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Complete Tandem Bike Build

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This is a true tandem bike build. From two bikes to one. No shortcuts.

If this is what you've been looking for... here are my tips, tricks, mistakes and advice.

If this doesn't seem like your cup of tea... consider it anyway! This project is a great opportunity to get creative, learn some great skills and have a blast all at the same time!

So get out your bike wrenches and roll out that welder because it's time to get dirty.
 
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Step 1: TIME

Be realistic in your calculation of how quickly you think you can knock this project out. While this wasn't my only priority in the summer of 2010, I did work on it quite extensively and it still took me the better part of the summer. This was my first project of such high complexity so if you have welding experience or have completed similar projects, you might move along faster than I did.

The point is... give yourself ample time if you are planning on having an unveiling party for your tandem. That's a great idea! The second point is... you should throw an unveiling party and invite your friends over for a ride!!!

Step 2: Two Identical Bikes

Picture of Two Identical Bikes
Spend the extra time and find two identical bikes (or at least the frames) however, building a tandem with mismatching bikes will also work. Building with identical bikes will make many parts of the build faster and easier. The lines and flow of the bike will also look more natural.

I'm still kicking myself for not taking a good "before" picture of both bikes. Do yourself a favor and take lots of pictures.

demxod82 years ago
With a quick glance at that final picture, I would have never suspecting that the tandem was a one time 2 different bikes. Very nice. I also like the way you split the braking responsibilities so that the driver controls the front brake and the passenger controls the rear - an easy solution to what I suspect was an area of contention.
B4SEC4MP (author)  demxod82 years ago
That's a good point. Because I used all of the original parts (including the brakes and cables) that just kinda how it worked out and then afterwards I realized that it was a benefit that both riders had the option to brake.
Lovely job, impressive.
I wonder at the wisdom of sharing the braking - consider this: you both see a hazard, for example a car pulling out, one of you decides to accelerate out of trouble whilst the other decides that braking is the thing to do...
This is actually how many tandems handle braking duties. Usually the person in front handles the control of the bike, and the person in back pedals for their life.
Yes, I'm in the middle of rebuilding an old tandem. It has three brakes: the two usual rim brakes, plus a rear hub brake that is controlled by a thumb lever that can be locked on to act as a 'drag' brake for descending. I put all the controls on the front handlebars.
Photos here.
https://picasaweb.google.com/110336619050074124965/Tandem

Интересная статья! Я бы с удовольствием попробовал прокатиться на таком велосипеде!
Я на своем блоге тоже публикую много чего интересного!
http://dmitrypetlekha.ru/
wschruba2 years ago
The final product looks phenomenal, I'd love to hop on for a ride. If those rear hubs still worked (They look like 3 speeds, if I'm not mistaken) or you could cobble together one working one from them, they would provide some extra help going up steep hills (provided the hub survived the stress of two people pedaling).

As for the decals, I've had my best success masking anything in general by pulling the masking off very soon after painting (the trick being to remove the mask while the paint is still wet, but after it has set). That way, you can consistently get clean lines. With dark colors, this can definitely be tricky, balancing the cleanliness of the mask and thoroughly coating the other color.

Again, great job, looks fun to ride on a lazy day.
aduy2 years ago
just add two jack shafts and motors and youll be all done
Dutch562 years ago
Great instructible. The wife has been wanting a tandem bike and I choke everytime I see the $1,000 + price tags of tandem bikes in the bike shops. My son has a nice shop and all the tools needed to do this.
vincent75202 years ago
I am not fond of bicycles, not to speak of tandem bikes, but I must say I find your project very well done AND beautiful !!!…
As a matter of fact this is what caught my eye at first : I find it so nicely designed that I feel you should know … 
BRAVO !!!!…
B4SEC4MP (author)  vincent75202 years ago
Thank you very much. The goal was to inspire!
marcintosh2 years ago
Thanks so much.  I've always wanted to do this.

One hint on the degreaser, I've found  that waterless hand cleaner made for cleaning your greasy hands will also strip the grease off nearly anything.  I've cleaned 40 year old bell housings back to nearly new using it.  On the tough parts I'll use a round parts cleaner brush but that's about it.  The nice part is that you can easily contain the sludge that comes off and that makes it easier to dispose of properly.

Start by chiseling off the really built up crud and once it gets down to a reasonable thickness ( like how dirty your hands get working on an old car or truck) then apply the degreaser.  Using the brush, work it into the crud and then you can either wipe the part clean or you could even wash it off with water.
Extra Bonus?  Smells about a quarter as bad as using solvents.  No serious solvents to remove the original paint either.  It's usually less expensive and when done you can use the left over cleaner on your hands instead of having a can sitting around waiting to leak.

Thanks again for the smarts.
B4SEC4MP (author)  marcintosh2 years ago
I'll definitely have to try that out. Thanks for the tip.
cjbikenut3 years ago
A very nicely done project and a good instructable. Anyone attempting to build their own tandem should check out Sheldon Brown's website. He created several of these one junk bike plus one junk bike equals a tandem projects and wrote about his efforts and included tips & links for homebuilders.
B4SEC4MP (author)  cjbikenut2 years ago
Absolutely. That's a great resource for just about everything dealing with bikes.
This is exactly what a good instructable should include... Nice intro, clear explanations, great pics and produces something outrageously awesome at the end of it!!

This has made me feel happy :-)
Nice bike. Jealous.
brdstf402 years ago
Great Instructable and a beautiful bike!
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