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Thinking about upgrading 06 Cannondale Tandem wheelset

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Thinking about upgrading 06 Cannondale Tandem wheelset

Old 10-18-20, 08:35 PM
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Magnum PI
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Thinking about upgrading 06 Cannondale Tandem wheelset

Aloha, my wife and I started riding our tandem again after letting it sit while we rode our own bikes. It's been fun, although I had to update the tires (Vittoria 700 x 28) and install new semi-metallic pads on the Avid mechanical discs, replace the chain and update the saddles. We're older and slower, and on the small side (team weight 270). However, riding together again has been fun, and I'm thinking I should upgrade the durable 40 spoke DT hubs/Mavic A317 wheelset to something lighter. No budget, but not really interested in carbon rims due to safety.

I surfed the forums, and see that the best recommendation so far is to RIDE MORE! So true, but I can't help but think a lighter set for folks our size would help us on the climbs, and maybe on the flats as well.

I have some Rolf wheels on a road bike. They are OK, pretty reliable. I have the old Spinergy carbon 4 spoke on an old Kestrel Tri bike. I just don't know if either of these companies makes a good wheel for a tandem. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 10-19-20, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Magnum PI View Post
Aloha, my wife and I started riding our tandem again after letting it sit while we rode our own bikes. It's been fun, although I had to update the tires (Vittoria 700 x 28) and install new semi-metallic pads on the Avid mechanical discs, replace the chain and update the saddles. We're older and slower, and on the small side (team weight 270). However, riding together again has been fun, and I'm thinking I should upgrade the durable 40 spoke DT hubs/Mavic A317 wheelset to something lighter. No budget, but not really interested in carbon rims due to safety.

I surfed the forums, and see that the best recommendation so far is to RIDE MORE! So true, but I can't help but think a lighter set for folks our size would help us on the climbs, and maybe on the flats as well.

I have some Rolf wheels on a road bike. They are OK, pretty reliable. I have the old Spinergy carbon 4 spoke on an old Kestrel Tri bike. I just don't know if either of these companies makes a good wheel for a tandem. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
Both companies make a tandem specific wheel set. To me it seems like the Spinergys are getting more use around here now then the Rolfs..

https://rolfprima.com/collections/tandem-wheels
https://www.spinergy.com/products/stealth-tandem
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Old 10-19-20, 08:30 AM
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If you're looking to make your bike faster, start with nice, supple tires that are the right width for your weight and your roads. Cycles Chinook has a handy tire sizing tool to help with that: https://www.cycleschinook.com/tire-optimizer/
Some generally fast tandem tires that you might find in those widths include Continental GP5000, Panaracer Gravelking, and Rene Herse tires.
I'm a fan of handbuilt wheels with hubs, rims, and spokes chosen for the intended rider(s). White Industries tandem hubs are a nice sweet spot of performance to price. The right rim depends a bit on your ideal tire width. I'm personally a fan of wider rims for their aerodynamic benefits, bonus tire width, and cornering stiffness. Depending on your cruising speed, you might benefit from a more aerodynamic wheel or a lightweight one. TBH, today's carbon rims are generally lighter, more aerodynamic, and stronger than competitive alloy rims. Lightbicycle's WR series are all great choices for a 700c road tandem. For alloy rims, I really like the stiffness-to-weight-ratio and width options from Spank: Wing 22, Trail 295, Spike 33, Trail 345, and Trail 395. Those rims are 22, 24.5, 28, 30, and 35mm inner widths respectively. On my personal tandem, I have a set of go-fast wheels with LB WR50; and a set of 650b Spank Trail 395 for rough roads, gravel, touring, etc. I also have our old set of 650b wheels with Velocity Blunt 35 and Cliffhanger rims, but they literally haven't been used since I built the Trail 395 wheelset a few years ago.
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Old 10-19-20, 09:08 AM
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I have Rolf on my solo road bike and Spinergy from House of Tandems on the tandem. Both have been good. Neither has been "maintenance free". Don't hit any big rocks with the Spinergy. Be mindful of the spokes on the Rolf. I use GP5000 32 mm on our Ritchey tandem. One season of tubeless with zero flats on the tandem.
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Old 10-19-20, 11:45 AM
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I've been very happy with Spinergy wheels. I've had a few different models on both tandem and single bikes and am currently running their full carbon clinchers on both my road tandem and primary single bike. I have the FCC 3.2 on the tandem with 700x28 Continental Grand Prix 4 season tires and the FCC 4.7 on the single bike with 700x28 Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL tires. The 4.7s may be a bit stiffer and faster due to the deeper rims, and the 3.2s are a little lighter and still plenty stiff for our ~320 lb team. We rode the perimeter of the Big Island back in February and never felt the tandem's wheels weren't more than adequate for the road conditions we found. At your team weight you might even consider using 700x25 tires which would be lighter and more aero at the expense of some comfort and durability. If you don't want to go carbon they make the same wheel with a 32mm deep aluminum rim, trading slightly higher weight for lower cost. The hubs are super easy to maintain, the spokes really do damp vibration from small imperfections in the road, and they are easy to repair should you break a spoke if you carry a spare spoke and the two small tools (provided with the wheels) that are needed to remove and reinstall. I always carry the tools and a spoke on the tandems, but the only spoke issue I ever had was when one broke at the rim end when I was trying to true a wheel at home. That was on an older set of TX-2 wheels with aluminum rims and round spokes. My FCC 3.2's are at 7,500 miles and have never needed to be trued.
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Old 10-19-20, 12:39 PM
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Wow,, thanks for the feedback. I spent a couple hours reading last night after checking out Tandems East website. Lots of great information. The problem is, now I am thinking maybe I should sell my Cannondale and upgrade everything! That's the problem with too much information hitting me while I'm in spend mode. Spinergy tandem wheels are intriguing 24 fiber spokes, less, but wider, so I would think the benefit is in weight and not aerodynamics. They have a carbon/aluminum rim option. Wonder how much lighter and if they are truly durable enough for some less than ideal paved roads.

