As expected, with this year’s Interbike in full-swing a few interesting press releases were bound to surface. The most interesting one to date — even more-so than the Gates Carbon Drive ‘CenterTrack’ — is one that surfaced on Monday from Vyatek Sports based in Tempe, AZ. You can read the full text of the article at Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, but in summary:
The initial ExoGrid and IsoGrid based tandem designs will debut at the 2010 Interbike trade show. The new da Vinci tandems will feature Vyatek’s ExoGrid, IsoGrid and Bi/FusionTM technologies, which combine the best attributes of advanced composites and conventional metals.
As quoted from an interview with our long-time friend at daVinci design, Todd Shusterman,
“We have had an interest in working with Vyatek for several years. Our new carbon fiber tandems have been so popular and time consuming to build, the time was perfect to start working with the IsoGrid and ExoGrid tubes. I feel the Vyatek tubes are the perfect bridge between our carbon fiber tandems and steel tandems in both labor and price.”
If you’ve followed daVinci’s tandem offerings, the Vyatek relationship and new materials will not come as a surprise. Todd Shusterman has always approached his tandem and component designs with out-of-the-square thinking that challenges the status quo. His daVinci Independent Coasting System (ICS) has been a product discriminator from the get-go, and they’re one of just a handful of tandem builders who know how to build a full-suspension, off-road tandem. Todd has also been a long-time proponent of 26″ wheels for tandems, and only recently began offering 700c tandems to satisfy customer expectations based on “the status quo” practiced by most other tandem builders. daVinci was one of the first builders to adopt Avid’s BB7 discs to both their off-road and road tandems, noting Avid was at one time a small business also located in Denver, Colorado. daVinci recently introduced a high-quality, low-cost entry model — the Grand Junction — produced off-shore to their exacting specifications. daVinci tandems have been offered in steel, aluminum, and titanium for many years and in 2007 collaborated with Calfee Designs to bring about the first all-carbon tandem featuring daVinci’s ICS system for Greg Lemond. daVinci then began to offer a Calfee-made, daVinci branded tandem that was later replaced by an in-house hybird carbon frame with either an aluminum or steel boom tube and rear stays. So, daVinci is hardly a stranger to embracing new frame materials and new business partners.
If you’re scratching your head and saying ,”I seem to recall that one of the big domestic tandem builders has been offering IsoGrid & ExoGrid frames for some time now?”, you are correct: Santana Cycles. In fact, it was nearly seven years ago at Interbike 2003 that Santana unveiled its first IsoGrid frame; from my ’03 Bulletin Board Archives at www.thetandemlink.com:
Oct 16 – More From Interbike & More About the Santana Tandems at the Titus Booth — Jack Goertz of Tandems Limited was kind enough to file an Interbike report and noted that Santana did not have a booth at this year’s Interbike show. Instead, they held a workshop for dealers where they unveiled the new Beyond IsoGrid tandems which were put on display at the Titus booth. You can read Jack’s report HERE. With regard to the off-road tandem, Jack was also kind enough to pass on the story behind this bike from Santana which is included in his Interbike follow-up posting that you can read HERE. Bottom line from Santana is, they designed & built the tandem using the IsoGrid tubing provided by Vyatek and the Titus Horst Link rear suspension provided by Titus. The customer? Apparently it may be Howard Lindsay, the owner of Vyatek, Titus, MaxM, et al.
I also posted two items earlier this year regarding Santana’s ExoGrid technologies. The first one was back on April 24th as part of “My Walk Around of a 2010 Santana Team Scandium” blog entry and the second was back on July 5th when I stumbled across a pair of YouTube Video’s where Santana’s Bill McCready discussed the ExoGrid tubing used on a prototype 29er tandem at the Sea Otter Classic.