This page has not been updated since 2002, and it is unlikely that it ever will be updated again. I'm keeping it online for purely historical reasons.
Tandem hubs (should) have a stronger
ratchet, either threads for the Arai drum or disk mounts, and should be
available with longer axles. Common axle lengths are 130mm (modern road
bikes), 135mm (modern MTBs), 140mm (old tandem-"standard" until about 1996),
145mm (many modern tandems), and 160mm (Santana, Longbikes, Meridian and
Most disk brakes (Shimano, Hayes) are
not approved for use on tandems. They are also not intended for heavily-loaden
tandem-specific version of their five-spoke wheels. Some think they look
cool, some like them for the ease of packing up S&S-coupled bikes.
Classic - will make the "UltraLight" in a tandem version (145mm only)
- will be selling 24-spoke tandem-versions of the Race Lite X wheelset
(145mm only); nice to look at, but actually higher drag resistance due
King - tandem-specific hubs (and excellent headsets, too)
- Swiss hubs; earlier versions with only two pawls broke easily
Hadley Racing (Upland, CA; Mike Hadley;
call 909-946-6780) - tandem-specific hubs, available through Santana
- excellent British hubs and disk brakes
- now a part of DT Swiss; earlier
versions did not survive long on tandems
Teng Quando Sovos Tandem (direct links without frames: KT-MH7R)
- taiwanese tandem hub with Arai-threads
- custom-built carbon-fiber aero wheel; used by several teams in 2000 Paralympics
Wood - expensive and heavy hubs; excellent and available in all dimensions
- the Rohloff Speedhub is a 14-speed internal gear hub
24-spoke aero wheels - for the tandem team looking for the latest toy;
nice to look at, but actually higher drag resistance due to Rolf-design
- the not-.quite-but-almost monopolist also sells tandem hubs (HB- and
FH-HF08, XT-quality, 8-/9-speed; HB- bzw. FH-HF05, Alivio-quality,
7-speed; jeweils 40° or 48° Loch in 140mm or 145mm (according to
Shimano-FAQ; Santana also uses 160mm-version)). The XT-version is quite
good, but still not strong enough for off-roading. If you do not require
Arai-threads, you can use a regular XT single bike hub and retrofit it
with a longer axle to make a 140 or 145,mm hub. Axles available from Wheels
Manufacturing through Tandems,
Industries - tandem-specific hubs
Class) - according to an email statement from Meridian, World Class
does not make hubs anymore
drum - the reliable low-tech solution to all your braking problems
Cranksets for tandem differ in that
they have different pedal threads at three out of the four crank arms.
You can make your own tandem set out of three single-bike sets by reversing
the threads via a special insert.
(Note: I will not warrantee your workmanship! Do not try this with ultra-light
cranks) When using a Rohloff Speedhub,
a SRAM 3x7-hub or a Schlumpf
Mountain Drive, you can use two regular single-bike cranksets and build
a single-side drive setup as you only need one drive chainring.
- make a modern medium-profile cantilever brake ('Shorty') and a mechanical
disk brake ('Ball Bearing disk road'), both for combination with STI-/Ergopower-
and other drop bar levers
- Italian disk brake; not strong enough for off-road tandems in
- tandem-proven disk brakes
Gustav M and Julie (OEM only) - the only disks officially marketed as safe
for tandems (Julie tandem version only available to OEM manufacturers)
- French brake accessories; their 'Racing brake fluid 600' is supposed
to be the most heat-resistant available (only for Formula, Hayes,
Hope etc.; Shimano and Magura use mineral oil! See 'Which
brake fluids are compatible')
- special version of Formula disk with 203mm rotor instead of 185mm
Bremstechnik - braided tubing for disk brakes
917 / Mini-V - short-armed direct-pull brake for combination with drop
- no more!
