Tandem Tribulations Part 5
Tandem Tribulations Part 5 – The tandem was duly returned to my workshop after the trial runs with the disc brake set up on my old frame looked promising.
Whilst I was experimenting with various setups on the rear wheel, Bob had contacted a dealer in France to see if they could shed any light on possible wheel replacements or whether they could offer any fresh ideas on how to replace the original. He thought it would be good to have a backup plan in case the disc hub set up didn’t work out as we hoped.
The reply he got back (eventually) was suggesting a 36 hole rear wheel but with hub gears and a coaster brake. Something I had not actually considered myself, although it would have made for a very neat and tidy back end of the bike. I think, however, that going along this route may have proved rather expensive, so proceeded with the disc brake idea.
Another problem to overcome was the mounting point for the rear rack and mudguard stays – unfortunately the lug on the frame that these attached to was right underneath the disc caliper and adapter bracket, so the lug on the pannier leg had to be spaced out away from the frame. A longer bolt pushed through from the inside of the frame with a couple of spacers, a locknut, then the lug of the pannier rack arm and another nut to hold that on got around that issue and just gave the caliper the clearance it needed to operate. A bit of minor adjustment on the hub alignment meant that the wheel would fit centrally in the frame as well as just having room on the right for the 7 speed cassette (when the chain was on the smallest cog you could just about get a couple of sheets of tissue paper between the chain and the frame, it was that close) and on the left to insert the adapter bracket for the disc caliper. The front end of this adapter bracket was secured with a strap wrapped around the seat stay, although some padding was required as the seat stays were so narrow.
Getting it all to fit together with only one pair of hands proved difficult, to say the least, but eventually it was all shoehorned in and screwed down, and with a bit of adjustment the wheel was spinning nice and free and the disc brake felt good and powerful (even before the new pads were bedded in). The only thing that may prove troublesome will be roadside puncture repairs, so I hope they don’t get any as it may prove difficult to remove and replace the rear wheel without use of a bike stand and a workshop. Sorry Bob!
Mission accomplished – everything screwed down tight and tandem was ready to return. My thoughts then returned to the original rear wheel and whether it was possible to get around the issue with the spokes. The only way I could think of was to put M2 washers (stainless of course, as were the spokes) on the spokes before pushing them through the hub, which should cure the problem of the loose fit. Washers bought and wheel stripped and re-assembled with said washers on every spoke and it actually looked ok, better than before.
The tandem and original rear wheel were duly returned to Bob after relieving him of a bit more of the folding stuff. As everything that was done with the disc set up was reversible, he had the original wheel as a backup should the disc set up not prove to be as good as hoped, but we both had fingers crossed that was not going to be necessary. If it didn’t work out this time, I was out of ideas and Bob was out of money!
Bob and his wife are planning to have a ride out today so only time will tell. I really hope it is good news.
Jump forward a few weeks and I had a phone call from Bob –
‘Are you out in the workshop?’
My heart skipped a couple of beats and I thought ‘Oh no, what’s happened now?’
‘I will be shortly, just having a coffee break’
‘Ok, I’ll be there in about 30 minutes then’
With all sorts of things going on in my head and a feeling of impending doom, 30 minutes later Bob arrived…………………with a smile on his face and a bottle of wine in his hand!!
‘Just wanted to bring you this as a sign of our appreciation for all the hard work you put in, the tandem is going great’.
And that, as they say, is a happy ending.
Tandem Tribulations Part 5