Strengths: If you are looking for the ultimate mtb tandem, these Fandangos are the bikes to get!
Weaknesses: Only as weak as the riders....
Buy it & you will not be disappointed!
Date Reviewed: April 9, 2013
Strengths: My Fandango Tourist 29er is extremely robust. Ability to customise EXACTLY to one's needs. Mine is white frame with a mulititude of red bits & pieces (bling) and so it looks like a million bucks - as pimped by Alex Nutt of MTB Tandems. Even Wifey loves riding it (or is that because she idles at the back ??). It is very stable. I have the 14 spd Rohloff hub - no mess / no fuss. Alex guides you with vast experience to get what you SHOULD get - not always what you THINK you want. I would NEVER have considered a shift-grip or the Rohloff 14sp hub. It draws an incredible amount of attention wherever we go - it really is that awesome on the eye.
Weaknesses: Heavy (can't have it both ways I guess). Still adapting to the twist grip - the Rohloff does not shift easily under load - means adapting one's riding style. For us in South Africa, it was VERY expensive at over R9-00 = $1-00. Mine is the Tourista as , at 58, I am past serious bush-bashing. Wife won't do that anyway - I have a 29er Niner Air 9 carbon hardtail and a Silverback Mercury Elite 29er full-susser for solo off-roading. We are going to try it on a local trail centre this week-end - nothing serious (eh?). But, it is such a shame to get it dirty - it is sooooo pretty.
I have the fat ACT fork, Hope hub, Hope V4 Tech brakes (superb), Sun Ringle MTX33 rims, cane Creek Thudbuster stokers seatpost, Middleburn cranks and all the rest are also quality bits. Wife hasn't ridden since Sept '12 (we came off the Cannondale road tandem - she had a good faceplant - hence) "I won't ride on thin tyres again - you can get a MTB Tandem" (Praise The LORD !!! for that "off"). We have only had about 8 road rides of between 20km & 35km each so far. Changed the tyres from the supplied Kenda Nevegals to Maxxis Crossmarks straight away as we are very arid here in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Had them converted to tubeless - a wee bit difficult as the rims are so wide. I find the Rohloff shifting is not great under load - this is problematic when hitting a hill. As we have not been off-road yet, I think this could be exacerbated in the bush. Well, just gotta plan a bit better - I think it will mean sacrificing some momentum (well, as much as we 2 Teletubbies can muster). One problem is transporting it - without stripping the wheels off (not a quick task as per a normal quick release set-up on a standard bike). Any ideas here are most welcome. I am thinking of rigging a clamp against the cab of my 1/2 ton Fiat Strada. Even with the canopy on, I think it will stand upright if I remove the Captains seatpost / saddle and stokers handlebar assy - one clamp bolt and it all comes out in one piece. No pain there. Haven't had the opportunity to do a high speed descent as Wifey is still VERY nervous about coming off again (she really did take a big smack when we fell on the road). I heartily recommend Alex Nutt of MTB Tandems in the USA for guidance if you are interested in a beast of this nature. He can be a bit slow at times (oh, I wasn't the only customer ?) but you won't go wrong with him in your corner. And he is very pleasant to chat to as well - and his wife, Kim, is too.
Date Reviewed: June 4, 2012
Strengths: Outstanding dynamics for trail racing, very rugged and well-built frame. Very well spec'd for the money
Weaknesses: Have not found any yet. A little nervous with hubs using traditional pawls because we tend to break them, so we're building a set of wheels with the DT Swiss ratchet ring for racing. We'll use the stock wheels with road tires for road riding
This is an outstanding bike for the money. My wife and I own a performance bike shop, and we don't currently sell FANDANGO, so we went outside our current brands to get this bike. My wife and I race ICEMAN every year on a tandem, we're getting tired of bike issues so we went with a new FANDANGO after many recommendations and terrific communication with Alex Nutt. Lots of range available for fitting, in fact I didn't need a stem and could use the stock Thompson. Right away on our first trail run (a highly technical trail) we were very impressed with the agile dynamics and had no issues on very tight switchbacks, off-camber corners, diagonal roots, etc. Very high ground clearance takes a little getting used to, but it's a welcome feature. The fork is responsive and tight. Cranks and chain rings very rugged, excellent gear ratio including climb-like-a-goat "granny gear". My wife digs the Cane Creek Thudbuster, finding she can keep her posture much better than the typical vertical suspension posts. I could not feel when my wife was up and down out of the saddle powering in climbs. We're looking forward to a lot of miles.
Mark & Wanda Sadowski
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: June 2, 2012
Strengths: Geometry, build quality, value for money
Weaknesses: No complaints whatsoever.
