. So far we have been able to compete in two TT's which the Port Adelaide Cycling club run, and they have been extrememely helpful. Next up is entering an all tandem team in Cycling SA's cyclo sportif series next weekend.

We are currently talking to various groups about intergrating tandems into racing and starting to get some support from Vets racing here, but plenty of work to do. Good luck to all in their endeavours.


Great stuff. ISTR that there are some pretty hot teams in SA. I'd like to see more tandems racing full stop and it is necessary for there to be a larger pool of pilots than there are stokers, since pilots will always have the option of riding a single (half bike). It is good experience for potential pilots to do some k's as a stoker so I'd say get as many bikes out as possible at every opportunity, VI stokers or not. It is a waste of resources to have a tandem sitting in a garage on race day.

Integrated racing is the key, smart riders will latch onto the back of a tandem on the fast bits and use them as a launch pad. The race for us this weekend starts at a cross road and we go 6km down one arm mostly downhill, then back up followed by a 15km ride down another arm with the first 3km uphill and a big downhill and return. We don't climb as well as most of the rest of our grade. Our race strategy will focus on getting away on the descents and having enough lead to negate their advantage on the climbs. The weakness is that if someone is able to come with us we will suck them away from the bunch and they will leave us behind up the hills and gain an advantage. Fortunately I'm better at breaking a tow than they are (generally) at latching on. It is going to be fun! Particularly since the last few km are downhill.

BTW my single bike is Daccordi but being from 1990 it is hot pink at the front.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby Daccordi Rider » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:32 pm

Can you post me a picture Cameron, don't see many Daccordi's outside of SA? What you say about tandem tactics is so true. You can really hurt them on climbs over about 4% but they have the advantage most other places, especially downhill. Good luck in your race, we just committed to getting 4 tandems to the Paracycling Nationals at Echucha in April so plenty of training coming up.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby John Lewis » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:52 pm

I'm not into tandems myself but friends of mine are. Their main interest is touring.
They have put together a website which may be of some interest.
the site is called.
bdonthetandem.com if anyone is interested in having a look.

John
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby drubie » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:22 am

Image

The "new to us" trek t100. That front stem is for the chop but 1 1/4 stems are quite hard to come by.
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Re: Tandems: riding and maintenance

Postby ironhanglider » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:44 am

drubie wrote:
The "new to us" trek t100. That front stem is for the chop but 1 1/4 stems are quite hard to come by.


Looks quite impressive, but the stem does seem out of place. I especially like your 'stoker hoods' since that is what I use too. I also put some bar tape over them, then I stretched a 5cm bit of 28 - 32mm inner tube over them which holds it all together and looks ok too. I nearly got shiny silver bar tape for John's bike, but opted for a more matt silver instead, mostly for feel. Haven't tested the theory yet.

As for the stem I reckon a quill adaptor is the way to go. I see this sort of thing advertised with a shim to fit 28.6mm OD steerers. View item I'm guessing that the ID of your steerer is 28.6mm.

Surely if a shim works for a one size jump, a thicker shim would work for a two size jump. :? It might be worth a try anyway.

In a similar vein 25.4mm quills/adaptors are slightly more common, and a thinner shim would probably work better.

The chances of finding a 1 1/4 stem in any selection of length and angle are pretty slim.

Cheers,

Cameron
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