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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 02-01-04, 01:48 PM   #1
bruceg
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First time on a tandem

Okay - we got that tandem! Well, it's old and heavy - but still...

I got an old Fiore off e-bay. First impression is it is HEAVY! That's fine. It was shipped in a box via Greyhound, and the box fit just fine on the roof rack. Tied it down and off we went.

Got it home, and put on the pedals, seats, handlebar, wheels. Think I got things where they belong, lol. Fiddled a little with the brakes (kinda like to stop). They work, too. What a deal.

My 7 year old son has spent a LOT of time on a trailer-bike (an InStep model) - so is used to riding double and has good balance. Next thing we noticed, besides heavy - is that when the captain is pedalling, the stoker's pedals are moving too. No coasting along like on the trailer-bike (well, Colin solved that problem).

Colin did a great time testing it out. We practiced calling left, right, bump, ... Colin gave the bell a good workout Also practiced stopping, getting off and getting back on again. And like the kid he is, Colin practiced no hands and no feet. Oh yeah, practiced the hand signals - left, right, slow and stop. We didn't practice the single-digit salute - that's not really a required signal on the Silver Comet Trail or Chief Ladiga Trail. As a parent, I'm ashamed to admit that the little guy already knows that signal anyway.

Now to decide between lubing and adjusting it myself, or bringing it in to a shop. It needs a good lube and new tires. Hope it fits on the trunk rack.
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Old 02-01-04, 08:33 PM   #2
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Having fun??

Howdy from Tucson!
OK, so it is heavy and needs a bit of work. Are the 2 of you having fun? Sounds like it!
First tandems can be a rude awakening, but chalk it up to experience; apparently you didn't pay that much for it; when you are ready for the next 2-seater you will have enough experience/know-how on what to look for and what to avoid. And yes, you can resell that Fiore when you're ready to uprade!
If Colin wants to coast, you can install a set of motorcyle foot-rests or even jury-rig some footrests made out of lumber. Did that for a little gitrl who had leukemia and wanted to desperately ride a tandem, but she was too tiny to fit or pedal. Hey, we entered an event and she had a great time; one of the most rewarding rides I've ever done . . .
So you and Colin go out and have a great time!
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Old 02-01-04, 08:42 PM   #3
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We certainly had a good time, and are looking forward to many many more. I'm not so concerned about the weight, most of our riding is on flat (or pretty darn near flat) trails. And the work part is good, too. I'm looking forward to doing the maintenance I can do, and learning what I don't know (time for a class!).

Thanks for the motorcycle footpeg idea. I'll have to look into that, it sounds like a great idea. I think the tandem will serve us well for a long time.
Bruce
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Old 02-02-04, 02:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bruceg
. I'm looking forward to doing the maintenance I can do, and learning what I don't know (time for a class!).
I am an accomplished mechanic on solos, and the only point I noticed on servicing and maintaining the Tandem, was the heavier duty parts fitted can take a bit more abuse than my lightweight solo. That doesn't mean you don't have to maintain them, but Take the Headset for example. It will be heavier duty, have better quality bearings, be stronger to take the heavier weight, will not need adjusting quite so often, and generaly be better quality. Mind you, when you do have to replace it, the cost will frighten you untill you realise how long it has lasted over the normal "Solo" product.

The only bit that phased me was the Concentric bottom bracket. I could not get it loose enough to be able to adjust the chain, so had to take it apart to understand how it works. Then I realised that corrosion had set in (On a brand new bike), and the only way to have been able to adjust, was to remove it, clean it, lubricate it and put it back. This is just a part of getting to know your bike, but if you can maintain a solo, You can maintain a Tandem. Only point being, that it takes twice as long, but doesn't have to be done that often.

