El Testigo Experto, Ventana's new mega-travel tandem, is the last word in Stoker comfort and gives new meaning to the words plush and robust. With 6" of active rear wheel travel, oversized sealed cartridge bearings, clearance for downhill tires, massive 4" variable wall thickness oval down tube, oversized and ovalized top tube, seat stays, and chain stays, replaceable, adjustable dropouts and Ventana's renowned machine work, this tandem looks like it spent the summer on steroids, and it performs like it too!
from Simi Valley, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 29, 2004
Strengths: The El Testigo is the single greatest mountain bike ever created. Two seat, two riders, 6" of travel, and nothing but fun. This is a bike for those who ignore the nay sayers and thrive on accomplishment. The bike will go over or through anything with rider feedback that leads you to believe that you are on pavement. If you are considering riding a tandem off-road this is the one!
Weaknesses: The frame is flawless. Word to the wise though... when building the bike spare no expense on parts. We shortcut a quality wheel set with a Supergo 'Blowout' freeride wheel deal combo (aka- cheap deal). The torque we placed on the rear hub disintegrated the freehub body twice (warrantied once).
The biggest, baddest, and most comfortable tandem you can purchase. We even ride it on the road with City Slicker 2.1 tires. (Will be riding from San Francisco to LA in a week) If you are considering a mountain bike tandem this is your only choice!
Purchased At: Multiple Locations to Grab Best Parts
Similar Products Used: Cheap rental at the beach = no comparison
Bike Setup: El Testigo, Marzocchi(?) Shiver Single Crown (Great Fork), 20mm through axle, RaceFace Tandem cranks/ freeride bottom brackets, Shimano XT cassette/ derailleurs, GripShift, XT Discs (DH Conversion to 8" rotors (necessity!), Panaracer XC Fires f/r (only tire for SoCal terrain). Soon to have Chris King Hubs mounted 36 hole to Mavic DH Disc rims.
a Weekend Warrior
from Salt Lake City
Date Reviewed: April 7, 2002
Strengths: A cross between an off-road beast and a tank. Everything about this bike is massive. From its long wheel base (for a tandem), massive frame tubes to bottom bracket clearance. High end components make this a smooth riding luxury cruiser (kinda of a Cadillac Escape approach to the world [only it goes off road]). Beautiful "electric sex" welding, Hope componentry, Stratos Fork and other goodies make this bike a work of art. Just cleaning up after a ride is a love affair.
Weaknesses: Weight is no object when your looking at a 6 inch travel fully suspended tandem. Not as nimble as previous tandems we've owned, but then who cares, our beast goes over anything. Length, weight and size of bike made us decide to transport it on a trailer. We're running a 9 step 12-32 shimano XT cassette with a SRAM9 derailler. Shifting isn't as good as with previous shimano stuff...we'll just see how long it lasts.
My stoker found this bike used at a bike shop & couldn't leave w/o purchasing it. A complete drool machine for bike techies. Our rational was that a back injury warranted such massive overkill. Although heavy, the ETE is incredibily smooth and easy spinning. Hey the fork and front tire almost weigh as much as my road bike. Compared to our previous cannondale MT3000, the performance of the components and ease of riding is noticeable. This thing is like a motorcycle without the engine. Sherwood Gibson's welding and detailing is awesome. This isn't the only mountain tandem out there..it the one you eventually graduate to when you love the sport. The only changes I would make is to go with bigger (205mm front) disk rotors and an XTR rear (the SRAM is kinda floppy on a tandem) OK...we like it, just an incredible bike.