We live in Western Australia and chose the Fandango over the mountain bike tandems on the market based on the reviews and Alex's good reputation for service...... no luxury of a test ride. Alex went the extra mile to respond to our many queries and requests for changes to the standard specs. Shipping to Oz went without a hitch and on time. We were not disappointed on arrival of the Fandango. A few weeks of trail riding and we were ready for the Karri Cup race which included some serious single track. We finsished well up in the field of single bikes, to the amazement of many. The Fandango set up by MTB Tandems was perfect and inspires confidence for those high speed descents, technical singletracks and climbs.
a Cross Country Rider
from Box Elder, SD, USA
Date Reviewed: August 15, 2011
Strengths: Rock solid over 2800 miles of heavily-loaded mixed-surface cycle touring. Alex's knowledge and support from first call and onward has been great.
Weaknesses: None found yet. We're just completing our first 2800 mile "shakedown" tour on the bike and we're now feeling confident about our
Would buy it again.
Also, both the Rohloff hub and Gustav brake decisions have served us very well. We love both.
Driving the Rohloff with a front derailleur (which I requested) we would not do again outside of our specific mixed surface, often solo-powered application. It's nice to have that very wide range of gearing but you pay a time/complexity price on flat repairs since you have to remove the idler gears to get the wheel out.
We bought this bike planning to eventually do the Great Divide Route. However, our immediate project was a combined hike and bike of the Pacific Crest Trail and Sierra Cascades Route which involved me solo riding the tandem about a third of the time. We should reach Canada tomorrow, completing the second phase of our tour and 2800 miles on the bike as we do. At this point we're completely confident in the bike and are ready to tackle the GDR and beyond. More details about the bike and trip can be had at tadteam.posterous.com.
Similar Products Used: None. All of our prior experience has been on mountain(26 and 29er) and road singles. This is our first tandem.
Bike Setup: 19.5/17 frame. Rohloff hub. White Industries 40-spoke front hub. White Bros 100T fork. Magura Gustav brakes. Middleburn cranks with 36/46T rings. SRAM X-9 front derailleur. Thudbuster LT on the stoker seat. Alex also sold us some frame bags which have worked out well.
a Weekend Warrior
from Golden, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2011
Strengths: Not sure where to start. It's ALL GOOD! Alex has put together a solid tandem frame at a value price point. 29" platform is awesome. The geometry seems just right. I can't think of what I would change.
Weaknesses: Have yet to find one.
This bike is the real deal. I don't know if there is a better application for 29" wheels. Having that big wheel (especially the front wheel) on a tandem just ROCKS!
We have completed several longish distance races on this bike and have been VERY pleased with the ride and the results.
ANYTHING mountainbike tandem related - talk to Alex at mtbtandems.com, he's the man!
Similar Products Used: Ventana El Conquistador de Montana
Bike Setup: Maverick DUC 32 fork, Velocity P35 rims, Sram X0 shifters & deraileur, right side drive using LX cranks with large chainring used for timing rings. Thudbuster seatpost for stoker, Magura Louise brakes, 203 rotors, Chris King hubs. Panaracer 2.35 in the back and Maxxis Ardent 2.4 up front.
a Weekend Warrior
from Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: June 5, 2011
Strengths: This bike is incredibly nimble for a mountain bike tandem. I expected it to feel a little bit more tank like. But it is so quick, so agile; and it maintains some serious momentum at medium to high speeds. Really a pleasure to ride. 29 inch wheels are perfect for tandem use--roll through and over just about everything. And clearance is also terrific--my son and I even took it out on the local BMX track to the astonishment of the local riders. It's unlikely I'd ever purchase a new 26" mountain bike again. The welds on the head tube and rear triangle are something else. Ventana builds the frames for Mtbtandems, so no surprise there on the quality. The Da Vinci cranks are works of art--they have a little bit more flex than I am used to, but the flex seems to be all lateral, and the triple holed rear crank works for all ages in our family--six and up.
Weaknesses: Long captain top tube is ideal for most and the geometry is generally terrific; but for short riders, the top tube lendth on the 17.5/15.5 frame may be problematic. My wife, who is 5'4", can manage with a 45mm stem and zero stack height. But this bike may not work for captains shorter than that.
That is an awesome bike! Beyond awesome. It is also the only bike I've ever purchased that I did not have the opportunity to ride first (nobody has one around here, so I could not test ride it), so customer service on this sale meant a lot to me. Alex Nutt at Mtbtandems excels at customer service--we probably spent a total of three hours on the phone as the build was taking place. (It's a bit scary purchasing a $4.5K bike site unseen.) I cannot recommend Alex, MTB Tandems, and this bike highly enough.
