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Shadetree tandem build.

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Shadetree tandem build.

Old 11-09-19, 11:40 AM
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Murray Missile 
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Shadetree tandem build.

My wife and I haven't ridden our current tandem all that much but we thoroughly enjoy it however it is very apparent that the current bike doesn't fit her very well as the top bar is too high for her to be comfortable. It is an old Northwoods that I had done considerable component upgrading on and my plan was to look for a frame that would fit her better and move the upgraded components over to it. With this in mind I quickly located a NOS 2013 Raleigh Companion frame that would fulfill our requirements. As most projects of this nature do it quickly snowballed and about the only things moving to the new frame are the wheels and tires, grips, mirrors, racks and maybe the saddles. I'll probably put the Northwoods back together so it's still functional and either sell it or keep it for "guests" to ride, most likely the latter as it wouldn't bring much. I picked up a lightly used FSA Gossamer tandem crankset and I had Deore XT 3 X 9 front and rear derailleurs and Deore trigger shifters from another build that went 3 X 10 instead. The new frame does not have a fork but I already had a new suspension fork and I believe it is of sufficient quality to work for us, it has rebound adjustment and lockout. We will mainly be riding on rails-to-trails, paved paths and chip and oil roads with no serious hills. The crankset currently has 53/39/30 chain rings, I'm going to switch the big ring for a 50t as we never use the big ring on our current bike which is a 54 but at times the 42 middle ring wasn't quite enough. My wife isn't comfortable going too fast so I think the 50 would be of more use to us. I haven't decided on a cassette yet and I'm open to suggestions.

Here's the old Northwoods.




Here's the new frame, nothing great but a bit better than the Northwoods and we were quite happy with it, it was just too tall in the back.

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Old 11-09-19, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
...Here's the new frame, nothing great but a bit better than the Northwoods and we were quite happy with it, it was just too tall in the back.
I like that new frame, especially since it perfectly fulfills the basic need of your stoker for a good standover. Interesting design with the additional set of stays to deal with the rear seat tube...
If I see it right, there is no mount for a disc break... this is something I would really miss on a tandem. Apart from this I'm excited to see the final build...
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Old 11-10-19, 07:22 AM
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This looks like a great bike for your team to step up to. It uses a eccentric bottom bracket which is a step up too. Looking forward to you build.
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Old 11-10-19, 12:47 PM
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I'm sure we could have found a used one for less than I'll have in this one but I would have just torn it down and rebuilt it to my liking so..........

Originally Posted by lichtgrau View Post
I like that new frame, especially since it perfectly fulfills the basic need of your stoker for a good standover. Interesting design with the additional set of stays to deal with the rear seat tube...
If I see it right, there is no mount for a disc break... this is something I would really miss on a tandem. Apart from this I'm excited to see the final build...
My wife won't do any hills of any size and our top speed is limited by my gearing choices AND by my wife LOL, she doesn't like to go "too" fast. We've had no issues with V-brakes on the old bike and that's with the stock Shimano pads riding in damp weather so I'm not too concerned and even though it will be used mostly on flat ground I'll be upgrading the pads anyway.

Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
This looks like a great bike for your team to step up to. It uses a eccentric bottom bracket which is a step up too. Looking forward to you build.
Thanks for the encouraging words guys. Yes, the eccentric bottom bracket was a must, the tensioner pulley on the old one is a royal PITA. This is actually the 2nd frame, frame #1 got damaged in shipment, the head tube got dented in at the bottom. The Ebay seller shipped a new frame within an hour after contacting him and told me to just keep the first one. I'm going to try to rework the head tube so the frame is at least functional, not sure what I'll do with it but I gotta try and if I'm unsuccessful then it becomes yard art. The 2nd frame arrived with the LH rear dropout bent in about an 1/8" and the derailleur hanger bent in about 1/4" but those are easily straightened, I have a derailleur hanger alignment tool. The ID of the head tube is 1.339, just a bit over 1-5/16" (1.3125"), if I can find a piece of 1-5/16" steel bar stock a few inches long I can make a tool to push through the head tube and get most of the dent out. Hopefully to the point I can press an old cup into the bottom to make it totally round again. Actually my biggest concern is the suspension fork and I'm not all that concerned about it given how the bike will be used.

Here's the damage to the first frame:


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Old 11-16-19, 06:41 AM
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Picked up a Shimano FD-M590 Deore XT front derailleur to work with the 50t big ring and a Deore 11-34t 9 speed cassette. I'm keeping my eyes open for a rigid fork. I'm still not warm and fuzzy about running a suspension fork.
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Old 11-16-19, 03:58 PM
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1. Check on Craigslist under "Bicycle Parts > Tandem" and under "Bicycles > Tandem". Where I am located (SoCal) may not be the same as other places but I can easily find listings with tandems that are about to hit the dumpster or "projects" that people started and never finished. You can pick up frames, forks, whatever you need for cheap.

