A beautiful emerald green tandem bicycle rolled out of the workshop earlier this spring:
Occasionally, I get to work on a personal project. This bicycle is the result of just such a project.
Last summer, I got married! My wife, Elizabeth, is thankfully very supportive of my cycling habits. She has her own Seneca, of course, and we ride together often.
Now, with help from many family members and friends who contributed to this project's completion, we can ride together, but on the same two wheels!
While we had ridden tandems before, we had never owned one of our own. I decided to take the opportunity to design a new bike that would suit us perfectly, both in fit (I am 6'0", and she is 5'3") and in function. We wanted a bike that we could ride just about anywhere, leaving right from our front door. It had to have a wide gear range to tackle steep hills, wide tires to ride over a variety of terrain, and it had to be able to carry luggage for long rides and multi-day bike tours.
The bike features 650B wheels with big, versatile Schwalbe Big Ben 2.0" tires. These tires feature lots of air volume and a moderate tread, both of which work great on a combination of pavement, dirt, and gravel.
The centerpiece of the drivetrain is a Rohloff Speedhub: a 14-speed, internally-geared hub. This hub is an impressive piece of German engineering, boasting a 526% gear range across all 14 evenly-spaced gears! A purpose-built set of adjustable dropouts allow for easy chain tension adjustments, and they also feature a full complement of threaded eyelets for racks and fenders.
200mm disc brake rotors are powerful and responsive, and dual Brooks leather saddles offer some additional comfort. The stoker saddle sits on a Cane Creek suspension seatpost, for a little extra cushion over the washboard dirt roads sometimes encountered here in southern Vermont.
A Crane E-ne bell in matching green!
Middleburn crank arms and chainrings are simple, clean and well-made. Flat pedals are perfect for bike tours, allowing us to ride in whatever shoes that we want.
The cast and enameled Seneca head badge is proudly affixed to the oversized head tube. A threaded eyelet on the fork crown allows for mounting fenders or a rack.
The tube junction pictured above was a tricky one to accomplish: the diagonal "stabilizer" tube runs from the stoker bottom bracket shell (shown) all the way up to the middle of the head tube. At the stoker BB, this tube meets at the nexus of three other tubes: the stoker seat tube, the lower "boom" tube, and the stoker BB itself. The result of all this strategic joinery is additional stiffness and improved pedal response.
Multiple sets of water bottle mounting points provide options: the bike can carry up to five water bottles, or a combination of water bottles and larger cargo racks like the Salsa Anything Cages.
One fringe benefit of using the Rohloff hub is that the chainline is always perfectly straight! Side loads on the drive chain are virtually nonexistent.
The first rides have been wonderful! The bicycle has exceeded our expectations in just about every way.
Here's to many, many miles together in the future!
If you would like information on ordering a tandem bicycle of your own, please don't hesitate to get in touch.