Components and accessories

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-specific components
Hubs and wheels

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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 others).
  • Aerospoke- 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.
  • American Classic - will make the "UltraLight" in a tandem version (145mm only)
  • Bontrager - 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 to Rolf-design.
  • Chris King - tandem-specific hubs (and excellent headsets, too)
  • Edco - 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
  • Hope - excellent British hubs and disk brakes
  • Hügi - now a part of DT Swiss; earlier versions did not survive long on tandems
  • Kun Teng Quando Sovos Tandem (direct links without frames: KT-MH7R) - taiwanese tandem hub with Arai-threads
  • LEW - custom-built carbon-fiber aero wheel; used by several teams in 2000 Paralympics
  • Phil Wood - expensive and heavy hubs; excellent and available in all dimensions
  • Rohloff - the Rohloff Speedhub is a 14-speed internal gear hub
  • Santana/Shimano 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
  • Shimano - 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, Limited.
  • White Industries - tandem-specific hubs
  • (World Class) - according to an email statement from Meridian, World Class does not make hubs anymore
Brakes
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Most disk brakes (Shimano, Hayes) are not approved for use on tandems. They are also not intended for heavily-loaden touring bikes.
  • Arai drum - the reliable low-tech solution to all your braking problems
  • Avid - 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
  • Formula - Italian disk brake; not strong enough for off-road tandems in my experience
  • Hope - tandem-proven disk brakes
  • Magura Gustav M and Julie (OEM only) - the only disks officially marketed as safe for tandems (Julie tandem version only available to OEM manufacturers)
  • Motul - 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')
  • Santana/Formula - special version of Formula disk with 203mm rotor instead of 185mm
  • Spiegler Bremstechnik - braided tubing for disk brakes

  • Tektro 917 / Mini-V - short-armed direct-pull brake for combination with drop bar levers
Cranks
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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.
  • (Campagnolo) - no more!
  • (Caramba) - seem to be out of business; their Double Barrel Cranks looked sturdy, but have been reported to live shorter than expected at MTBReview
  • Cyclone - affordable cranks from Taiwan; sold under 'Dimension'-name through Quality; identical with Santana 'Megadrive (160-180mm!)
  • da Vinci - Todd Shusterman also makes beautiful and very functional cranks for "regular" tandems (without da Vinci's trademark independant coasting; 160-180mm!)
  • Dotek - rather plain tandem cranksets available through SJS Cycles (under 'Chainsets'; 165-175mm)
  • Full Speed Ahead (FSA) - make carbon-fiber and aluminum tandem cranksets (170-175mm)
  • Race Face (only 175/170mm)
  • (Ritchey) - no more!
  • Shimano offer the new Ultegra- and the old RX 100-cranks in tandem versions (170-175mm)
  • Specialités T.A. - very good French cranks; better info on Peter White's site here and here (150-185mm!)
  • (Specialized) - no more!
  • Stronglight - 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
  • Sweet 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'; 140-175mm!)
  • Vision Independent Pedaling System (IPS) - special cranks with built in independent coasting
Child-stoker kits
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  • Helpful tips on cycling with children can be found on the website of Precision Tandems
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 tandem dealer. Suspension seatposts
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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. Suspension forks
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Most suspension forks are far too weak for tandems. Choose carefully and demand to get a written guarantee covering yur intended use!
  • MTB-Tandem specialist Alex Nutt on suspension forks for tandems. Alex runs a small shop specializing in off-road tandems.
  • 1.5" - the new standard?
  • Picture of a Hanebrink Z-6 (= Bullet Brothers ZZYZX = ATC Terrex) broken in use
  • My experiences:
    • 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 Pedalpower 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.
    • I 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.
    • I 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 improve stiffness.
official tandem forks
  • ATC 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?
  • Bombshell - 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
  • Eberminator - 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)
  • (Cannondale) - 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 lbs.: blue (HD135/BLU),
    more than 190 lbs.: red (HD135/RED)
    Tandem: bronze (HD135/BRO)
  • (Hanebrink) - two upside-down tandem-forks in 2000 (127-178mm and 150-203mm of travel); the Hanebrink Z-6 is now called ATC Terrex Z-6
  • Hurrycat Vorace - new tandem fork from a French company; single bike versions suffered from extremely high bushing wear in tests (summer 2002). 
  • Marzocchi - 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.
  • MTB 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!
  • (Pace) - the RC 150 Monstor was said to be strong enough (discontinued)
  • Parafork - according to an email statement of the designer, the model 'CrossDown' is safe for tandems
  • (Protos) - are working on tandem tests for the L-Bow fork
  • Rond/Magura 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
  • Santana is selling tandems with special versions of Hanebrink DH or RST Mozo forks.
  • Stratos - several tandem forks, seemingly the only fork manufacturer who rally care for the tandem nice market.
  • (Votec) 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).
other forks found on tandems Rigid forks (including carbon-fiber forks)

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 other irregularities.

Good steel forks are available from

Carbon forks for tandem are made by

  • AME/Alpha Q , recently aquired by True Temper (445g)
  • (Concept-Z) (prototype used by Santana; no longer available - 1 1/4"; 370g)
  • Wound-Up (used by Co-Motion - 1 1/8"; 904g)
  • Reynolds (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
Tandem-sized bike cases other Other bike components
components gruppos