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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 03-03-11, 08:08 AM   #1
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Having second thoughts on the project bike

I recently purchased a 1992 Ellison aluminium mountain bike tandem. It came equipped with Mavic 32-spoke rims and Mountain Cycles aluminium hubs (see photos). The spokes are 2mm with brass nipples - and they appear to be of the same vintage. Having determined to replace the old disc brakes (discussed in a recent post), I'm considering to use a set of cantilever Shimano Deore LX brakes and levers taken from my 1990's Trek 850 (see photo). This old frame does not currently have IS or Post mounts (see photo) - so, any thoughts of re-introducing disc brakes will require that I find a local frame builder to add IS mounts to the rear.

Our combined weight is 315 lbs + bike (currently weighing in at 40 lbs). My stoker is new to riding, so our plan is to stick to relatively short road rides of 6-20 miles in length (nothing off road), on somewhat rolling terrain (we live in San Diego), so I don't see mountains, or long steep descents as factors to consider at this point.

Considering our weight, and intentions toward riding, am I crazy to think of using the existing wheelset? I've plowed through old postings on the forum and I've gathered that 36 to 40-spoke rims appear to be the norm; so, some sage advice is needed on this point.

About the brakes... am I missing something if I put the Shimano Deore LX brakes on this tandem? I would like to re-use my existing parts inventory, but not at the expense of sacrificing safety; I don't want to be foolish, and being a newbie to tandem cycling, I could really benefit from the collective wisdom here. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-11, 08:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by trayraynor View Post
Considering our weight, and intentions toward riding, am I crazy to think of using the existing wheelset?
For 26" wheels and your stated weight, they're probably fine. Service the hubs, make sure the rear axle isn't bent, have the wheels trued & the tension checked, etc... and use 'as is' for the time being. At worst, you might break a spoke at some point and by then you'll have decided if this is the right tandem for your needs. If it is, you can either have the existing wheels relaced with new spokes or pick up a new tandem wheelset that meet both your budget and performance needs.

Originally Posted by trayraynor View Post
About the brakes... am I missing something if I put the Shimano Deore LX brakes on this tandem?
I also replied to the same question in your disc brake thread...

Sure... Deore LX were the OEM spec brakes on just about every base model road and off-road tandem in the mid to late 90's, up and until V-brakes migrated over from mountain bikes. Just make sure you've got some fresh pads and that you clean and scuff the rim brake tracks (a scrunge pad with alcohol would do) to speed up the bedding in process.

Drum brakes and the like, even discs really don't become a necessity unless you're pushing 400lbs or routinely find yourself on very steep and twisty descents that demand near constant braking.
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Old 03-03-11, 08:36 AM   #3
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Given that the bike was originally intended for rough use, and you are going to ride on road, I would say just ride it - so far as the wheels are concerned. There are much lower spoke count wheels out there on tandems, and they work. What matters most is the quality of the building job, and the quality of rim. If they fail it will almost certainly be gradual, so you won't have anything catastrophic happen.

If you were planning some loaded touring, you might want to consider a somewhat higher spoke count.

As for the brakes. See other thread.
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Old 03-03-11, 10:15 AM   #4
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Based on your team and intended use, (short easy rides - on flat roads), I would take what you have, clean, lube, detail and tune it all up and just ride and enjoy. The Deore LX are more than up to the task you intend.
Save your money for now and just ride.

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Old 03-03-11, 11:46 PM   #5
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We agree. . . save the $$$ and ride as is for now.
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Old 03-04-11, 04:19 PM   #6
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While I do agree with the ride it now and how it is concept, You could likely find someone willing to unload those wheels and brakes onto and then buy newer wheels, and rim brakes.

I did not read your disc brake topic to any degree. If I remember correct those are Pullstar hubs and with the disc setup they could go stupid high.

Have you posted on Retrobike to see if there is any more info or a following for the old Mountain Cycle stuff.

There is a guy local with an early Mountain Cycle, old enough it came with a Manitou 1.

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