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  1. #1
    Senior Member hr2510's Avatar
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    Maiden Voyage on a tandem

    Another of the freebie bikes I picked up was a old Columbia tandem in ROUGH SHAPE. I stripped it to the bare frame, re-greased and adjusted everything,replaced both chains and robbed tires and tubes off another freebie bike and ended up with a ugly but fully functional tandem for $17. The Wife and I each rode it solo up and down the driveway a few times then once with both of us on it. We loaded it up and took it to town this evening for a maiden voyage around the neighborhood. WHAT A BLAST!!!! Neither of us had ever been on a tandem and I think we did great not crashing and communicating on stops,starts, slowing down etc. It really is different compared to being on singles. We rode for about a hour and a half and the ol'thing did fine. It really rides smoother than I thought it would but turning around takes lots of concentration. We both about laughed ourselves off the bike after our first U-turn! I know there are lots of folks in this section that like to "put down" the dept. store tandems so I Thought I would REALYgive them something to have fun with.
    Code:
    The pedals were lined up and chains adjusted after pic.was taken and before we rode.
    • Mike
    • 1989 Specialized Hardrock
    • 2007 Kent Tandem

  2. #2
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    How fast would you wanna get that baby going downhill? Boy Howdy!

  3. #3
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    Umm.. not as fast as I would want to get off it after realising that it doesn't seme to have brakes!

  4. #4
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    I would guess that it has a coaster brake.

  5. #5
    Senior Member stokessd's Avatar
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    At the bottom of the hill, you can cook your lunch on the coaster brake.

    I would be careful putting a front brake on that fork, I'm not sure it's up for the added stress. It may be smart to put something on it anyway only to be used in case of emergencies.

    Enjoy that sucker for what it is and try not to bomb down any big hills. Hard to beat the fun for $17.


    Sheldon

  6. #6
    Co-Mo mojo
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    So, how does that coaster brake feel? Assume you both have to stop pedaling and apply the brake together. Great story and picture, but I'd do a little adjustment on that timing chain. Just a little on the slack side. Looks like the adjustment may be simply moving the idler gear up or down (in this case, a good inch up).

  7. #7
    Senior Member hr2510's Avatar
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    The coaster brake works better than expected. It can lock up and skid the tire but I still wouldn't trust it to do much on a hill. There is a place for a front brake but I agree the fork is pretty cheesey. The seat post are adjusted all the way up and both the Wife and I can touch our feet to the ground while sitting so I think that will be enough for a back up in case a chain breaks. We DON'T ride it very fast except one time for about a block to see if we could stop quickly. It's just for tooling around neighborhoods at a slow pace. Heck that's all it was built for in the first place. If we keep enjoying riding "twogether" we may upgrade to at least something with more than one speed and a coaster brake but for now the flat neighborhoods are fun. Oh...DBC Steve, You are correct. We both have to pedal backward to brake and the chain and pedals were adjusted before we rode. X-Marts should be happy to see this thing being ridden. It makes their bikes look snazy
    • Mike
    • 1989 Specialized Hardrock
    • 2007 Kent Tandem

  8. #8
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    Ride it like it was meant to be ridden, like you are, and it is great. Wouldn't want to do a century on it (might not even be interested in doing a decade on it) But I bet it is very fun. I would like to find an old single speed just for the nostalgia value. Also easier to let people try it out, no gears to think about.
    NewbieIATandem
    Big Team on Trek T900

  9. #9
    Senior Member stokessd's Avatar
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    Gears are overrated. Our here in Indiana I do my evening ride in basically one gear. I shift up to bomb down a couple little hills, but other than that one does me just fine. I suspect your brake is fine, just be aware that you don't have amazing braking, and slow down early and smoothly. I suspect a better tandem will cost a lot more than your enjoyment level will rise.

    My wife and I swapped out the cassette on our tandem. It came with an insane 12-34 ratio and we put a 12-25 on it. We spend most of our time in the big chainring and the steps were too big on the old cassette. Now we can have smaller steps and spend more time in the middle. We would also do fine with just one gear as well. But it's flat here...

    Sheldon

  10. #10
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    hr2510

    I am probably one of those that people here would say I have an "issue" with some dept. store bikes. Yet I think your tandem is sweet. A bike like yours in mint condition would be nice... but so is a beat up "ugly" one [as you say]. I would love to have one just like it.

    It is not made to use as my other bikes.. but it does not "pretend" to be like one of my other bikes. It is clear what type of riding it is designed for... and that it will do well.

    I am happy for you
    enjoy
    glenn

  11. #11
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    That's some authentic looking rust, by the way. Rust Is Real!

  12. #12
    Senior Member hr2510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenlason View Post
    It is not made to use as my other bikes.. but it does not "pretend" to be like one of my other bikes. It is clear what type of riding it is designed for... and that it will do well.
    I am happy for you
    enjoy
    glenn
    Thank you Glenn for opening my eyes on the Dept. store bike issue. I've always looked at them as a "Kit" to be put together and used just like my ol' clunker for riding around neighborhoods only. I can now see how they do "pretend" to be much more than they are and how that could cause someone lots of grief and disappointment if they thought they were getting a nice quality road bike.
    • Mike
    • 1989 Specialized Hardrock
    • 2007 Kent Tandem

  13. #13
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    That columbia is sweet, we bought one just like it this summer the name on the chain guard is a "Twosome" We've been cruising for groceries and to the pub on a 66 huffy tandem for a while now they are a blast. But I can confirm from experience that if you take a cruiser like a 50's Firestone single, down a mountian pass, the coaster brake will fade into nothingness!

  14. #14
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    Glad you lived to share the tale of the coaster brake thrill ride.
    NewbieIATandem
    Big Team on Trek T900

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