Don’t just take our word for it; consider more than a few words of feedback from our enthusiastic customers
My Captain, Mike Reynolds, and I just claimed the first place spot for the tandem class at the Dirty Kanza 200 mile gravel grinder this past Saturday Our success stems largely from the Calfee Tetra. The geometry for the Captain and Stoker is absolutely amazing, as we both are 5’10”. One of the biggest issues most tandems introduce stems from the horrid geometry when both Captain and Stoker are similar or larger in size. This is a common issue faced by many of us blinded Veteran stokers.
Just to provide a little about myself, I am blind stoker, having lost my sight during combat operations in Iraq. I used to love recreational cycling and tinkering with commuter bikes, having assembled a Surly Crosscheck with Campy components for my daily commute to work while stationed at Fort Hood. After losing the ability to independently cycle, I gave up on the sport. Last year this changed. My first Captain, Matt Baptiston, agreed to take me and my Cannondale on the Emporia Freedom Fest 5k and Gravel Grinder, which we did finish. While There, Mike asked me if I would like to train up for the Dirty Kanza 200 mile race. I slowly warmed up to the idea, and we started to train on the Calfee Tetra. My first time on the bike was instant love. The lightness of the frame and stiffness reminded me of stainless tubing mixed with lighter aluminums I previously used. Toss on my Brooks saddle and we took off. The sheer enjoyment of reaching average speeds around 20 mph on flat roads, over 40 mph while cruising down rock laden hills, and an average speed of just under 15 mph for the entire 14:40 200 miles sold me on the Calfee as the premier tandem for blinded Veterans that go between gravel and off roads rides to road only races. If I could afford one right now, I would place an order for a Calfee Adventure or Dragonfly and take it to the Gravel Grinder National Championship in two weeks here in Lawrence, Kansas.
So this last weekend we headed out for one of the big climbs in the area (Reeds Gap – west side). It’s not all that long (25 minutes of climbing) but reaches grades between 15 and 17% in places, the last one is near the top and goes for several minutes. Last year we successfully climbed it but I had to pull over a couple of minutes after the summit to recoup. Saturday we again climbed it but this time didn’t need to stop, and continued our ride. So satisfying!!! The climb up was difficult but compared to last year, was MUCH more tolerable and was manageable. Here’s the beauty though… after our ride, I was reviewing our stats. We actually climbed it about 10% slower than last year but were still able to maintain an adequate cadence and balance. That seemed so odd to me because last year’s climb was so painful. You don’t know how excited I am that we went with the 44-28 double and 11-40 rear on Cabernet. That combination of gearing is so perfect for our style of riding and has me looking forward to trying more of the local peaks. Next weekend, we’ll try another one that’s a beast and we haven’t successfully climbed in probably 8 years.
Just wanted you and the crew there to know how much we love our new baby. The custom gearing, beautiful paint job, quiet mechanics, light weight, exact shifting, reliable braking, aerodynamic form, Garmin/Di2 integration, and body comfort is stunning. Our Garmin Edge 1000 w/Di2 w/DA front shifter also gives me front/back gear readings, Di2 battery level, as well as Di2 gear adjustment numbers which allow me to more safely steer and monitor the bike while cruising. I believe we (as tandem riders) benefit from all this more so than single riders as for years we’ve had to deal with our triple chainring’s finicky/noisy tracking, sticky/troublesome long cable runs to rear derailleur/brake, not having digital gear indicators, and noisy timing chain. Let me also tell you that It’s scary to drop this much money on a bicycle and I realize most folks think it’s totally insane, and I often wondered myself. However, given our love of bicycling and how much Judy and I enjoy this together, and… the special bike that Cabernet is, we have no regrets whatsoever. We look forward to our many adventures down the road for many years to come.
Thanks to you and Rob for patiently working with me on the customizations while offering solutions and suggestions, and for everyone else down the line there that gave Cabernet life. To me, THAT experience and end product is my definition of Calfee, and we’re so grateful to have experienced it!
One more thing… For a couple of years now, I’ve been dealing with elbow tendonitis in my left elbow, sometimes quite severe. Many sessions of physical therapy improved the condition but then earlier this Spring it began to creep back. The logical suspect became our aluminum tandem and long-distance rides. I wondered how the tendonitis would react once Cabernet arrived. Another happy ending here… the tendonitis has vanished! I believe the more comfortable Calfee carbon frame is the reason. I used to scoff at all the comments made about frame materials, vibration, etc. I’m a believer now! We definitely feel much less vibration through the frame and handlebars, making a for a much more comfortable ride, especially on our multi-hour rides.
Our dream machine worked just perfectly. It handles like a single bike. The combination of the ultra stiff carbon frame and drive belt transmit all the power to the road going forward. It absorbs very well the bumps and cracks or our northern roads ! Standing up is easy with a little practice. We go down as fast as the road conditions permits, the handling is precise and previsible. Over the rolling hills at 40 + km/hr it is pure magic as all the qualities of this bike comes alive in these conditions: fast, easy to handle, perfect power transmission (sitting or standing) and comfortable. We finished in the second group, a good 15 minutes faster than expected, Sonia being the first women overall.
The ride? Wow. It’s sublime. Perfect. It feels plenty stiff yet just seems to float over the pavement. It absorbs all the road buzz and attenuates the bigger bumps significantly, but at the same still feels natural with good “road feel”. Let’s just say I know exactly where my money went. I’ve been riding seriously for 25 years and I’ve ridden carbon bikes before. And I currently own an exquisite custom Ti road bike, which is a fantastic ride, but this thing is an entirely different beast. I’m pretty sure this frame was built by extraterrestrials. What I can’t figure out is why anyone would want to cover these frames with paint! It’s perfect just raw. Weight is 18 pounds with two full water bottles. And toolkit. And headlight, taillight, pedals. Without all the “on-road” stuff it’s a shade over 15lbs.
Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for facilitating the purchase of our Tetra tandem. It has been fantastic! Woody from Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles, finished it about a month ago and Jennifer and I have been able to ride probably about 15 hours since then. This past Saturday, we drove down for El Tour de Tucson. To both of our surprise, we actually won the mixed tandem division and took 12th overall in the 104 mile “event”. The frame, combined with your recommendations in FSA and Shimano components and super fast Zipp 404s from Wheelbuilder.com have been great. The finish on the frame is flawless and Jen and I both appreciate the stiffness combined with light weight. I’m not sure if you saw this but here is a link to some photos and a short article from Woody on Radavist.
We’ve climbed several mountains and have done two centuries on it so far and it is wonderful to ride. We are very happy with our decision to go with Calfee & couldn’t imagine any other tandem riding as well or looking as good. I would buy this bike over and over. I have no regrets! No buyer’s remorse! The bike fits us well we have only made two small changes. I went with 1 cm longer on the captain’s stem and the stoker went with an offset seatpost instead of a zero offset post. Other than that, everything has been perfect. I feel this bike will give us many, many years of pleasure. It comes with a 25 year warranty, so my wife & I jokingly said we’ll have to stay married at least that much longer!
Overall, this tandem seems to be built with extreme craftsmanship; solid, light, stiff and accelerates quite well. Thank you to Mike Moore & all of the team at Calfee for this gift..
Your bike is something special. I just finished 60 miles. I took it on the same ride I did 2 weeks ago for comparison sake. It’s 10 out of 10 as far as I’m concerned. The handling was very stable. The front end required no extra attention. Craig nailed the geometry. The rear suspension not only smoothes out the rear but makes the whole bike more stable and comfortable. I have significantly less fatigue after doing this ride than on my other bikes. I felt no sluggishness when climbing. It’s a keeper. In fact I might have to get another with my beloved EPS!!! I think this is the perfect bike for me.
I’d like to share my first impressions of my new Dragonfly Pro. Of course almost any new bike with all new top-of-the line parts was bound to be a significant improvement on my 7 year old Dean Ti with an ageing mixture of Record/Chorus/Centaur parts. Apart from the lightness and silence (no clicks and rattles) I noticed:
Nice steering. I’m glad I took your advice on the 40mm fork — it’s noticeably though not greatly more stable than my Dean (with 43mm forks) but still quite responsive.
Lateral stiffness seems similar to by Dean. I’m tall and light (no a lot of musculature) so it was not really an issue for me anyway.
Lovely vertical compliance. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is smoothness over rough surfaces. Admittedly straight gauge Ti frames can be quite rigid, but I’m sure many production carbon frames suffer as well.
All in all I’m really happy. Interestingly one of my sons just bought a Cannondale Super Six Evo, which has a lighter frame, and it cost him somewhat less than my build, which lead me to question why I chose a Calfee.
Apart from the aesthetics, which I really like, I think the Dragonfly is a much more solid/engineered frame with only a minor weight penalty; tubes seem thicker and less fragile, and I do prefer the external cable routing. Just as I suspect the Dean is the only Ti frame I’ll even own, I’m thinking right now that the Dragonfly will be my lifetime carbon purchase.
I just wanted to let you know that the bike was delivered late Friday afternoon and I felt like a kid at Christmas. The bike is drop dead gorgeous and you were right, pictures don’t do it justice. I had my LBS put it together Saturday and unfortunately it started raining and I couldn’t get on it until Sunday. We rode 65 mile and I have to say it was the 65 miles of pure joy. The bike has exceeded all my expectations in terms of appearance, ride and handling.
I have gotten nothing but compliments on the bike and I wanted to thank you for doing such a great job, it was well worth the wait…
News from the north! Sunday May 19 we participated at the Gran Fondo Gatineau on our Dragonfly tandem. We were, Sonia and I, on a good day, both of us peaking at the same time. 102 km (turned out to be 106) + 1800 m of climb on the menu, two times a 51 km circuit. 315 cyclists took the start at 7:30 am. The pace was controlled for the first 4 km and then the real thing started. Quickly we realized that we could keep up with the single bikes going up and then pulling a group 30 cyclist downhill and on the flat portions. Even on the low grades (under 4%) we did more than our share at the front of the group.
Our dream machine worked just perfectly. It handles like a single bike. The combination of the ultra-stiff carbon frame and drive belt transmit all the power to the road going forward. It absorbs very well the bumps and cracks or our northen roads! Standing up is easy with a little practice. We go down as fast as the road conditions permits, the handling is precise and predictable. Over the rolling hills at 40 + km/hr it is pure magic as all the qualities of this bike comes alive in these conditions: fast, easy to handle, perfect power transmission (sitting or standing) and comfortable. We finished in the second group, a good 15 minutes faster than expected, Sonia being the first women overall.
The Dragonfly Adventurer was in by April 12 late am. I was not able to make it for the Tour of the Battenkill on the 13. No worry here since 5 days before (April 7) I was still cross-country skiing and by April 12 had only a 150 km of biking for the 2013 season (that is a good 1500 km less than 2012 at the same date…). Not enough biking to enter this kind of race that is 4 hour drive from home, will see for 2014! Perfect packaging, 2 thumbs up here. Getting the ready to ride took less than half an hour. No handle bar adjustment, the integrated stem is in perfect position.
On April 13 there was a good 2 inches of new-wet snow fallen over night on the ground. 0 degree Celsius with 15-20 km/hr wind and big wet snow still falling from the sky. So there it is a 14 k $ all-around bike: let’s try it in the most adverse conditions. Adding to the pleasure you have to consider the post-winter road conditions: pot holes all over the place (hidden under the fresh snow) and the left-over sand on the pavement for winter maintenance. The GOOD mix to stay home… 40 km in these conditions, came back cold-wet-dirty but with the biggest smile in the world on my face: this is the perfect bike to go all-around in any condition. Super stable frame, very good vibration damping, and precise steering with the Enve wheels. Ultra-stiff frame with all the power transmitted to go forward. The Ultegra DI 2 is perfect, as on the Dragonfly tandem.
