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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 12-16-14, 05:06 PM   #1
rcschafer
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Another Gary Fisher Gemini

Saw this on local CL for $200 and figured what the heck. It was in typical condition for CL bikes around here (hodgepodge of original/aftermarket parts, rusty drivetrain slathered in motor oil) but the frame looked good and fits me. Given the lack of mountains around here I'm rebuilding it as a heavy-duty social ride cruiser with trekking bars, v-brakes and Big Apple tires. GF/stoker is cautiously enthusiastic.

I'm not sure of the model year and haven't dug around for the SN yet but this one retained some original componentry: Suntour Self-Energizing rear cantilevers, GF "Bulge" bar, Shimano Deore SIS 7sp thumb shifters, an Araya 26" 36-spoke MTB rim. The front end was replaced; instead of an Evolution headset and fork it has what appears to be a standard 1-1/8" threadless setup (with a very long steerer) and a 32-spoke Sun CR18 rim. I'm going to get it basically running and see about outfitting it for day rides (mudguards, racks) once springtime rolls around.

Original CL photo


Partially Disassembled and Big Apples


First Test Ride
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Old 02-27-16, 11:06 AM   #2
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Well apparently it's a 1991:

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Old 03-02-16, 12:43 PM   #3
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We have that same bike. Same color. Also picked up cheap and in dubious shape but it was fun to go through it and refurbish it.

The bike is non-standard in sooooo many ways. But the crank bearings are cheap and easy to find on Amazon. Most bike shops don't seem to stock them. Crank spindles are available from Phil Wood. 135mm rear hub, but at least that's a current standard. Chris King still makes threaded 1-1/4 headsets. Yours has the advantage of having the fork replaced with something current/standard. Wish ours did. I'm likely going to braze a stub in the steerer to convert it to use an 1-1/8 stem to get the bars higher.

Ours also now uses V-brakes and I'm quite happy with them. We use the Compass Bikes tires.

We also use ours as an around town bike and for short, flat-ish day rides. Sometimes we tow the dog in a Burley trailer. That's a workout.

I ran into a former Fisher employee at NAHBS this last weekend and was asking him about the tandem. All he could tell me was that the early ones were made in Mexico and weren't very well made. I suspect that yours and mine are later, Asian made bikes as mine, at least, seems reasonably well made. I'm still trying to figure out who designed it and decided to use the "uptube". I suspect that was the cheapest, easiest way to build it. Ritchey still uses the uptube design in their tandem, though Santana insists it makes no sense. At least it gives you a place to put a water bottle. The placement of the stoker seat tube cage won't allow the use of larger modern bottles. We use a clamp-on handlebar mount for the second stoker bottle.

Look for a serial number on the under side of the stoker BB shell. Since mine starts with "T90", I wonder if it's a 1990?

I've only seen one other on the road and that's owned by a fellow who rides with sight-impaired stokers out of BORP in Berkeley. He'd added a disc brake for heavy duty touring. Also has a set of trekking bars. These bikes show up occasionally on Craigslist in the Bay Area.

Bill
Davis/Oakland, CA
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Old 03-09-16, 07:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, Bill! Yeah it's a tank but I enjoy it and (more importantly) so does my stoker, who was a little leery of the road tandem I tried her out on before this. We had a great time during Mardi Gras cruising around and up and over potholes, sidewalks, etc etc. As with most tandems it gets lots of positive comments from onlookers.

Didn't know you could get replacement spindles from Phil Wood, good to know. I haven't replaced the crank bearings it came with (they seem to be fine) but I have a set of replacements from McMaster-Carr and will get to it Real Soon Now. Need to figure out a rear fender solution, the SKS Velo 65 set I tried worked fine on the front but the rear mount is incompatible with the Gemini. But other than that (and still trying to find the right stoker seat) it's been pretty dependable. And yeah, I have the same issue with the stoker seat tube bottle mount - I keep tools in that cage. A stoker bar-mount bottle cage sounds like a winner there.

Serial number on mine is 19012-0707. It has (mostly) Shimano DX components; the catalog scans I've been able to find show Suntour XC on the 91-93 models. So maybe mine's an '89. Guess it doesn't matter too much!
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Old 03-09-16, 08:16 PM   #5
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Schaf


Always great to see some old iron made good use of!

You are lucky to have your fork sorted - my T200 still has a 1&1/4 threaded fork. Yes the Phil Wood headsets are available but cost a pretty penny. I have replaced my quill stem with a Nitto adapter and standard 1&1/8 Ritchey OS stem.

Good luck finding a stoker seat, this is an ongoing quest for many teams.


Cheers


Will
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Old 03-10-16, 09:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fxsvelo View Post
Ritchey still uses the uptube design in their tandem, though Santana insists it makes no sense.
To me the uptube design looks like a way to get the same structural rigidity with less tubing, so I've always wondered what the rationale is for the long lateral tube that has been standard for so long. Anyone out there know?
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Old 03-10-16, 11:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by qspencer View Post
To me the uptube design looks like a way to get the same structural rigidity with less tubing, so I've always wondered what the rationale is for the long lateral tube that has been standard for so long. Anyone out there know?
Not a tandem designer, just speculating: This design appears to make sense if you are thinking of it in the 2D plane of the frame taking weight from the riders, since everything is triangulated. But with side loads from pedaling, the seat tube becomes a hinge between the captain's triangle and the stoker's rectangle, and the captain's pedaling loads aren't triangulated like chain stays do for a single or for the stoker. With the "standard" design you have three big tubes resisting flex instead of two, and the loads are distributed through three joints at the captain's seat tube instead of two.
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