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  1. #1
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    1st tandem-advice needed

    Just bought a Cignal Melbourne Express primarily to get my 88 year old mother a little bit of exercise. Needed something with a low stoker step-over and it fit the bill. It is an entry level steel "Comfort" bike with 26"wheels.
    My wife who does not ride, got a look at it and said she would give it a try. It looks like a bike that would work for touring, especially on rails-to-trails.
    The ape hanger handle bars look like the first thing to upgrade and I'm wondering about trekking, or mustache bars ? Also wondering whether there are tandem-specific racks, or if there is a specfic type I should look for.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    Just bought a Cignal Melbourne Express primarily to get my 88 year old mother a little bit of exercise. Needed something with a low stoker step-over and it fit the bill. It is an entry level steel "Comfort" bike with 26"wheels.
    Congratulations.

    If HandsomeRyan is still around, he can compare notes, as he picked one up last year.
    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    My wife who does not ride, got a look at it and said she would give it a try. It looks like a bike that would work for touring, especially on rails-to-trails.
    Depends on what you mean by touring. When I say touring I'm thinking of anything that takes more than one day, with sleeping in a tent, B&B, hotel or other commercial establishment (the sleeping part distinguishing it from long distance endurance events). I've read another definition that means pretty much any kind of riding that isn't mountain biking or racing. If it's the first of the two, it'll be awhile before you two are ready for anything major, given that she "does not ride".
    As for anything major, I wouldn't recommend it. People have toured on just about anything on singles, but the tour isn't nearly as much fun if things are breaking due to fatigue, and this bike is not made for heavy use.
    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    The ape hanger handle bars look like the first thing to upgrade and I'm wondering about trekking, or mustache bars ?
    No opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    Also wondering whether there are tandem-specific racks, or if there is a specfic type I should look for.
    Thanks.
    There are not tandem-specific racks (except for Santana, which has wider spacing on the rear). What sort of rack you put on should be determined by the amount of load you expect it to carry. There are a number of fine racks out there, with different markets in mind.
    Last edited by WebsterBikeMan; 02-26-10 at 08:41 AM. Reason: Format error

  3. #3
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    As WBM mentioned, I have that bike and my wife and I have really enjoyed riding it together.


    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    It looks like a bike that would work for touring, especially on rails-to-trails.
    My wife and I are planning on riding the C&O Towpath for our 3 year anniversary this fall. Depending on the weight of your team and how rough the terrain you plan ride over is you might consider upgrading the rear wheel from the stock freewheel to a hub with a freehub body and cassette. The reason is that the freewheel puts the drive side bearing pretty far inboard and this can lead to the rear axle bending if you are a heavy team or you hit a big bump. The rear axle on my CME was bent when we bought it so I replaced the axle but I'm having a Shimano XT hub built onto a Sun Rhyno Lite rim (36 spoke 3 cross) before we start the tour. I have the hub and rim sitting in my dining room, I just need some spokes. The freehub body puts the bearings further outboard and reduces the likelihood of bending the rear axle.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    The ape hanger handle bars look like the first thing to upgrade and I'm wondering about trekking, or mustache bars ?
    Unless your bike came with aftermarket handlebars, the stock bars are just wide cruiser bars and not really "ape hangers". I'm still using the original bars but I installed bar ends for added hand positions. I have also considered swapping the bars for something a little more ergonomic but I have not decided what I want yet.

    If you are new to tandeming you may find that the wide handlebars help offer additional leverage to keep the bike balanced when stopping and starting. If you swap to much narrower bars you may find that it requires a lot more effort to keep the bike upright when stopped if your stoker starts to lean or fidget too much.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    Also wondering whether there are tandem-specific racks, or if there is a specfic type I should look for.
    Do you mean racks to carry things on the bike or racks to carry the bike on a vehicle?

    Racks for the bike are easy- The rear spacing is 135mm (mountain bike standard) and the bike has braze-ons on the dropouts and seat stays so almost any standard rack should work.

    Racks for a vehicle is a little more complicated- There are all types of roof mounting racks depending on budget and vehicle type. There are also hitch mounted and truck bed mounted styles available. My wife drives a Nissan Rogue (hatchback/CUV) we transport the tandem by folding down the passenger front and rear seats and removing the saddles from the bike. My wife sits behind me on the drivers side of the split rear bench seat and the bike takes up the entire passenger side of the vehicle.