Now I’m just back from a road training camp in Virginia. Came to Quebec with tired but good legs. I was able to log a good 160 (40+120) km over 2 two days: a mix of asphalt, sandy-gravel road sides, gravel road and some yet-to-dry easy single tracks (there still snow in the woods here…). This bike come alive and is just pure magic on the gravel roads. At one point I rode some 10km on the side road (gravel-sand) and was able to keep up with my friends riding there road bikes on the pavement. The summer will be very different with this bike exploring all these gravel roads around!
Thank all of you at Calfee for this incredible bike.
P.S. you should see the big (Dragonfly tandem) and small (Dragonfly Adventurer) brothers side-to-side waiting for the next ride in the garage 🙂
As for the bike, what can I say, I just love it! It is certainly everything I was hoping for and more. You nailed everything – the ride, the handling, the looks are just superb. It definitely turns a lot of heads when anyone sees it up close. I commend you and the others at Calfee for your quality and workmanship – true craftsman at your trade. And I particularly thank you for assisting me with your input on the bike and selection of components. I am most grateful..
Just wanted to say my new Dragonfly Pro is wonderful. Best bike ever. Cary Cycle Surgeon, NC put it together for me and did a great job. Zipp wheels, SRAM Red, Zero Gravity brakes makes a total weight with everything of 15 lbs. Beautiful fit and finish. Thank you very much; makes a 75 year old man feel young again.
Just a short note to let you know about the tandem you guys built for me and how fantastic the bike is.We put that baby together a few short weeks before Masters Nationals with the hopes that we would do well in the road race. In retrospect, a few more weeks of training would have been ideal. The course was a true climbers course that started with a 20 minute high speed downhill. Not really having a chance to practice that, we were a bit nervous heading out. But then something magical happened. We realized that our Calfee Dragonfly was the most predictable and steady bike at high speeds that anyone could ask for. So much so, we found ourselves attacking and upping the downhill speed. What an awesome bike! We had great gaps at some points, but it was hard to shake 10 other tandems. We dropped a few, but not enough. We head into the final climb all together and with our lack of climbing practice managed to loose contact with the winning tandem. As we approached the finish, we had to do a 180 degree turn to get on the finishing straight. Again, what a bike! We put 20 bike lengths into all the other tandems. Heading into the finishing straight, we found ourselves at the head of the pack leading out the sprint. Into the final turn 30 meters before the line, we were in a full blown sprint and managed to hold off the third place team (captained by a former national champion and Olympian). A quality race and field for sure.
All in all, second place was not bad for our first road race and with such a great bike, we are committed to return with some training and win the race next year.
Thank you so much for committing to build the best tandem available for our team. We are very appreciative of the engineering and workmanship put into this bike and look forward to bringing the jersey back for you next year.
PS: We did in fact win the TTT two days before with the second best time of the day!
Thank you and Bicycle Pro Shop in Alexandria VA for all your help throughout the process of taking my Calfee Dragonfly from crazy idea to fruition.
In particular I want to thank you and Craig for taking the time to help me through the issues with my erroneous fit report and being super cool about the delays that ensued until I got that worked out with my shop. The bike as built fit exactly as expected. The ability to get super stiff tubes and extended head tube was an awesome plus as well.
Bicycle Pro Shop built it up with full carbon FSA cockpit and SRAM Red and I put my Mad Fiber tubular wheel set. I absolutely love the finished product. The ride is smooth but controlled. I describe hitting bumps on it like closing the door on a well done luxury car: “thunk”, no vibration just firm control. It is just that bit more refined than my older bike ( a 2009 Giant TCR Advanced SL) and weighs the same within hundredths of a pound. Both are barely above the UCI limit which is pretty amazing for a bike for a 6’5″ guy. I notice no difference in BB stiffness under heavy pedaling between the two which was a (thankfully unfounded) concern. It’s how I imagine a Ferrari (Calfee) compares to a Lamborghini (though to be fair the Giant is the best and most refined riding bike I have ever been on before the Calfee).
Just wanted to say my new Dragonfly Pro is wonderful. Best bike ever. Cary Cycle Surgeon, NC put it together for me and did a great job. Zipp wheels, SRAM Red, Zero Gravity brakes makes a total weight with everything of 15 lbs. Beautiful fit and finish. Thank you very much; makes a 75 year old man feel young again.
The fit was dead on! I didn’t change a thing (other than install my saddle and adjust seat height).
The longer top tube was a great call by Craig. It meant I had zero toe overlap and I think the longer wheelbase and short stem combo works well for almost any bike intended for offroad or dirt road use.
The third bottle cage was a really nice touch.
The internal battery was great, helping to de-clutter a bike that could have quickly looked like a go-go-gadget bike.
The Schmidt hub was awesome. I used it commuting and on some trails (with a supplemental handlebar-mounted light). It was virtually drag free when not in use, but supplied plenty of light for road riding. I was impressed. (they can also be used in conjunction with “The Plug” to charge accessories off your hub during the day).
On the road
While certainly a bit longer than most road bikes, the ADV still handled really nicely. I personally like a bike on the stable side and the Calfee was great. It turned in exceptionally well at corners. Mid-corner bumps were never a concern or unsettling. On dirt roads, the longer wheelbase helped the bike track true, but the front end was still flickable whenever I wanted to change lines (to find a smoother track).
On the trail
The ADV really blew me away as a sort of “allroad” bike. It tracks really well. Even on mountain bike trails it wasn’t nervous. It certainly isn’t a mountain bike, but I had a blast picking my way through several trails around Boulder.
