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A Story of Joy and Tears -and Tandems

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A Story of Joy and Tears -and Tandems

Old 05-04-13, 06:30 PM
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A Story of Joy and Tears -and Tandems

Our Schwinn Triplet has roamed the streets of Philadelphia for three years now. From Olney to Pattison avenue...on gravel, cobbles and pavement. Most of the time it has only two riders and it frequently needs work and difficult to find parts. Getting it in and out of the house is a challenge and its range is limited by one gear. One something goes wrong, you're walking it home; it won't fit in cars and lacks QR wheels. My wife has been hinting for a few months that she'd like something more dependable, lighter and geared. I looked at a Holdsworth which Auchen and Jet offered help with, but my wife veto'd it in the end.

Today we went and looked at one Tom found at trexlertown. My standard were high - eyelets, OS tubes, aesthetically appealing. What I most wanted was a Bilenky, but without paying for one. Part of me was hoping we wouldn't find one that was perfect because my heart will always be taken by the triplet. Remember - we even passed on that beautiful NOS Holdsworth. It's exactly what I most wanted - even a Bilenky. It couldn't be more perfect. It's bittersweet for me - I will love this bike and we'll ride it together for decades, but I know its arrival means that the triplet will now be relegated to special occasions.

It needs a little work - new tires, rack, different rear bars, wheels trued and maybe a Nitto Technomic. The beauty of the paint isn't really coming through.

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An old friend:

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Old 05-04-13, 06:57 PM
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Nice! I was kind of sad to see our Sterling Bilenky go. It had similar paint in dark green, really stunning. As far as steel tandems go, they don't get any better than a Bilenky in my opinion. Especially for a touring set. Mine even had extra spokes on the chainstay.
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Old 05-04-13, 07:24 PM
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Heh - mine has that feature too...it's really perfect for us. The paint is insanely nice - nicest* I've seen.

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Old 05-04-13, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Heh - mine has that feature too...it's really perfect for us. The paint is insanely nice - incest I've seen.
better to look away
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Old 05-04-13, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
better to look away
Worst typo ever. I have humiliated my village.
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Old 05-04-13, 08:25 PM
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Gorgeous!

I've got an extra Nitto Techno that was on my Bruce Gordon if you'd like it.
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Old 05-04-13, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
Worst typo ever. I have humiliated my village.
That's okay - based on your typo, they're all family anyway! *rimshot* But seriously, nice score. The paint is great - it's like...gold fleck...with COLOR.
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Old 05-04-13, 09:39 PM
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Congrats Aaron, on obtaining your desideratum.
It's nice to know it was made right there in the City of Brotherly Love too.
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Old 05-04-13, 11:17 PM
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It definitely is beautiful.

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Old 05-04-13, 11:27 PM
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Very cool bike. I've only rode a tandem once and that was just a Schwinn Twinn quite a few years ago.

Looking at one photo and maybe I'm looking too far into it. Is the paint just cracked on the seatpost clamp for the captain right behind the binder bolt?
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Old 05-05-13, 01:56 AM
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What a lovely Tandem...awesome stuff.
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Old 05-05-13, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Henry III View Post
Very cool bike. I've only rode a tandem once and that was just a Schwinn Twinn quite a few years ago.

Looking at one photo and maybe I'm looking too far into it. Is the paint just cracked on the seatpost clamp for the captain right behind the binder bolt?
Good eye! Just checked - scared as heck. No damage to the metal, just paint.
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Old 05-05-13, 05:46 AM
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Aaron, that is one hella score and the paint on it is way cool. I can't wait to see it after you've re-worked it in your own special way. One thing I'd get rid of immediately are those godawful looking V brakes, but I'm guessing you've already slated them for removal.

Do you have any indication what year it is?
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Old 05-05-13, 05:54 AM
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You know - the v-brakes are ugly, but they work GREAT! I'm not sure I'm changing them - they really have what I want for a tandem like this; power! If I do change them I'd probably spring for Pauls, unless cyclotoine has another set of 982s. I have a set of Mafac cantis in reserve, but I think the Pauls are likely stiffer.

On year - I think it's mid-90s from the parts, rear spacing and tubing diameter. I saw some others labeled Sterling, and this looks like a later one based on the shaped tubes and paint. I think 99' was the end of the Sterling label for Bilenky, so no later than that.

The things I know I'm doing are changing the tires and putting on a rear rack. I might go front as well...we have a tradition of taking the tandem to brunch and shopping in the Italian market afterwards. Sometimes we end up with a lot of food.

