Ventana El Conquistador S&S… what a deal!

No, we haven’t bought a new Ventana off-road tandem… but one of our Double Forte list members has and it’s spectacular.  The photo at right is what Sherwood Gibson has up on their El Conquistador de Montanas S&S Webpage at the moment and is hot-linked to that page.  I’ve also lifted off the description of the Ventana S&S El Conq below, just for convenience.

However, the impetus for this update was the pricing on the S&S model, which I still find amazing.  Alex Nutt at had quoted the S&S option as being about $1,500 higher than a standard Ed Conq frame but that included a pair or cases!!  I found that hard to believe just based on what the going rate is for coupler upgrades on most road tandems.  From a posting I made on the subject and in reply to Alex:

FWIW: Coupler upgrade on other builder’s tandems, cases NOT included:

  • Santana / chromoly frames = 1,500 (Note 1)
  • daVinci / chromoly frames = $1,600 (Note 2)
  • Co-Motion / chromoly frames = $2,000 (Note 3)
  • Santana / Aluminum = $2,000 (Note 1)
  • Calfee / Carbon frames = $2,495 (Note 4)
  • Santana/ Ti or Carbon = $2,800 (Note 1)
  • daVinci / Carbon = $3,000 (Note 2)

1 – 4 S&S + 1 pr of Santana boom tube couplers. Cases priced from $300/ea
(soft/backpack, 2 needed) to $950 (Santana SafeCase, only 1 needed)
2 – 4 large S&S couplers. Includes Easy-split cable separators, frame
pads, Teflon Grease, and pedal/spanner wrench, cases $385 – $585/ea… 2
3 – 6 S&S couplers. Includes Easy-split cable separators, Teflon Grease,
and pedal/spanner wrench, frame pads $129, cases $360/ea… 2 needed.
4 – 4 large S&S couplers. All S&S accessories / options priced ala carte

Well, son of a gun…  based on Julian’s recent purchase it REALLY is just a $1,500 upgrade: the S&S 26″ ECdM retails for $4700. That is ~$1500 more than the 26″ non-S&S frame, but includes two cases, cable splitters, wrenches, and padding.  Now, bear in mind… the S&S version of the Ventana El Conq is fabricated from 4130 steel instead of 6061 T1 aluminum tubing and the different material + the couples makes the S&S frame about 3-4lbs heavier than the aluminum models, and most of that is the weight associated with the couplers.

Anyway, the point is… in the big scheme of things a $1,500 coupler upgrade that includes cases, splitters and frame tube padding is one heck of a deal and these days, being able to travel with your off-road tandem has the exact same appeal as travelling with road tandems given the added logistics headaches that sometimes come with putting a full-size tandem on an airplane.  Moreover, it also allows folks to stuff their tandem into a small, fuel-efficient car or in the back of their full-size 4WD, which can also be pretty desirable.

“The Mountain Conqueror”

The world-renowned features of our El Conquistador are also available in a 4130 Steel, S&S coupled version for easy traveling. The advent of S&S’s Bicycle Torque couplings allows us to do what we do best…design and build our ultimate off-road fully suspended tandems and lets S&S elegantly tackle the task of separation, packing, and reassembly. Their couplers are beautifully finished, brushed stainless steel lugs, which we silver-solder to our 4130 Chrome Molebdenum steel chassis at separation points. With our revered FS tandem technology and S&S’s BTCs, now you can go anywhere, anytime in elegance and style without making any compromises with fit, parts spec, or performance.

Oh yeah, and if all of that doesn’t make yet another frame upgrade all that tempting, here’s a list that Sherwood posted to the Ventana home page of changes he’s planning to make in 2011..


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?
This entry was posted in Industry News, Off-Road Tandems, Pimpin' for our Friends, Technology & Equip.. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ventana El Conquistador S&S… what a deal!

  1. Ross Battersby says:

    That really is a deal. I am afraid my wife and I don’t have that kind of money.

    I just bought a KHS Tandemania FXT circa 1998, its full suspension although a little dated. E bay, $1000, plus $150 in diesel and a whole day to drive 600 miles to pick it up.

    My son and I weigh about 310 pounds all up and add another 45 for the bike. The bike has a Rock Shox Judy HLC Double crown fork. We ride in Annadale, in Santa Rosa and I am afraid the fork is not up to the rocks and bumps there.

    Has any of your Double Forte members had any experience with a Fox 40, or ATC Terrex 5 fork?

    I have about $600 to spend on it, and that rules out changing the front wheel. Its 9mm QR right now. If I change the wheel set for a 20mm axle, I won’t have money for a fork 😦

    Cheers Ross

  2. Julian says:

    Hey Ross,

    A new Ventana might not be as far out of reach as you think. My stoker and I started on a KHS in 2006 to ensure we both wanted to ride tandem off-road, then stumbled upon a local-for-sale, nearly-new Ventana in the right size at ~50% off new (and sold the KHS to make up part of the asking price of the ECdM). Recently we used Ventana’s trade-in policy (30% off), sold our Ventana frame set, and upgraded to the S&S bike for significantly less than list.

    As Mark says, it’s a heck of a deal.

    Fox doesn’t rate any of their forks for tandem use, though I have seen a few Fox models on tandems. The ATC is fit for duty, but has had a reputation for being difficult to dial in. That may be ancient history. We run a Marz 66SL, and have had no issues with it on our tandem, and we’re a ~380lb team with gear.

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