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FS - Mel Pinto Special Tandem

Old 02-28-24, 01:55 PM
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FS - Mel Pinto Special Tandem

I am selling a nice Mel Pinto Special French tandem. It has TA cranks, Simplex barend shifters, Mafac cantilever brakes, Mafac brake levers with double pull on one lever, Ideale 92 saddles, Cinelli stem and bars, Campagnolo rear derailleur, 4 TA water bottle cages, 27" wheels with Super Champion rims and Maillard front hub, Atom drum brake rear. New tires and tubes, new bar tape. I recently overhauled the bike. Have new decals that I have not yet applied that will be included. Nice fork bend and crown. Captain seat tube measures ~ 58.5 cm c-top and stoker ~ 55 cm c-top.

Asking $650 obo. Located near Atlanta, GA. More photos on my Flickr here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/39670213@N06/










Last edited by Force; 03-20-24 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 03-01-24, 05:55 AM
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Watching this. I have one of these fillet-brazed Reynolds tubed Follis made beasts in pieces in the barn waiting on motivation.

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Old 03-01-24, 09:14 AM
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I think this is a good price! GLWS!
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Old 03-01-24, 09:55 AM
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These are still decent starter tandems. Santana upped the bar beyond what the French could reach, but Mel Pinto's long bikes rode much better than similarly equipped Peugeot and Gitane tandems. I'm not sure who made them for Mel Pinto Imports. A suggestion I would make to the eventual purchaser is that, when you cut down those long casings, route the double lever with a single wire and either move the drum brake to an added shift lever, or to a lever on the stoker's bars. It's only a drag brake anyway, and those double-pull levers, while cool looking, never were a good idea with mechanical brakes.
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Old 03-01-24, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by sbarner
route the double lever with a single wire and either move the drum brake to an added shift lever, or to a lever on the stoker's bars. It's only a drag brake anyway, and those double-pull levers, while cool looking, never were a good idea with mechanical brakes.
I did that and used a friction shift lever for the drum
P1010342 on Flickr
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Old 03-01-24, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SJX426
I did that and used a friction shift lever for the drum
P1010342 on Flickr
This lets you use the drum as it works best, to slow the bike over long descents and keep the rim brakes from overheating. Also, the cable pull for the rim and drum brakes is different, so getting maximum braking power is tough and prone to going out of adjustment. Finally, with mechanical systems, you are dividing the force, requiring a stronger pull on the brake lever to get the same stopping power at any single brake. This is the biggest reason most automobiles went to hydraulic systems in the 1920s. Some people will run the left lever to the drum and the right to the front and rear cantis, but that reduces their performance and doesn't allow you to direct more force to the front brake in a panic stop. Your setup is the best, as long as you remember to release the brake at the bottom of the descent! Tandems are one application where disc brakes totally rule.
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Old 03-01-24, 11:07 AM
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This one works well in the back
P1010340 on Flickr
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Old 03-07-24, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sbarner
These are still decent starter tandems. Santana upped the bar beyond what the French could reach, but Mel Pinto's long bikes rode much better than similarly equipped Peugeot and Gitane tandems. I'm not sure who made them for Mel Pinto Imports. A suggestion I would make to the eventual purchaser is that, when you cut down those long casings, route the double lever with a single wire and either move the drum brake to an added shift lever, or to a lever on the stoker's bars. It's only a drag brake anyway, and those double-pull levers, while cool looking, never were a good idea with mechanical brakes.
Originally Posted by sbarner
This lets you use the drum as it works best, to slow the bike over long descents and keep the rim brakes from overheating. Also, the cable pull for the rim and drum brakes is different, so getting maximum braking power is tough and prone to going out of adjustment. Finally, with mechanical systems, you are dividing the force, requiring a stronger pull on the brake lever to get the same stopping power at any single brake. This is the biggest reason most automobiles went to hydraulic systems in the 1920s. Some people will run the left lever to the drum and the right to the front and rear cantis, but that reduces their performance and doesn't allow you to direct more force to the front brake in a panic stop. Your setup is the best, as long as you remember to release the brake at the bottom of the descent! Tandems are one application where disc brakes totally rule.
I 1,000% agree that running both rim brakes off one lever is a bad idea. Imagine this scenario that actually happened to me: A front tire blowout - and I mean a gunshot-loud-tire-is-flat-right-now-blowout - going down a steep descent. That immediately makes both rim breaks unavailable, because if you hit the front brake in these circumstance the front wheel will lock up, and bad things happen. Because it's a tandem, you won't go over the bars and face-plant, but you will still go down and incur road rash at a minimum. Fortunately, we had only started down the steep (17%) pitch so didn't have a full head of steam up, and I was able to get us stopped without crashing by using the drum brake and ultimately dragging a foot (I'm still not sure how I managed this, and my stoker still thanks me for not getting him killed). It could have been much. much worse; the front tube ended up wrapped around the bottom of the headset. My stoker and I installed a new tube (the tire was okay, amazingly enough) and proceeded down the rest of the 10 mile descent veeeery carefully.

