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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 02-02-13, 11:27 PM   #1
WPH
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Trek T200 ready to roll - at last!

I have long wanted to own a tandem, and earlier this year my wife agreed we should give it a go. I have ridden all my life, raced on the road for a few years, and done some big self-contained tours in Australia and Europe. Mrs WPH went carless for many years and was very good on a bike before Baby One came along.

We looked for several months for a suitable machine. Quality tandems are quite rare in Australia. The Apollo MTB and road tandems seem good value, but I was after a 700c bike suitable for touring at some stage in the future. The new Cannondales (increasingly rare) cost too much for a first-time purchase. Most other tandems are flat bar anchors or boardwalk cruisers. We bid for an ancient and weary Dawes Super Galaxy on eBay, but missed out, and I was surprised at how disappointed I was.

The T200 was also on eBay but was not sold by auction. Mrs WPH contacted the seller by email and offered an amount which he accepted. The price would be high by US or UK standards but I figured it wasn't too extortionate considering the scarcity of nice machinery here, plus the re-sale should be okay, and the bike was obviously in very good condition. We were living in Perth at the time and the bike was in Melbourne, so freight would be extra.

My brother TRH, who lives in Melbourne, collected the bike on our behalf. The vendor was selling the tandem after serious surgery on his back, and he had been cared for in the ICU where TRH works. A small world in a city of 3 million.

TRH and his friend John, who are both roadies, set the bike up for the Beach Road Sunday AM bunch ride, and in the process discovered the rear seatpost was rusted in! Repairs would be extra. The bike was rideable but a little tall for John who, of course, could not lower the rear seat. After a couple of rides TRH had to pack up his entire house (including an awesome shed) and move, and complete university course, and present at a conference, and buy a new motorcycle etc, so time to work on the the tandem and organise its transport was very limited. During this period TRH attempted to cut the rear seat pin out and made some progress, but was banjaxed because it was over 400mm long and he couldn't source a blade long enough to reach right down to the bottom.

Finally TRH built a lovely ply and Tassie oak transport case (pictures to come after the camera battery is recharged) and we organised shipping to Perth. Sats and Aldo at Quantum in North Perth removed the remainder of the old seat pin in record time. Aldo also fabricated a lovely little rear brake cable hanger (see pictures in next post). I learnt later that Mrs WPH had hurried them along by asking them to finish the job in time for my birthday (27 Jan 13). The repairs did not affect the paintjob. The bike went back into the transport case... and four days later we sold our house and moved from Perth to Albany, a very complex and stressful process.

Mrs WPH, keen to ride the thing, made time and space for me to assemble and refit the bike Friday evening and yesterday (Saturday). We still have about 15 boxes to unpack, the place is chaos, everybody is exhausted, so I was very grateful to get time to work on the bike.

I figure the bike is about 20 years old. It came with crappy plastic pedals and dodgy seats which TRH trashed. It runs cantis front and rear, 7sp with a Deore triple crank, XT hubs, Matrix (Trek) rims and Trek stems etc. TRH had replaced the rear chain and cassette in Melbourne. The frame is nearly perfect with only one little paint chip and no other signs of wear.

The T200 is heavy compared to more modern tandems, but it was also a lot cheaper than more modern tandems. The front top tube is 57cm and the front stem is 120mm, which makes it about 2cm too long for me, and finding a replacement stem for the oversize fork will be a hassle.

The main changes:
  • drive: new 105 9sp triple front mech (very cheap at Chain Reaction), very old 7sp bar-end shifters (off my first touring bike replacing the downtube shifters), new cables, new flat steel pedals (cheap from the LBS which removes pedals like these from new bikes all the time)
  • contacts: new Pro 44 bars for the captain (I could not fit the bar-end shifters into the old Modolos, plus they were too deep), new stoker bar made from the old Modolos chopped and flipped, new bar tape, seats from stores
  • wheels: new Conti Ultra Sport 28c tires (very cheap at Chain Reaction)
  • brakes: new cables, new straddle cable for the front, new hanger for the rear

I have new black mudguards ready for the wet weather and a Thudbuster for Mrs WPH once I can find a correctly sized shim (27.2 to 30... the rear seat tube has a larger diameter than standard after the removal of the old seat pin).

Working on the bike was easy because it is like new. I test rode the bike yesterday evening and it all works very nicely.

