A posting from Bill at Santana who is breaking his normal rule of not
commenting on responses / rebuttals:

1. Doug reminded asked us to check out a picture of Pantani's bike where the
front Ergopower shift control was abandoned in favor of a traditional friction
lever:

http://www.ns.net/~Norris/marcobike.html

At Campagnolo's Interbike booth I spent a few minutes inspecting all three
top-placing 1998 Tour de France bikes. While I don't remember Pantani's Ergo
controls being supplemented with a friction shift lever (maybe Campy "fixed"
Pantani's bike before displaying it), I do remember one of the other Ergo-
equipped bikes having a "third eye" chain-catcher to prevent a chain-dropping
overshift.

Anyone who thinks Campy front indexing is faultless is mistaken. Two of the
top three TdeF finishers experienced enough problems to install workarounds.
And we should remember that these are professionally maintained single bikes
with only two chainrings.

2. At least two frequent posters don't understand the problem I cite re: a
tandem's front shifting (with any derailleur or controls). I imagine they are
thinking of instances other than those where they need to shift to a smaller
chainring while climbing a hill that unexpectedly got steeper. While such
instances might not occur on every paved ride, it's a constant problem when
tandeming rugged single track. It is obviously easier to effect a clean front
shift on a single bike; especially while climbing.

3. One poster who flaunts his expert credentials says he tested a Flight Deck
equipped Santana and hated Flight Deck. He says he'll keep his Co-Motion's
bar-ends. But after another Co-Motion owner helpfully pointed up the advantage
of visible gear indication (which is especially valuable for tandem riders),
the tester answers by agreeing with the fellow Co-Motion owner and admitting
he somehow forgot this cool feature while flaming me. The expert tester then
goes on to complain a second time about Flight Deck's "bizarre" cadence
feature, which displays a number even while coasting.

Jeez, talk about missing the boat! Flight Deck's "virtual cadence" is better
than actual cadence in two ways. First (if you value the appearance of your
tandem), you don't need to tie a magnet to your crank arm, and then string an
unsightly wire down the downtube to reach a frame-mounted clamp. Second (if
you're worried about race-winning performance), when you're tucked into a
full-aero position to shake those pesky singles on a fast descent, you can use
virtual cadence to gauge the exact second to best sit up to resume pedaling
and widen the gap. 

Here's a $100 wager (any takers?) that Campy's upcoming integrated Ergo
computer will include virtual cadence. 

As if that weren't enough, the tester then goes on to report that his buddies
at Co-Motion have now told him they like Ultegra STI, and based on their
report he's now looking forward to being favorably impressed when reevaluating
these controls on a Co-Motion. 

Can you say "Prejudiced"?

Another $100 says this guy will decide to endorse STI and Flight Deck after he
tests them on a Co-Motion. 

None of this is in any way slam against Co-Motion; another concerned company
that wishes it could offer tandem customers an "integrated" answer that shifts
as well as the bar-ends being rejected by a large number of today's tandem
buyers.

4. Comments to other posted questions or statements:

Q: Does STI work? Absolutely. 

A: Is it perfect? No. 

Q: Are tandem enthusiasts with STI generally happy? 

A: A large majority are. And that number probably grows to nearly 90% when the
mechanic who strings the cable and installs the derailleur follows endorsed-
by-Shimano tweaks of the cable routing and derailleur cage. Unfortunately, a
few rogue LBS mechanics who insist on setting up the drivetrain based on their
single bike experience, will ignore these tweaks with predictable results.
These tweaks, which have already been posted to T@H by others, will be
repeated in my next posting.

Q: Who should I trust? 

A: Your own judgment and experience is the only reliable guide. Two
enthusiasts riding the same tandem can form completely at-odds opinions. In
this regard STI controls are no different than Aerospoke wheels, hydraulic
brakes, suspension systems, and so on. Personally, I've always been irritated
by the seal drag of a Chris King headset---most people don't even notice it.

Q: Who is most critical of STI? 

A: Surprisingly, the people who are least satisfied are NOT veteran tandem
owners accustomed to bar-ends (like most T@H posters), but are more likely
enthusiasts new to tandeming who already have Dura-Ace or Ultegra controls on
their double chainring single bike. These unhappy customers don't understand
why seemingly identical components don't function 100% as well on their triple
chainring tandem. Half of their problem, of course, is learning how a tandem
team can communicate a letup in pedal force (and/or shift before a hill gets
too steep).

Q: Isn't the real problem 160mm spacing and the resulting chainline? 

A: No. By published bicycle tech standards "chainline" is unrelated to cog
placement. Every well-designed tandem will use a wider chainline than a
standard single bike. Santana's chainline, unchanged since 1976, is within 2mm
of other modern tandems. 

Q: But cog spacing must make a difference?

A: While the cog placement on a tandem with 160 spacing is 5mm further
outboard than a tandem with 145 spacing (the remaining 2.5mm is between the
small cog and frame), this difference (a mere 1-cog offset) makes a tandem
with a 160mm hub more efficient at speed (when your chain will have 1 cog less
deflection).

Bill McCready