Custom Tandem recumbent

Custom Tandem recumbent

My wife has some neck and wrist issues that mean she can’t comfortably ride an upright bike for long. She has a long wheelbase recumbent as her commuting bike, but we needed something that we could ride together, since our regular tandem has been gathering dust…. The criteria included being able to pack the bike for travel, very wide gear range for all terrain, load carrying ability and being light (both for riding and packing).

The result weighs in at under 40lbs, will pack into two checkable cases and has 54 gears (not that the number is important, just the range). I went with an intermediate drive to make for simple chain management and quick, smooth shifting. The titanium mid tubes add a degree of comfort and allow easy disassembly along with the cable splitters. The rear wheel is tucked underneath the stoker to minimise the length of the bike. I went with 451 (20″) wheels as they fit the package well, roll well and make for ease of packing.

The bike initially had an adjustable captains stem, which was later replaced with a lightweight fixed version once I had the position fully dialed. A custom pannier rack underneath the stoker’s seat gives load carrying ability with the weight as low as possible, and a brazed on trailer hitch allows for extra capacity.

For me I made the captain’s seat fixed, with leg length adjustable at the boom. The stoker’s seat is adjustable for both leg length and angle. We have been using this for several months now – at home it is used for weekly grocery trips and going into town (we are a car free family!), and we took it on vacation to New Zealand where it was well tested with a full load of camping gear and lots of hills!

One Comment

  1. Very cool!


  1. Travel tandem | English Cycles - [...] I would consider building a lightweight, packable road tandem for him and his wife Amy. Having done recumbent tandems…

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