I never had a chance to try the ADV with tires other than the excellent Clements. I wonder how the bike would handle on road descents with lighter, narrower road tires. I’m guessing it would just lighten the steering a bit. But the nice low bottom bracket and long wheelbase made the ADV a killer canyon cruiser. I loved descending on it.
Climbing offroad, both on dirt roads and mountain bike trails, was a treat. It was plenty stiff and whether seated or standing, the long chainstays helped maintain traction in loose conditions.
Because my position was so perfectly executed, I always felt efficient on the Calfee Adventure. Even with the wider Clement tires, I never felt handicapped when riding with friends on road bikes. But I certainly had more fun than they did! I would rail into loose corners and come out smiling. I was comfortable after long rides, even on rough roads.
Lastly, I wanted to say THANK YOU for letting me dream of a concept bike. I loved the Calfee and, if I had the funds, would surely have purchased it. Michael, you and Craig were a pleasure to work with. Thanks again!
I would like to thank you and the guys at Calfee. Our new Dragonfly rocked it this weekend at the Tour de Scottsdale. It was a 70 mile race. Last year we did it on our 2012 Aluminum Cannondale Tandem. We went 3:19 This year we rode our new Calfee Dragonfly. Are goal was to go under 3 hrs. We ended up going 2:54 and felt better at the end of the race then we did last year. That shows that carbon has so much less road vibration and not as hard on the body. Again there is no comparison. With that being said we ended up with 1st place! I guess on the Calfee you should not expect anything less. This bike was worth every dollar or better yet every thousands of dollars spent on it. This bike will be seeing a lot more races in the future.
In August I completed the 1001 Miglia 1625 kilometer brevet in Italy on a Calfee Tetra Pro Adventure. Temperatures as high as 113 F made this year’s event particularly brutal. I’m a normal randonneur, not one of these superhuman guys. As such, I needed all the help I could get to finish the Miglia. The bike was absolutely fantastic and as a consequence the Miglia was my best ride ever. The bike was both fast and comfortable- it was like riding a cross between a Maserati and the finest SUV.
I’ll wager the Calfee Tetra Pro Adventure, with an Enve stem and HED
Ardennes SL wheels, is the finest randonneuring bike on the planet!
Just letting you know that I flew to Brisbane a couple of weeks and collected my bamboo bike, it’s been sitting for quite a while as I’ve been too busy with work to go to pick it up. I’ve got maybe 500kms on it already and WOW. The bike is much stiffer than the old one, I don’t think it’s any heavier despite the much bigger tubing – I’m really pleased with it and it is definitely “race worthy” – it looks fantastic with the huge beefy tubing. Your team has done really well on this one, the bike feels nearly as stiff as my DeRosa King3 RS – but it’s a little more compliant so we have a nice balance between being enjoyable to ride and stiff enough to go fast when you are stomping on it. I’m looking forward to doing some racing on it next season and I think I will train on it for the rest of this year. Please thank your team for me, I’ll email you a photo from my phone and I’ll try to get you some nicer outdoor shots. Hope you guys are going alright over there would love to come and visit again sometime.
Remember me? Wanted to circle back with you to tell you that in all my training and IM racing in the past 20 years I’ve never put a bike through such difficult conditions as I did your’s as I rode 1690 miles over 15 days, ending Aug 25. I had not one mechanical issue, and the frame was as tough as nails: in conditions hot and cold, wet and dry, century after century, day after day. Wow I love this bike. I am here to tell you–no surprise to you–you build EPIC bikes, no question. Thank YOU for selling consistency and durability!
I finally got to take the bike out, and it more than met my expectations, which is saying a lot. It’s quick, responsive, smooth, and immensely comfortable. Everything a road bike should be but often isn’t. Really perfect. And — I really like the color. I took a little bit of a risk in choosing Jersey Yellow, but it’s gotten rave reviews.
I wanted to give you an update on how the D-fly was working out.
I was fit this morning by a guy named Jeff Tarver from Norcal in Santa Rosa. Jeff was totally impressed with your bike setup. The only thing we did was to lower the seat about an eighth of an inch and raise the shifters a hair higher on the bars. Otherwise, you hit it perfectly.
As to the ride – the Dragonfly is a much better handler than my Blue Ac1. The best description I can come up with is that its’ super agile and quick. I loved this in the flats, but was a little fearful it would lead to “twitchy” high speed descents. Not so. The bike descends like it is on rails, maintaining a feel of control. Did I say it’s fast? Even though the Blue was aero, I think the Calfee is faster downhill. I told my friend I felt it was because of the ceramic bottom bracket. I still think he believes it. I think it’s because the Dragonfly inspires the confidence to let it fly. The DI2 is killer. Once you get down using low pressure buttons instead of pushing cables, you can almost think a gear and you’re there. Also, the ride seems pretty darn smooth. (I’m not sure how much of that is related to the HED Ardenne wheels.)
All that being said, the place this bike excels even more is in the climb. It’s not really fair to those I ride with. A sub 16 pound bike with this kind of power transfer? I had to double back a couple of times to check on my friends. They were alright.
In closing, I just wanted to let you and the crew know that I couldn’t be more happy with the bike. I’m sure I’ll catch you down the road somewhere.
We had a great week in California: Mt Wilson, Mt Baldy, Crystal lake, Palomar, Table top Mountain, Beverly Hills and Malibu: 600 km + 14500m of climb. We came back happy and tired :))
Monday was supposed to be a rest day… until we were on the Dragonfly: what a blast !! It handles like my 2011 Cannondale Super Six. Sonia feel likes she is on her Synapse Hi-mod in the stoker position. I pushed as hard as I could, the frame does not flex at all: it goes forward, period. The wheels are just flying under the machine. DI2 ultegra is perfect. In a word it is a dream machine 🙂 I will keep you informed on our future experiences with this awesome bike.
