Friday, November 20, 2009

BANANDEM !!!!!! a bolt together,multi-speed,banana seat tandem !!!!!!

This is a bolt together tandem that I built a few years back. I built it to take my wife to her bus stop and pick her up after work. She was working 2PM to 11PM at that time.We live in kind of a bad neighborhood,she was getting a little too much attention from the local lowlifes so we started biking to the bus stop together. We would ride 2 bikes and I would bring the other bike back with me after seeing her off at 1:30 and go get her at 11:30. I started drawing unwanted attention from the police because in this area of town when you see someone riding one bike while wheeling another alongside there's a good chance you're seeing a bike theft in progress !!!! So for me this was a PERFECT reason to build a tandem !! I didn't have access to a suitable workspace to weld one together ( unfortuneately STILL the situation NOW !!! ) so I decided to figure out a way to bolt one together. I had 2 BMX cheapo frames with nice looking curved tubing and a pair of 48 spoke 20" aluminum wheels,that was the start of the project. I thought that banana seats would work best to keep the seat height lower and hi-rise bars would do the trick here too. To join the 2 frames I got a large piece of steel channel that was holding up a giant gas heater in an old building nearby,the workers were going to throw it away but I snagged it !!! I used 4 bolts and 2 thick steel plates to connect it. I also bolted the forks from the rear frame to the dropouts of the front frame. I then used a fork that attached to the front frames seatpost clamp.At the rear I used a handlebar stem with the top cut off,slid that inside the fork and drilled a hole through the headtube AND fork of the rear frame. This actually came out very solid !!!! I then added a 6 gear freewheel and appropriate chains and deraileurs,plus a couple of hacked chainguards. It worked suprisingly well in this configuration !!!! Later on I used 2 adaptor spindles and moved the front chain to the left side so I could use both chainrings on the rear cranks=12-speed !!!! I also added 2 more brakes AND 2 more brake levers. The front two were controlled by the front rider and the rear ones by the rear rider !!! We used this bike everyday for a long time until my wife bought a small econo-car. It's cold and rainy around here most of the year,she didn't want to deal with that. Anyway the BANANDEM served us well when we needed it and it was a fun and interesting project for me (no more attention from the coppers !!! ). I learned a lot from that build that I used in later projects. I had to take it apart because of lack of storage space. Once we move into a place with a garage I plan on welding together a similar ride. I have 2 20" girls curvy hi-rise frames that have the 3 piece bottom brackets. Using those along with some crafty,artsy reinforcing in strategic areas THE BANANDEM WILL BE REBORN !!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ), E-mail me at I'd love to hear what you have to say !!!!!!!!

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