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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 07-21-10, 10:27 PM   #1
juggleaddict
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New to me tandem hub problem



so I snagged this tandem off craigslist, and I've been restoring it over the course of the week, it was already in pretty good shape, but it was a rustbucket and pretty nasty. After about 10 hours worth of scrubbing, it's nice and shiny new again. : )



so when I first got it, I had to take it to the bike shop to get new tires and tubes. Got there and realized the back axle was bent a tad, so I had them rebuild the hub with a new axle. They took forever, but eventually he found one, and I was on my way home.

Later that night, we took it out for it's first 2 person ride. Within 2 miles of riding, the tire started rubbing on the frame. Turns out the axle is bent 3 times as bad as it was when I got the bike!!!!



when I looked at the dropouts, I thought maybe he didn't properly tighten the wheel. The other side is a full horizontal, and the drivetran has the adapter for the derailleur. perhaps it jerked the axle a funny way. I'm not terribly thrilled with this shop, it was the closest within walking distance from the metro, so I had to use it.

In any case, if the hub has to be replaced. . . and considering I'm on a VERY tight budget here. What hubs are out there that will do the job?

It's a 36 hole, but it has 12 gauge spokes!! that gives me even less choices I'm sure. I can't exactly afford a wheel build and a phil wood hub. Plus it's a 10 speed (soon to go back to five speed because the guy didn't realize he was messing up the chainline)

hoping someone has a suggestion. Is there a possibility he found an axle that fit but was designed only for a regular bike? are there axles that go in hubs specifically for tandems. . . that are perhaps stronger?

Luckily he isn't charging me over again for labor or the axle, but I'm bummed out!! The bike has to be ready soon, it's a gift for my girlfriend (who has no idea)

What are the odds this is an easy fix?



by the way, the back wheel is at the shop, apparently another mechanic is going to look at it monday and see what HE thinks. . . but you know how bike shops are they want your money.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:15 AM   #2
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You know how customers are: If their lips are moving... There are far more customers who lie about what really happened than bike shops being dishonest. Unfortunately, bike shops have to have customers to stay in business. Customers can simply go to another bike shop.

An axle isn't real easy to bend, Even a low end one. I'd bet it takes more force to bend an axle than it would the frame. I'd take the whole bike up there and have them take a look at what's going on. They might not be able to see the whole picture with just a rear wheel. If the left side is slipping under load, it's possible that the axle would bend.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:03 AM   #3
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It very well could be your rear dropouts are out of alignment. That might cause the rear axle to bend.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:09 PM   #4
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dropouts are indeed out of alignment, and I think they used a low end axle the first time, going for round 2 with a stronger axle and the realignment.


Brad, it's not so much the actual mechanic that worked at the shop. It was more the jerk owner that constantly HAS to have the right choice in mind, and that choice always happens to be to buy a new f-ing bike, or don't bother him. He hasn't even acted HUMAN towards me.

I went in this shop one time to pick up a few parts for a custom unicycle handlebar I was making, and the guy freaked out and told me I was going to kill myself! I'm not an idiot, I'm an engineer, and when I bring a bike like this in, he immediately thought that I knew nothing about bikes, and it showed. The mechanic actually recognized me and was friendly and helpful. It still puts a bad taste in my mouth.

The owner suggested just "buying a new wheel" and that the hub that came with it was just "prone to bending" . . . . IN <10 MILES?!?!?!?!? he didn't even suggest something else may be the problem. I already brought up a parts list of 100 bucks. . . .

I understand that some customers are idiots, I saw a guy come in yesterday while I was bringing the wheel back. Had a tire the had been dry rotted 10 years ago and he wanted to just patch the tube and be on his way, but not all customers are stupid, and I don't expect that someone treats me that way when I walk in a shop, even with a 'crummy' bike.


. . . . / rant . . .

anyway, the bike was there for the first rebuild, but I don't have a way to get it to the shop, so I'm going to have to see about getting it over there via a friend or when I get the wheel back, install it, and roll it, but don't ride to the bike shop to get the realignment. I'd carry it, but it's a bit too hefty for a 2 1/2 mile hike
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Old 07-23-10, 11:54 PM   #5
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. . . man, I was raging yesterday . . . hmm . . .

I'm actually pretty sorry about that . . . anyway, the tandem is fixed, the rear dropouts were badly bent, there's a new axle in place, and we rode it around campus twice tonight, works great, it's even better than I had hoped for. The total for restoring parts labor and cleaning comes in at just under 200 bucks, pretty good deal I think, and it feels way stronger than a wallmart tandem, I think I've definitely come out on top on this one.

here's a few pictures of the finished product







sorry about my . . . rant Brad
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Old 07-24-10, 06:00 AM   #6
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Make sure you adjust your stoker's seat. It is pointing up.
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Old 07-24-10, 10:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
. . . man, I was raging yesterday . . . hmm . . .