We just returned from 2 weeks of riding through Israel, including some off road. We had the Calfee for about 3 years and sent it back to the factory to have it converted a Rohloff Hub with belt drive. (We already had a belt drive on the front). I can say that from the first ride we are completely happy with the Rohloff. We have drop bars and have the twist shifter mounted at the end of the drop and it all works perfectly. I have no regrets going to the Rohloff. The belt drive is so smooth and the shifting is so positive. The gear ratios are perfectly spaced and you never feel like you would like to find a gear in between the available gears. There is a weight penalty but I don’t feel like there is any inefficiency. you read about how the Rohloff is noisy in the lower gears and that it takes some getting used to the shifting but I didn’t find that to be the case at all.
Our Calfee now weighs 36.5 lb. (with 700X35c off cyclocross, wire bead tires). With the racing tires we normally run, it would probably be 36lb. There is a weight penalty with the couplers, the Rohloff hub, the disk brakes and heavier disk-compatible fork. As well, Calfee knew we wanted to do some pretty rugged riding including loaded, off road trecking and so I am guessing they overbuilt the frame to be sure the bike would endure the punishment we were going to give it. I am am a weight weeny with my other bikes (I have a 20lb full suspension mountain bike and a sub 15lb BMC road bike) but I don’t have any regrets with the way we configured the Calfee. We could not go back to a non-travel tandem. We could not do without disk brakes with some of the rides we do (in 3 weeks weeks we will climb Haleakala Crater which is followed by a very steep, non-stop 10,000 foot descent). The Rohloff hub is certainly not a necessity but it is an amazing finish to an amazing bike.
My wife and I have been avid tandem riders for almost 30 years. We actually did a 2 week camping trip 29 years ago for our honeymoon on a tandem tandem back when I was a poor medical student. Since our kids have grown up we have travelled around the world doing tandem tours. We are very fit riders and have done several tours mostly with road bike racers through places like the Southern Pyrenees and the Dalmatian Islands. We are usually the only tandem in the group and we still keep up pretty good. Last summer, we did a 140km granfondo race with 1500 other riders (the only tandem entered) and had a really decent time finishing way ahead of at least 2/3 of the riders. When we bought our Calfee about 3 years ago, we had been riding a Canonndale for about 20 years and had more gotten our money’s worth. It was a huge pain to travel with this tandem. It was also almost 50 pounds with the mods we had done to make it compatible with our very heavy duty use. It also never did fit us correctly. We did a lot of research to find a tandem that would last us for at least the next 20 years of serious riding.
We decided to go with Calfee because we wanted:
1) A travel tandem with couplers. We want to travel everywhere with our bike and just check the tandem as normal baggage.
2) A bike that fits us like a glove.
3) A bike that was bullet proof even if we took it on long expeditions loaded with gear.
After having metal frames fatigue and crack on more than one occasion, we decided that carbon fiber would be a better option than any metal frame. As well, there is nothing worse than a loaded tandem with a frame lacking torsional rigidity. We have spent a lot of time on very squirrelly handling tandems. Even the Cannondale with its big wide tubes is very wobbly when loaded up, especially when standing.
In essence, we were looking for the best tandem that money could buy. We decided to have the Rohloff hub installed this summer because we are very hard on tandem equipment and have always had issues like trashed freehub bodies, broken timing chains, etc. I find that a derailleur on a tandem is never very precise. The Rohloff-Gates drive is bullet proof and won’t leave us stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Also, there is no grease anywhere. We had a flat tire last week and it was so cool to fix the flat in less time than with a chain and derailleur and end up with no grease on my hands. Also, when you pack up your tandem in your hotel room, getting grease on the floor can be a really big deal. Now we have a grease free bike.
We have owned and ridden our Calfee bamboo tandem for just under two years now. We put five thousand miles on the bamboo tandem the first year in the form of club rides and mostly 100 mile centuries. This year will be similar with just over five thousand more miles.
I have never read a review from anyone noting that they were not happy with their new bike from day one, and we are no exception. I was however very interested and kept track of how the bike felt and responded throughout the year. Though many people think of tandems as family touring machines that might average 17-20 during long rides, my wife and I seem to be an exception to the rule. We are hard on bikes. By hard I mean that we work the bike very hard as our fitness level allows for great speeds. This includes aggressive “A level” club rides that average 28 mph to Century rides (100 miles) with the lead group where we finish in 4 1/2 hours. Last but certainly not least, we spend large amounts of time climbing hills. And as we all know what goes up must come down.
This brings me back to the keeping track of how the bike felt throughout the year. I can report with full confidence that after almost ten thousand miles on this machine it is just as stiff in the torque department and yet still has the comfort that my stoker has loved from day one. It rides the steep down hills very well and has never given me a moments concern about flexing in the turns.
This bike gets more attention than anything I have ever owned. People have taken so many pictures of the bike, not us, it is amazing. If you are in the market for the best tandem you could have for comfort and uniqueness, you must seriously consider Calfee’s bamboo.
I finally managed to get out for a 200 K brevet on the Calfee the weekend before last.
So here are my impressions.
This is one awesome bike. I was comfortable for the entire ride 204 k, 6000 ft of climbing 7 hour 30 minutes. I towed two friends around the entire day. I probably could have finished sooner but I did promise to ride with them.
Climbing is a lot of fun and I am, as you know, not a small guy. The climbs are frequent and range from 5 or 6 % to a couple at 10 to 11% and two that hit 16%. I got up most of them with no problem although I did notice that this bike likes me to get out of the saddle to climb when the going gets steep.
Descending is even more fun. The bike tracks like it is on rails and goes where you think it should go. No real effort is needed to place the bike on corners and then it just carves the corner. It is stiff where it needs to be (no chainring rub) and compliant at the same time.
The brakes are really very good much better than I expected
The cool part of course are the “that’s a real nice bike” from my fellow riders and when the sun finally came out the frame just popped….nice job on the paint.
Is this the perfect bike?
Very, very close….. now if it would just pedal for me and make coffee !!!!
