We are in South Africa to do a road race on Sunday 25 January. Last Sunday we went for a ride on our brand new Raleigh Tandem in the Cradle of Mankind area where they have wonderfull roads. We cycled uphill past a lion enclosure where we saw the most beautifull full maned lion and some cubs. As we crested the hill I heard a noise go "twangggg!!!!!" at the back of the bike ans something departing at great speed throught the grass on the road verge. We stopped immediately and dismounted. On inspection I saw that the QR were gone!!!!! I picked up the bolt and a small piece of the threaded part of the QR in it. The rear wheel was out of the rear dropouts. We were parked not far away and decided to walk back. The wheel jumped out of the dropouts again and I realised that the axle was seized solid.
I took the wheel back to the bike shop where we bought the bike. They opened the wheel, but the left habd side nuts came off with big difficulty, not stripping the thread but they were very tight. We also found that the freehub body was loose in the hub. New axle and the freehub tightened and we are on our way again.
Very scary experience. What if we were going downhill? The hubs are Shimano Tandem hubs and I spoke to the local agents. I gave them the serial number and they will send a non-conformance report to Shimano to ensure the same problem does not exist in hubs of the same batch.