This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart, as we had a 140mm rear-spaced Cannondale MT3000 that blew apart it’s Coda/Hugi hub back in January 2000. I was able to get a very affordable Shimano XT 140mm replacement rear wheel from Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East. A year or two later I had a friend who was retiring and they had a Cannondale RT3000 with a go-fast OEM wheelset (32° front/rear w/140mm rear spaced hub) that was not up to the task for their 500# combined team weight. Once again, Mel came through with a great price on a 48° Shimano XT 140 wheelset that we gave to them as a retirement gift. Up and until a few weeks ago I’d have either been looking for a used 140mm hub or swallowing a big bill for a Phil Wood hub.
For those who don’t know, back in the 80’s and 90’s there were quite a few different rear width hubs being spec’d for use on tandems: 130mm, 135mm, 140mm, 145mm and 160mm. For a while 140mm became very popular and as adopted for use on certain years of Cannondale road and off-road tandems and were also used on Santana, Co-Motion, Rodriguez, Bilenky, Ibis, Burley and others. Needless to say, there are a lot of tandems out there running around on 140mm hubs.
However, a lot of tandems is a ‘blip’ on the screen in the big scheme of things when it comes to the bicycle industry and the very limited number of potential consumers for the somewhat odd 140mm odd-sized rear hubs caused a lot of hub makers to discontinue the size offering. One of the few exceptions was Phil Wood, but then again you’re talking about a $395 – $487 heirloom quality hub that might be needed for a tandem with a residual value of about $550; and, no…. adding a $487 hub on a new rear wheel to a $550 tandem doesn’t raise the value of the tandem to $1,200: maybe $700 at best if the consumer is really in love with that particular tandem.
Leave it to Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East to once again see a void in the tandem market and do something to support tandem enthusiasts. Being one of the go-to shops in the tandem speciality market and the densely populated northeastern US where many early tandem adopters reside, Mel found more and more folks coming to him in search of a 140mm hub and aside from the aforementioned Phil Wood there just wasn’t an off-the-shelf offering and the cost for a hub maker to tool up for a limited run was also cost prohibitive.
To fill the void, Mel worked with White Industries and his local machinist to come up with an affordable $280 140mm rear cassette hub offering ($290 for disc) which is what you’d pay for a stock White Industries 145mm hub at Tandems East. Mel’s machinist makes the 140mm axle that mates up with a White Industries hub body for a consumer win-win: White Industry hubs are easily a best value in a top quality hub and Mel has been a top quality source for custom-made tandem parts for many years.
Customer response to the new offering has purportedly been incredibly strong with fifteen 140mm wheelsets going out the door since the hub became available a few weeks back.
So, if you or someone you know has been in a bind with a 140mm rear spaced tandem that you didn’t want to or couldn’t have cold-set to 145mm, you now have an affordable option and can finally do that wheelset upgrade. For more details, contact Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East:
Phone: 856-451-5104 (M-F 6p-10p, Sat 8a-5p)