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  1. #1
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    Total newbies get first Tandem!

    WOOT!

    We just got our new shiny red Micargi Island!!

    I have done some assembly on it, but the brakes and shifting mechanisms are simply bolted on from the factory and totally out of adjustment. I figure more of it out soon, but first I had a question on Storage.

    We have very limited space to store this large bike so I was wondering if you had any tips on storing your Tandem.

    For example, it seems I can loosen the main handle bar bolt and rotate the handle bars for easier storage - with the only downside being I need to fiddle with it every time. Is this OK?

    Also, I would really like to get some "folding pedals", if these are even a viable solution. If not, I may have to be removing and replacing the pedals often - they just hog too much space in our small shed.

    The front wheel does not appear to be a "quick-release" style I have on my solo mountain bike. Can I convert?

    Thanks!

    ~Mark and Banu

  2. #2
    Senior Member MNBikeCommuter's Avatar
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    Congrats! I hope you get many miles of enjoyment out of it!

    As far as storing it, "physics is physics," and I don't know of anything beyond what you've stated for "making it smaller." Hanging it from the ceiling is an option others use, but I'm guessing your shed is too small for that to really be viable.

    As far as folding pedals, that hadn't even crossed my mind, so I looked them up on the internet out of my own curiosity. Let us know if you go that route. Given how much the handlebars can stick out even when rotated, they may not be worth the cost for the compactness. You might be able to also just get away with taking off the "outer" pedals (i.e., not up against the wall).

    Messing around with the handlebars would be a hassle, but there shouldn't be any problem. As with any bolt, just don't man-handle it too much and it'll be fine.

    If you've got the wrenches right there in the shed, the actual time to put on/take off pedals, and adjust handlebars isn't great. It's more of a mental barrier than time barrier.

    Have fun!

    Jeff

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Congrats on getting into the tandem scene!
    However be prepared to have to do some work on it to get it into decent riding condition.
    Worked on a 'brand new' Micargi tandem a couple years ago and found that they had absolutely NO grease or trace of grease on any of the bearings. Derailleurs and brakes were not set up properly and were of department store variety. Wheels were way out of true, etc.
    Doing your own wrenching would be a +!
    Taking it to a bikeshop will co$t about half what you paid for it to make suitable for anything more than just a trip around the block.
    Upgrading parts on a Micargi will be costly.
    For storage . . .
    You can install a steel vinyl coated hook (available in most hardware stores) in shed, porch or even closet in the house and hang the tandem from it's rear or front wheel from the ceiling. Or, use 2 hooks and hang tandem upside down. The bike is on the heavy side so that could take a joint effort from you and your stoker!
    Yes there are folding pedals available but hard to come by; they are sometimes used on folding bikes.
    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    As for converting to quick release, you're looking at replacing the axle. If you've ever had a hub open to regrease it you know how to get the axle out. Replacing the solid axle with a hollow one and adding a skewer is something I've done (years ago). I'm not sure whether they've become harder to find (i.e. does everyone want to sell you the entire hub, and then you get to relace the wheel).

  5. #5
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    WOOT! Thanks for the great tips! Yes, it appears that Folding Pedals are a viable option. Just need to find some with decent quality.

    I have yet to talk with my local bike shop about a front wheel axle with quick-release. It would be nice not to have to buy a new front wheel, but I may have to...

    Thanks for the tip on Grease! Yes I am SURE our new bike has little or NONE in all the right places! I should be able to fix this myself...

    The weather here is getting nice again and only a few chores are keeping me from getting this bike road-worthy! I'll post up again if I get stuck on something...

    Thanks all for the help!

    ~Mark and Banu


    Edit: Good point on the time / mental thing. This is all not a big deal, but I will try to minimize the set-up time with some hardware, which will please my Stoker!

    The Stoker's handlebars are EASY to remove - they pop out with the Pilots seat in seconds!

    Great idea with the hooks - I think putting just one end of the bike up on a hook may buy us the precious few inches will need to squeeze it in (with no front wheel!).

    Tight fit but we just got it! WOOT!

    As far as upgrades, this bike came with what my bike layman (but I have some mechanical engineering experience) skills tell me is pretty decent shifting / braking hardware from Shamino. I have seen really cheap and cheesy bike hardware in the past but this stuff appears to be quite sufficient for our needs - but time and miles will tell!

    Edit:

    Folding Pedals! eBay to the rescue!

    Would you pick:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/380343266289

    or

    http://cgi.ebay.com/290550027121

    ?

    Edit:

    The cheaper ones actually looked better! And I had to get 2 sets anyway... They should be fine!
    Last edited by Mark_Banu; 06-07-11 at 09:23 AM. Reason: Added stuff

  6. #6
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    FWIW. I am very much in the mindset of keep it simple. Loosening stuff after every ride is a non-starter in my opinion. If you refuse to accept those kinds of capitulations you will start to think outside the box and a more practical solution will reveal itself. If you cannot... well, there may be wingnuts or some other kind of easier to remove fasterner that will work with those wheels. Quick release skewers may not fit. It's your money but I would not make part substitutions on the scale of a front wheel on that bike. My prediction is you are going to want new saddles, save your money for that eventual upgrade. What kind of riding do you plan? Is bike theft very common where you live? I don't live in the best part of town but I have occasionally forgotten the utility tandem outside. Tandems don't scream 'steal me' the way singles do, but that does NOT apply to Co-motion's or Santana's My neighbors just leave their bikes on the porch. Locked to something (they don't) it might be an idea to consider.

