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1984 Follis / Mel Pinto Touring Tandem, Rebuilt in 9/2009

This is our 1984 Follis tandem bicycle, built the same year my wife and I were born. I just rebuilt it with new parts during my visit to Washington in September. Below is a list of the general upgrades, but check out the notes for parts details.


New parts traded in on the bike:


- tougher wheels, built by yours truly

-handlebars and stems

-rear derailleur



-lighting (schmidt nabendynamo + led lighting)




-drum brake

-cables and housing


Rebuilding this bike proved interesting and challenging. Several components were odd sizes, and the tolerances of french aluminum parts from the 1980's just weren't so great. The seat posts are 26.4mm (ugh), the new Nitto stem needed a tiny bit of light sanding to slide into the fork neatly (wtf?), and the original stoker stem was just an embarrassing disaster that demanded replacement after it would barely slide over the seatpost (grrrr). After two days of tinkering and a visit to Aaron's Bike Repair in West Seattle (cool shop, but a very pretentious owner) to get some seat post and stem shims and some tires the tandem is rolling and ready for action.


First ride report:

Very smooth and comfortable. I put on the biggest tires I could fit under the fenders, and they were adequate for moderate stretches of rough gravel road and perfect on pavement. We had a small problem with the stoker stem/seat post configuration that was allowing the rear handlebars and stem to spin, but a little lock-tite seemed to calm the problem. The bike definitely needs the drum brake I installed in the rear (even on short hills it gets going pretty fast with lots of momentum). We rode it about 15 miles on its first outing and it was pretty much faultless. Lots of responsibility at the helm of a tandem though, so I have lots to learn before we go on a tour with this bike.


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Taken on September 23, 2009