This evening's maiden voyage as a couple will be pretty tentative. Mrs WPH and I have not ridden more than about 2 hours in total since Baby Two came along 26 months ago and we are very very unfit, but thrice around the cricket ovals over the road will serve to get us started. I hope to be able to post a snap of a happy tandem couple in the relevant thread soon.

Six months have elapsed since we bought the bike, and there were times when I thought I would never get to ride it with my fambly, but this tandem forum has always lifted my spirits when it seemed the problems and expenses were too much to bother with. We are now determined to ride the wheels off the thing to make all the work and cost worthwhile.

You better wish us luck.

(Thanks Roq and TRH especially for work and advice and for listening. Thanks Mrs WPH for your care and good cheer.)
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Old 02-03-13, 08:45 AM   #2
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Now THAT'S perseverance! Wow!

Do remember, though, that although your brains remember how hard and how long you used to ride, when you haven't ridden at all in two years+, your bodies no longer have that capability. For now, only ride as long as it's fun, and when it quits being fun, go home.

We recently had a year almost completely off the bikes, and to get started again meant 5 - 10k rides. Within a month we were doing 40 - 50k, but we're two months back on and still not ready for 100 or 150k rides again.

YMMV, but do remember to be easy on yourselves. And have fun!
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Old 02-03-13, 08:55 AM   #3
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Quite the saga. We await the photos.
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Old 02-03-13, 11:07 AM   #4
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Great story. Have fun!

Either I am Out of Touch with modern language or banjaxed is unique to UK/OZ. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=banjaxed
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Old 02-04-13, 03:45 AM   #5
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Great story WPH, and well told.
I have images of that very bike cruising down the the US west coast!
Look forward to the photos of the happy couple, smiling and enjoying life, not spilling the claret.

TRH
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Old 02-04-13, 07:59 AM   #6
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Great story. And I have adopted "banjaxed" and "cricket ovals" into my lexicon.
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Old 02-05-13, 08:07 AM   #7
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Pictures and first rides report.



Our first ride, a couple of nights ago, was hard for me. The wobbles were more than I expected and some of my communications were not perfectly clear. Mrs WPH was very patient and it seemed she just realised this is a learning process and she is unafraid of learning processes.

Tonight's effort was much much better. We were able to implement the changes we realised were necessary after our first go, everything was a bit less rushed, and perhaps the neuromuscular system had adapted a small but crucial amount after only one attempt.

I think we are both now confident this will be a good thing in our life.

Thank you other posters for encouragement. Someone said it will take a while before we are able to ride hard and fast again, and after only 40 minutes on the tandem we know this to be all too true, but we are happy to take our time exploring our new town and spending time with the children.
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File Type: jpg Aldo's Rear Brake Hanger Willy Wodger.jpg (89.2 KB, 169 views)
File Type: jpg Baby One and T200 05 Feb 13 in Albany B.jpg (95.9 KB, 171 views)
File Type: jpg T200 05 Feb 13 in Albany A.jpg (103.7 KB, 190 views)
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Old 02-05-13, 05:30 PM   #8
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Great story of perseverance and a bit of luck!
Older Treks did have some issues with spoke breakage on the factory wheels, so be forewarned.
If breakage occurs, best to get some newer/sturdier tandem wheels.
Enjoy the rides TWOgether!
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Old 02-05-13, 10:50 PM   #9
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what is the deal with the brake hanger "willy wonga" thing?
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Old 02-06-13, 05:48 AM   #10
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You are obviously not versed in Australian slang. His previous brake hanger was banjaxed, so he had to have a willy wodger made up.

I must say though, WPH, the front of your stoker's saddle looks like a dead dingo's donger.

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Old 02-06-13, 08:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WPH View Post
The front top tube is 57cm and the front stem is 120mm, which makes it about 2cm too long for me, and finding a replacement stem for the oversize fork will be a hassle.
We also have an older T200, and what you need is a Nitto threadless stem - quill adapter, which will let you use any normal 1-1/8" (28.6mm) threadless stem. I think what I bought was the SM1143. I pasted several links below, you might be able to find a supplier closer to you.

