[Yak] Family Tandem Traveler advice
illesg at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 20 11:24:43 CDT 2008
- - - and I'll also add a few notes after all the reads:
We were one of the very lucky pairs who could pedal standing on our first tandem ride. The guy who rode with us was flabbergasted, said it could take people literally years to develop the coordination needed. It just came naturally to us. But we're also both over 60, and although in great shape, we can only stand for brief sprints. For us, it's just a different way of pedaling, up two gears, different muscles. On the XL, the flexy frame makes standup pedaling different, and I get the sense that it's not as efficient. We in any case don't do much standing on either the borrowed Cannondale or our new XL.
We thought it would be "someday" before we had to worry about a drag brake. Now in our first 100 miles, we are tackling hills (and descents) that we thought we'd maybe do "someday". The rims get toasty hot, and we will put a drag brake on the bike very soon. Consider disk brakes (no rim heating, but the disks can warp) or a drum drag brake if you think you'll EVER do more than a 200' hill. We've found that even a 5% 300-footer can generate a LOT of heat in those rims.
Our high gearing has us spinning out (pedaling as fast as we can) at about 25mph. Therefore, if we hit 25, 30, or more going downhill,it's a fast coast. What we really care about is keeping a sustainable pace going up long climbs, and this drives us to our Dual-Drive configuration, with an 11-34 rear cassette. The 11 and high range allows the 25mph when we have a slight downgrade or tailwind. The 34 and low range (seldom used) gives us about 2.5mph going up challenging 8-10% climbs. At 2.5mph, I can just barely keep the bike upright, and we prefer to stay at 3.3mph or higher, say 2nd or 3rd gear. On the flats, no wind, we will pedal at a comfortable 13-14mph, right in the sweet spot of mid-range hub (1:1), mid-range cassette, very efficient drive-train configuration.
We run the Schwalbe Marathons, after much agonizing and advice. They are 1.75 (a bit fat) but we like the smooth ride and bump absorption over "road" type tires, and the occasional dirt fire-road poses no problems for us. Supposedly Hanz Stucke (the man who rides all over the world) will use no other.
I think I saw a "San Jose" tag line in the original request - - I'm probably 20 minutes away if you want to take a test ride. Let me know,
----- Original Message ----
From: Mark Hoffmann <Mark.Hoffmann at ufv.ca>
To: Alpine1967 at aol.com; yak at bikefriday.com
Sent: Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:48:48 PM
Subject: Re: [Yak] Family Tandem Traveler advice
Hey Paul, and others, debating what to do re a tandem bike,
Lots of comments have been made already, and I'll add just a few I've not seen yet...
1. It's a win-win proposition. Namely, if you and your partner are feeling like a tandem will suit you, and you choose from amongst the basic reputable manufacturers, no matter what style, you will have a great time together. And, you will undoubtedly learn by using, and learn as you meet other tandem teams and see their equipment. You may even switch down the road to different equipment. But you will have had a great time getting to that point, I predict.
2. It's an individual thing. One couple may favour one style of bike, another will like something else.
3. As for us, we have a mountain geometry Yokota tandem, and it travels just fine inside our Honda Civic when the wheels and fenders are removed, and the rear seat backs are flopped forward.
4. We also have a BF Traveler XL, and it travels fine on airplanes (ours fits into one Samsonite suitcase, although recent weight changes may push us to put some parts in a second duffle). I also travels well in the back of the Honda, and also a Mazda 3, when disassembled as described elsewhere (i.e. front half, back half, and a couple of tubes, all taking about 30 minutes after practice).
5. Our longest tour on the BF was 300 miles, seven days, towing the Samsonite on wheels. Terrific fun. Longest day was about 70 miles. Numerous steep hills, though none as long as mountain passes. We don't seek high speeds. (Stoker preference.) Doubtful we'd ever stand on the pedals. Lower standover height has been very welcome at every stop. (Stoker was never a roadie).
6. Recently we sent the fork and front wheel to BF to have the wheel rebuilt with a SRAM VT5000 disc brake hub. Have used it now on one ride, and think it is great. The Ultegra brakes required a bit too much hand pressure for long descents, and the new disc lets us relax as we descend at a more moderate pace. (So far I have no concerns about the disc being mounted on the front hub, and I for one trust BF when they state that such an installation works just fine.)
7. I have taken comfort about the possibility of longer tours on the BF by reading the experiences of a young Aussie couple who have the same bike. I think you will enjoy their journal at CGOAB if you are contemplating a BF Traveler XL for touring purposes. The link is:
Hope this helps your deliberations,
>>> <Alpine1967 at aol.com> 18/10/2008 9:38 am >>>
My wife and I recently rented a tandem bike in San Francisco and had a great
experience riding along the trail by the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. We
ride for exercise, fun and relaxation and use the ride to see the sites. We are
not bike experts and don't compete in races. There are many tandem bikes out
there to buy but transporting them around seems to be a problem. Thus we found
Bike Friday on the internet.
We would like to get a tandem and be able to easily transport it in the trunk
of our car. The Family Traveler seems like a great solution however there are
quite a number of options for it that changes the price quite a bit. We
haven't tried one out yet, we are waiting for a dealer in the bay area to get one
in that we can test out. For those of you that have one, what are the options
that you feel are most important or would be good for someone that does the
type of riding that we will be doing on it? We don't know anything about gearing
ratios or any of the technical things that come up on this list. We just want
an easy to transport, easy to set up and ride, comfortable, dependable,
trouble free tandem. (we don't want any flat tires either) (also the chain came
off on our ride with a regular tandem and it was a pain trying to get it going
again) The idea that it could be packed up in two suitcases may help us expand
our travel with it in the future, but for now we are looking at day trips and
possible weekends that we can drive to. We live in San Jose/San francisco area
and there are many beautiful locations north and south of us to visit...lots
thanks for any suggestions.
San Jose, CA
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