Over the winter and spring 2005, I built this tandem side-by-side in an attempt to get my wife out for some exercise. (At least that's what I told myself -really, I just love to tinker).
The frame is made of automotive exhaust tubing, making it a little heavier than optimum, and it has 4 double wall alloy 20" BMX wheels on 14mm axles. The seats are salvaged from a couple of recumbent exercise cycles and the intermediate drive is constructed of parts of 2 rear wheel hubs and 2 freewheels each. It has a split rear axle, making a differential un-necessary. Braking is by a pair of Yamaha Virago front calipers on a pair of inboard 9" stainless steel rotors on the rear axles only- and is more than adequate. I am currently using 4 industrial ball bearings on the rear axle, but am finding the drag to be more than I would like. I'm hoping to replace this setup with a lighter weight, lower resistance, oil-lubed bearing set of some sort - possibly based on bottom bracket or steering headset bearings.
It has a full Ackerman steering with about 15 degrees of KPI, and the front axle is pivoted on the front of the frame using one of the 4 headset bearing sets currently used in the construction.
In August of this year (2005) I decided to build a simple tandem bicycle using a couple of old bicycles salvaged from the curb. In a matter of several hours, I had assembled the "ugly duckling" shown here. I simply un-brazed the lug at the top of the seat tube of the old CCM Men's bike used for the front half, and slid the headset tube of the Raleigh ladies bike over the seat tube, and brazed it all together. I cut off the seat stays and bent the chain stays of the front frame in and up to braze them to the lower downtube of the rear frame.Another top-bar and seat mount lug from another scrap frame provided the mount for the stoker handlebars. A gutted BMX freewheel was pressed into service as the tensioner for the Synch chain.
It was now rideable, with single speed and coaster brake - and ugly as sin. The next weekend I decided to pretty it up a bit and add hand brakes and gears. I installed a Sturmey Archer rear hub and V-brakes on the rear, and an old caliper brake on the front, and sanded it down and painted it my wife's favourite colour - blue - so she would have no excuse not to ride it. (Heaven help me if I had painted it yellow!!!) With the fenders from the rear frame polished up, it is a pretty good looking tandem, for a total outlay of just around $100 Canadian.
Now I've REALLY gotten the "bug" and decided this week (end of October) to start building a 'Bent tandem. I'm planning independent freewheel pedals on a 96" wheelbase, with 20" front and 26" rear wheels. The frame is made up of parts of 3 old road-bikes and about 12 feet of 1" stainless steel tubing, with the rear triangle off a 26" rear suspension mountain bike. The front headset is inverted to give it lots of rake, and the front main-tube is bent to help get the front bottom bracket down where I wanted it with the 10" center-to-center tube spacing of the main frame. It will have a 3 chain single side drive with intermediate drive.
More to come!!!
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