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=420644

http://www.amazon.com/Nitto-MT-Colum.../dp/B001LXM5W6

http://jail.sine.com/sheldonbrown/sh...1-4-quill.html

The 1-1/4" fork takes a stem with a 1-1/8" (28.6mm) quill, so the stem column is actually straight. A more "normal" stem column is for putting 28.6 threadless on a 1" threaded steerer, where the quill would be 22.2. Those columns have a step in the diameter to go from the 22.2 to the 28.6. But for the T200, the one you need is the same diameter along its whole length at 28.6.

Once you get it set up, it's actually really convenient if you want to quickly swap stems (say for someone else to try captaining your tandem), because the removing the stem doesn't alter the headset adjustment since the headset is threaded.

Hope that helps!
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Old 02-06-13, 11:37 AM   #12
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Great story. Have fun! Either I am Out of Touch with modern language or banjaxed is unique to UK/OZ. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=banjaxed
"Banjaxed. Broken, ruined; can also mean tired. "Bollocks! Me Capri is banjaxed!" "Jaysus, after that lifting them bricks all day I'm bleedin' banjaxed"..."

Kind of sorry I looked it up... I first heard it a long time ago from an Aussie exchange student who spend a bit of time as stoker. I thought her comment that her day was complete banjaxed was a complement. Wow quite a memory smasher!
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Old 02-06-13, 12:43 PM   #13
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The Trek tandems are definately keepers. I have ridden a couple of them and they were excellent rides and beefy. Great that you found one with the paint still in good condition as it seems many owners bang the paint up quite a bit.
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Old 02-06-13, 11:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
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We also have an older T200, and what you need is a Nitto threadless stem - quill adapter, which will let you use any normal 1-1/8" (28.6mm) threadless stem. I think what I bought was the SM1143. I pasted several links below, you might be able to find a supplier closer to you.

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=420644

http://www.amazon.com/Nitto-MT-Colum.../dp/B001LXM5W6

http://jail.sine.com/sheldonbrown/sh...1-4-quill.html

The 1-1/4" fork takes a stem with a 1-1/8" (28.6mm) quill, so the stem column is actually straight. A more "normal" stem column is for putting 28.6 threadless on a 1" threaded steerer, where the quill would be 22.2. Those columns have a step in the diameter to go from the 22.2 to the 28.6. But for the T200, the one you need is the same diameter along its whole length at 28.6.

Once you get it set up, it's actually really convenient if you want to quickly swap stems (say for someone else to try captaining your tandem), because removing the stem doesn't alter the headset adjustment since the headset is threaded.

Hope that helps!
Yes that helps. I am aware of these adaptors but have yet to find one online in Australia or the UK. I know they are floating about in the US but buying there means another e-commerce arrangement (best to minimise the total number of such arrangements in one's life) and the postage quotes I have seen are pretty steep. Nitto is very popular in Australia amongst the fixie and resto crowd, but they don't seem to import this particular item.

I would love to go to the new stem format for both the fit flexibility and the ability to remove the handlebars quickly for transport when necessary.
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Old 02-06-13, 11:31 PM   #15
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The Trek tandems are definately keepers. I have ridden a couple of them and they were excellent rides and beefy. Great that you found one with the paint still in good condition as it seems many owners bang the paint up quite a bit.
Beefy is the term. Riding the bike last night, as we get more confident and comfortable and relax, it felt much like my Thorn Club Tour when fully loaded - very solid, predictable and relaxed, no surprises. We will have to see how it feels under heavy load - if we ever get fit enough to exert enough pressure!
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Old 02-07-13, 08:05 AM   #16
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You are obviously not versed in Australian slang. His previous brake hanger was banjaxed, so he had to have a willy wodger made up.

I must say though, WPH, the front of your stoker's saddle looks like a dead dingo's donger.

TRH
Stoker saddle: a girl thing. Its terrible looks are matched by the startlingly graphic language used in the manual that comes with.
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Old 02-07-13, 08:13 AM   #17
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what is the deal with the brake hanger "willy wonga" thing?
The willy wodger replaces a flimsy stamped mild steel hanger which was bolted on using the QR pin on the stoker's seatpost clamp. The cable routing on the old hanger was 'dramatic'. The willy wodger is stiffer and sits lower on the bike (still high enough for a suitable straddle cable and some cable travel) so that the cable outer is shorter and straighter. I can still attach carriers etc. It cost a bit more than I had anticipated, but overall it was still cheaper than new paint on the back of the bike and a braze-on hanger which measures were contemplated if Quantum had needed to melt the old rusted-in seatpost to get it out.
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Old 02-08-13, 05:14 AM   #18
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Nice wheels WPH

