Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sun Valley, Nevada
Bikes: 1999 RANS Rocket Saturn V; K2 Attack FS MTB
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S & B Tandem Review
First off, if you want a low tandem, this is totally your ride. It's a 26/16 USS bike, with USS bars on the rear or he had an optional T bar for the stoker. I'd definitely refer to this as a lowracer tandem height. He also had an additional front fork with drum brake and he said it was a faster wheel (20"?)
It is a down to earth, basic frame, with some thin bracing along the main spar and to the rear axle dropouts. The bike was 10 yrs old and he'd gone on a year long camping trip with it with his wife in Great Britain at one point. Older guy, definitely kept pushing the low frame height and how easy it was to set your feet down. Direct front steering, through a wide V shaped straight handlebar.
It was my first time with an USS bike and I didn't care for this set up. There were times when I found myself touching my hands against the seat as I was making a turn. Part of that is due to the S & B config. They have limited seat adjustment. A fiberglass shell seat with 3 sets of mounting holes to determine where your seat rests. The seat could have been put forward for me, but it was too much hassle for a test ride and I just scootched forward to rest my feet in the pedals. PowerGrip straps. There was some heel strike, I only rode it around a long block, so I can't say how much of that was my first time on this tandem or this configuration. Possibly a 20" front tire might have changed things enough??? I did not care for my hands being at my hips or behind for so much of the ride. I would like to try a more forward oriented handlebar USS.
It rode smoothly, Sachs shifters, rear drum brake and an additional V brake operated by the stoker to keep the bike steady on a hill, he stated. The seat was ok, the pad was original and a replacement pad would likely be needed for longer term use. There was a lot of noise from the back, but the ride was too short to say if it was the AirZound bottle (GOTta get one of those...LOUD!), the airpump/mount, canvas panniers or some conbination of that and the gear train, I was just trying to keep the thing straight and upright. Now that I think about it, it wouldn't surprise me if some of that noise was resonating from the fiberglass seat shell. The crankset was a 53/?/26, not sure what the rear cassette ranged.
He had a winch system to pull the bike up in the air in the garage and the extra front fork and tire and he wants $1500. If you want a low tandem and have the opportunity to go to the S & B shop, I'd recommend doing that. It wasn't for me; I didn't care for the steering set up, I know my wife wouldn't have liked the low seat height, but for someone else, it might be the bee's knees. You certainly sit that low.
I posted this in case someone ever comes across this brand. It's not common, though they've been made for many years.
Sun Valley, NV
It's posted in the Reno/Tahoe Craigslist under recumbent or tandem. There is a photo.