Suffice to say, that tandem no longer runs both rim brakes off the same lever. My solution: brifters, with the drum drag brake cable running from where the RD shift cable usually is. (Shifting is done via barcons.) Each rim brake has it's own brake lever, the drag brake can be used in "set and forget" mode, as is appropriate, and I can operate all three brakes from the two levers at the same time. Works like a charm, although it isn't exactly C&V.
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Old 03-07-24, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
I 1,000% agree that running both rim brakes off one lever is a bad idea. Imagine this scenario that actually happened to me: A front tire blowout - and I mean a gunshot-loud-tire-is-flat-right-now-blowout - going down a steep descent. That immediately makes both rim breaks unavailable, because if you hit the front brake in these circumstance the front wheel will lock up, and bad things happen. Because it's a tandem, you won't go over the bars and face-plant, but you will still go down and incur road rash at a minimum. Fortunately, we had only started down the steep (17%) pitch so didn't have a full head of steam up, and I was able to get us stopped without crashing by using the drum brake and ultimately dragging a foot (I'm still not sure how I managed this, and my stoker still thanks me for not getting him killed). It could have been much. much worse; the front tube ended up wrapped around the bottom of the headset. My stoker and I installed a new tube (the tire was okay, amazingly enough) and proceeded down the rest of the 10 mile descent veeeery carefully.

Suffice to say, that tandem no longer runs both rim brakes off the same lever. My solution: brifters, with the drum drag brake cable running from where the RD shift cable usually is. (Shifting is done via barcons.) Each rim brake has it's own brake lever, the drag brake can be used in "set and forget" mode, as is appropriate, and I can operate all three brakes from the two levers at the same time. Works like a charm, although it isn't exactly C&V.
Sounds like an interesting solution and a great way to repurpose a brifter that you are no longer using. I believe it would take a certain amount of enlarging of the steerer hole, but another solution might be to acquire one of the Schwinn Twin Stick or any stem shifter and use that for the drum brake. The downside is that you would not be able to apply it without taking your hands off the main brakes, as you can with your setup, but that shouldn't be a major issue, in practice.

We know a couple who had a blowout on a descent and they were both badly hurt. They were off the bike for over a year and they don't ride at all like they used to. They said after that experience, they mount new tires at the beginning of every season.
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Old 03-08-24, 11:24 AM
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Interesting discussion about braking. I may even have a lever to use for the drum. I thought about going that way, but wanted to try the dual lever. Frankly, after I built it, I never rode it to determine what worked best.

Previous owner believed the bike to have been made by Lejeune. I raised that issue on the Classic Rendezvous list and that started a discussion as to what that would mean. One commentator thought it could mean that Mel Pinto had it made for him by the same people who built the tandem frames for Lejeune, which could mean it was made by another builder, perhaps Urago. To me, it resembles a Follis.
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Old 03-09-24, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Force
Previous owner believed the bike to have been made by Lejeune. I raised that issue on the Classic Rendezvous list and that started a discussion as to what that would mean. One commentator thought it could mean that Mel Pinto had it made for him by the same people who built the tandem frames for Lejeune, which could mean it was made by another builder, perhaps Urago. To me, it resembles a Follis.
It is a Follis.
We thrashed this out when I got mine:
So I wanted an old French tandem....

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Old 03-20-24, 03:47 PM
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Price drop. Also willing to sell without saddles to lower price further.
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Old 03-20-24, 04:25 PM
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That tandem is so beautiful I can't even begin to describe. I would not be able to buy it, however, because the odds of getting Wifey to ride a tandem are somewhere between null and nil.
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Old 03-21-24, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamont Cobb
That tandem is so beautiful I can't even begin to describe. I would not be able to buy it, however, because the odds of getting Wifey to ride a tandem are somewhere between null and nil.
That didn't stop me from buying it! LOL!
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