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-   -   Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/827489-bilenky-650b-constructeur-tandem.html)

photogravity 06-23-12 09:14 PM

Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem
 
A couple weeks ago as I was attending Cirque Du Cyclisme , I noted a fetching brown Bilenky Tandem. As many here on the forums know, I love tandem bikes, but this one was different than the others I've been seeing lately. First off, it is a 650B wheeled bicycle, and while I'm a huge advocate of 650A as the "poor man's 650B", I could tell that this bicycle was special in ways that a 700C wheeled tandem wouldn't be. Secondly, the details on the bike were absolutely stunning with the racks and the boxlining being among the finest I have ever seen on a bicycle.

Today, thanks to Jim Muller who traded some chainrings with me that I needed to finish off the bike, I was able to get the bicycle together and out for its maiden voyage. The ride was only around 13 miles, but allowed me to give it a good shakedown run. The ride was from my house and out the C&O Canal Towpath towards Harpers Ferry. My initial thoughts, based on the gravel surface we were riding on for most of the ride, are that the Grand Bois Hetre 650B tires may be the nicest tires I've ridden to date. They are supple, yet offer lots of feedback as to what the road surface is doing. Also, the bicycle itself is very stable and, even on the gravel surface, it offered a compliant ride that wasn't harsh in any way. In any case, tomorrow we plan to go on a road ride which will afford an opportunity to try its performance on a paved surface. Meanwhile, here are some pictures I took today on our first ride.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7139/7...5112599a_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 1 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7111/7...7eb3fa0c_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 2 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7117/7...6994e6fa_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 3 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7130/7...f838bb6f_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 4 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7126/7...3c128cd4_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 5 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

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Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 6 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8027/7...71e43b94_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 7 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5462/7...43312887_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 8 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7128/7...91a63c6c_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 9 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7109/7...4074fbc0_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 10 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

photogravity 06-23-12 09:17 PM

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5234/7...e6aa4782_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 11 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

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Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 12 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8021/7...58cb9a7b_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 13 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8148/7...e0443cb9_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 14 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7125/7...32f49208_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 15 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8022/7...1545fa73_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 16 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7248/7...c35f6497_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 17 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8166/7...f39853a8_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 18 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5340/7...bbac8f94_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 19 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5196/7...60b6e920_b.jpg
Bilenky 650B Constructeur Tandem - First Ride - 20 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

KonAaron Snake 06-23-12 09:18 PM

Not surprisingly, I'm in love with this...I think I like it even more than your Jack Taylor (that's saying something!). I have 650bs on our tandem and they really roll nicely - I like them better on tandems than on standard bikes.

toytech 06-23-12 09:23 PM

From another Bilenky tandem owner, that is stunning! makes me tempted to completely redo mine :D

photogravity 06-23-12 09:32 PM

Thanks Aaron. I'm in love with it too. :) I think you may be thinking about my 1984 Davidson Tandem because while I have a JT frameset, I have yet to build it up. It's one of my back burner projects since I need to acquire a large number of parts to complete the bike. I know you have a triplet, but didn't know you had a tandem. What kind of tandem do you have? I've never ridden any bike with 650B tires, so this is an entirely new experience for me.

photogravity 06-23-12 09:40 PM


Originally Posted by toytech (Post 14396791)
From another Bilenky tandem owner, that is stunning! makes me tempted to completely redo mine :D

Thanks toytech! I agree: it is a stunningly beautiful bicycle and, unfortunately, the pictures really don't do the bike justice. You cannot appreciate how beautiful this bike is unless you see it in the flesh. If you want to redo yours, go for it. It's only money anyway. :eek:

KonAaron Snake 06-23-12 09:42 PM


Originally Posted by photogravity (Post 14396816)
Thanks Aaron. I'm in love with it too. :) I think you may be thinking about my 1984 Davidson Tandem because while I have a JT frameset, I have yet to build it up. It's one of my back burner projects since I need to acquire a large number of parts to complete the bike. I know you have a triplet, but didn't know you had a tandem. What kind of tandem do you have? I've never ridden any bike with 650B tires, so this is an entirely new experience for me.

