My wife and I have been into riding tandem bikes for the last 5 years. We ride at least four times a week or whenever we could get the time. We have four other bikes, but they rarely get used anymore. We love tandeming so much that on most of our vacations, we would look for places to rent them. For us, there is no better way to explore than on a tandem. Unfortunately, most of the time, we can only find poorly made or ill fitting tandem rentals if at all. More often then not we end up renting single bikes.
Our current tandem bike which I built from the frame is perfect for us, but there is no way to pack it for air travel. Its irregular tube shapes also prevents SS coupler conversion. So I have been calling the frame builders searching for a new travel tandem frame for our upcoming trips this summer. Seven cycles, Calfee, Zinn all want about $10k for their coupled frame. Co-motion wanted $3.5k for their aluminum one, but they all required a 3-4 months build time.
I am also an avid DIY'er, so I am thinking about combining my hobbies and build the bike and frame myself. I have been researching on the internet for the last month including a pretty thorough read of Sheldon Brown's and Damon Rinard's sites.
From what I've gatherer, I have decided to build a home built, custom coupled carbon fiber touring tandem. Home built because I have to build it with woodworking equipment in my garage. I will have to design a new custom couple for linking bike frame sections because SS couplers are not sold to home DIYer. I chose carbon fiber because it is easy to work with and no welding is required. This bike will be a touring tandem built for durability and comfort over weight saving and speed. It must be able to withstand the rigor of packing, travel, and unsupported touring. And it must also be pack-able in two airline friendly 26x26x10 cases.
Any one here with previous frame building or carbon fiber laminating experience they care to share? Love to have other inputs, advice, suggestions, and critiques as I attempt this project. Always better to have more than one view. For those experienced tandem riders, if you have a clean slate, how would you design your travel tandem? Thanks in advance for any help.