Calfee carbon tandems are the frames against which all others are measured; the benchmark in comfort, speed, fun, value and beauty.
Very simply, the best tandem bicycles in the world.
So which model is right for you, Dragonfly or Tetra?
Uses a high modulus carbon fiber (66 msi) co-mingled with Boron fiber to build the lightest possible tandem bicycle frame without sacrificing stiffness, durability and ride quality. Our Dragonfly tandem frame, size Large/Medium, weighs only 2900 grams or 6.25 pounds.
Built with an intermediate modulus carbon (42 and 55 msi) at 3160 grams or 6.8 pounds in a Large/Medium. Notably, there is no weight limit on either our Dragonfly or Tetra tandem frames; certain tandem teams might benefit from enhanced frame stiffness, a $300 option. Please consult our tandem pricing page for a complete list of options.
You no longer have to compromise. Our tandem frames, as light as the very lightest aluminum, titanium and hybrid-carbon frames from our competitors, set a new standard for comfort, durability, beauty, lateral-stiffness and power transmission. We are doing for the tandem world today what we did for the single world in 1987; building a lighter, stronger, stiffer, more absorbent frame that is faster and more fun to ride. Our Dragonfly tandem earned the award for Best Tandem Bike at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Calfee carbon tandem frames are coveted by the world’s best tandem cyclists as this three minute video evidences. Enjoy this build detail about the Tetra 29er tandem with electronic shifting, pictured below. Please consider this photo album to explore some frame finishes and component options.
You don’t have to take our word for it; with over 25 years of advanced composites engineering and manufacturing, we’ve received volumes of feedback. In all of those years, no collection of words comes close to “Our Calfee Journal; documenting the first year of ownership”. This is a must read; an expert and objective accounting of a tandem enthusiast’s experience with our Tetra.
Many of our clients are choosing to enjoy the many advantages of Shimano’s electronic Dura Ace and Ultegra groups, on both singles and tandems. Owing to the absence of a triple ring option, we modify the rear derailleur to create compatibility with large, 36 tooth (or larger!) cogs. The resultant gear ratio will get you up any mountain with only a double crank. Further efficiencies are realized with Gates Belt Drive; all of our tandems are compatible.
Still considering which tandem to buy, you’ll first need to consider frame material. Why carbon fiber? Given carbon’s inherent qualities, why not? From our Technical White Paper: Carbon fiber exhibits the most desirable performance characteristics of any of the frame-building materials explored to date. It can be designed to be laterally stiff under heavy pedaling forces and still be light. It can absorb road shocks well, and still handle crisply while efficiently delivering complete power to the drive train. It can be durable and not subject to fatigue failures while remaining strong enough to stand up to unexpected impacts and torsion forces. It can lend itself to attractive finishing and resist corrosion or attack by the elements. And it can be formed in an attractive, functional way allowing it to move through air resistance easily. In summary; a bike frame with carbon fiber tubing can be stronger, lighter, stiffer, more fatigue resistant and more comfortable than a steel, aluminum, magnesium, titanium or hybrid-carbon tubing bicycle. Our tandem frame design leverages the beneficial and intrinsic attributes of the carbon fiber material to manifest the best riding, and looking, tandem bicycles in the world.
Complete tandems weigh as little as 21 pounds, with most registering between 26 and 30 pounds on the scale. Couplers, a great option for traveling teams and an option on both Tetra and Dragonfly, add about 2.8 pounds. The Tetra travel tandem in blue and silver, at the top of the page, weighs only 28 pounds with couplers; contrast to the 21.4 pound Dragonfly shown here.
There is little discernible difference in ride characteristics between our two carbon frames; the Dragonfly might be described as livelier owing to the lighter, stiffer tube set. The thicker walls and lower cost of the Tetra ($5895 compare to $7995) make it a popular choice for teams who opt for couplers (an additional $2500). Sculpted joints, inspired by our Dragonfly and Manta single frame models, are an option on our Dragonfly tandem frames; consider this stirring display of expertise and hand-craft here. In many cases, it is the simple but strong want to ride and enjoy our very best, the Dragonfly that catalyzes the upgrade.
Please consider our Tandem Frame Price List for a complete list of pricing, frame and fork options. Importantly, both our Tetra and Dragonfly are compatible with all frame and fork options. The same is true of our Bamboo with only one exception; we cannot couple the frames for travel. Custom geometry is always an option for tandem teams seeking a truly personalized fit. Notably, we offer a double Gates belt drive option; you can pair a Rohloff internally geared hub with a Gates drive and timing belt. We are also happy to build MTB tandems, with either 26 or 29 inch wheels, with our Tetra or Bamboo tubing. We also offer a recumbent tandem (sorry, no trikes) using our Tetra tube set. Paint is included in the price of our tandem frames; some clients will choose to have their tandem custom painted.