So,when I suggested to Bex that we enter the Heaven of the South MTB event on the tandem, it required both Bex AND the bike to get back into riding shape! (not to say Bex isn't fit enough, but having not 'properly' ridden a bike for some time, her 'contact points' would need a bit of toughening up..!)
We initially got it circa 2006 when living in Dorchester - it was an eBay special for about £350!
Above you can see it in it's original guise - very upright very rigid..
We rode it in this incarnation for many years, through Dorset countryside, in events like the Dorset Dirt, and we even took it to Jersey and rode around the island coastal path on a day trip.
The first thing I knew it required was some front end bounce...unlike a rigid 'single' bike, you simply can't 'de-weight' the front of this thing! It's steering is too damn slow to steer around most obstacles, and it's too damn long to lift the font. Hence, my wrists took a proper bashing!
I'd picked up some slightly bonkers and inappropriate Marz AM SL forks - if memory serves me correctly they had about 150mm of travel (for a non suspension corrected headtube. I set it at about 50% sag.) and were quick release. THis equated to as much noodly-twisty fore and aft fork action as it did up-and-down suspension!
Regardless, this set up served us well for several years, and it then meant I could fit a disc to the front.
After a while I managed to source the ideal forks - 80mm Marz DJs. I sent them to windwave and got a steel steerer put in (not just for strength, but also because the head tube is about a metre long, so the full length steerer was needed!)
In this guise, with a 20mm bolt through set up, it was able to track as Mr Marzocchi intended - soo much better!
Here is it 'smashing up' the nursery run (picture circa 2011, once a certain little man had come along!) - with two articulating points adn over 3.5m long, it was quite a spectacle on the streets of Poole!
Having the disc on the front, as well as the 20mm bolt through, was revolutionary... Yes, v-brakes had their day, and I must admit I did miss the smell of burning rubber brake pads as you attempted to bring two bodies and a hunk of metal from 40mph to a stop coming down from Hardy's monument! And this was fitted with 'parallelogram v-brakes' which were a cut above the rest (this is a bit like a journey through MTB history!!), but they were still a bit naff once the rain and mud coated the rims.
I knew the rear of the frame, around the drop-out, had spaces for 'odd adaptors', but I'd never really given it much thought. However, setting myself the goal of fitting a disc to the rear really focussed my attentions to these odd shaped holes and threads!
A bit of Googling later and I found a site in the US that had the adaptor needed to be able to fit a disc calliper to the frame - winner!
However, a bit more Googling (no link this time!) suggested there's another adaptor I could use on the hub. soon after this discovery a lovely machined bit of aluminium arrived on my doorstep. Isn't it lovely!
So, how does it ride...?
Well, on Tuesday, despite the terrible rain, we bravely ventured out to ride with the usual Tuesday night crew - The OC (don't ask what it stands for. But it's quite apt..).
It was Ore-sum!!
We smashed out 20 miles around the local trails (albeit, the tamer options as this bad boy would get properly jammed in the tight and twitchy singletrack!). No KOMs, but lots of smiles and muddy faces!
It reminded of several things:
- No matter how fast or slow you go, tandems are bloody ace
- It's a real test of communication - "bump", "Stump", Lean left" etc etc!
- This thing isn't slow!
- The disc brake really does make stopping so much better
- Mudguards are a necessity in the wet (I didn't have any) as you simply can't weave and jump over puddles!!
Here's the strava route we took
The BB7 (in the well recognised 'ride around the close" test) is significantly better than the Clarks Quad on there before - I can believe the hype that these are the best mechanical disc brakes out there (enough to rival poorly set up hydraulics even?)
I'm sure I'll get round to blogging about HOTS (I still need to 'do' the HONC blog...) and you can see how we faired!!