But I ;love the project ;)

My tandem is the triplet...I want another one (I really wanted the Ritchey that Fender bought), but my wife said one tandem is the max for our row home. The nerve!

toytech 06-23-12 09:46 PM


Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake (Post 14396855)
But I ;love the project ;)

My tandem is the triplet...I want another one (I really wanted the Ritchey that Fender bought), but my wife said one tandem is the max for our row home. The nerve!

Get a tandem with travel connectors, if you can take it apart it counts as two single bikes :D

photogravity 06-23-12 09:49 PM

Well, I've got four ride-able tandems ATM: 1961 Fiorelli, 1984 Davidson; 2003 Burley Rivazza and now the Bilenky. Mind you, I have a single home, but no garage. Also, I have steps up to my front porch and refuse to take the tandems up and down the stairs to the basement. I guess my wife is just exceedingly patient and tolerant. ;)

BTW, the JT is getting an IGH. I want to ride it in the Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour next year. :)

kiwigem 06-23-12 10:09 PM

Just gorgeous, Dallas. Congrats again!

KonAaron Snake 06-23-12 10:23 PM


Originally Posted by toytech (Post 14396870)
Get a tandem with travel connectors, if you can take it apart it counts as two single bikes :D

BRILLIANT!!! Why this logic didn't occur to me, I don't know - but it might even work! Of course then I have to sell two singles, but that would be well worth a decent tandem! The only potential negative is that she might ask why we can't chop up the triplet (awkward!).

gomango 06-23-12 10:34 PM

Gorgeous.

Total eye candy, so congrats on your wise acquisition.

Enjoy the many rides to come on that beauty.

rhm 06-23-12 10:52 PM

Golly.

Do I count six water bottle mounts? I'd like a better photo of the stoker's stem arrangement; that looks pretty interesting! Regular old quill stem at a new angle?

I note that your description of the build, ride, etc. is all written in the first person singular. Was this a solo ride? No, wait, I see you mention "our first ride" at the end there. So what's the stoker's opinion?

Congratulations, it is sure a beautiful bike. Though that Davidson is nothing to be ashamed of....

ColonelJLloyd 06-23-12 10:56 PM

That's pretty bad ass.

Michael Angelo 06-24-12 03:32 AM

That's one beautiful Tandem, I just wish my wife would ride, so I can justify getting one.

Italuminium 06-24-12 03:49 AM

Very, very nice. mrs. Ital and I would love to have one oneday. No room for one now! it's already such a bear to get up to the first floor of my inner city dwelling with a single bike...

OTS 06-24-12 05:40 AM

Absolutely stunning! wow.
Congratulations and enjoy the ride.

ScottRyder 06-24-12 07:12 AM

That really woke me up this morning. Thanks for posting!

Scott

fender1 06-24-12 07:16 AM

Sweet! 650b & derailleurs in one shot? I give your fascination with IGH another 6-8months,tops.;)

-holiday76 06-24-12 09:17 AM

Beautiful. Steven does a really good job with the racks on those. Thats one of my favorite things about them.

mkeller234 06-24-12 09:25 AM

Wow. That quill stem is a really cool idea. I'd like to be able to adjust the top tube length like that.

balindamood 06-24-12 10:12 AM

That is beautiful. The pin striping is a very nice touch.

repechage 06-24-12 10:29 AM

A handsome machine, I even overlook my prejudice of brown bikes. I think though if I were constructing a new custom tandem, I would be looking at Disc brakes. I know that is not "classic"
But Campagnolo did way back make a mechanical disc brake... I should have bid on it maybe five years ago.

The stroker section looks pretty comfortable. And with the adjustable stem it should be easy to make it fit a number of different folk.
The way the rear pannier rack is created where it also becomes the fender brace is very nice too.

photogravity 06-24-12 10:32 AM


Originally Posted by gomango (Post 14397000)
Gorgeous.

Total eye candy, so congrats on your wise acquisition.

Enjoy the many rides to come on that beauty.

Thanks Grady, though I have to say that though she's some really nice eye candy, she's a wonderful rider to boot. I don't look at the bike when I'm riding it, so all the beauty of the striping and paint just disappears.

repechage 06-24-12 10:35 AM


Originally Posted by photogravity (Post 14398170)
Thanks Grady, though I have to say that though she's some really nice eye candy, she's a wonderful rider to boot. I don't look at the bike when I'm riding it, so all the beauty of the striping and paint just disappears.

Yes, but it keeps the interest up at the coffee house.


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