I have been thinking that I should get a tandem with SS Couplings so we can travel with it. When we've gone on bike tours we use single rentals. Easy, but not the same.

I better slow down. Wait, I'm already slow.
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Old 10-21-20, 02:15 PM
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IMHO we get hung up on weight and spoke count. I like to focus on the hub, where the biggest source of friction is, and the trueness and roundness of the wheel. Trueness? You mean some wheels arenít round?

White Industry hubs are a good price point, Paul Component hubs are excellent. I have a set of Spinergies that did less than 1000 miles before having issues in the hub. Iíll stick with a good set of custom wheels 40 spoke minimum, good up to 40mm tires and built to my specs.
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Old 10-22-20, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Magnum PI View Post
Wow,, thanks for the feedback. I spent a couple hours reading last night after checking out Tandems East website. Lots of great information. The problem is, now I am thinking maybe I should sell my Cannondale and upgrade everything!
Several years ago we came to the conclusion that buying a new tandem was a better strategy than updating an 18 year old machine. Not regretting our decision.

Originally Posted by Magnum PI View Post
Spinergy tandem wheels are intriguing 24 fiber spokes, less, but wider, so I would think the benefit is in weight and not aerodynamics.
In general, the number-crunchers have concluded that folks place too much emphasis on reducing bike weight vs. improving aerodynamics.

I've no experience with the Spinergy's but the Rolfs offer lower weight and better aerodynamics. Given our good experience with Rolf's on 4 bikes in our fleet, I saw no reason to change.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 10-22-20, 12:38 PM
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Appreciate the feedback! Yes, leaning towards a new bike. It would be our 4th tandem after our Santana Arriva and Rodriguez. Now the real research begins. On the verge of retirement, but still like to go as fast as our bodies will take us. There certainly are a lot more choices out there.
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Old 10-25-20, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Magnum PI View Post
Wow,, thanks for the feedback. I spent a couple hours reading last night after checking out Tandems East website. Lots of great information. The problem is, now I am thinking maybe I should sell my Cannondale and upgrade everything! That's the problem with too much information hitting me while I'm in spend mode. Spinergy tandem wheels are intriguing 24 fiber spokes, less, but wider, so I would think the benefit is in weight and not aerodynamics. They have a carbon/aluminum rim option. Wonder how much lighter and if they are truly durable enough for some less than ideal paved roads.

I have been thinking that I should get a tandem with SS Couplings so we can travel with it. When we've gone on bike tours we use single rentals. Easy, but not the same.

I better slow down. Wait, I'm already slow.

Most of my Spinergy wheels have been built with their bladed spokes. I think you're referring to the round spokes when you said they are wider. My first set had round spokes and they definitely seemed to push a lot of air when I spun them up in the workstand. I'm not sure how much difference it makes when riding but when I was emailing back and forth with the company trying to decide what wheels to buy for my single (ending up with the FCC 4.7 with bladed spokes) they said the bladed spokes only make a difference if you're an elite rider. At the speed a tandem can go when ridden enthusiastically - or downhill - the bladed spokes probably help a bit. They recommend the round spokes for MTB and serious gravel riding where a stick or rock might get thrown into the spokes, but have no reservations about the strength of the bladed spokes for road use.

You mentioned a carbon/aluminum option... If you are referring to the Stealth model shown on the Spinergy website, they are older and have what is now considered a narrow internal width. I have a set of those and they handle 700 x 28 tires ok, but the tires don't sit as wide on those rims as they do on the FCC 4.7s. And those wheels are significantly heavier than the newer ones. For the most up-to-date selection of Spinergy tandem wheels you should look at the House of Tandems web site. They show the newer FCC and AC models. Any of them can probably be built up with either round or bladed spokes.
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Old 10-27-20, 09:42 AM
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There are a few fast looking tandems in here worth looking at:

https://www.tandemclassifieds.com/
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