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Thread: The $75 Tandem

  1. #1
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    The $75 Tandem

    I've seen quite a few posts about this or that cheapo tandem. Well, I just picked up the $75 Tandem courtesy of Craig's List. This is an old Huffy, probably should have been even cheaper due to condition, but that's a different issue. I have in mind a reverse bakfiets but that will be a while down the road, and this will be in the garage until then.

    Some quick observations for future reference- things to watch for on these and similar bikes:
    -Frame stiffness- front stays upright, but back feels like it can wobble from side to side. Moral is, take your stoker with you when you look at the bike, and actually try riding it.
    -Frame size- The old balloon-tired bikes tended to be (and still largely are) a one-size-fits-all bike, meaning the frame is small and they hope to accommodate larger people with generous seat extension. Well, cheap tandems of the same era work the same way, so if you're not medium height or smaller, don't expect a good fit.
    -Frame length- I would have thought that a tandem was just a stretched out cruiser frame. But on this one, the captain's toes can easily hit the front tire when turning- more crammed together than what you might expect.

    Now, one thing I anticipated doing was removing the stoker's pedals (and seat) entirely and just running one long chain from the captain's cog to the back wheel. This will incidentally reduce gearing, which is part of the plan. Is there any reason this wouldn't work? Anyone tried this?

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    Is there any reason this wouldn't work? Anyone tried this?
    It works... it just makes for a very long drive chain. You'll find similar set-ups on some of the vintage tandems, as evidenced by several included in Jan Heine's VBQ gallery: http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/image-archive.html

    However, with theses tandems the sync chain transmitted power from the stoker to the captain... and this is what you're merely eliminating.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    A 'bakfiets' is a Dutch adaption for converting a bike into a cargo bike for hauling stuff or people.
    Translated from Dutch: bak = box and fiets = bicycle.
    Sounds like StephenH is interested in converting a tandem into a transporter bike.
    Bakfiets is either a 2 or 3 wheeled bike with a box up front; looks like he wants to put the cargo box in rear of that tandem.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    What I'm figuring on is a box shaped something like this built on to the back end of the bike, covering the rear wheel and stoker position:


    The side compartments would be wide enough for a gallon jug of milk. That should let me haul a pretty good load of groceries and keep the weight down low. The hump in the middle wouldn't be good for passengers, but it's not for passengers anyway. I've got two grocery stores about a mile or two from me, with level routes up alleys or bike trails to either one, so it doesn't have to go too far or too fast.

    The box would be supported off the rear axle and the rear seat post. It needs to be movable enough for chain access. I'll need some kind of jumbo kickstand to hold the thing upright while I load it- something similar to the low gravity/ cycle truck bikes, only on the back part.

    But this is a ways off yet, and I haven't worked out all the details. I have another bike project to finish out first.

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