Similar Products Used: This is our first mountain tandem. We are primarily road riders and bought this to extend the riding season and go out with our off road riding friends.
Bike Setup: Stock DC-9 Set up with mechanical brakes rather the hydraulic ones.
a Weekend Warrior
from New Castle, CO (USA)
Date Reviewed: May 30, 2011
Strengths: Frame is extremely well made with quality parts. The 29er wheels are definitely fantastic on a tandem mountain bike. This bike is very forgiving and we feel would be great for all level of riders.
Weaknesses: None that we know of.
Words cannot express how awesome this tandem bike is. The bike handles singletrack like a dream eating up everything in its path. 29er tandem bikes are the only way to go if you want to clear obstacles with no problem. And, we must admit that we love the attention that this bike gets from both riders and nonriders alike. Our first ride at Mary's Loop and Horsethief Loop in Fruita, CO, was not only spectacular and tons of fun, but we were also able to ride about 90% of the trails. And best of all was the service we received from Alex at MTBTandems.com. If you are seriously considering buying a mountain bike tandem, we highly recommend you speak with Alex at MTBTandems.com. You'll truly be happy that you did!
Bike Setup: White Bros T-100 tandem fork, Sram X-9 components, Magura Louise disk brakes, Chris King headset, Cane Creek Thudbuster Stoker seatpost, White Ind. Hubs with Sun Ringle MTX tandem 29er rims, Thomson seatpost and stem, and finally Middleburn Tandem Cranks.
a Cross Country Rider
from Acworth, GA
Date Reviewed: May 29, 2011
Strengths: Rigid, responsive frame with high bottom bracket for excellent clearance. Climbs,decends and handles almost like a single.
We have worked with Alex on all of our tandems. Our 1st, the 26 Fandango was so much fun we started racing! That led to the full suspension Ventana(for stoker comfort)that is still part of the corral. Then Alex invited us to demo the 29er.....
Our new 29er tandem is extremely quick - so much so that this stoker has to gently remind the captain at times that there are 2 of us on the bike!
The stiffness of the frame and the quick handling of the fork is incredible! The 29er wheels roll over just about anything. We climb better, descend faster and smile a lot!
Alex really knows tandems and the Fandango 29er is a must have for new or experienced tandem teams!
Similar Products Used: Fandango 26 Hardtail
Ventana El Conquistador De Montanas
Bike Setup: New Fandango frame w/ 1.5 Headtube,White Brothers Single Crown fork, King hubs,Velocity Chunker rims,WTB Wolverine tires, Middleburn Cranks, Sram X-9 drivetrain.
from black mountain, nc
Date Reviewed: May 12, 2011
Strengths: solid off road tandem built on a 29 inch wheel platform, with perfect, well thought out geometry and a very reasonable price
Weaknesses: none .... you get more than what you pay for
After riding road tandems for years and messing about on our c-dale 26" wheel tandem, I had a big suspicion that 29 inch wheels on an offroad tandem was the way to go.... when we found out Alex at MTBtandems was having these bikes made ,... and at a great price... we had to have one. We were not disappointed. The geometry of this bike coupled with the big wheels makes it handle better than we would have imagined possible for a big bike. We liked it so much we decided to do Leadville on it last year and won the tandem category with a new tandem course record time.... what more can you say about a bike than that!?
Favorite Trail: on the tandem: anything at bent creek
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: MTBtandems.com
Similar Products Used: cannondale MT-1000
Bike Setup: basically stock DC-9 package. middleburn cranks, magura brakes, sram x-9 drivetrain, white brothers magic 100T fork. I did change out the rear shifter from a twist to a trigger and put on some bars I liked a little better... but still running the bike 95% stock set up.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 7, 2011
Strengths: Durability, weight, looks......fast. Cost....cheaper than 2 single bikes of this quality
Weaknesses: Timing chain! If we did not have it we could go over bigger logs..haha
This will be the last tandem mountain bike I will ever own. It is sooooooo much better than the others I have tried. Alex knows how to build a tandem and does not skimp on the parts. There is a reason he picks tandem rated parts and works with parts/ frame builders to make the right stuff for an off road tandem. I am always amazed at what we ride through. There are thing we go through that I would not attempt on my sing bike
Similar Products Used: Elsworth Witness, another well build 26in tandem
Bike Setup: dC-9 (stock but a couple upgrade) middleburn cranks! King hubs! velocity rims, White bro for
a Cross Country Rider
from Royal Palm Beach, Florida
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2010
Strengths: Over the top product support & customer satisfaction, quality construction, stellar performing from single track to very fast jeep roads, very efficient long distance tandem, the most impressive climbing tandem bike with no wheelspin we own
Weaknesses: Not a big deal, but it is not available as a polished finish instead of the nice powdercoat.