    Since we purchased the bike we have began upgrading it to make it more comfortable and better performing. Some upgrades we've added or are adding include:
    • Ditched both stock saddles in favor of a Terry Butterfly for her and a WTB comfort/mountain saddle for me. (saved a lot of weight from this too, those stock saddles are boat anchors!)
    • Ditched the low end suspended seatposts for rigid BMX 4 bolt posts. (haven't gotten much saddle time to test out this change but it's got to be better than the stock posts)
    • Added bar ends to the captain handlebars. I'm considering swapping the bars for more traditional risers, trekking bars, or mustache bars.
    • Added a bell for greenway/MUP riding.
    • Replaced the flimsy (stock?) bottle cages with heavier duty aluminum cages.
    • Replaced all 3 sets of bottle cage screws due to rust on original hardware.
    • Clipless pedals (Shimano M545's front and Shimano M520's rear)
    • Handlebar bag for tools, spare tube, map, energy bar, etc.

    Upgrades that are in the works-
    • New rear wheel. XT hub, Rhyno Lite rim, 36 spoke 3 cross.
    • Since the new hub is 9 speed compatible we'll probably add a 9 speed cassette. (11-34 maybe?)
    • New rear shifter, derailleur, and drive-side chain to accommodate the new wheel/cassette. I'm debating between swapping the rear to friction shifting or staying with indexed shifting.
    • As discussed above, new handlebars.

    The picture in my sig line is of my tandem as I purchased it and does not reflect the current upgrades. I'll try to get come pictures of it as it is now but since it's still miserable outside it may be a few days. If you've got any pics of your bike you should post them up. We love pictures here!

    Good luck and happy pedaling!
    Last edited by HandsomeRyan; 02-26-10 at 07:11 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Mom's "only" 88 and wants to go tandeming?
    Let's hear it for mom!
    Way to go lady!
    Give the persent bars a good try before deciding on changes . . . bar ends as mentioned in the other post will give some additional hand positions.
    Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Mom's "only" 88 and wants to go tandeming?
    Let's hear it for mom!
    Way to go lady!
    zonatandem
    +1 Just make sure you (captain) are competent handling the rig and please be extra careful.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=WebsterBikeMan;10452106

    Depends on what you mean by touring. When I say touring I'm thinking of anything that takes more than one day, with sleeping in a tent,

    As for anything major, I wouldn't recommend it. People have toured on just about anything on singles, but the tour isn't nearly as much fun if things are breaking due to fatigue, and[B] this bike is not made for heavy use.[/[/B]QUOTE]
    Thanks for the response. Learning something new already. Didn't realize the tandems needed to be touring specific after touring on a MTB. The bike looks like it was made for self-contained touring with tents, sleeping bags and the whole 9 yards...steel frame, rigid front forks,26" wheels,triple chain ring,rack eyelets front and rear.
    Then again we are starting with about 340 in human cargo, so you may have a point. I have a suspension Bob if rack/panniers are going to overload it.

  7. #7
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind View Post
    Learning something new already. Didn't realize the tandems needed to be touring specific after touring on a MTB.
    While I respect WBM's opinion, I have to disagree. I see no reason you couldn't tour on this bike with a few minor upgrades. It is pretty heavy, and there is the (possible) axle issue I mentioned in my first post but otherwise there is nothing wrong with the bike. A lighter bike may be nicer or more comfortable to tour on but this steel frame will likely outlive many of its newer and more expensive carbon fiber brothers and sisters. I believe as long as you keep the bike maintained, don't overload the rear axle, and keep a reasonable expectation about how far you can legitimately pedal a heavy bike (possibly pulling a trailer) each day you'll do fine.

  8. #8
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    Ryan

    Thanks so much for "everything I wanted to know about CME, but was afraid to ask."
    This is my 4th try at responding...something is timing me out.
    Anyway, mine was part of a rental fleet and barely used, so I'm hoping I can get some mileage out of the rear hub before replacing it. By inboard, I assume you are referring to the spacers on the left side of the hub. I have a mid-80s Stumpjumper with the same set-up. I'll definitely keep an eye on it.
    Ironically, we spent a few days camping in Ohiopyle two summers ago on the GAP which connects with the C&O.
    We just did day rides but I was itching to tour. Can't think of a better place for a first tour in the Mid-Atlantic.

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