For regular readers and any other visitors who stumbled across my Nov. 6th entry regarding the new Paketa V2r , if you didn’t followed the subsequent comments you missed what I thought was a pretty interesting dialog with a number of folks, including Dave Walker of Paketa and his wife Terry Malauf.
I revised my original entry twice since I tapped it out on the 6th in an effort to take off a bit of the ‘edge’ and to interject a little more objectivity to some of my comments. As noted in the ‘Note:’ that now appears as an introduction, while the dialog with Dave has been, “… informative, it also raised more questions in my mind than it has as of yet solved. However, I am starting to turn the corner on understanding why the single side drive drive may be a better adaptation of the Gates Carbon Drive vs. the more commonly seen crossover crankset design. So, somewhat with hat-in-hand, I’ve softened this entry and will be posting a subsequent one in the near future to relay what I learn.” This is that entry… well, the first of two, actually.
Reset: What the original Nov. 6th entry probably should have looked like...
Paketa V2r… A Cool New Offering
Looking past how the new Paketa V2r’s single side drive and 2×10 drive train is able to reduce the already light conventional crossover 3×10 Paketa V2 by one (1) pound, what we have is a very cool performance tandem that may be an even more attractive option to high-end tandem buyers. By high-end tandems, the Paketa V2 and VR2 models start off as frame-only models in the $5,600 – $6,500 range, in a league where other stock, high-end performance and racing tandem frames range from $4,000 to $7,000 and custom models run several thousand more. So, once you add in a basic build-kit that will yield a sub-30lb tandem, you’re looking at ‘stock’ tandems that retails anywhere from $7,500 – $13,000, where the sky’s the limit.
I’ll talk more about belts in general in a subsequent entry tonight that I’ll write as the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots duke it out, but as mentioned in my first Paketa entry last weekend, this is the first Gates Carbon Drive tandem sync belt-based, single side performance tandem that I’ve seen (more on that in a minute). Like all single-side drives, the belt-based design should yield a very solid-feel with very little chain noise and vibration and one that needs very little maintenance, even if used in the worst of weather conditions or in other harsh climates that are typically hard on chain drives, e.g., sand, dust, etc. That Paketa was able to tuck the belt drive in tight should also be a plus and the 69t belt sprocket looks as though it should work as a chain-keeper that keeps the drive chain from ever dropping past 2nd driving chain ring.
The 2×10 drive is something we also saw and discussed in our “What’s New At Co-Motion for 2011” back on Oct 27:
6. The New SRAM Red/XX 2×10 Race Group. Available as an optional upgrade to Co-Motion’s Race model tandems, folks who don’t want to mess with a triple crank can spec their go-fast tandem with the SRAM Red / XX 2×10 racing drive train package. Although not available as an aftermarket item, consumers can certainly replicate this new performance drive train by picking up the individual components.
Again, for those folks who live in places that are devoid of the kinds of hills and mountains or who have the legs and lungs to take on what ever climbs they’ll encounter in a 28″ gear (using 53/39t rings), a 2×10 does make a lot of sense. Frankly, even though we and most members of our tandem family and other close riding friends have 3×9 or 3×10 drives, we typically use them like a 2×9 or 2×10 and only drop into that alpine/granny gear on those rare occasions when we’re faced with 15% or higher grades.
In regard to the latter, while Debbie and I were out for a ride from the house yesterday we were talking about the Paketa V2r and talked about doing our own chain-based, single-side / 2×10 drive train on our Calfee or the Erickson this winter just for kicks. This wouldn’t be all that hard in that we have enough daVinci cranks and chain rings on hand to configure a single-side drive on either of our road tandems. For the 2×10 using the 11x36t Shimano CX-M771 cassette, I suspect an older XTR rear derailleur I have would support it after I picked up a Jtek Shiftmate #3. If not, we’d just pick-up a Shimano RD-M773 XT rear derailleur and figure out what to do with it later. The 11X36t cassette would likely find itself on our Ventana off-road tandem.. just because our 11x32t is getting pretty hard on our knees these days. So, perhaps will give it a go, or not. I seem to have more things that I want to play around with these days than I do the time or resources. If only it was prudent to ride at night around here! But, as always, I digress…
Speaking of folks who tinker and just can’t seem to shake the habit, our friend Bob Davis down in Peoria, Arizona, aka., airZona Tandems, is jumping back into the composite tandem business after a brief hiatus, per doctor’s orders. You can visit the ariZona website to learn a bit more… something I’ll address in yet another blog update (man, I got a lot in queue). However, the tie-in to the V2r is that Bob has also been busy developing a Di2-based single-side, 2×10 tandem drive train around the BB30 standard. As mentioned back in March, Santana has been offering its own Shimano Di2-based, crossover drive trains since the fall of ’09, so perhaps 2×10 will become a more common sight at tandem rallies and races in the near future along with the re-emergence of single-side drives.