This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
I then started looking for a new bike, because despite the problems, I
really enjoyed tandeming. The manager of a local shop told me about a
Claud Butler. It was brand new, not terribly expensive and had fenders
(a PBP requirement) and braze-ons for racks, etc. I bought this bike
and began my search for a captain who wanted to do PBP. That's when I
met Bob. We did our qualifiers together, learned a lot about repairing
a tandem, and made adjustments to get the size better for Bob. But we
discovered shortly before PBP 87 that we just weren't compatible on a
tandem, so we decided to go back to singles.
I eventually sold the Claud Butler and bought a bike that I could
captain. Burley made a mountain tandem in an 18/16 size. A longer
seatpost on the back allowed me to ride with taller stokers, but my
lack of upper body strength prevented me from being able to stand
and control the bike. The ability to stand makes a big difference
in preventing stoker butt, which becomes the limiting factor on
I loved captaining the bike, but when Steve and I tried riding, with
me as stoker, and were immediately able to stand, I changed positions
willingly. The bike is a little small for Steve, but with a few
adjustments, we were able to make it quite comfortable for him.
In March we decided to try an Allsop Soft Ride System for the back.
Unlike other suspension seatposts, which only take big shocks, the
Allsop smooths out all the little bumps which can add up on a long
ride. I immediately fell in love with the springiness of the seat,
but noticed a lot of lateral motion from the start. This lateral
motion was a result of a not-so-perfect clamping system that
eventually failed. Fortunately it was replaced with a far superior
clamp, built by Glen Swan of Ithaca, NY.
We also discovered a cracked hub midway through the season, which
Burley replaced under warranty. In the meantime, we purchased another
set of high quality wheels with Phil Wood hubs and Mavic 261 rims.
Unfortunately we got a defective rim, and the eyelets pulled loose,
but a new rim was swapped in and we were back on the road quickly.
We either bought defective tires, or Specialized Fat Boys do not stand
up well in the rain, as we had two tires split apart at the bead. Our
Avocet 1.25 inch slicks have performed flawlessly so far.
In our quest for smooth quiet shifting we eventually upgraded to
Shimano Deore XT derailleurs and 7-speed barcons with a Regina
freewheel. In the process we tried and discarded SunTour, Shimano and
Sachs freewheels, the original SunTour 6 speed levers and rear
derailleur and SunTour Command Shifters.
We have added aero bars, built locally by John Tobin. John's unique
design prevents loss of the climbing position on the tops of the bars,
AND conveniently gives us a better place to mount our NightSun lights.
I have added ergonomic hand grips to the back handlebars which give my
palms little more support. Since I am unable to use aero bars on the
back, I needed to relieve pressure from my hands in a different way,
and these have proved to be very good.