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Tandem Bike — Best Bike Hacks

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Tandem Bike — Best Bike Hacks

Old 07-19-20, 06:25 PM
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TLubbs
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Tandem Bike — Best Bike Hacks

This is a best idea thread (hack) or accessory, or packing tip for traveling, touring, or making the tandem ride more enjoyable.

What is your best tandem hack or idea?
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Old 07-19-20, 06:31 PM
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Our best idea was the purchase of 2 SENA Bluetooth helmets for a captain and stoker. They work like a charm, no yelling to each other. We can talk while we ride in normal voices or listen to music. Everything is internal. Charging is a simple plugin, no microphone bar, and no ear sets. Everything is located in the helmet. We can also pair with 4 helmets total when we ride with another tandem couple.
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Old 07-20-20, 05:39 PM
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Hi Tlubbs,

I see you just joined this forum on 07-19-20, same day as posting the above. Welcome.

How about posting a photo of you both riding with these helmets?
Where are you based?
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Old 07-21-20, 02:25 PM
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I made a simple stand that holds the bike upright with the front wheel off the ground that makes the removal and installation of the front wheel a breeze:

Alcabrad’s hack
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Old 07-21-20, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
Hi Tlubbs,

I see you just joined this forum on 07-19-20, same day as posting the above. Welcome.

How about posting a photo of you both riding with these helmets?
Where are you based?
Grand Rapids, MI
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Old 07-21-20, 11:26 PM
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I can’t post pictures until I post 10 times. I tried to upload pics, alas, no avail.
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Old 07-22-20, 02:56 PM
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My best tandem hack was to build our own tandem wheels. I built aero wheels based on lightbicycle rims, which could be ordered custom-reinforced for tandem use and could thus get tandem aero wheels for about half the cost of buying ready-made (of which there are very few to choose from). I also built a 650B gravel wheelset which made it possible to run much wider tires in the frame. Again ready-made 650B tandem wheels are quite hard to come by. I would probably have used a professional wheel builder if I had one locally, but I don't so I learnt how to do it myself. Probably not as well made, but the wheels still hold up :-).

Another hack was ditching the adjustable stoker stem and just use budget fixed size stems from Procraft (german budget brand, common here in Europe) which have up to 18 cm long with 35 degree rise, those are not actually stoker stems, just normal stems which exist in unusually long lengths. I don't like the adjustable stems as they have a tendency to twist and are hard to set up exactly level. Our adjustable stem was also a heavy one made out of steel, while those cold forged budget stems are lightweight aluminium alloy. I have got a few different lengths so one can fit different people as stokers. Sure one need to remove the pilot seatpost to swap the stem, but I still feel it's less messy that succeeding setting up the adjustable stem perfectly level.

To use standard stems one need to shim up from seatpost 27.2 to the stem 1 1/8", those are easy to find though. Unfortunately our tandem pilot seatpost was 31.6 mm so we had to swap it out for a 27.2 mm to be able to attach standard stems to it. A shimmed pilot seatpost turned out to have a tendency to twist from the force coming from the stoker handlebar/stem though, but it was solved by using a dual bolt seatpost clamp, very pleased with that.

Speaking about seatposts, I swapped those to very long ones (43cm in front, 50cm in back) and that way extended the fit range of the bike to be able to ride with my taller friends.

I don't know if it classifies as a hack, but I dug out one of my old wired bike computers and set it up for the stoker so the stoker can see speed and distance which is quite nice. I have a GPS bike computer for the pilot but didn't want to spend on another. The wide seatstays and chainstays in the frame made it impossible for a spoke magnet to work though, too long distance to the sensor. However by putting the magnet on the brake disc carrier and the sensor on the tandem's oversized dropouts the magnet and sensor came close enough to work. I just realized that the neodymium magnets don't handle heat that well though and as brake disc can get really hot I ordered some high temp magnets (samarium cobalt magnets).
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Old 07-22-20, 05:44 PM
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Very cool!
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Old 07-28-20, 05:22 PM
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Best hack was converting a 2013 CannondaleMT3000
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Old 07-28-20, 05:48 PM
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Hack 1: The guy who sold me my tandem didn't have a rear stem. He lost it somehow. There were no stems available with the right diameter clamp size (to the front seatpost), 26.6 mm. I took a 27.2 mm seatpost and cut it and split it. I tied it around the seatpost and ground it down with a bench grinder until I had two segments of shims so the stem would fit on the seatpost.

Hack 2: The bike came with a 3x7 drivetrain. The spaces between the gears were too great. I replaced the rear derailleur, the rear shifter, the chain, the cassette, and the rear hub. I got an 11-speed drivetrain so that required the rear hub. It wasn't clear I could fit an 11-speed cassette on a 10-speed hub, but that worked fine. I reused the spokes and rim to rebuild the rear wheel. The spaces between chainrings on the crankset were too great as a result of my upgrade. The chain tended to fall between the large and middle chainrings. This is a big problem on a tandem because we can't pedal forwards or backwards, and we have to keep the bike upright somehow while coasting to an unplanned stop. I found a used 10-speed crankset and replaced just the right arm and chainrings. I kept the left crank at the stoker's position. Cassettes are wider now, so now our top gear is higher than before, and our low gear is lower than before, and that's very helpful. It's an 11-40 cassette.







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Old 08-03-20, 10:24 AM
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Old 08-04-20, 05:25 AM
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I made a rooftop mount for our Yakima rack from ash and some leftover Yakima bits. The fork clamp swivels so I can put the bike up with no trouble.


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Old 08-04-20, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
I made a rooftop mount for our Yakima rack from ash and some leftover Yakima bits. The fork clamp swivels so I can put the bike up with no trouble.


Very cool.