Mind you, the cleaning and polishing takes ages.
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Old 02-02-04, 04:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by stapfam
The only bit that phased me was the Concentric bottom bracket. I could not get it loose enough to be able to adjust the chain, so had to take it apart to understand how it works. Then I realised that corrosion had set in (On a brand new bike), and the only way to have been able to adjust, was to remove it, clean it, lubricate it and put it back.
Perhaps you've already figured this out, but Cannondale's eccentric is notorious for being a royal pain to work with. While lubrication will help, it's still not at all uncommon to find that you cannot get the wedge to release no matter how hard to pound on the bolt (I previously owned a '98 MT3000).

If you haven't seen a write-up of the extraction method for releasing the wedge it's worth a read. A very bright fellow -- not me -- figured out this nearly effortless solution for removing the C'dale eccentric that is quite effective and worth making a note of for that one day when it just won't pop. It is archived here: http://hobbes.ucsd.edu/tandem/Maintenance.faq

Although not included in the write-up, the correct bolt size is an M5.
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Old 02-04-04, 04:30 PM   #6
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feeling foolish, ...

Okay - now I feel foolish, lol. I brought it into a shop and it rides a thousand times better. I goobered up the rear brake and it was dragging. Front, too. It's amazing how much better it rides when someone skilled fixes it after I mess with it.

Colin and I had a great time zipping around the neighborhood. Zona (if you read this) - I'm trying to figure out the motorcycle footpeg thing for my son. Will look into it a little more. For now, I noticed he was resting his feet on a cross bar. It worked for him, so that's cool.

Getting ready to hit the trails!
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Old 02-04-04, 10:07 PM   #7
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Colin's footrest idea

Howdy from Tucson!
You stated Colin rested his feet on the 'crossbar'. That is called the internal lateral or lateral for short. These laterals usually have a braze-on for a water bottle cage. There are 2 allen bolts that allow you to mount a bottle cage in place. Remove one of those allen bolts. Use a piece of scrap lumber to use as a footpeg and countersink a hole in the lumber. Put the removed allen bolt (probably with a washer behind it) thru the lumber hole and back into the lateral tube. You may have to get a longer bolt. But anyhow, that creates an "instant" and inexpensive footpeg for Colin!
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 02-05-04, 12:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livngood
Perhaps you've already figured this out, but Cannondale's eccentric is notorious for being a royal pain to work with. While lubrication will help, it's still not at all uncommon to find that you cannot get the wedge to release no matter how hard to pound on the bolt (I previously owned a '98 MT3000).
Yep. Quite agree as my bike is a dale mt2000. What I found after cleaning and lubricating is that the wedge is still difficult to release. The cure is to release the bolt, and then tap the body away from the Concentric Wedge. And I do mean tap!!!
No matter how much I tighten it after adjustment, it is now easy to adjust.

Last edited by stapfam; 02-05-04 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 02-05-04, 01:08 PM   #9
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Try the washer extraction method; you'll be amazed as how effortless (and quiet) it is compared to "tapping" with anything less than a 10lb sledge hammer.
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Old 02-10-04, 09:13 AM   #10
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Chalk it up as experience

Hi Everyone!

In reading some of these threads, I can relate to buying an older used tandem. We bought a early 70s Schwinn and modified almost everything on it. As we got more comfortable on it and started riding better, taking corners faster, etc., we felt what everyone has been talking about...The sway of the frame. With all the modifications, my wife still wasn't comfortable because we couldn't find an adjustable stoker stem that would fit the narrow seatpost and shimming didn't hold. I also missed the indexable shifting that all my other singles have. The Schwinn rode like a go-cart and the Vision rides like its on rails. We've got more miles on our Vision in one year the we put on the Schwinn in two years. Its more comfortable and we're more apt to leave on self-supported weekends right from our front door. Currently, our old one is on Ebay, hopefully going to someone that will give it a lot of TLC. As great as the Vision is, there's still some memories on the Schwinn.
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Old 02-10-04, 09:19 AM   #11
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Chalk it up to experience

The new tandem.
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