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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 10-13-09, 08:02 PM   #1
stewclark
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emergency replacement for rear wheel on tandem while traveling

I am looking for a easy and quick way to replace a back wheel for a tandem while travelling.

Just in case the wheel you have gets damaged in shipment or while riding in a remote location.

Would it be possible to carry just an axle with some spacers that would allow you to walk into any bike shop and purchase a standard road bike rear wheel and use it on a tandem bike?
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Old 10-13-09, 08:39 PM   #2
Xanti Andia
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700 c or 26"? and what is the spoke count?

Adequate standard spoke count rims can often be found, particularly for 26" where heavier duty mountain bike rims can be used.

However tandem wheels often have a higher spoke count, in which case you will not find a rim in most shops. The standard answer for an emergency repair if you need to replace a rear rim and you cannot find the right spoke count is to unlace your front rim, lace it to the rear hub, and then replace the front wheel entirely by what might be available. Front wheel hubs have the same axel spacing in a single and a tandem, and the load requirement of a front wheel does not increase as much from a single to a tandem as the rear wheel, so a good quality single bike front wheel can replace a tandem front wheel in a pinch.

I don't think you would want to use a single bike rear hub with spacers on a tandem, it would be bound to fail.
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Old 10-13-09, 09:12 PM   #3
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Call the tandem company and have them overnight you a wheel. It'll probably be quicker than having a LBS make you up a new one. I haven't found a shop yet where you can go in and ask for a wheel and have them build it up while you wait.
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Old 10-14-09, 05:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Xanti Andia View Post
The standard answer for an emergency repair if you need to replace a rear rim and you cannot find the right spoke count is to unlace your front rim, lace it to the rear hub, and then replace the front wheel entirely by what might be available. Front wheel hubs have the same axel spacing in a single and a tandem, and the load requirement of a front wheel does not increase as much from a single to a tandem as the rear wheel, so a good quality single bike front wheel can replace a tandem front wheel in a pinch.


Or, if you're doing a supported tour pack an extra rim in your bike case. This underscores the rationale for sticking with conventional, component wheelsets that use the same rim & spoke count on front & rear wheels. It takes a couple hours to swap spokes over from one wheel to a new rim and to true-up the wheel. If you have to cannibalize your front wheel, add an extra 30 minutes for unlacing that rim.
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Old 10-14-09, 06:11 PM   #5
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thanks for the guidance

great replies. I will look into purchasing a set of bullet proof wheels for international touring that would be easier to fix if trouble occurs....
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Old 10-14-09, 08:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stewclark View Post
I am looking for a easy and quick way to replace a back wheel for a tandem while travelling.

Just in case the wheel you have gets damaged in shipment or while riding in a remote location.

Would it be possible to carry just an axle with some spacers that would allow you to walk into any bike shop and purchase a standard road bike rear wheel and use it on a tandem bike?
Not if you have an Arai drag brake. You'd need a tandem specific hub.

If you're going to all the trouble to carry an axle why not just carry a tandem hub in your bikes spacing? You can pick up Sansin, and Sanwa tandem hubs for really really cheap (as far as tandem hubs go). I've got some old 48 drill Sansin tandem hubs and I've got to say they spin as smooth as vintage Mavic (the standard), and Phil Wood hubs (a more well known standard).

The stuff coming out of Japan in the 80s was just phenomenal. You can't compare the modern Tiawanese/Chinese stuff. That's the reason that Rivendell and the BOBish bike group are who they are, the absolutely quality of Japanese bike components.

Almost any shop would be able to get you a 48h or 40h hoop in a couple of days and could build you up a wheel.

However, not to be smart aleck, but if the back wheel gets destroyed why carry a spare hub in the first place. Why not just tear down the taco'd wheel and build up the new wheel on your good hub? I'd be astounded if anything ever happened to a quality hub in transit. I would be absolutely shocked if the wheel would be damaged in such a way as to break the flanges.

I'd invest in a good hardside wheel travel case instead.
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Old 10-15-09, 06:31 AM   #7
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Not if you have an Arai drag brake. You'd need a tandem specific hub.
True that.


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Almost any shop would be able to get you a 48h or 40h hoop in a couple of days and could build you up a wheel.
Really? When's the last time you did any fully loaded touring in Eastern Europe? China? Central or South America? South Africa?

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I'd be astounded if anything ever happened to a quality hub in transit. I would be absolutely shocked if the wheel would be damaged in such a way as to break the flanges.
Prepare to be astounded! Virtually every part of a tandem has been damaged in transit, hardcase or no. It's utterly amazing what the freight monkeys can do. I've heard/read stories of entire bikes being destroyed!

One avid tourer on the tandems@hobbes list a while back was even recommending the use of soft cases. His reasoning was that with a hard case the airline employees feel the bike is adequately protected and will pile tons freight on top of it! But with a soft case or even a cardboard box, they tend to treat it more like a fragile item.
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Old 10-15-09, 08:00 AM   #8
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Almost any shop would be able to get you a 48h or 40h hoop in a couple of days and could build you up a wheel.

I can tell you from experience that getting a 48h rim in a rural area in Burgundy is not so easy. That was 10 years ago, and expedited shipping has improved, but I wouldn't count on ready access to tandem parts in many parts of the world.
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Old 10-21-09, 11:27 AM   #9
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Go into most of the world outside of Europe and Australia/New Zealand and you will find:
1. Shipping parts overnight is not possible, expect 3 work days at least, add weekends and holidays.
2. Shipping to rural areas is often impossible, only to major cities and often only to the customs office at the airport.
3. Customs in many countries will hold your parts and it will cost you more than the cost of the parts to get them out.

OP is right to look for a plan B.
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