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WPH 06-29-13 09:44 PM

2006 Fuji Absolute 4.2 is a hit
The Beloved and I enjoy riding the Trek T200 with Baby Two on the back, but Baby One has been less enthusiastic about fambly cycling because she is prone to being dropped on her single, even on the uphills. So we decided to get another tandem a few months back, one on which Baby One (now nearly 11 years old) would easily fit, so that she could be a part of the action all the time. Our plan was for Baby Two to come on the baby seat on my Thorn Club Tour, while The Beloved captains the new tandem with Baby One as tail-gunner.

We got a terrific deal on an ebay Fuji Absolute 4.2 in Brisbane. I wanted a 700c wheel bike, while the short rear cockpit of the Fuji is great for kids. My friend Roq collected the bike from the vendor and packaged it up for the trip to Albany WA after a couple of rides with his kids. Organising the freight was a bit tricky but with the help of a local courier company we managed to get a good price and they agreed to hold the box at the depot for a few days until we came back from holidays.

I assembled the bike at the freight depot and rode it home. The bike is in excellent condition and only took 20 minutes to put together. There are a few scratches but only if you look closely. At home I installed SKS mudguards and Schwalbe cyclo-cross tyres, new stoker bars, a bunch of bells, a pump, new stoker pedals and swapped out the dodgy Fuji suspension stoker seatpost for a lighter rigid post. The brakes and gears needed some adjustments, only minor, although changing the rear gears remains a bit hit and miss, probably a combination of dry cables and cheap shifters.

The bike, ready to ride but without waterbottles, weighs 17.7kg which is appreciably lighter than the T200.

The ride is very neutral and predictible, especially with the 30c cross tyres. I am no fan of the flat bars but The Beloved, who captains this beast, is happy. The V-brakes are effective and simple to adjust and maintain.

Overall, we have been very impressed by the build quality, ride-ability and practicality of this tandem. Baby One is now happier about riding with us, she has a good burst of power when it's required and hops off with a smile on her dial. She has sometimes been spied with her feet up on the toptube while The Beloved does the work.

There are some limitations however. Only three bottle cage mounts, and one of these is quite impractical because it's on the stoker's lateral and there's not enough space for a full-sized bottle. There are no mounts for a rear disk or drum brake. There are no bosses for a low-rider rack on the fork. All this makes the bike good for day rides but not so hot for tours.

Baby Two is happy on the back of the Thorn and when he turns three in six months we aim to get him on the back of the Trek with kiddy-cranks.

Pictures of the new bike later today - we are off for a ride around the harbour now! It's 21c here in Albany and only light breezes, a very perfect winter's day in The Great Southern.

mwandaw 06-29-13 10:03 PM

Now this is what family fun on a tandem is all about!

TRH 06-29-13 11:30 PM

It would seem that a considerable percentage of all tandems in Albany, if not Australia, are now owned by you. It must be part of your 7 year plan for world domination (now 12 years in).
Lovely winter's day in Melbourne also. A fast bunch ride this morning on the half-bike, and a more leisurely spin on the tandem this afternoon.


WPH 06-30-13 06:01 AM

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I told you it was sunny in Albany today!

This bike is stickered '21 inch' - it has a tall front end and the front top-tube is about 54.5cm c2c. The stoker compartment is quite short with the long adjustable stem.

zonatandem 06-30-13 04:21 PM

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Minoura has a handlebar mount for water bottle cages.
We pop out the center pop-up valve and insert a plastic tube for drinking without removing the bottle. Can be done on pilot's or stoker's bar.

Monoborracho 06-30-13 10:14 PM

I had a flat bar Absolute road bike that I rode for a year or so after having shoulder surgery. Same color as yours...same decals and all. I rode it across two different states on weeklong rides. Now it's somewhere in upstate New York.

Fuji's been building bikes longer than Henry has been building Fords. Have fun.

