Calfee carbon and bamboo tandems are the frames against which all others are measured; the benchmark in comfort, speed, fun, value and beauty.
Very simply, the best tandem bicycles in the world.
Tandem Pricing. Tandem Order Form. You no longer have to compromise. Our tandem frames, as light as the very lightest aluminum, titanium and hybrid-carbon frames from our competitors, set a new standard for comfort, durability, beauty, lateral-stiffness and power transmission. We are doing for the tandem world in 2011 what we did for the single world in 1987; building a lighter, stronger, stiffer more absorbent frame that is faster and more fun to ride. Our Dragonfly tandem earned the award for Best Tandem Bike at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Calfee carbon tandem frames are coveted by the world’s best tandem cyclists as this three minute video evidences. Enjoy this build detail about the Tetra 29er tandem with electronic shifting, pictured below. Please consider this photo album to explore some frame finishes and component options.
You don’t have to take our word for it; with over 25 years of advanced composites engineering and manufacturing, we’ve received volumes of feedback. In all of those years, no collection of words comes close to “Our Calfee Journal; documenting the first year of ownership”. This is a must read; an expert and objective accounting of a tandem enthusiast’s experience with our Tetra.
Calfee Carbon Tandem Frames, our Tetra and Dragonfly; the world’s best designed, 100% carbon fiber tandem frames
In considering which tandem to buy, you’ll first need to consider frame material. Why carbon fiber? From our Technical White Paper: The ideal bicycle frame for a given rider would fit the rider’s build and would be light. It would absorb road shock well, but it would handle crisply because of lateral stiffness and would deliver undiminished applied pedal power to the drive train. It would be durable and not subject to fatigue failures and would be strong enough to stand up to unexpected impacts and torsion forces. It would lend itself to attractive finishing and would resist corrosion or attack by the elements.
Why carbon fiber? Given carbon’s inherent qualities, why not? Carbon fiber exhibits the most desirable performance characteristics of any of the frame-building materials explored to date. It can be designed to be laterally stiff under heavy pedaling forces and still be light. It can absorb road shocks well, and still handle crisply while efficiently delivering complete power to the drive train. It can be durable and not subject to fatigue failures while remaining strong enough to stand up to unexpected impacts and torsion forces. It can lend itself to attractive finishing and resist corrosion or attack by the elements. And it can be formed in an attractive, functional way allowing it to move through air resistance easily. In summary; a carbon fiber tube bike can be stronger, lighter, stiffer, more fatigue resistant and more comfortable than a steel, aluminum, titanium or hybrid-carbon tubing bicycle. Our tandem frame design leverages the beneficial and intrinsic attributes of the carbon fiber material to manifest the best riding, and looking, tandem bicycles in the world.
Which carbon model is right for us?
Tetra or Dragonfly?
Our Dragonfly tandem uses a high modulus carbon fiber (66 msi) co-mingled with Boron fiber to build the lightest possible tandem bicycle frame without sacrificing stiffness, durability and ride quality. Our Dragonfly tandem frame, size Large/Medium, weighs only 2900 grams or 6.25 pounds. Compare to our Tetra frame, built with an intermediate modulus carbon (42 and 55 msi) at 3160 grams or 6.8 pounds in a Large/Medium. Notably, there is no weight limit on either our Dragonfly or Tetra tandem frames; certain tandem teams might benefit from enhanced frame stiffness, a $300 option. Please consult our Tandem Frame Pricing for a complete list of options.
Many of our clients are choosing to enjoy the many advantages of Shimano’s electronic Dura Ace and Ultegra groups, on both singles and tandems. Our Di2 Internal Battery and Wiring System is an option on both Tetra and Dragonfly ($425). Owing to the absence of a triple ring option, we modify the rear derailleur to create compatibility with large, 36 tooth cogs. The resultant gear ratio will get you up any mountain with only a double crank. Further efficiencies are realized with Gates Belt Drive; all of our tandems are compatible.
Complete tandems weigh as little as 21 pounds, with most registering between 26 and 30 pounds on the scale. Couplers, a great option for traveling teams and an option on both Tetra and Dragonfly, add about 3 pounds. The Tetra travel tandem in blue and silver, at the top of the page, weighs only 28 pounds with couplers; contrast to the 21.4 pound Dragonfly shown, below, in red and white.
There is little discernible difference in ride characteristics between our two carbon frames; the Dragonfly might be described as livelier owing to the lighter, stiffer tube set. The thicker walls and lower cost of the Tetra ($5695 compare to $7795) make it a popular choice for teams who opt for couplers (an additional $2500). In many cases, it is the simple but strong want to ride and enjoy our very best, the Dragonfly that catalyzes the upgrade.
Calfee Bamboo Tandems; a functional and elegant alternative
There are many good reasons to choose Calfee Bamboo for your next tandem bicycle frame. Calfee Bamboo bicycle frames are very stiff, transferring power efficiently; are durable, resisting damage from stress and impacts; are comfortable, surpassing aluminum, steel, titanium and most carbon frames in smoothness. Our bamboo tubes mitered together and bound by epoxy soaked hemp fiber create a frame whose most notable characteristic, beyond beauty, is this incredible vibration dampening. Enjoy this very thorough and well written article about our bamboo product. As well, please consider this recent feedback from a new Calfee Bamboo Pro owner. Read this build detail about the very special bamboo tandem, pictured below.
Compared to our carbon tandem frames, our bamboo enjoys similar ride characteristics. The subtle weight penalty (8 pounds for a Large/Medium) may be offset by our bamboo’s beauty, uniqueness, comfort and durability. Our bamboo frames are an excellent choice for tandem teams interested in particularly rough roads.
Please consider our Tandem Frame Price List for a complete list of pricing, frame and fork options. Importantly, both our Tetra and Dragonfly are compatible with all frame and fork options. The same is true of our Bamboo with only one exception; we cannot couple the frames for travel. Custom geometry is always an option for tandem teams seeking a truly personalized fit. Notably, we offer a double Gates belt drive option; you can pair a Rohloff internally geared hub with a Gates drive and timing belt. We are also happy to build MTB tandems, with either 26 or 29 inch wheels, with our Tetra or Bamboo tubing. We also offer a recumbent tandem (sorry, no trikes) using our Tetra tube set. Paint is included in the price of our tandem frames; some clients will choose to have their tandem custom painted (see below).