    H

  7. #7
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    Thanks Leisesturm, these are all things I must consider at some point.

    Yes, saddles are high on the list - the stock ones will kill us in short time.

    The only riding I think we will be able to do is pedal around the local park to build up confidence. Pavement, grass and dirt paths, all flat. And just for short runs, at first. We'll be practicing starting, stopping, turns, shifting, communicating, working out bugs, etc...

    Hopefully this weekend I can clear out all other chores, then next weekend organize a bike work area on the carport and a storage solution in our tiny shed.

    After I dis-assemble, lube, re-assemble, true the wheels, and adjust everything, I will then ride around solo on it and see what this tank feels like!


    Edit:

    Oohh, wingnuts on the front axle - that could be a cheap and easy solution! I'll search for those!

    Messing with the handlebars is no big deal - we'll only pull the bike out on weekends, most likely. The Stokers handlebars pull out in seconds with the Pilots seat, and folding pedals will help it fit in the shed. I'll post a pic when its all tucked in...

    People will steal anything in our city - everything has to be secured, and we both want to store the bike in the shed nice and neat.
    Last edited by Mark_Banu; 06-09-11 at 09:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_Banu View Post
    .....

    Oohh, wingnuts on the front axle - that could be a cheap and easy solution! I'll search for those!

    .......
    Mark; wing nuts for holding on wheels are considered to be very dangerous because it is too easy to loosen them and have the wheel come off.

  9. #9
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    Yep - found that out... Not enough torque...

    I hurled myself at everything that is standing between me and working on our new bike, and did pretty well. Looks like this coming weekend I'll be able to arrange shed space and finally start working on it!

  10. #10
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    As for storage, I store my Rans Screamer from hooks - upside down in my shed. There are only 5 bikes in the shed now but at one point when we had all of the kids at home, we stored 16 bikes in there. Half were hanging while the other 8 were parked beneath them.

    The grease that Zona was referring to is in the hubs, bottom brackets, headset areas. These lower cost bikes are notorious for being assembled quickly and having much of these details with not enough attention. This can be confirmed and repaired with a little background knowledge and the bike quite serviceable for the basic riding you have mentioned. This is a great place for help. http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  11. #11
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    Progress!

    Thanks again for all the tips!

    My wife and I dug into the shed and cleared out enough space so we don't need a Quick Release for the front wheel. Yay! We just wheel the whole bike in, loosen and turn the steering wheel, pop out the pilot saddle/stoker handlebars, and flip up the pedals - it fits!!

    I was then able to set up a work area and dig into it. There was BARELY any lube in the front wheel bearings, so I filled them up with plenty of marine grease. The front wheel is now installed properly and solid, and turns very freely.

    I now fear both the cranks are not lubed well, but I see it takes special tools to get into them... hmmm...

    Next steps, I guess, are to get wheel "true", because its off-plane by about 3mm and is rubbing the brakes of course. Then, inspect / lube the rear wheel bearings, and set up the rear brakes, then "true" the rear wheel.

    IMGP3357.jpg
    Last edited by Mark_Banu; 06-19-11 at 06:03 PM.

  12. #12
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Glad you checked that hub out. It will pay off in the long run to confirm that these won't cause you troubles down the road. Most of all HAVE FUN TOGETHER!!
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  13. #13
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    Progress!

    Thanks to BIG help from Nigel (nfmisso),

    Banu and I got our new Tandem in smooth working order!

    Nigel got the wheels up on his Truing Stand, and we dialed them in pretty good!

    We got deep into both cranks and found that the Stoker crank was over-tight and nearly DRY of lube - we fixed that and stuffed all bearings heavily with marine grease.

    So much smoother! I just had to adjust one screw a little bit, and now all gears are shifting fine!! Excellent! Quite a bit of fiddling to get the brakes to behave, but now they seem perfect! Even the rear brakes can lock up and don't rub despite all that cable-stretch. Sweet!

    I put a few miles on it today and its noticeably smoother - perhaps some bearings or races smoothing out. I expect total friction to decrease with break-in. The Timing Chain is very tight and not adjustable at all! Hard-wired! It should break in and be just right with time and miles.

    Now, just need to nail down a comfortable saddle, get some practice, and get ready for Banu's first ride!

    Thanks again for all the help Nigel!

    Koca_Tandem2.jpg

  14. #14
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Anytime
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  15. #15
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    Woot!!

    YaaYY!! Total success on our first ride together! All the preparations paid off!

    It turns out Banu has never been up on any kind of bike before, ever. She really had to conquer her fear for the first and second launch - we had a nice long, wide, dead-end street with no traffic. But after the second launch, we rode the next 5 miles with a couple stops for seat adjustments and water.

    Then we rode all the way home! She makes a great stoker! The bike is very stable and turns were easy! Plenty of braking power too. And all the shifting was flawless and dead-on. I could not possibly have expected a better result!! WOOT!

    We're both a little sore but still have two different saddles to try. Hopefully will try again tomorrow and post a pic.

    Thanks again all, especially Nigel, for the great help and tips!

    And RIP Sheldon "Happy to Help Newbies" Brown, who's how-to articles were priceless.

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