A couple of folks have asked us how our Calfee story has played out since publishing my final Calfee Journal update back on March 28, 2009. Probably a fair question and I’ll have to work up something for the web journal if only to cut down on the number of lengthy email replies I’ve been generating of late. In short, here are the talking points:
- Frame continues to impress with its comfort.
- Build was pretty much spot-on; no component changes to date other than the typical cassette and wheel swaps.
- With 12-13k miles since Jan ’09, the Campy Ergo’s are about due for a rebuild… lots of rear derailleur shifts here in our part of the world with our rolling hills and stair-step steep climbs.
- Even though we have a little bit of UV yellowing in a few spots, no regrets over the nude finish: very low maintenance and hides road grime quite well. It has also made some rework early on a lot more feasible since no repaint was needed. Not sure if using my preferred RaggTopp vs. Calfee’s recommended Aerospace 302 UV protectant was the problem or what, but I’ve gone back to 303 and just deal with the water solubility and streaky mess that you get when sweat and water hit the frame… yeah, about once a month.
- S&S… still haven’t travelled with the tandem and in retrospect, probably should have saved the $3k and 3lbs and gone with an uncoupled frame. Our retirement picture doesn’t seem to suggest world travel will be in our future… mostly road trips here in the good old CONUS is the more likely scenario.
- Zona carbon stem… Insanely expensive, but the custom geometry (low-rise, long boom) has been perfect for Debbie and it’s gorgeous-looking.
- The Shimano XTR in-line gear position indicator on the front derailleur cable failed at about 6k miles, making a mess of the front shifting during its last ride. The housing bends were just too tight and fatigue cracked the plastic end cap.
- Record calipers — front dual pivot and custom rear dual pivot — working like champs for all but the most demanding terrain. Lots of grip and plenty of room for 25mm tires, perhaps even 28mm if we change out the 45mm rake / 374mm long Alpha Q X2 front for our spare 55mm rake / 395mm long Reynolds Ouzo Pro Tandem fork.
- Avid BB7 Road Disc… perfect for those demanding mountain descents and an easy 15 minute swap-out with the rear caliper and a switch to our disc-compatible conventional wheelset.
- Wheels: We run our Topolino wheels almost exclusively. We had some issues with the front wheel bearings but they were solved by Topolino and the wheels have been 100% reliable ever since then. The conventional White Ind / Velocity Deep V wheels typically stay in the wheel bag as our back-up wheels and get used when we decide to install the Avid BB7 disc, given that the Topolino’s can’t be used with a disc. The Rolf Prima Vigor Tandem wheels hang in the garage unused for the most part.
Any regrets? Not really. Debbie is VERY fond of the Calfee and would only be interested in another tandem if it was somehow more comfortable than the Calfee without giving up performance. I’m not sure what that would be.
If cost were no object, I’d love to put my hands on the following tandems for a year-long comparo with the Calfee:
- Calfee bamboo
- Paketa V2R magnesium
- Co-Motion Macchiato
- Santana Beyond
- Cannondale RT2
- Eriksen or Erickson Ti
Yeah, that’s about $6ok worth of hardware… so that ain’t happening unless we win the lottery. And since I don’t play the lottery, that ain’t gonna happen either. I guess we’ll just have to assume that our Calfee is still a better machine than we can fully appreciate and more than adequate for our foreseeable needs, wants and desires.