And it can double as a baseball bat
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Old 08-04-20, 07:40 AM
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Torger,

plus one on a fixed stoker stem. We only need 140mm stem, so a conventional road stem with a shim works. The weight savings is over half a pound.

And the fixed stem is cheaper. If you can find a stem that fits it’s a no brainer.
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Old 08-04-20, 07:43 AM
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Another, that I know will be controversial, is a fixed, non suspension seatpost for the stoker. It’s significantly lighter, more efficient, and some stokers find actually more comfortable.

If you need, like, suspension, fine. However, I think some teams just assume a tandem should have a suspension seatpost, and never try a fixed seatpost.
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Old 08-04-20, 07:47 AM
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Replace timing chain with a belt. Saves about 10 ounces of weight; increased longevity; doesn’t require re tensioning over time, keeps one side of the bike clean, does not require lubrication or cleaning, is arguably more,efficient, and creates a more connected feel between stoker and captain.

And I believe with the new Veer system, you have the ability to find different sized tandems.
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Old 08-04-20, 07:55 AM
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Alpaca,

That rear disc looks like it’s 140 or 160 mm. Unless your team weight is very light, or you don’t go down any hills, I‘d seriously consider seizing that to 203mm.
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Old 08-04-20, 05:41 PM
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@merlinextraligh, my spouse never complains about the ride being too rough.
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Old 08-06-20, 11:30 PM
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I'm with you on this one for sure. even more so since we moved to 650b, and wide/high volume tires. It really takes the annoying & taxing road vibration out of the ride experience.
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Old 05-02-21, 11:15 AM
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Hello & thanks for this nice forum. Together we are 130 years old. Because of some hills around we pimped our 24 gear MTB tandem with a rear hub. So we got plenty of electricity to use:

1.) Our stoker couldn't see what is infront happening. We mounted cheap Wlan Actioncam (50fps & some fur/foam over its microfone) at captains handlebar, and a smartphone as display at stokers handlebar. Therefore stoker can see whats infront & we have also nice tourvideos. :-)
I don't want to fiddle around with software programms. We copy those seperate 2GB SDCard (fat32) videos to a linux computer (ext3). And just by hitting a command into the shell it's combined into one big XXL GB file and ripped to 1/15 size (1280p) - using *****rger & ffmpeg. The big file is for screenshots (SM videoplayer) the ripped for pleasure & communication. Often we realize things first at the video.

2.) If you also have to use two smartphones (Apple & Android). It's nice to use both screens side by side at the Tandem. (One is glued at the flip cover of a phone. So either one can be "active" or both together.) Navi maps are different, they show different aspects. We use Komoot, Osmand+, Google Earth simuntaneously.

In good old times to carry a bicycle patch and a swiss pocket knife on tour made the deal. Now we carry three Smartphones on tour. Hmm? ... But, we really thought we would know our town. Now with a Tandem bike we explore it again! Incredible amazing how Navi maps & Google earth did push connected thinking. It's like sudoku for the brain.
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Old 05-02-21, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
And I believe with the new Veer system, you have the ability to find different sized tandems.
Thanks for this recommendation. My wife wants a belt on our Bilenky but none of the gates combo's fit. This looks like a pretty good option.

Also makes upgrading an existing bike to a rohloff hub more enticing.
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Old 05-03-21, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TLubbs View Post
Our best idea was the purchase of 2 SENA Bluetooth helmets for a captain and stoker. They work like a charm, no yelling to each other. We can talk while we ride in normal voices or listen to music. Everything is internal. Charging is a simple plugin, no microphone bar, and no ear sets. Everything is located in the helmet. We can also pair with 4 helmets total when we ride with another tandem couple.
I was going to get a set but the sound was not good enough for good music and that would big my wife.
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Old 05-09-21, 05:55 PM
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Best Hacks

1. Convert mechanical drivertain to XT/XTR 3x11 di2
2. Convert to hydro brakes via road brifters, but using Saint 4 piston calipers and metallic pads
2a. Convert standard 1 piece 203 rotors to magura e-bike floating rotors.
3. convert rims/tires to tubeless. 650b x 47 fits with fenders and 52c w/o

I think the biggest difference all in is the stopping power of the hydro brakes. the calipers and pads from the downhill mtn bike side has so much more surface area on the rotor and the extra leverage that you gain using road levers and mtn calipers (the lever throw is about 2x my equivalent road lever/road caliper set up) is game changing.
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Old 01-26-22, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Another, that I know will be controversial, is a fixed, non suspension seatpost for the stoker. It’s significantly lighter, more efficient, and some stokers find actually more comfortable.
If you need, like, suspension, fine. However, I think some teams just assume a tandem should have a suspension seatpost, and never try a fixed seatpost.
I consider myself pretty smart, I even thought of the fixed stoker stem before reading about it here, but I never thought about trying a regular seat post as the stoker. I've always heard how harsh and awful the stoker position is on the bike, and everyone uses a suspension post, my bike even came with one.
So thank you, Merlin! I put one on yesterday, saved a half pound and couldn't tell a difference! I use a selle anatomica saddle which is quite compliant. Why didn't I think of that?

Most of our not so normal hacks are in a post I did about the stoker shifting. We think stoker shifting is a great hack. Here is a pic of how we did it. We also use super short cranks (150mm) for easier spinning and less stress of the legs and we use Catalyst pedals to pedal correctly, avoiding painful knees and lower backs. I went from riding 25 miles max on our old tandem to easily doing 100k! The next hack pic is of our Source hipster water packs. 50oz of water, tube access and you can't feel the weight. Ingenious.




Stoker shifting hack


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Old 01-28-22, 01:43 PM
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“Turn 3 bikes into 1” hack. Sub-hack: hard to see in the pic but there is a third stem/handlebar, allowing the stoker to sit upright and hold on.
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