NAHBS 2014: Calfee Updates Manta Pro, Adds Cyclocross Prototype & Builds a Tandem for One


Calfee has updated their Manta Pro endurance road bike with new options, including a “lockout” block to convert the soft tail design into a hardtail, thru axle options and further refinements to the design.

There was also a prototype Manta Pro Cyclocross bike in the booth, plus a new version of their famous tandems that lets you convert the front and rear sections into a fairly normal one-person road bike for those days when you’re stoker’s a slacker.


For the Manta Pro, new dropouts give you the option to run thru axle rear hubs.


Some riders requested a way to occasionally eliminate the suspension offered by the soft tail design, so Calfee is now offering an alloy insert that replaces the elastomer, effectively locking it out. It’s all user serviceable, so you can switch back and forth, or even swap elastomers to tune the ride, on your own. Note the internal Campy EPS battery charging port just in front of the bottom bracket shell.


Disc brakes are now an option, too.


The Manta Pro ‘cross bike has been doing well in their tests, but they will be offering additional clearance for the rear tire. Which would then make it an even better gravel bike, too. It’s all custom, so once they’ve got the new chain stay yoke dialed, you can make it whatever you want.


The support struts were added to the chain stays late last year to change the flex point of the rear suspension.


Yep, definitely needs a bit more clearance for cyclocross tires. They offer the Manta Pro in gravel road bike variations, too, and that one will likely get the added clearance as well.


Their travel tandems can now be made with a revised S&S Coupler placement. The two bikes shown here place a coupler just in front of the BB on the down tube, which separates the front triangle from the center section. The rear triangle and seat tube also detach. Those two sections can then combine to create the one-person bike shown above.


The reason for the bump on the down tube is that the S&S piece sticks out much further inside the tube than outward appearances would suggest. These are some of the first convertible tandems they’ve made, so it was more a case of proof of concept here. They’re working on a curvier down tube design that’ll hide the bump in a more elegant, swoopy frame.


The design was sparked by customers’ stories of occasionally having (wanting) to head out on a ride solo while on vacation and feeling rather ridiculous riding a tandem by themselves. Calfee’s Michael Moore says it would take the average cyclist about 25 minutes to convert it from a tandem to a solo road bike.




Simon - 03/18/14 - 4:12am

I for one want to know more about that blue anodized cassette!

NASH - 03/18/14 - 5:41am

I for one want to know more about that elbow joint ref S034!

J Train - 03/18/14 - 10:06am

I am decidedly not drinking the Calfee Kool-Aid. I appreciate their innovation, especially the tandem stuff, but the soft tail and suspension struts are just hideous, in my opinion. I imagine the elastomer will pack full with grit on the CX/gravel bikes.

WoofWoof - 03/18/14 - 10:30am

The cassette was a mix of gold and blue, depending on how you viewed it in the light. Sparkly mmmmm.

MB - 03/18/14 - 11:18am

The tandem is hideous. There are so many folks doing that with fewer splits (lighter) and ones that don’t make it look terrible.

Jeff - 03/18/14 - 1:22pm

J train, they do not use elastomers, they use springs. On the CX bike they also used a piece of inner tube over it for a seal. The struts are odd looking… they are carbon fibre inside and the stainless is just a protective tube. Supposedly more effective and lighter than beefing up the BB area and stays to provide the lateral stiffness and flex point they wanted.

Loki - 03/18/14 - 1:38pm


Er, no there aren’t. (I’d be happy to be corrected if you know of any) There are many tandems that split for travel but I know of only one other tandem design (in 3 versions) that becomes a ride-able single and the other design is definitely not lighter or more elegant. (It’s called the 8-Ball).

The whole point is that these are the first convertible tandems, not the first traveling tandems.

Fair Wheel Bikes - 03/18/14 - 2:04pm

The cassette is a recon and shifts color with the angle.

aaron - 03/18/14 - 4:14pm

@MB and in addition to Loki
Its also Carbon, which is lighter than the Rodriguez steel frame

Robooble - 03/18/14 - 6:18pm

@ Jeff: “Supposedly more effective and lighter than beefing up the BB area and stays to provide the lateral stiffness and flex point they wanted.”

Nope. I have a hard time believing Cannondale would have passed up on this *epic* design solution to go with the design they used the Scalpel; i.e. flattened mid-sections on the chainstays. Craig used what he had sitting around, period, end of story. Retooling his stays would have been the proper engineering decision, but would have taken more time, engineering, and mould making than he was willing to invest. So they came up with this and are trying to sell it as if it was a first choice option. It gets bikes out the door quicker, which is obviously his motivating force lately, considering that tandem he showed, which was quite obviously just a concept he *really* wanted people to see in its unfinished form.

Joshua Murdock - 03/19/14 - 12:00am

Sweet, more awful designs from Calfee. I always wanted a flexy, poorly designed, ugly, antiquated and overpriced bike. Are there really people out there who buy this garbage? Give me a break. It’s a good thing Calfee is in the carbon repair business…

Also, anyone who is going to pay the insane premium they’ll charge for that tandem could buy a nice purpose-built tandem, two nice individual bikes and a vacation to ride them all on.

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