The first tandem we've got our hands on to test here at road.cc is a real beauty - a Santos Double Travel touring machine hand-built just across the channel and shipped over to blighty fully equipped for some serious long distance riding. Santos offer 24 colour options on all their frames as standard, so if lime green isn't your bag there's a hatful of other choices. It's not ours, mostly because it's fiendishly difficult to photograph... we tried our hardest though.
Santos build exclusively in Aluminium and the Double Travel frame is crafted from large diameter tubing with chunky-but-neat welds and a high quality finish. The top tube is kinked at the pilot's seat tube and slopes to give a more upright position that's better suited to distance riding than a flatter, more stretched out cockpit. Other than that it's a standard layout with a downtube to each bottom bracket, each of which is eccentric to allow the correct tension in both the linking chain and the drive chain to the Rohloff Speedhub at the rear.
Santos use the Speedhub a lot – even on road bike concepts of late – but its spiritual home is surely a touring tandem, where a wide range of gears and low maintenance running are a big plus, and the extra weight in the wheel is a pretty minor concern. It's laced into a sturdy 40-spoke wheel and there's a matching one at the front with a good quality DT 340 hub. Tyres are Schwalbe Marathon Racers.
Other finishing kit is also high quality fare. The alloy fork spins on a Chris King headset and there's a Ritchey adjustable stem and 'bars up front with a matching 'post for the pilot. At the back there's a Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost giving an inch of travel over the potholes and both pilot and stoker benefit from Cane Creek's excellent ergonomic bar ends which give a useful extra hand position. There's full mudguards too and an expedition-ready Tubus rear rack; you can fit low riders at the front too. Our test bike came with three bottle cages, but if you're a thirsty type you can fit as many as, erm seven we think. although a couple of them are more likely to be pressed into service for carrying fuel bottles on a big trip.
Stopping's a big issue on a tandem and the Santos comes with pilot-operated Magura hydraulic rim brakes, and the stoker gets in on the act too with an Avid mechanical disc; it's not set up to be used as a drag brake – there's a standard lever – although Santos would spec it that way if you wanted.
We can't comment on how it rides, as we only just had time to take it out of box and take a few snaps before it was whisked away to our test crew. But we will. Or they will. Anyway, it'll be on here. You know what I mean. Stay tuned.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.