I'm actually pretty sorry about that
You shouldn't be sorry, nor did I take it personally. You were frustrated with something you paid to have fixed and it broke again in an unreasonable amount of time. The first thing I read is that you were accusing the shop of just taking your money, my point was to make sure you gave them 'all' the knowledge to fix the problem. With the story you told the first time, you had not. I just hate seeing anyone condemned on a public forum without proper evidence. After reading your rant, I see that you had. Either way, I am glad they got it fixed.

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Brad, it's not so much the actual mechanic that worked at the shop. It was more the jerk owner that constantly HAS to have the right choice in mind, and that choice always happens to be to buy a new f-ing bike, or don't bother him. He hasn't even acted HUMAN towards me.
I may be spoiled here in Dallas where there are at least 3 very large and very well stocked bike shops and at least 10 others that are very competent. I know other areas of the world are lucky to have a bike shop even close by. My solution for being treated this was was to just buy the tools and not go back to the shop and tell everyone about my experience. I actually go past 3 shops to get to the one I use for parts.


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anyway, the bike was there for the first rebuild, but I don't have a way to get it to the shop, so I'm going to have to see about getting it over there via a friend or when I get the wheel back, install it, and roll it, but don't ride to the bike shop to get the realignment. I'd carry it, but it's a bit too hefty for a 2 1/2 mile hike
If the bike was there the first time, the 'shop' should have caught the bent drop outs. I bet they only see a bent axle on a bicycle once a year or less outside of the exception of a bicycle getting run over by a car. This *should* have thrown up a red flag.


Bike looks great! Do you have any before photos so we can appreciate how much work you put into the restoration?
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Old 07-24-10, 03:19 PM   #8
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Make sure you adjust your stoker's seat. It is pointing up.
yea n.n I thought about that after riding stoker yesterday. She's getting a new saddle on our first ride, she just has to go pick one out, so I left it alone for now. Mostly it's been no more than little 2 mile rides, so I just haven't gotten around to it.

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Bike looks great! Do you have any before photos so we can appreciate how much work you put into the restoration?
it sucks that I only have the measly photo from craigslist. . . . : ( I was half way done before I thought about taking before photos. . . O:-) obviously I've never done a restoration.


,most of it was surface rust, you can see in the picture how bad the rims looked though. The rear derailleur took about an hour or so to clean by itself, the drivetran was just really gunky, I guess that's to be expected.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:09 PM   #9
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Wow, she's come a long way! I see several hours of dedicated rubbing. Nice work! I hear you on photographs. I picked an early 1970 Bianchi up out of bulk trash about two years ago. Had it finished before I realized I should have photographed it. I think I put 2500 miles on it with casual group rides (with down tube shifters) before a fixie hipster just had to have the frame and I let it go after a ride.

What I really wish I had a photo of is me slinging it over my shoulder cyclecross style and riding home with it that way on my road bike. I got some WEIRD looks...
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Old 07-24-10, 08:23 PM   #10
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lol, sounds like the time I slung my 20 inch uni over my shoulder and rode home on the 36er : ) I mean, you get weird looks already, but now they can't ask "where's your other wheel" because it's quite obviously on my back. granted, it wasn't a whole bike, I'd have been giving you weird looks too that's nuts.

it's a shame some bikes end up being turned into fixed gears. If the parts are torn up and you can't replace them, fine, but if they're in good shape, it's disappointing to see a conversion. Some friends of mine took a beautiful old schwinn in good shape and just threw it all away because they wanted it to be a fixed gear. : ( I've ridden them before, but I don't think I'd make a conversion like that.

2500 miles isn't bad for a bike that you saved from the trash : ) bet the bike sure was happy
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Old 07-28-10, 09:31 AM   #11
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With those sort of experiences at that shop, I can't help but wonder why you keep going back? I'm a firm believer in voting with my wallet, even if I have to inconvenience myself a bit to do so.

Perhaps it's the only LBS, though, in which case I understand the challenge...
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Old 07-29-10, 04:34 PM   #12
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the main reason I used that shop (which I already wasn't really big on before this whole ordeal) was that when I bought the bike, I had to take it back on the tram, and the tires were rotting off the rim, so I had to walk it to a bike shop somewhere, this happened to be the closest one to any station.

so when they didn't tell me about the dropouts being bent, I had to go back so they could fix the wheel (which they did, for free) and so it was there already, and I couldn't ride it until the dropouts were fixed. While I was cleaning, I noticed the headset needed some work, so I got that worked out at the same time. The other parts I needed (cables and such) I got from another shop when it was ridable.

I definitely won't be using that shop again. In the future, I'll take the extra mile hike to the next bike shop. I'm in Atlanta, so there are plenty. I just didn't realize how frustrating it would be at the time. . . . you live and you learn I guess.
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