I just aquired a somewhere around mid eighties kuwahara tandem for 200.00 and am looking to make a few changes to it and would like thoughts on my ideas. It came equiped with 27" wheels shimano tourney cranks and suntour xc sport der with barends, everything works fine it just needs new tires. My wife has previously ridden a tandem at a camp for the blind and while she's a little hesitant to simply hop on with me she is willing to try it. But I need to make a few changes as well.
The initial plan is to put on 700c wheels, I checked and the brakes will reach, so I was looking at some velocity deep v rims with lx hubs built 32 hole, this does eliminate the rear drum brake so I'm not certain if the bike will stop us well enough. I could add an additional caliper brake to the rear if needed. In addition I have to put a flat bar in the back for her and probably one in the front so she can occasionally steer.
If she decides she likes riding and gets into it then I plan to upgrade to STI levers in the front, probably deore which with the better leverage will help the bike stop more, deore derailleurs and either a truevative or FSA crankset, the idea is to keep my total investment below 600.00 which will be just doable since I work at a shop, so that just in case, and in all likelyhood she decides not to do this I can recoup my investment, or if she really ends up liking it selling it for enough to get close to a c-dale tandem.
Looking for any thoughts on a better build up or suggestions for what cranks might be best, or better wheel ideas. Thanks for any thoughts.
One last thought, this bike weights in at 44lbs, the newer trek comfort version was 41, is this an average weight, is this just a heavy frame or will some of my upgrades shed some serious weight?
It's about average weight for a bike that old. Newer tandems weigh 10 lbs less, but cost more than 20 times as what you paid.
Don't go overboard on upgrading; working in a shop you'll run across some deals. Take your time and see if U-2 enjoy tandeming TWOgether.
Putting STI etc. on a 20-year old bike? We wouldn't. If the components work, why upgrade?
If you do like tandeming, you can always get something newer and sell the Kuwahara.
Is its color white with rainbow like hi-lites by any chance?
White with rainbow accents describes it exactly. I got my wife out on it today and she loved it so it looks like this may work. Current plans for it are as follows now that I know she will ride.
Deore 9sp Vbrake/shift levers
Deore rear der (already have)
Flat bars (already have)
FSA gossamer exo drive cranks
XT front and rear hubs with aerohead rims 36 hole
12-26 cassette (already have)
Specialized armadillo tires 700x28
total budget is about 350-400.00 which is doable with employee purchaseing.
I weight the bike and it totaled at 45lbs with the wheels totaling 12 of that. So it looks like the wheel swap will bring it into the 39lb catagory and switching the tourney cranks to FSAs will probably bring it a little lower. I'd like to have it around 35-37lbs. On a side not if anyone knows where to get replacement decals Iwas thinking of having this powder coated this winter and would want to rebadge it after. Powder coating is about 100.00 and would make the bike real sharp looking.
Heard an unsubstantiated rumor that Kuwahara is re-entering the bicycle market in the U.S. so there is hope for decals. Another source could be CyclArt in CA. who does repaint/restoring old/new bikes and has a selection of decals of various brands.
Have only seen a half dozen K tandems in 30 years and most were white with the rainbow hi-lites and recall one blue paint scheme. K was a pretty neat tandem too and at a decent price.
Your upgrades will bring the weight down/improve the ride; glad you got a willing/interested stoker!