Truth be told I don't like 29r style bikes. Every 29r single I had borrowed for a test ride had me hating the flex of the wheels and odd geometry / frame angles in regards to handling.
We had a tandem we loved and the stoker was convinced it could not be outdone.
During MTBTandems.com sponsored festival, AORTA 2010, we put in some test ride time on demo bikes (ECDM and Fandango) plus rode the same test loops on our own tandems.
The performance of the Fandango 29r immediately became apparent, smoother than our 26" hardtails and a very capable climbing machine, the large wheels smoothed a good portion of trail debris.
We decided that test ride to purchase a Fandango 29r.
Our purchase was not a complete tandem, but rather the frame and fork (a slightly used demo fleet fork). After gathering the parts the build began. No glitches or surprises, just a quality frame to build up.
When you start with a quality frame, you can build a quality high performance tandem.
We have spent many miles on this bike so far. The bike is dialed in to be exactly how we want it, from tires to grips. The Fandango is an xc dream machine of tandems. Smooth, stable, and fast with superb customer relations.
Regardless of where you ride or the terrain, the Fandango should be considered as one of the top choices. There may be some folks that desire or require rear suspension, and this may not make a Fandango the best bike for those teams. Alex at MTBTandems will listen and make the best recommendations for you regardless of brand.
I started the bottom line of this review mentioning my not liking 29r bikes. I still hold these opinions as they relate to where and how I prefer to ride single bikes. I have learned though, that a properly executed 29r tandem, like the Fandango, can be built to be one of the most ridden bikes we own.
I believe the reason for this is tandems can easily have more rigid wheels, and better stiffness in the frames while not showing the added weight. This tends to inspire confidence.
However the best perk of riding a tandem for us is just riding together.
Similar Products Used: 1998 Cannondale MT3000,
2001 Cannondale MT800,
2006 Ventana El Conquistador de Montañas
Bike Setup: Large Frame, White, ATC fork, 2x9 all right hand drive setup, 22/36 front, 11/34 rear, DT 540 & 440 hubs, DT Alpine triple gauge spokes, MTX33 36 hole rims, XO rear & shifters, SLX front, LX cranks, BB7 203mm brakes, Panaracer Rampage 2.35 with Slime tubes, Tery saddles, Thudbuster and Thomsom seatposts, Thomson & CODA stems, Easton 25.4mm flat bars, FSA headset
a Cross Country Rider
from Acme,Mi USA
Date Reviewed: August 9, 2010
Strengths: Nice weld beads and gussets. Alex works well with patrons and shops. Using a local shop allowed for more personal choices to be addressed.
Called Alex to tell him of our 25 mile initial ride. This is one very nice bike. We don't need full suspension here in Michigan but the 3" LT Thud Buster is a real aid to the stoker. He barely noticed a 5" log we crossed going up hill. The latest generation twist shifters are impressive, and precise. I have a tenancy to be an overzealous twist shifter, but will restrain myself to become more conservative and slow down as these are so quick. The choice of 33mm wide rims allows the tires to present a much wider profile enhancing the longer contact patch of the 29er tires. The tracks we left looked like those of a motor cycle next to the others. We never slipped the rear wheel as we do on 26er tandems making this a very strong climber. Rolling resistance is notably lower than that of the 26er tandems allowing for a more spirited ride. This bike plows through loose sand like no other bike due to the long, wide tire contact profile. A welcome change to that of the 26er tandems. Though this bike is about 6 inches longer than our 26er tandem it carves the single track like an honest bike and a half compared to that and my single 29er and 26er tandems. Some areas are still tight due only to length. Welcome to reality. Our team is looking forward to the O2S race Saturday on this bike.
The only changes I would make are too softer Ritchey Hex grips (a personal preference I know) and lighter tires. I chose the Kenda Nevegal 2.2 folding bead tires to lighten rotational mass by more than one kilogram and aid a more lively ride. I also added bar ends for more hand positions and added comfort though some think this old school. What a wonderful application of the Ventana derailleur hanger. Job well done Alex and team.
Similar Products Used: Yokota Grizzly circa 1992 - no comparison
Bike Setup: Fandango spec geometry, white bros 29 T100 dual spring fork, Magura Louise 8" disc, 36-hole Velocity Chukkar hoops on White tandem hubs 20mm thru Sapim spokes, Middleburn drivetrain w/ SRAM X9 12-32