Dallas - you've ridden the triplet...was that thing flexy or what?

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Old 05-05-13, 06:32 AM
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Before I spied this tandem for you, I spied the tandem pictured below. I was going to send you this picture while I was at the swap meet, but I got too distracted with the Sterling.

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Old 05-05-13, 06:36 AM
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I think I'll keep the Sterling
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Old 05-05-13, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
You know - the v-brakes are ugly, but they work GREAT! I'm not sure I'm changing them - they really have what I want for a tandem like this; power! If I do change them I'd probably spring for Pauls, unless cyclotoine has another set of 982s. I have a set of Mafac cantis in reserve, but I think the Pauls are likely stiffer.

On year - I think it's mid-90s from the parts, rear spacing and tubing diameter. I saw some others labeled Sterling, and this looks like a later one based on the shaped tubes and paint. I think 99' was the end of the Sterling label for Bilenky, so no later than that.

The things I know I'm doing are changing the tires and putting on a rear rack. I might go front as well...we have a tradition of taking the tandem to brunch and shopping in the Italian market afterwards. Sometimes we end up with a lot of food.

Dallas - you've ridden the triplet...was that thing flexy or what?
There is no doubt that V brakes work very well, but there is no reason a pair of cantis that are set up properly won't work as well as V brakes. You'd be able to get rid of that silly looking multiplier and utilize that braze-on at the rear of the bike. After all the bike is designed to use cantis.

As far as the triplet being flexy: YES. It was sort of like riding a pogo stick with me in the middle position. I have a ton of fun riding that triplet!
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Old 05-05-13, 09:02 AM
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I'm sorry we can't make Cirque...you know you're always welcome here and you get your choice of the stable

The rear does look odd - I know it. I might keep the v in front and move to a rear canti. The vs are easier to set up.
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Old 05-05-13, 10:12 AM
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I would keep the v-brakes it is not just the extra power they have it is the mechanical advantage allowing for less hand fatigue on a descent. I had Paul cross tops on mine, but the XTR are about as good as v brakes get. Tandems are hard enough to stop as it is
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Old 05-05-13, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
You know - the v-brakes are ugly, but they work GREAT! I'm not sure I'm changing them - they really have what I want for a tandem like this; power! If I do change them I'd probably spring for Pauls, unless cyclotoine has another set of 982s. I have a set of Mafac cantis in reserve, but I think the Pauls are likely stiffer.

On year - I think it's mid-90s from the parts, rear spacing and tubing diameter. I saw some others labeled Sterling, and this looks like a later one based on the shaped tubes and paint. I think 99' was the end of the Sterling label for Bilenky, so no later than that.

The things I know I'm doing are changing the tires and putting on a rear rack. I might go front as well...we have a tradition of taking the tandem to brunch and shopping in the Italian market afterwards. Sometimes we end up with a lot of food.

Dallas - you've ridden the triplet...was that thing flexy or what?
Nice score! FWIW, stay with the V-brakes. The Paul Neo-Retro are overrated and a PIA to set up compared to the existing brakes. Plus they don't stop as well as the V-brakes. I am using Tektro dual pivots on my tandem and they work great. Canti's are fine if they are the only option. Since you will ACTUALLY RIDE this bike and want to be able to stop quickly & safely in traffic, be able to make a minor adjustments on the road and not have to think about your brakes again, screw the style police and stay with the XTR brakes.

Have you shown it to Stephen yet?
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Old 05-05-13, 10:28 AM
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Oh and that triplet was mega-flexy when we rode it.
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Old 05-05-13, 10:47 AM
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Steven CDM? Not yet...he'll see it. I think you're right on the brakes, and this will get ridden all around the city. I love that triplet - I know it's impractical and it can be annoying, but it's probably the bike I most love. That said, this is obviously a better tandem for us.

You only rode it for a few blocks! Dallas did around 25 miles on it with us.
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Old 05-05-13, 02:37 PM
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V brakes are ugly, but they are extremely practical. All brakes are fine for most applications. It's the leverage that makes us think V brakes have more power. They have a lot of leverage.
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Old 05-05-13, 08:19 PM
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Cosmic camo paint. Very interesting. I wonder how they achieve that effect. Cool double Aaron.
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Old 05-06-13, 05:06 AM
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Thanks rootboy - I think it needs a leather saddle bag

The paint's depth and beauty isn't really showing well (and the photos suck, I'll try to do better). It was apparently an option Bilenky offered from Fresh Frames in Ephrata. I'd say the paint is a bit nicer than the Vanilla to be honest.
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