- seem to be out of business; their Double Barrel Cranks looked
sturdy, but have been reported to live shorter than expected at MTBReview
- affordable cranks from Taiwan; sold under 'Dimension'-name
through Quality; identical with Santana
Vinci - Todd Shusterman also makes beautiful and very functional cranks
for "regular" tandems (without da Vinci's trademark independant coasting;
- rather plain tandem cranksets available through SJS
Cycles (under 'Chainsets'; 165-175mm)
Speed Ahead (FSA) - make carbon-fiber and aluminum tandem cranksets
Face (only 175/170mm)
- no more!
offer the new Ultegra- and the old RX 100-cranks in tandem
T.A. - very good French cranks; better info on Peter White's site here
and here (150-185mm!)
- no more!
- pretty and affordable French cranks; currently two models available (170-175mm)
Sugino - affordable, but good cranks
with pretty hidden fifth arm like Campy's Record crank
Parts (out of business?) is rumored to have made an occasional tandem
set of their extravagant cranks from time to time
Thorn - pretty tandem cranks available
through SJS Cycles (under 'Cranksets';
Independent Pedaling System (IPS) - special cranks with built in independent
Small children need a raised bottom
bracket to be able to reach the pedals. They also need a longer stem to
put the handlebar within reach. Such kits are available through
Older kids may be able to reach the
pedals, but adult-sized cranks are still too long for them. They need crank
shorteners to avoid injury to their knees. These can be found at any good
Only parallelogram posts are plush enough
for off-roading, as they offer more travel. Telescoping posts are cheaper,
and they require less room between top tube and saddle, making them the
only option for short stokers on big frames.
Helpful tips on cycling with children
can be found on the website of Precision
Most suspension forks are far too weak
for tandems. Choose carefully and demand to get a written guarantee covering
yur intended use!
specialist Alex Nutt on suspension
forks for tandems. Alex runs a small shop
specializing in off-road tandems.
- the new standard?
of a Hanebrink Z-6 (= Bullet Brothers ZZYZX = ATC Terrex) broken in use
I ride a Votec GS IV OS/S with 80 mm
of travel in my Santana-Hardtail.
The fork has been upgraded with extra-stiff springs and a steel steerer.
With the thru-axle, the fork provides ample cornering precision.
A second Votec GS IV OS/S with 110mm
of travel can be found on my FS
tandem, the setup I used in the 2001
TransalpChallenge - thus, the forks seems to hold up. Again I am using
a steel steerer. The fork is good up until 110mm of travel. It can be set
up to 140mm, but I have found it to shudder violently under hard braking
when set up for long travel.
I rode several long-distance races with
a Votec GS IV S (later called 'Classic'). The fork should be retrofitted
with the optional oil damper. Again I retrofitted a steel steerer.
I am riding a 2001 Marzocchi Z1 on the
Hardtail. The fork is currently still somewhat undersprung and heavier
fork oil wouldn't be wrong either, but all in all I am very much surprised
by the good performance of the fork! It is surprisingly stiff. The tandem
equivalent to the Rock Shox SID.
I now have a Magura Mid Ego which I
am testing in my FS
Tandem - not enough miles on that one yet.
once had a chance to ride a Cannondale Moto 120 on a Santana Dual Moto.
Stiff and supple enough, but the rest of the bike was no good.
tested a Rock Shox Psylo on a Soil prototype FS tandem at Lago di Garda
in 2001. The fork shuddered violently under braking. 2002 production bikes
are equipped with stiffer springs and the Tullio thru-axle, which should
forks found on tandems
forks (including carbon-fiber forks)
Terrex T-5, the tandem version of the Z-6 Extreme - latest version of the
Bullet Brothers ZZYZX / Hanebrink
Z-6, now from the third company - will it hold up now?
