Can you ride Tandem? Advice sought on brands available.

#1
My wife and I have had a Cannondale Tandem for the best part of 20 years and are now looking to replace it. We currently cycle on good desert tracks and roads in UAE and tend to keep away from the hillier stuff due to the fact that the current aluminium frame bike is heavy and the derailleur gears are hard to keep adjusted well enough for quick and accurate downshifting.

One brand / model we have looked at is Thorn Raven Thorn touring bikes and tandems with a Rohloff rear hub which offers potentially easier gear changes vs derailleur, the ability to change the full gear range in the future as our needs change and less wearing parts exposed to sun and sand. We can also select a higher top end with a new hub as our current derailleur set up cannot be upgraded easily due to age of the bike and currently limits our speed (large gaps between ratios and top gear just not long enough for downhill).

I would be grateful for advice on the pros and cons of the Thorn range as well as any alternatives. We are not looking at touring for a few years but want a fast tandem that is good for road work with a reasonable sporty set up on flat bars.
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#4
Thanks for the link WM I shall have a look and ask a few questions of Dolan. I have seen some of the carbon frame models and very nice they are too. One thing I am keen on is durability and as I don't know enough about it I would be concerned with the carbon getting chipped/damaged and losing strength. Our bikes travel around with us and we have to take the tandem out to the tracks and to rides on a trailer. With this in mind I shall have a look at the aluminium frameset you linked to. I shall also check what group set is on the tandem tonight as I need to clean it and lubricate for Dubai 92km ride Friday.
 
#5
Carbon is good unless you buy knock of Chinese stuff. That can unthread rather than snap!

Dolan frames are durable, I have smashed one on track (I'm no track fan). The TT frame is very strong and comfy.
The other tandem brand I can think of is Dawes but they tend to be heavy touring builds.

Just to say though, Tandem riders are nutters ;)

Edit re groupset. Shimano road and MTB can be interchangeable. That is how most of the cyclo cross bikes are set up.
As before an internal hub proper seals would be better in sand grit etc. But I can work a groupset out if you want, I'm a cytech trained mechanic.
 
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#6
Thanks for the advice WM, much appreciated. I shall send measurements etc to Dolan to see what they have. I am looking at an end of line model with Thorn (VAT free) and shall try for the same with Dolan as its year end. I agree Dawes are probably not what I want. The enclosed Rohloff hub on the Thorn is attractive in terms of lack of maintenance and ease of use.
 
#8
I was going to mention Mercian but it seems they don't make them any more
They are still doing tandem. Uber expensive Special Orders - Mercian
There was a local frame builder in Wales, he would mark out and weld up on the garage floor. A true artisan frame builder.
To many hipsters having frames built up to pose on. But carbon is the way forward to race, light but smother ride.
 
#9
They are still doing tandem. Uber expensive Special Orders - Mercian
There was a local frame builder in Wales, he would mark out and weld up on the garage floor. A true artisan frame builder.
To many hipsters having frames built up to pose on. But carbon is the way forward to race, light but smother ride.
I was in the South Pennine Road Club when I was a yoof. We used to hang around Mercian's shop on a Saturday. Had a workshop tour. It was magic to see a set of tubes and hand filed lugs turn into an exquisite piece of craftsmanship.
 
#10
I was in the South Pennine Road Club when I was a yoof. We used to hang around Mercian's shop on a Saturday. Had a workshop tour. It was magic to see a set of tubes and hand filed lugs turn into an exquisite piece of craftsmanship.
The smell of oil, rubber and strong tea in a cycle workshop. Need to get up to Yorkshire and do some TTs up there.
 

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