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Jerry

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Reply with quote  #1 
My latest project is building a gravel tandem.

I´ve got all the parts except tires and this is where the problem starts.
The frame and forks are built for 26 inch tires and there´s loads of space for wide tires. At the moment I´m running 700 x 38 Schwalbe Sammy Slick on my solo gravel bike and am extremely satisfied with every aspect of their performance. Schwalbe also do a 26 inch Sammy Slick but with a width of 2.10.

The question is, is it better to run with wider (2.10) tires to give a softer ride and to compensate for the extra weight or to find another narrower 26 inch tire ?
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #2 
I've been riding a Cannondale R1000 tandem for over 20 years. IMHO -- the wider, the better on tandems. Your stoker will especially appreciate the cush of wider tires at lower pressure. My advice - get the widest tires possible, and run them at the lowest pressure which is safe. If you can run tubeless - even better. Remember though, your tires have to support a load of well of perhaps 350 ponds or more split about 60/40 rear/ front wheel. Gravel riding on a tandem is especially rough. I'd go with the Compass Rat Trap's if they'll fit your bike: https://www.compasscycle.com/shop/components/tires/26-inch/compass-26-x-2-3-rat-trap-pass/
My guess is that you could run these at around 30 PSI or less on your tandem. Frankly, I'm thinking of getting a new tandem some day with 26" or 650B wheels. My R1000 sucks on gravel.
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #3 
I concur, fat is where it's at.

If you're not running tubeless, there's two really nice options in the Maxxis DTH and Tioga Powerblock (folding version). These have a high-end performance tire construction.

Kenda K-rad is a nice in-betweener with low flat knobs and a round profile and it came in some fatter widths.

I have two solo bikes with Rat Trap Passes and I while I like the tires depending on your gravel and team weight I might be thinking about more tire. Unfortunately at the moment they're one of the few tubeless-rated 26" slick tires. For some reason Schwalbe hasn't made any TL-Easy versions of their 26" trekking tires.

I just started building a tandem gravel frame and I'm building it around 650b disc wheels - Mavic EX 830 in 36h paired with tubeless Schwalbe Marathon Almotion 650 x 50 or maybe Maxxis Refuse 650 x 50.
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Jerry

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Reply with quote  #4 
Ok. thanks for the input.

I´ve decided to go fat and run the Schwalbe Sammy Slick 26 x 2.10 tires on the tandem. I´ll be running at a slightly higher pressure than the recommended 40 pounds though.
I had a trial run at 40 pounds on gravel and it was nearly impossible to steer, the bike was sailing all over the place. However running at about 50 pounds sorted the problem. Now its as steady as a rock.

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chas

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Reply with quote  #5 
sounds like you made the right choice.  50 PSI sounds about right too.  Tandems need a lot more pressure than solo bikes.  This chart attempts to show that.

[tirechartx] 
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chas

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Reply with quote  #6 

Sheldon brown recommends 45psi at 100lb wheel load for 50mm tires (you are well above that I’m sure).

See http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html  (scroll down about 75%)

Schwalbe recommends 70 psi for 240lb rider on 50mm tires. 

http://www.schwalbetires.com/tech_info/inflation_pressure

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