- BETTY "DUALLIE" 6" TANDEM (150mm of travel)
(Bullet Brothers ZZYZX / Hanebrink
Z-6 / ATC Terrex)
- the first real tandem fork. Bullet 'bit the bullet', and designer Dan
Hanebrink, who produced a few more of the forks himself, has now sold the
design to ATC Racing
- the DH-specialist Wolfgang
Ebersbach from Freiburg is planning to start building forks again in
late 2002. Several prototypes are currently being tested in MTB race tandems
(one is used by Paralympian Eva Fünfgeld, among others)
- used to offer a tandem version of the MotoFR until 2001 (100mm of travel).
Differences: Heavier springs, thicker fork legs, and longer steerer. According
to Cannondale Europe, the regular MotoFR is also safe on tandems UNLESS
used with front disk brake. Spring codes:
up to 150 lbs.: green
(spring kit code HD135/GRE)
140 to 200
190 lbs.: red
- two upside-down tandem-forks in 2000 (127-178mm and 150-203mm
of travel); the Hanebrink Z-6 is now called ATC
Vorace - new tandem fork from a French company; single bike versions
suffered from extremely high bushing wear in tests (summer 2002).
- according to the Marzocchi rep at the 2001 TransAlp Challenge, the Z1
is safe if set up for 100mm of travel (NOT 130mm) and with the steel steerer
(NOT Al); according to MTB-Tandem
specialist Alex Nutt the Monster T and Super T as well as the Dirt
Jmper models are also safe.
Tandems / Marzocchi 'Dirt Jumper Frankenstein' - exclusive tandem version
built to the spec's of MTB-Tandem
specialist Alex Nutt. My recommendation for
light XC tandems!
- the RC 150 Monstor was said to be strong enough (discontinued)
- according to an
email statement of the designer, the model 'CrossDown' is safe for
- are working on tandem tests for the L-Bow fork
Suspension - their DH-fork 'Big Ego' is already available for
tandems, the smaller 'Mid Ego' is currently being tested at the Technical
University of Hamburg-Harburg
is selling tandems with special versions of Hanebrink DH or RST Mozo forks.
- several tandem forks, seemingly the only fork manufacturer who rally
care for the tandem nice market.
built ten tandem-versions of the GS III-Tandem (60-140mm of travel) for
Santana in 1998. Current Votec-forks (GS IV) are NOT approved for use on
tandems, though many teams ride them. Inofficial safety tip from the Votec
engineer: Replace Al-steerer with steel tube and use Votec stem only (not
their AHead-adapter kit).
Any frame builder must decide for
himself which fork to trust. Tandem forks are under extreme stress for
a number of reasons: First and foremost, of course, a tandem carries two
riders, and of this double rider mass a
larger percentage is placed on the front wheel (and thus on the fork)
than on a single bike. In addition, road bumps and braking loads stress
a tandem's fork much more - and no other component failure could be as
fatal as a suddenly breaking fork. Thus, use extreme caution when choosing
a fork for your tandem, and inspect it often for developing cracks or any
Good steel forks are available from
Carbon forks for tandem are made by
Q , recently aquired by True Temper
(Concept-Z) (prototype used by Santana;
no longer available - 1 1/4"; 370g)
(used by Co-Motion - 1 1/8"; 904g)
(used by Santana and Meridian - 1 1/4"; 500g; through Meridian also available
in 1 1/8")
Evo V-brake tandem fork (by Aprebic
Industry Co., LTD.; used by Santana and Meridian - 1 1/4"; through
Meridian also available in 1 1/8")
unknown Carbon fork with steel steerer
used by Pedalpower
- classic Italian components; no more MTB- or tandem-stuff
- - the Rohloff Speedhub is a 14-speed internal gear hub
Mountain Drive - bottom bracket with internal two-speed transmission
- the evil monopolist sells plenty of good stuff
- innovative manufacturers of MTB- and commuter components ("Gripshift");
bought up Sachs a few years ago
Suntour - the sorry leftovers from the 1990 merger of Sakae Ringyo
and Suntour. Since 1996 mostly cheap stuff - nothing compared to
the excellent products that made Suntour famous.