WPH 03-18-14 01:41 AM

Now with proper handlebars
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Baby One and I did a 20km TT in November 2013 on the Fuji and I really suffered on the flat bars and tall stem to get a comfortable, let alone powerful, position. I resolved to change the bike to drop bars. It took a couple of months to assemble the bits:
  • Giant drop bars used for cheap from a mate
  • Tiagra triple left-hand brifter used for cheap off fleabay
  • Ultegra 9sp right hand shifter very used for free from TRH (originally off my old C'dale T2000 road bike)
  • new stem/s to handle the 31.8mm bars
  • new 9sp cassette and chain from CRC (on sale)
  • Travel Agents to ensure the v-brakes work properly with the road brake levers - from the USA via fleabay because these are more-or-less unavailable in Australia
  • cables inner and outer.

Doing the change-over was complicated by the fact that the new gear inner cable I purchased from CRC was really too short (at 2.5m) to reach the rear derailleur. Bear in mind that the Fuji is not a long bike compared to some other tandems. I got it to fit only by cutting 2-3cm out of the outer casings at both the shifter end and the RD end. Of course I had to shorten the outer for the FD by the same amount. I later acquired a longer inner cable and replaced the outers with longer sections so that I can change the captain's stem (longer, taller, etc) depending who is riding the bike on the day.

Depite using such old and battered shifters, the gear changes on this bike are very good, and it's always nice to have an extra cog at the back. The brakes work fine with the Travel Agents but I would change them to modern cantis if a nice set drifted my way for minimal cash outlay, just to reduce complexity. The pictures show a shortish stem set high for Mrs WPH. I used the adjustable pilot's stem that came with the bike for the stoker bars (lighter and not as long as the original).

Next TT I might even take off the mudguards and the 30c cross tires (and use 25c HP road tires) too!

WPH 03-18-14 01:50 AM


Originally Posted by zonatandem (Post 15799840)
Minoura has a handlebar mount for water bottle cages.
We pop out the center pop-up valve and insert a plastic tube for drinking without removing the bottle. Can be done on pilot's or stoker's bar.

Zona, my LBS had a bunch of these clamps in their clearance bin so I got some very cheaply based on your suggestion.

I have been looking into ultralight bicycle touring lately and am thinking that in fact the Fuji would be fine even for a big tour with my son (in a few years time, he's only 3 now) if we had the right camping gear. No need for a drum brake (I am only 59kg, he will be scrawny like me) or front panniers. A larger handlebar bag for the pilot, a smaller one for the stoker, rear panniers and a frame bag for parts/tools would serve.

zonatandem 03-20-14 04:16 PM

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Glad you found some Minoura bottle mounts.
They are usually not easy to come by and to catch them on sale in OZ is even better!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

WPH 05-10-14 09:32 PM

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Latest on the Fuji: kiddy-cranks.

These are the cranks I ordered from Tandems East a few months back, which were originally intended for our Trek T200. The problem was the bloke who was meant to be fabricating a set of stoker bars for the Trek (which has a long rear cockpit) never got around to it. So we measured Baby Two up on the Fuji and he is tall enough at 3 and a half to reach the bars when flipped and when the Fuji adjustable stem is extended to its safe limit. (Baby One now fits on the Trek, although the 175mm stoker cranks aren't ideal.)

I had to order in a 39T 110BCD chainring (TA Zephyr, very nice bit of metal) for the kiddy-crank because the Fuji uses 39T timing rings.

So far Baby Two and I have been out four times, just for 10-20 minutes a trip, and he is very happy on the back. With encouragement he gives a bit of a push on the pedals which I can feel thru the captain's cranks. He has two bells and rings them enthusiastically whenever he sees a pedestrian or animal.

More work on this bike in the next week or so will include swapping out the standard Truvative 42T middle ring on the stoker cranks for a 39T Ultegra middle ring, which will iprove both gearing and shifting and re-tensioning the main sync chain. I also ordered a set of cheapo cow-horn stoker bars which are 6cm narrower than these nice Profile bars, and will change the kiddy-crank BB over from a 117.5mm spindle to 107mm to reduce the Q-factor for the Young Bloke. The big cross tires are pretty slow and I have either Conti Super Tours or Gatorskins in mind to sharpen things up a bit. If I end up riding this bike a bit it will get a longer flipped stem also.

We are hoping this nice sunny weather continues for a bit so that we can get out every day for a spin.

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