2. If nothing turns up under "Tandems" then look for "dirt jumper" or "dj" forks. One rigid fork that was officially "tandem rated" by the manufacturer was the Surly Instigator. However these don't appear to be made anymore and may be hard to find.
However if you can find a different dirt jumper fork with similar specs that might work out. For suspension forks, look for Marzocchi Dirt Jumper (DJ1 or DJ3). These forks are more rigid / stiffer than standard MTB forks and I think were "tandem rated" by the manufacturer at one point. These forks also don't appear to be made anymore but you should have an easier time finding them used on Craigslist, eBay, Pinkbike.com, etc.
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Old 11-21-19, 11:49 PM
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GOOGLE: April 1963 Popular Mechanics

If you are the least bit curious about how someone built a very nice tandem from two cruiser bicycles, a
men's frame for the front, and a women's step-through for the rear portion.
I think you might enjoy reading and seeing this detailed HOW TO article from long ago.
('BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO'-by Manly Banister....see pages 176-179 and page 212 in APRIL 1963 POPULAR MECHANICS)
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Old 12-07-19, 01:35 PM
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OK, I have successfully reworked the head tube on Raleigh frame #1 so I now have 2 usable Raleigh Companion frames. I found an ironworker's drift punch that had an OD just a few thousands smaller than the ID of the head tube, 1-5/16" to be exact. I drove it slowly though about 4 times to work the dent out. It was close but not quite there. I went through my tool box and found an old Craftsman 1 inch 1/2" drive socket that had an OD the same as the collar on the bearing cup from a 1-1/8" headset and put it on an old extension backwards, I greased it up and then tapped it into the tube, then back out, I did this 3 times. I then pressed the headset cups in both ends and measured the cup in the reworked end several times in the ID of the collar, the ID of the outer flange and the OD of the outer flange. It was round within .0015", I'm calling that good enough.

Before pics:



After:



...and the "implements of resurrection":

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Old 01-12-20, 03:53 PM
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I picked up a factory Raleigh fork for the repaired frame this morning off Ebay, steerer tube is about an inch longer than needed but the color is a fair match and the price was decent. Has some shelf wear but considering the paint loss on the head tube I wasn't too concerned, nothing some polishing compound and clear enamel can't fix. I went back to the page I found it on after checking out, scrolled down about 6 items and there was the actual factory fork for my frames from the seller I got them from...... Right color, matching graphics, correct steerer tube length and only $7 more than the "pretty close" fork..... Since I wasn't all that crazy about using a suspension fork on the replacement frame I grabbed one of those as well, I just wish it was threadless instead of threaded. I also picked up a Ritchey Logic threaded headset for the replacement frame, I already had one for the original repaired frame.

The "pretty close" fork:



The OEM fork:

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Old 01-17-20, 05:22 PM
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Forks are here, it doesn't look like it in the pictures but the legs on the OEM tandem fork are almost twice as big as the other, but the steerer tubes are the exact same length.
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Old 07-28-22, 01:24 PM
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The Raleighs are out, the frame sizing was "close" but not ideal. I stumbled on a better fitting bike last night and I'm picking it up Sunday. A very clean TREK T900, model year undetermined as this model went unchanged for several years. It doesn't really need anything BUT............. it will get the upgraded parts I had purchased for the Raleighs as needed.. At least one Raleigh will be built with the leftovers from the Northwoods and the other with the leftovers from the TREK. Everything in the pictures comes with it. Hopefully the bottle isn't used LOL. It will be a 3 X 9 with Deore XT drivetrain and possibly an FSA crankset with external bearing bottom brackets.I'm recovering from 2 total knee replacements so there won't be much riding for awhile but it will be ready to go next Spring.






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Old 07-31-22, 07:23 PM
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Trek stopped making the T900 several years ago. You can tell what model year your bike is by looking at the last letter in the serial number printed on the frame near the bottom bracket.
I found another thread on here that talked about a recall bulletin from Trek which explained the final serial number character of "D" represents the 2009 model year. Going forward from that (and skipping "I" and "O" as many manufacturers do because they look too much like 1 and 0),

D - 2009
E - 2010
F - 2011
G - 2012
H - 2013
J - 2014
K - 2015
L - 2016
M - 2017
N - 2018
P - 2019
Q - 2020
R - 2021
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Old 07-31-22, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
Trek stopped making the T900 several years ago.
Thanks, I believe 2016 was the last year for the T900. I have had numerous opportunities over the past 3 or 4 years to get some killer deals on much more upscale tandems but if they fit me they wouldn't fit my wife or vice versa which was a real bummer. This has the been the first one I've seen that would work for both of us without having the Captain's stem stick a mile out of the head tube. We mostly do Rails To Trails, tow paths, etc; no mountains or loaded touring so this will do everything we need it to and then some. I wasn't even looking for one I was just window shopping out of boredom the other night when it popped up.


Our oldest picked it up for me as I'm currently unable to get in and out of our vehicles very easily. It doesn't look like they hardly ever rode it and it looks a lot cleaner in person than in the pictures. The seller told him the age old sad story....... bought it for his wife and he to ride, they rode it once or twice and then hung it up...... Glad I don't have that problem, when he pulled up in front of the house my wife was out the door checking it out before I even had my shoes on LOL. I'm anxious to get started switching parts over although it's ready to roll as is. I had the following for the Raleigh frameset that will go on the T900. FSA Gossamer tandem triple crankset, Deore XT 9 speed front and rear deraiileurs, Deore XT 3 X 9 trigger shifter/V-brake levers, Deore XT V-brakes and Deore XT 11-34t cassette. I'll move the saddles, grips and rear rack over from the old Northwoods and maybe a few other trinkets. The takeoffs will go on the Raleigh frameset and I'll loan it to friends and family that want to try a tandem.The Northwoods will get turned into yard art or something LOL. The TREK also has accomodations for a rear disc brake which I may mount as a "chicken brake" for the stoker so she can hold the bike when we're stopped in inclines, etc. or a backup if we get into wet conditions.
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