Needless to say I am liking this bike more with each ride and I probably need to lose some weight and get in better shape to make this the perfect bike. I would recommend this as an option to fellow riders looking for a new bike to ride the distance.
I want to thank you for the Calfee Tetra tandem. I am so satisfied with the machine. It handles like a single bike and barely weighs more than a single bike. Stiffness and control are like no other tandem I had ever ridden. It climbs so well. It descends fantastic. So far, I have taken it on 2 Century rides and a multitude of lesser rides. 8% grade on mountain passes can be climbed without using the 36T large sprocket out of the rear cassette. I am anxious to try 10% and 12% grade, which was previously unthinkable for me on a tandem. Two chain rings are really all that are needed! The electric shifting is so clean and precise it is as good or better than my road bike. This is in sharp contrast to other tandems I have used with the long cable causing significant slack and imprecise shifting. Congratulations on a great product!
I read with great interest the recent review of the Calfee Dragonfly in Road Bike Action Magazine. Last summer I purchased our fourth Calfee, a Custom Dragonfly with a Campy Super Record compact groupo. I agree with every aspect of the glowing review.
My new bike rides beautifully, corners extremely well and is absolutely stable at high speeds. Last week, I broke my own land speed record, going 52.2 mph. down one of the steep canyons in Salt Lake City. No fuss and no wobble. It also goes up hill quite well.
At your suggestion, I ordered the frame in the nude finish. I have received numerous compliments on the bike and the nude finish.
I received excellent advice throughout the entire order and build process. For example, Mike Moore suggested that I consider buying EE brakes. I spent the additional money and I have never looked back. It is an excellent product/upgrade. Although this bike is not an inexpensive purchase, is represents excellent value. I could not be more pleased.
It is a pleasure to do business with honest, highly ethical and trustworthy people. This is consistent with our earlier experiences with Calfee. In 2001 my wife and I ordered our first Calfee’s. Prior to ordering, I had a lengthy conversation with Craig regarding whether or not his frames could be repaired in case of an accident. He assured me that if repairs were required he could do so and make the frame as good as new. Unfortunately, thereafter I had a bad accident that cracked both blades of the fork and practically shredded the down tube. True to his word, the repairs were made (at a reasonable price) and the frame was structurally as originally purchased. The custom paint job was replicated as new.
Thanks for the joy that I experience on every ride. I only wish that I was as good as my bike!!
Just wanted to give you the feedback after my first 140 miles on the bike this weekend. The ride quality of this new frame was nothing short of amazing. Both stiff and compliant. The fit which for me at 6’7” is always a challenge was spot on, with only a few tweaks needed to the setup (seat position adjustment) after the initial ride. I was amazed how fresh I felt at the end of my century ride on Saturday.
We were able to take our new Tetra for its first ride/shake down cruise today. We rode it on a 30 mile course that we do on a very regular basis so we knew how the old bike responded to the varying road conditions.
On a scale of 1 – 10 we both rate it a 10+
Now you have to realize that we are comparing the new bike to a 1989 steel Santana Visa.
Here are some of our comments:
* Very smooth and comfortable
* Absorbs shocks like it has suspension, Chris asked me if it had suspension
* Stiff yet compliant, very hard to understand, feels like it has suspension yet when you push it hard it is rock solid
* Climbs much better than the old bike, lighter and more rigid, it seems like the power gets to the ground better
* We both felt less tired and beat up as compared to the old bike
* The bike is very quiet
* It does not feel like a heavy tandem it almost feels like I am riding my solo road bike
* It handles more like my single than the old tandem
* It was a very enjoyable ride, we always enjoy riding the tandem but the new bike made it even more enjoyable
* I do not know if it is the frame or the components but my wife hardly knew when it when I shifted gears. The old bike was an 8 X 3 with a new Ultegra RD and new Ultegra bar end shifters. The new bike has new Ultegra 6703 shifters and Dura Ace FD and RD.
All in all we are extremely happy with our choice and thank you again for your great service.
I took delivery of your latest bamboo creation last Friday and have put a couple of hundred miles on it. Just wanted to give you my observations. Amazing, amazing. amazing. It is the smoothest ride I have ever been on! But what blew me away was that when I really put the power to the pedals, its every bit as stiff as my Tetra. No flex at all. It decended Newport Coast at 50 mph straight as a string. At the bottom of the hill, a guy pulled alongside me, rolled his window down, and said “Dude, you were doing 60 down that hill”. I just smiled and said “Pretty close”.
I also have a feeling you may be getting a couple of orders soon. Every cyclist I encountered along the road had positive comments and/or questions about the bike. A couple of older, disposable income type guys even made comments that they had been interested in bamboo, but wanted to see one on the road and get feedback from the rider before buying. I think I had them sold on it. Several people described the bike as a rolling work of art and I could’nt agree more. Beautiful and functional. Who woulda thought?
I’ll close by saying, I still love my Tetra, but after 11 years and about 70,000 miles, I thought it was time for something new and cutting edge, and there’s nothing more cutting edge than the Calfee Bamboo. Thanks for your brilliant creations and forward thinking.
Mike, I have now had two good rides on my new Dragon Fly. My initial impressions are:
- It is incredibly light.
- The finish is beautiful.
- It is very comfortable. I rode over some rough pavement, and it absorbed the shocks much better than my other carbon bike. Also, you appear to have done an exemplary fitting job.
- The bike is very responsive. Acceleration has new meaning, with no lag.
- I have yet to go on a long ride, but even over a thirty mile ride, it is clear that the Dragon Fly is less fatiguing than my other bike.
- It is also clear that the bike is better than I am. Even though I am in good shape and I ride a lot, I will never have the engine and the skill to max out the capacity of the bike.
Since November, I’ve ridden about 300 miles on the D-fly and about 300
miles on my old steel bike which is setup on my trainer.
