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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 02-09-10, 10:43 PM   #1
dnewnham
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Our first tandem

This was delivered today and was fun to put together. It seems to be a great deal at $300 from Amazon but we have yet to ride it so I might feel different then! It weighs 51.2 lbs which was a pleasant surprise (my expectations were low!)

A quick question: How do I tell the chain connecting the two cranks is correctly tensioned?

Thanks!





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Old 02-10-10, 04:55 AM   #2
HandsomeRyan
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Looks good.

Sheldon's take on Timing Chains.
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Old 02-10-10, 08:51 AM   #3
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It does look good. Also, a very good sign that the bike appears to have been well packaged. You'll have a blast.
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Old 02-10-10, 10:57 AM   #4
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My front crank set cost more than that whole bike. ( so what?)
Most tandems have an eccentric in the front bottom bracket to adjust chain tension.
It looks like yours has an idler pulley below the center of boom tube instead.
The idler puts tension on chain using a spring mechanism or it may have an adjustment to move it up and down (I am guessing the later)
You can check the tension by turning the cranks until the chain looks the tightest, there will be variation because the chainrings are not perfectly round.
Then push on chain at the center of the boom tube and it should move about an inch.
From the picture it looks you are in the ballpark.
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Old 02-10-10, 11:08 AM   #5
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My God. It's a testimony to modern manufacturing technology and cheap Asian labor that you can get that much bike for so little money.

Adjust the chain so it's not too tight and not too loose. If the chain won't deflect at all or it binds when you turn the cranks, it's too tight; if it's flopping around, it's too loose. It looks like you assembled this bike OK so adjusting the chain tension shouldn't be a big deal.
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Old 02-10-10, 11:32 AM   #6
dnewnham
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Thanks for the advice! It looks like the eccentric BB is a fancy component not found on cheap bikes. I have messed around with the idler pulley that adjusts the timing chain (I now have proper words for stuff :-), and I figured loose is better than tight as long and the chain stays on. I'll check to see if it flops around when riding. If we ride it enough we may get a nicer tandem one day, but I'm excited and can't wait for it to warm up at bit.....it is the right color for valentines day..... I plan to get the wheels trued at the LBS and may get them to check it over to make sure we don't kill ourselves!
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Old 02-10-10, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnewnham View Post
I figured loose is better than tight as long and the chain stays on.
You may find that the chain flops more when riding because of the tension across the top of the chain.
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Old 02-15-10, 11:02 AM   #8
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A first time tandem is always a bit of a learning experience!
For 300 bux, you might be able to rent a tandem for a week . . . heck for $300 you OWN one!
If, or when, you decide on something different later on, you'll have enough experience under the belt to notice the differences.
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-15-10, 02:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
A first time tandem is always a bit of a learning experience!
For 300 bux, you might be able to rent a tandem for a week . . . heck for $300 you OWN one!
If, or when, you decide on something different later on, you'll have enough experience under the belt to notice the differences.
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
The bike feels fine, but the ride is clearly different than my "entry-level" road bike. The rear cogs seem to be a little out of alignment and one of the pedals or cranks might be slightly bent, but not enough to cause problems of significance at the level we will be riding. I really like the look of the Santana steel tandem if we eventually upgrade...perhaps in a year or two....!
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Old 02-15-10, 09:27 PM   #10
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You should have an adjusting barrel on the rear derailleur that could mitigate your problem.
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Old 02-15-10, 09:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dnewnham View Post
I have messed around with the idler pulley that adjusts the timing chain (I now have proper words for stuff :-),
Or, the synchronizer chain.
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