The tandem came in yesterday so I spent the evening disassembling/reassembling it based on all the 'known' issues such as metal shaving in the rims, grease, etc. This review is just a list of what I did/saw so others can know what to expect.
The box was in perfect condition, everything inside is zip-tied pretty well though one spoke did rub the paint just a tad on the captain's seattube.
The very first thing I did was pull all 12 Giordano stickers off the wheels. Unfortunately the other logos are silkscreened/painted but once the wheels are destickered it looks a little more 'normal'. The kickstand came off right after the stickers.
There were metal shavings in the wheels/on the tubes, so I'm glad I pulled the tires/tubes/rim strips before even airing up the tires. However, I didn't have rim tape and the shops were closed so I put the rim strips back on and aired up to 85psi<<<the rear flatted before the next morning since the strip didn't cover a hole completely. Get rim tape before you air up.
The headset and front wheel bearings had grease, just not a lot, so I took care of that. The front wheel needs a 14mm cone wrench which is the one size I didn't have and all the LBS were closed, so I cut down an old 14mm box end to work.
I installed a SRAM Apex brakeset to replace the single pivot junk, it was fairly straight-forward but I did have to enlarge the mounting holes to accept the recessed bolts.
The wheels are pretty true out of the box but need some tweaking as both have one spot that's noticeably out laterally, not enough to rub a brake pad though with them adjusted fairly close. They do need to be tensioned better.
The captain's cockpit is very stretched for me at 5'10" so I'll be installing a Nitto Column quill adapter soon.
The sync chain idler is very loud. It appears to need to move outward just a little more to be inline 100% because for every link it leans then pops back up when rolling the chain very slowly.
Adjusting the front derailleur is a little tricky because at low tension, the cable clamp bolt is not accessible due to the rear sync chainring/guard. I have to tighten up the low limit screw to move the bolt, do a coarse cable adjust, put the low limit back, then can work with the barrel adjuster up front.
The rear derailleur was spot on in adjustment out of the box surprisingly. The rear hub is a freehub using cassettes, not a freewheel, great for changing gearing in the future.
I picked up a WTB Speed She for the stoker as that's what my wife rides on her MTB. It's going on the 'suspension' seatpost off her Trek FX
So far so good, new pedals and stoker bars are on the list for now but I'm keeping the upgrade $$ down until we know we like it and may decide to upgrade to a 'real' tandem eventually, who knows.