Ryan approached me asking if I would consider building a lightweight, packable road tandem for him and his wife Amy. Having done recumbent tandems previously, I figured an upright one would be relatively easy! There were a lot of ideas and concepts floated about before we settled on the final design:
- Oversize headtube for tapered steerer fork.
- Sloping toptube to maximise stoker seatpost extension – with a titanium seatpost for additional comfort.
- 1.5″ titanium mid-tubes (if required the frame stiffness can be fine tuned by changing the wall thickness/material of these tubes).
- Rear drum brake with stoker seattube mounted control lever.
- 3×10 gearing with ‘SRAMpagnolo’ shifting.
- Fender mounts on the rear.
- Double binders on all midtube sockets for definite security.
- Packs into two cases for minimal dis-assembly and ease of fit.
The finished bike comes in under 29lbs without the drum brake, and Ryan and Amy were both very pleased with the initial test ride – they have promised a fuller report in due course!
We made it out on a couple of more rides with the tandem while we were in the US. It is sooooo smooooth!!!!
Amy is loving the ride! I no longer have to call out every little bump in the road. In fact, I stopped calling out any bumps just to see what would happen. Amy never squawked once. I now only have to call out major bumps. Amy said a bump that would have felt like “it was cutting me in two” on the C’dale with a suspension seatpost now is “somewhat uncomfortable” on the English. Mission accomplished!
As we discussed, I was worried that the tandem would be really noodley with the long stoker compartment and titanium mid-tubes. We did some hard efforts on a couple of hills, and I am happy to report that we didn’t notice any unwanted flex. I’ll keep paying close attention and will swap out the bottom mid-tube with a heavy walled SS one at some point just to see what difference it makes. For now, I think that I was worried unnecessarily.
We love our English Tandem and are anxious to spend more time riding it! You did a superb job with it! Next time we are in the market for a custom bike(s) you will be at the top of the list. Thanks again for being easy to work with and for an awesome bike!