Frame Technology

FRAME FEATURES
Understanding Frame Efficiency

TUBING 101
Butted Tubing
Comparisions
Tubing Refinements
Relative Weight Index
Developments

FRAME NOTES
Chromoly
Aluminum
Niobium
Scandium
Titanium
Carbon

The IsoGrid® Story

FRAME DESIGN: FUNCTION VS. FAD

No matter what tandem you buy, it is easy to upgrade various parts. The essential performance of a tandem, however, is determined by its frame, its one permanent element. In a world of rapidly evolving components, the superior long-term investment is the tandem with the best frame.

Because the most expensive elements of frame design are invisible—customers can’t “see” metallurgy, tubing thickness or double-butting—frame designers will always find it easier (and more profitable) to substitute easy-to-spot frame features, which can be mischaracterized as performance enhancements.

In the ’70s, when Santana started building tandems, the fad employed by most builders was long pairs of skinny lateral tubes that wrapped around one or both seat-tubes. While builders claimed these outrigger stays provided an additional dimension of stiffness and performance, what they really added was weight and vertical harshness.

Through the ’80s the rage among custom builders was oval top tubes. While these inexpensive plain-gauge tubes looked high-tech, the resulting tandems were simply a half-pound heavier.

In the early ’90s many builders embraced an “uptube” design with a tube running backwards from the captain’s bottom bracket to the stoker’s seatpost. While this design seems laughably naive now, for a couple of years even some magazine editors were fooled.

How did Santana avoid these now-embarrassing fad designs? It’s really rather simple. By building and testing prototypes we can separate fad from function. From year to year Santana’s bikes may not have had the trendiest look—but then we’ve never worried about being hip. We have, however, always sought to create a bike that gives the consummate tandem ride. You’ll notice that the features we tout have a real-world relevance, even if, as in the case of double-butted tubes, you can’t see the difference. Our aim is to refine our design so that a few years from now you don’t feel duped by claims that cannot survive the test of time.