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Old 02-08-13, 01:22 PM   #19
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The willy wodger replaces a flimsy stamped mild steel hanger which was bolted on using the QR pin on the stoker's seatpost clamp. The cable routing on the old hanger was 'dramatic'. The willy wodger is stiffer and sits lower on the bike (still high enough for a suitable straddle cable and some cable travel) so that the cable outer is shorter and straighter. I can still attach carriers etc. It cost a bit more than I had anticipated, but overall it was still cheaper than new paint on the back of the bike and a braze-on hanger which measures were contemplated if Quantum had needed to melt the old rusted-in seatpost to get it out.
I am in sync with you on the hanger. Can you provide a source for them?
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Old 02-08-13, 11:41 PM   #20
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I am in sync with you on the hanger. Can you provide a source for them?
Ksisler, that willy wodger was a custom job by Aldo at Quantum in North Perth. Quantum sell the occasional bike but seem to focus on major bicycle repairs and modifications eg frames and forks, uncommon wheels etc. I guess you could find a similar shop in your area and show them the photo of my willy wodger and ask if they could make something similar. Maybe a general engineering or fabrication shop would be interested. Expect to pay >USD100 for a professional job. As mentioned above, we had originally thought the old seatpost would have to be melted out of the frame, ruining the paint on the back part of the bike, which in turn would present an opportunity to braze on a new hanger, but this didn't come to pass. I also had an idea that the barrel adjuster could have a slot for QR of the rear brake cable, but it wasn't worth going to the trouble because the cable guide at the captain's seat-tube is not slotted
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Old 02-14-13, 05:54 AM   #21
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I thought the T200 was about 20 years old, and a look at the brilliant www.vintage-trek.com website seems to confirm this. My bike is a light purple - called 'lunar' by Trek, and comes to me with 7sp XT, which is old old old. The 1993 catalogue doesn't show pictures of the T200 alas. In 1993 I flunked out of university and moved to Melbourne in July, 21, no skills or qualifications, no money, no contacts or networks. Not much changes in 20 years! At least the T200 has some new bits.
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Old 02-14-13, 03:25 PM   #22
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You are obviously not versed in Australian slang. His previous brake hanger was banjaxed, so he had to have a willy wodger made up.

I must say though, WPH, the front of your stoker's saddle looks like a dead dingo's donger.

TRH
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Stoker saddle: a girl thing. Its terrible looks are matched by the startlingly graphic language used in the manual that comes with.
Looks the saddle is of the Selle SMP line, so not just a girl thing... the majority of their saddles are "men's" editions. Steve Hogg (Aussie?) seems to be a big fan. see: http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/...ll-about-smps/

I have a Stratos on my single, and my stoker is testing the "Lady" version - though she is not convinced yet. Initially I tried the Dynamic but that proved too wide for me in the sit-bone area and killed it my "inner hamstring" area. I just posted the Dynamic on eBay the other day.

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Old 04-16-13, 08:40 PM   #23
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Here's the machine in current trim - it weighs 20.38kg (ouch!).


The old Zefal frame pump has been discarded in favour of a reliable and effective minipump - I am considering filing the pump peg off so that I can put a little frame bag under the stoker's lateral if needed.
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File Type: jpg P1010290.jpg (92.9 KB, 114 views)

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Old 04-18-13, 03:29 PM   #24
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Nice Bike
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Nice wheels WPH

PNH
They appear to be Matrix Titanium - a Trek wheel - the same were on our T50 until a few weeks ago when the rear developed cracks on both sides that go all the way around.


I built up a new set of wheels with Wheelmaster 40h tandem hubs (sealed bearing , 14mm diameter rear axle ), Wheelsmith spokes and Velocity Dyad rims. At the same time converted from 7 speed to 9 speed, replacing the Deore RD with a SRAM X.9 RD and X.0 twist grip (flat bars). The new wheels are significantly stiffer laterally, and noticeably lighter.

More here: http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-2920-page-3.html

The T200 and T50 have the same frame.
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Old 04-18-13, 10:56 PM   #25
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Nigel, where are you up to with the Jack Taylor?

The wheels on our T200 are in very good order, only light use. Would probably go with dyads if owt happened to them.

WPH
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