Santana’s Frame Deflection Test Rig, aka “Otto” (Part 1)

This past week BF forum member ‘Ritterview’ (RV) shared a maiden ride report on their new Calfee Dragonfly tandem; yes, the very same one that earned the “Best Tandem Award” at this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBA) that we reported on a few weeks back. The first outing for their Dragonfly was the Solvang Century held on March 13th at Solvang, California.

Calfee Dragonfly (Photo by Ritterview posted to BF Forum)

In his report RV also made mention that Santana Cycles, Inc. founder and president Bill McCready was at the show with a display booth, had brought along a ‘tandem deflection measurement rig’ [sic] and invited Mr. & Mrs. RV to bring their Dragonfly by to be included Santana’s data collection project. More specifically and quoting from the BF posting:

After the ride we visited the Santana tandem booth. I had talked to Bill McCready at the booth the night before, and he had invited us to bring the bike by the booth for the tandem deflection measurement project he is doing. Which is, they have a rig set up that puts weights on the pedals of the captain (180 lbs) [sic] and stoker (130 lbs), while the bike is suspended by the fork and tilted about 30 degrees to the right, at which point a digital instrument measures boom tube deflection. They take information about the bike (make, model, year, size) and weigh it.

Our friend RV took a few photos of the measurement process that were also shared out on the BF posting.

Bill McCready holding RV's Calfee as front wheel is removed (Photo by Ritterview posted to BF)

RV's Calfee is attached to "Otto" (Photo by Ritterview posted to BF)

Otto's Digital Dial Indicator Measures "Loaded" deflection (Photo by Ritterview posted to BF)

To learn more about Santana’s project and test fixture I contacted Bill McCready as I often do when I’d like the first-hand scoop on what Bill and Santana are up to.  My Email found Bill in Taiwan at the Taipei Bicycle Show on the Thursday after the Solvang Century. Bill was, as always, kind enough to type out a very detailed reply with the full back story and many additional insights on the test rig and project during his 12-hour flight back to Los Angeles, CA.

More info on the test rig (aka, Otto) with the quoted text from our ‘dialog’ will follow in Part 2 tomorrow.

Full Disclosure: I should probably note, Bill and I have engaged in many lively debates on the Tandem@Hobbes listserver over the years and had an on-going dialog via Email and phone since 1998 as our first tandem bought in 1997 was a Santana Arriva. Also, like many tandem enthusiasts who have had the pleasure of attending a Santana Tour, we were able to meet and ride with Bill & his lovely wife Jan at Santana’s Mother’s Day Weekend Rally in Asheville, NC, in May ’99. I have similar relationships with several folks in the tandem industry whom I routinely correspond with and who have been a wealth of information, companionship and insight over the year. When the opportunity arises to help get the word out on something that would be of interest to the tandem community — or to quell any errant rumors — I do my best to act as a conduit. This is merely another opportunity to do so, i.e., share additional details on something I found very interesting. As always, I have no financial interest or business relationship with any firms which allows me to keep my objectivity and report on what I choose to report on. Lest I digress….


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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2 Responses to Santana’s Frame Deflection Test Rig, aka “Otto” (Part 1)

  1. Wayne says:

    I am interested in the data obtained from Otto. Any chance that Bill would share some results?

    PS: I enjoy flexible bikes and am interested in a slightly MORE flexible tandem than our current ride.

    • TG says:

      Your best bet would be to call Bill and ask. Even if he doesn’t share the actual ‘data’ I’m sure you could learn quite a bit about what they’ve observed. Just be sure to have some very specific questions in hand and do your best to get those answered during your conversation so that you don’t get sidetracked and come away from the discussion well-informed, only to realize you never got around to your questions.

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