Tandem tribulations part 3
Tandem Tribulations Part 3
Next up was the gearing – as I mentioned, the old arrangement was downtube shifters with a sachs rear mech and freewheel (6 speed) but as the new shifter / brake levers were 7 speed I had the idea of converting the freewheel to 7 speed so Bob had an extra gear. Unfortunately, the frame would not accommodate the 7 speed freewheel, so we had to stay with the 6 speed, but then I discovered that the Shimano shifters were not compatible with the Sachs rear mech (the shift pattern was wrong), so this was changed for a Shimano one, and using gears 2-7 on the shifter worked well with the existing freewheel. After re-organising and re-routing the cables all was good and working smoothly. The front mech worked fine with the Shimano shifter.
The new tyres and tubes were then fitted – Schwalbe Delta Cruisers 700×35 with K-Guard puncture protection, which fitted well in the frame but you had to put the rear wheel in before inflating or the axle wouldn’t go into the dropouts due to the tyre catching on the frame behind the bottom bracket. No great problem.
The headset bearings were found to be very tight and notchy, and were quite worn and corroded, but a new set of bearings and some fresh grease sorted that out fairly easily. Bottom brackets were good, slight play in the front but a small adjustment sorted that out.
Next stage was reassembly, so with new front bars fitted (with new brake/shifter levers and new grips), new cables all round (inner and outer), wheels into frame complete with new rubber (had to do a small adjustment on front rim to true it), fit chain and adjust everything, it was time to test. The third brake lever on the stoker’s handlebars was a much better arrangement and although it still wasn’t a brake that would stop the bike, it did at least produce significantly more drag than previously and the rim brakes also felt a lot more reassuring than previously. I don’t know if you have ever tried to ride a tandem (either solo or two up) but I found it akin to trying to steer a canal barge around our car park – you can’t lean a tandem like you would a normal bicycle, you have to steer it like a trike. A short ride confirmed that everything appeared to be working ok, so it was returned to Bob after relieving him of a quantity of the Bank of England’s finest stationery.
Part 4 to follow (yes, there’s more!!)