The pieces are falling into place now. We picked up what has become known as the BattleTandem™ on Saturday, after two long months waiting for it to be built.
What a beast it is. Built by local specialists Pedalpower just for us, it's a go-anywhere, do-anything monster of a bike. We've only ridden it about 50km so far, but already it seems to be all that we hoped it would be – solid, comfy, and faster than you might expect.
For the curious, here are some nerdy details:
- Frame: Pedalpower Crossroad with 3 couplings, allowing it to be taken apart and packed down into roughly the same amount of space as a normal bike. Couplings are not of the SNS variety but rather a design invented by Pedalpower
- Drivetrain: Sram X7, Truvativ cranks
- Wheels: 26" Continental Touring
- Brakes: Avid BB7 cable-actuated disc brakes front and rear, operated by drop-bar levers on the captain's handlebars; rear V-brake operated by the stoker
- Front dynamo hub driving lights and a USB device charger
Did I mention that it comes apart? It works like this:
There are three of these couplings, one on each of the tubes behind the captain's seat.
Using a tool specially made for the job, loosen each coupling.
Then you can just unscrew them with your hands.
On this particular bike, there are a total of four cables that run to the back (brakes and gears) which need to be split to take the bike apart. Luckily the cables have couplings just like the tubes, and it's just a matter of unscrewing them.
Just like that, the bike's ready to come apart.
Like anything, that's the easy bit. Putting it back together is when the fun starts.
Mostly it's straightforward, with just a couple of gotchas around the cabling. It's easiest to get the rear derailleur cable connected up if you release the tension as far as possible by putting it on the lowest gear.
Our bike might be slightly more complicated than most in that it has a third brake on the back, which takes a bit of fiddling with to get back in place.
But after doing it once, you've learned the tricks, and thereafter it only takes a matter of minutes.
Fully extended, the tandem is 260cm and weighs a healthy 22kg. When taken apart and pushed together, its dimensions are 150cm x 60cm x 110cm.
We leave in 9 days!