As you know my old bike was too small for me and so I have noticed a big difference between the two. Over the past four weeks I’ve ridden the D-fly exclusively. The D-fly frame and bar/stem have been exceptional. I can climb faster and I am much more comfortable. That flat handle bar is wonderful! Steel has such a solid feel when you’re descending and so I thought I would be giving that up when I moved to carbon but that is not that case with the D-fly. I have flown down King’s Mountain (Woodside), Hwy 92, and Bear Creek Road (Orinda) hitting road imperfections along the way. The D-fly is certainly light but it feels solid and I have confidence on fast descents.
The Di2 is working out very well, too. I am an early adopter for certain things (e.g., I got Lasik surgery for my eyes back in 1999) and I’m a sucker for efficiency and well-built things. After riding Di2 for 300 miles I am convinced that electronic shifting is here to stay. I’ve ridden Campy forever (okay since 1989) and the transition was hardly noticeable. Also, I have been riding in the rain and there have been no mishaps. Calfee’s additional work to stow the Di2 flight deck and battery in the seat tube is not only aesthetically pleasing but it provides some additional protection against wet road gunk.
The bike went together very easily. The press-fit BB and carbon cable stops work like a charm. The traditional cable routing is also very nice, I’ve heard the horror stories of internal routing and it’s nice to put a bike together without any surprises.
When riding over rougher roads the bike doesn’t buck you off like some of the other frames I’ve ridden. The stiffness of the bike is impressive, it climbs superbly, both seated and standing the BB doesn’t move. The efficiency of the bike makes is a pleasure to ride and I’m looking forward to trying it with some Mavic R-Sys or Madfiber wheels. Sprinting in the drops the bike pulls straight and the front end feels firm. The steering is quite a bit different than the Colnago, it’s quicker and the bike maybe leans ‘earlier’. The bike can really carve.
Coming from the Cervelo R3-sl and Colnago CX-1 I had high expectations for this bike. I wanted a frame that did everything the Colnago did, only better. In this effort you and your team succeeded in making a very fast racing bike. I’m very excited to bring this bike to some big races next year. The bike is an eye catcher with its traditional looks. I almost have the bars where I want them for the bar-stem and I’ll bring the bike by after the New Year for the finishing touches.
I want to thank the people at CALFEE DESIGN (especially Mike and Steve) for their help in building my TetraPro road frameset. I wanted simply to provide some feeback.
Details on the Bike: TetraPro 58cm (head and seat tubes 10mm higher than standard) with the SuperStiff option. Color is blue translucent. Equipped with DuraAce 7900, Mavic Classic wheels and Ritchey WCS Bar/Stem. Miles to date 400. I am 6’2 and 180lbs. Do long distance (75mi) and hilly rides.
In summary, this is truly the best bike I have ever ridden. Words are difficult to describe the experience; the best combination of suppleness and stiffness, handles tight turns at speed superbly, the bike is light and the best fitting ever – it is the Millennium Falcon.
In particular, with off-the-shelf bikes (I have ridden Specialized Tarmac, Cannondale SuperSix, Scott and LiteSpeed Ti) I have to make a tradeoff between comfort and stiffness. And never happy with the choices. The TetraPro SuperStiff is stiff (I climb the hills with efficiency, I feel propelled forward) yet makes the road cracks disappear. This bike smoothes out the rough road better than my 2009 Cannondale Synapse Hi-Modular bike (the company’s most comfortable road bike).
If I had the space I would get another one. That says it all.
Dear Craig Calfee and all of the Calfee “Crew”,
We have now had our Calfee tandem for several months and have now put many miles on the bike. I am a sceptic by profession, being a medical researcher and so I am not quick to give an endorsement for anything. I have to say I was reluctant to believe that a tandem bike could be so good as to justify the price of a Calfee with all top of the line components and couplers but I am now amazed that a bike of this quality and workmanship can be purchased at any price. My wife and I have been avid tandem riders for 27 years (we actually went on tandem trip for out honeymoon 26 years ago) and we have had very good bikes before and have road pretty well every brand out there. However, every time we get out on our Calfee we are blown away by the comfort, the handling and the speed of the bike.
My wife has always had a suspension seatpost but has a sollid carbon post on the new Calfee and she has never had as comfortable ride as she has on the new bike. I also am amazed at how comfortable it is to ride. I know my physics and yet I am baffled as to how a bike can be so comfortable and yet is by far the fastest and stiffest tandem I have ever ridden even out of the saddle and at high speed. In the past we always had to alternate if we wanted to climb out of the saddle, her for a while, then me. With the Calfee we can both stand and climb, hammering as hard as if we were climbing a single bike. This kind of stiffness in a super light frame that doesn’t even have that big diagonal tube every other tandem needs to get rigidity? It seems to defy the laws of physics. This is one very high tech bike!
This bike handles beyond any of my expectations. At slow and moderate speed it is light, nimble and stable, yet it is so stable at high speeds that it feels like it transforms into a motorcycle in descents and high speed corners. I have always been a timid descender on a tandem but not so on the Calfee. When we hit downhills now its into the biggest ring, down on the drops and full throttle ahead. Its like it is on rails around the corners!
Our bike was not a custom size yet it fits like a glove. We were properly measured for the bike and one of Calfee’s stock frame sizes was perfect. Even though it is not a ‘custom’ size, the people at Calfee treated us like we were adopting a child! They paid attention to every detail and the bike was handcrafted into the most beautiful bike I have every seen. It is a work of fine art and everywhere we go including tandem rallies, people say it is the most beautiful bike they have ever seen. It was quite a bit of money but after several months of hard riding we now think it was the best investment we have ever made. Thanks Craig for having the brilliance and vision to build a product of this quality. We are looking forward to riding this bike for many decades to come!
