The world renowned features of our El Conquistador are now available in a 4130 Steel, S&S coupled version for easy traveling. The advent of S&S’s Bicycle Torque couplings allows us to do what we do best…design and build our ultimate off-road fully suspended tandems and lets S&S elegantly tackle the task of separation, packing, and reassembly. Their couplers are beautifully finished, brushed stainless steel lugs which we silver-solder to our 4130 Chrome Molebdenum steel chassis at separation points.
a Cross Country Rider
from Glendale, AZ, USA
Date Reviewed: June 21, 2010
Strengths: 1.This tandem rides like a Lincoln Town Car (minus the Town Car's high speed wobble) and tracks like a tank. I have half a dozen pretty nice mountain bikes in my garage, but nothing gets even close. Here is what I wrote after my first ride in the Arizona desert: At late afternoon temperatures around 100 degrees, we took the tandem over a few easy loops around the park, mostly sand, lightweight gravel, and over a few weathered, bumpy granite slabs. We were both amazed how easily this tandem floats over everything. It is difficult to explain how well suited the colossal front fork is for this very stiff, but compliant frame. I ran it over a granite slab that I have used to test all my mountain bikes and tires. Each of these bikes has its own way of coping with the gaps and bumps. But none of the bikes is utterly unimpressed by it like the Conquistador. Partly due to the 6 foot wheelbase, but mostly due to the super stiff front end, I never had the feeling that the front wheel would go anywhere but where I willed it to. Even when the rear tire skips sideways over a rock or by losing a bit of traction in light, dry desert gravel, this tandem just tracks incredibly precisely. The rear suspension, set up for the proper combined rider weight, works smoothly and at the high level of precision of the whole bike.
2.Your legs and your lungs will give out long before you get uncomfortable on this tandem. And this is true both for the captain and stoker.
3.The tandem's ability to remain stable at any speed: Here is what I wrote after my first longer ride: We got started at 6 AM, chasing the tandem down over fast, wide forest roads. I was so exhilarated about the way that the tandem tracked over the heavily corrugated road, that I did not notice how we gradually dropped down about 700 feet over 13 miles. On the way back, the heat, last night's alcohol consumption and the weight of the tandem made me wake up from my dream. I think this is the most fun two people can ever have on a bicycle. Today, we drove a Toyota RAV4 over the same forest roads and we could not believe how rough this road is. The kind of corrugation that seems to shake every bolt loose at any speed between 10 and 45 mph had left the tandem completely unimpressed on the downhills. Just on the uphills, we felt that the pedaling was a bit tougher than the incline demanded.
Weaknesses: None for me.
Our requirements were:
1.ULTIMATE STOKER COMFORT. This tandem had to have superior suspension front and back, or the whole purchase was pointless. A captain's happiness is measured by the stoker's seat comfort. That's a rule.
2.NO MORE CHAIN SUCK. I just absolutely hate to grind up metal with a dropped chain. Tandems seem to be prone to do that, especially when wide dropouts pose a chain alignment challenge.
3.OVERBUILT. This tandem needed to carry a 500 lbs tandem team across the Arizona desert or whatever trail we were going to explore. The frame had to be extraordinarily stiff, even with a stoker's seat tube raised to dizzying heights, accommodating my wife's long legs.
Consider buying this tandem if:
1.You want to go anywhere in style and comfort. You can live with the fact that single riders pass you up the hill.
2.You just love to float over terrain that suddenly does not feel as difficult as it looks.
3.You have operated or owned tandems before and it's time for an upgrade.
Weight matters. Consider the captain/stoker weight before researching how many grams a frame or component weighs. This rig is around 50 pounds.
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Los Dos MTB tandem, rigid fork, purchased in 1996.
Calfee road tandem, purchased in 2003
Bike Setup: 1.Frame: Ventana EL Conquistador with S&S couplers and the obligatory travel cases. Ventana uses chromoly tubes for these frames, while the single-piece tandems are made out of alloy. The legendary rear suspension connects to a Fox Float RP23. We opted for a rear travel of 3 inches to make the suspension more compliant. The frame allows for four inches of travel.
2.Fork: Z-7, a tandem specific beast of a fork built by ATC Racing. Yup, size matters up ahead.
3.Brakes: Magura Gustav
4.Changing gears: Rohloff Speedhub. Enough said. Google it for details. (see requirement list below)
5.Front hub, wheels: White Industries Venti with 20mm through axle and 36 spokes. Sun MTX rims front and rear, nice and wide to go along with these 26x2.5 and 26x2.4 tires. We live in the Southwestern desert.
6.Saddles: Specialized Body Geometry Gel saddles.
7.The rest of our shopping list consists of parts that are worthy to be associated with The Conqueror.
from Wiesbaden, Germany
Date Reviewed: January 26, 2010
Strengths: Full Suspension, S&S connectors, stiff frame, can take it on a plane (usually).
Weaknesses: Weight (with Rohloff hub)
My wife and I bought this for some trail riding. We have a Cannondale hard tail tandem, and even with a suspension post and Brooks sprung saddle, the bumps are just to much for your stoker. Remember, you can't lift the rear of the tandem, and your stoker can't see or anticipate the bumps coming! I was initially worried about the stiffness of the frame (chromoly vs aluminum). I'll admit, the Ventana el Conquistador is as stiff as the Cannondale. We cam sprint, stand and climb together and make some evasive maneuvers when necessary. It is a wonder to ride. I can't say enough about the frame. My only complaint is the weight. The Rohloff hub weighs a TON (BAR NONE). With this hub, Brooks saddles (not light themselves), a few fenders and a rack we're looking at 65 - 70 pounds! Be careful when travelling and use the two hard cases the frame comes with. I tried putting everything into a large bicycle hard case and was refused at the check in counter. Wouldn't even let me pay for overweight charges! I'll review the Rohloff hub and White Brothers Magic 100 fork separately (I love the Rohloff hub 80% of the time). All in all, this has been on of the best purchases we've ever made. It's a blast to ride trails, streets (went to Sardinia with a set of slicks for road riding), urban and commuting to work and back. Alex at MTBTandems was great to work with and the service was excellent. He even special ordered a 46t Downhill chainring for us after we destroyed ours (never seen a chainring fold like that before). It's a steep monetary investment, but if you really want your spouse to go with you AND enjoy the ride, then this is your bike!
Bike Setup: White Brothers Magic 100, Rohloff Rear Hub, King front hub, Magura Gustav discs, Brooks saddles (sprung saddle for stoker with suspension post, overkill I know).
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2008
Strengths: -Being able to take it apart in no time to either travel by car or by air is priceless.
-Super stable on fast technical downhills
This is the best thing my wife and I bought ever. The bike handles well and you can go anywhere together, no limits. (can't float and fly so)I'm totally impressed with the Rohloff hub. I would recommend this hub for every MTB tandem out there. Don't try to save some bucks up front. This is the best component money can buy. Easy shifting even while not moving. No problems with sloppy shifting derailleurs due to the length of the cables. Just go out there and ride. If you are interested talk to Alex@mtbtandems he is a great resource.