I have wanted a bamboo bike since I saw one of your first ones at Interbike. Since I’ve had the wants for a very long time, my expectations have been high to unrealistic. …… My expectations were exceeded. The bike rode like a dream, smooth, solid, stiff, stable but not dead feeling. Cannot not thank you enough for such a great product. There have only been 2 consumer products I have purchased over the years that have been over the top in all respects. The Bamboo Bike is one and the other one was a Feathercraft K1 Expedition kayak.
This December marks the three year anniversary with my Luna Pro. I have ridden more than 20 thousand miles in that time, and I can tell you with all certainty that the frame remains rock solid and fresh. I am sure you receive many testimonial concerning your creations but I thought one more couldn’t hurt. I can’t wait to order a Dragonfly! Thank you…God I love riding my bicycle!!
I just crossed 8000 miles on the Dragonfly you built for me last year. Something about that milestone prompted me to write you and tell you how much I enjoy my toy. Thanks!
When I was considering buying a new bike a friend urged me to find something that would take my breath away each time I saw it and this bike certainly fits the bill. I’m running it full Dura-Ace 10, with a stout set of Mavic CXP33 rims.
Even in the wet weather with legs sore from previous days of riding I love to climb aboard and set off down the road. I initially thought I would ride my old bike during the winter, but I just like this one too much to trade out.
I purchased a Tetra from you a couple of years ago and still have to say it’s the best I have ever ridden. It’s beautifully crafted as well. The comfort is fabulous and it’s still lively. I have only had 4 other bikes before this, and this one really is a dream in comparison. They weren’t cheapies either. As someone who is finally reaching “middle age” ugh…….., I find comfort is really really important for those longer rides. This bike is superb for that too! I can’t believe how it feels as if someone is pushing me up hills! Can you believe it??? Anyway, I wanted to thank you for such a lovely bike. Keep rolling them out
PS Did I say how much I enjoy the wicked paint jobs (esp. in the sun!!!)
My new bamboo bike is really pretty amazing. It is unbelievably gorgeous – the photos don’t really do it justice, and seeing the frame alone also doesn’t do it. The bike, fully built, is just beautiful (with a Calfee barstem made from FSA K-Wing bars, Campy Record carbon compact kit, and Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels – the red spoke really looks trick). I love the way the cables pass through the carbon wraps on the lugs. And I got to spend plenty of time looking at it last week, because it started snowing as I pulled out of the parking lot of the bike shop last weekend when I picked it up, so it sat in my living room all week. But it cleared up this weekend, so I got to ride it for the first time.
Wow. I’ll be honest – when I asked my wife for this bike, I was thinking mostly about what it represents in terms of artistry and craftsmanship. I wasn’t really thinking about how it would ride. But it really rides beautifully. The vibration damping is amazing. I’ve never spent much time on a good carbon frame, so I can’t give a fair comparison, but compared to the steel, aluminum and titanium frames I’ve ridden, it seems like a completely different type of vehicle – a hovercraft maybe. Its eerie really – it seems to just hover over the road, like floating on a cloud. And the roads I ride in Connecticut are pretty nasty, especially in January. I also threw it up some steep little hills, and it was stiff and responsive. So now I’m spoiled – I don’t see how I’ll get back on my “old” primary bike (a custom Columbus Spirit steel frame made by a local builder in Ridgefield, CT). So much for saving the bamboo bike for special occasions. I hope I get to ride it again before we get snowed in for the winter!
So, bravo. Beautiful bike, and a joy to ride. Think I’ll go home and stare at it some more.
Just a quick note to let you know that we picked up my wife’s bamboo frame on Saturday. To say that my wife was stunned would be an understatement. She was literally speechless. She is not one who demonstrates extreme emotion by jumping up and down, throwing her hands around, etc. So, Mark at River City may be wondering how she really felt about the bike. When we got home she just sat down and stared at the frame for at least 15 minutes occasionally shaking her head in joy and amazement. Than she started hounding me to get my butt in gear to get the bike built up. Regarding that …. “
I went on a 6 day ride in Alaska on my Bontrager (steel frame mtn bike). I was in my best shape ever. One of the guys I met up there had a Calfee. Every time when we got to the hills, the guy I met w/the Calfee steadily inched away from us every time. At one of outposts, I had a chance to pick up his bike and was totally surprised. He asked me if I wanted to ride his bike and I declined… guess it was a good thing at the time because I would have tsyched myself out every time I got to a hill. Well, when I finally got around to buying a road bike, I narrowed it down to the Calfee and a Colonago masterlite. I am very happy with my purchase of the Calfee Luna Pro. Keep up the Excellent work, Craig!”
Wow ! First ride this Sunday on my Dragonfly. I have to say my Dragonfly made me feel like I took 50 LBS right of my back. I honestly feel like I am cheating. This bike allows me to elevate my performance to a new level. Every aspect of what I expect from a great bike is a forever changed now.”
Sheila and I recently purchased a Tetra Tandem from Rich Shapiro. We had tried other up-market tandems and were not sufficiently impressed to make the investment. We committed to the bike Rich had in stock without a test ride (it was winter). We took it south in March. Fifty feet into our first ride we knew we had done the right thing. A couple of thousand miles later we are completely satisfied. More correctly put – we are thrilled. Thank you.
“My bike gets a lot of admiring looks too from my fellow cyclists and there is no doubt among them that it plays an important part in my improved ( and improving ) performance. My road racing has been improving too and is due, in part, to the new bike. I will drop you a line at the end of season and let you know how well it turned out.
“Just a short note to let you know how much I’m enjoying my new Calfee. As you know,a bicycle is only as good as its frame.Your painstaking attention to detail has paid off. This is the most comfortable and responsive bike I have ever ridden. I started with a Schwinn Varsity eight speed over forty years ago, so I am sure you can imagine how many bikes I’ve owned.This one simply beats them all.Aesthetically, its hand wrapped lugs make it eligible as an exhibit at the Smithsonian or the Museum of Modern Art. Many thanks to all your staff for the careful blend of technology,engineering, design, and craftsmanship.”