Mountain Tandems @ NAHBS!

Interestingly enough, off-road tandems made a nice splash at this year North American Handmade Bicycle Show.  Over the past few years it’s been the one-off road tandems that seemed to dominate the stage, with just an occasional off-road tandem like last year when Co-Motion showed up with a new 29″ rigid off-road tandem sporting a pretty nice custom paint job and Kent Eriksen showed up with an amazing titanium 29er hardtail tandem.

This year, two other cycling industry icons — Craig Calfee of Calfee Designs & Bamboosero Bamboo Bicycles and Tom Ritchey of Ritchey — both brought along some pretty neat 29er tandems.

Calfee Design’s Carbon Hardtail 29er‘s frame had very clean lines, a high bottom bracket, a White Brothers dual crown fork, same-side-drive for the sync & final drive and a Shimano Di2 system that had been converted to be MTB compatible using K-Edge Ki2 shifter pods and extra-long rear derailleur cage with some custom-fabricated mounting hardware to work around an incompatibility issue with the Formula brake levers. The frame has a claimed weight of 6.5lbs with a total assembled weight around 30lbs.  I read where Mike Moore of Calfee pegged the cost of this one-off tandem at $19k; yikes!  I can’t imagine the frame would be more than $8,000 – 9,000 tops so the rest of that cost has to be buried in the Di2, K-Edge Ki2 conversion, the White Bros. fork and the wheelset.

Bike Radar has some more detailed photos of the Calfee towards the bottom of their NAHBS Day 5 Gallery that you can find here.  Craig also did an interview with Gregg Kato of MTB Review. You can find the short write-up and some nice photos that accompany the link to the video interview hosted on YouTube video:


Ritchey Break-Away Tandem finally coming to the market?  This one’s a bit different from the first two he built back in 2003 in that it’s set up to be ridden as a 700c road bike or a 650b off-road bike.

You may recall I wrote about the Ritchey tandem back in January of 2011 after some photos of Tom & his wife Martha popped-up as part of great interview on Rough Riders.  Tom Ritchey brought his new Ritchey Break-Away tandem to the North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) and did a pretty neat interview with Gregg Kato from MTB Review that you can enjoy on YouTube:


I’ll post a few more tandems from NAHBS with some comments as time permits.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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7 Responses to Mountain Tandems @ NAHBS!

  1. Andy Kami says:

    Worth noting that a tandem manufacture, Paketa, took the show prize for most innovative material use. That’s a big deal, especially with so much going on with singles at the show, and Paketa rather a sleeper at a show where California companies get a lot of spot light.
    I also noted the Erickson Ti tandem is a finely done show piece.

    • TG says:

      Yeah, I’ll get to the road tandems next. Lots of really nice work. Kent & Katie Eriksen’s personal tandem had a lot of interesting features. I believe the Paketa V2r that scored a ribbon may have built for some friends here in Georgia who are anxiously awaiting its arrival. Craig Calfee’s personal “Kidz-like” tandem was pretty cool. I was somewhat surprised that Bilenky wasn’t on hand this year, as they always have some great old-school/cool bikes.

  2. Wayne Sulak says:

    I visited the Ritchey site and could not find information on the tandem.

    Any idea what the stoker TT length or other specs?
    How to buy one?

    I hope it is not all show and no go.

    • TG says:

      I think the 2nd coming of the Break-Away Tandem at NAHBS represents an opportunity for anyone who is interested to contact Ritchey about having one commissioned. I could be wrong, but I suspect they will be offered as a ‘build to order” custom, where the specs and cost will be determined by what the customer is looking for as I just don’t see these being built on spec, other than a demo or two. The one that was at the show is definitely not large enough for Tom, so that doesnt’ appear to be a personal bike.

      My suggestion would be to reach out to Ritchey via their Contact Page / Email with your interest and let us know what you hear. I suspect you may even hear from Tom.

      Disclaimer: My wife has a 48/49 custom RoadLogic made by Tom Ritchey and the design, tube selection, and execution of the frame is really exceptional.

  3. Chris says:

    I talked with a Ritchey rep @ NAHBS about their tandem. He stated they intend to offer it as a production product later this year. Likely detailed specs won’t be available until that time.

    p.s. – The reason the Ritchey tandem wasn’t fully built up for NAHBS is they picked it up from the painter on the drive to Sacramento.

    • TG says:

      Thanks for the update. It will be interesting to see how it’s priced, spec’d and marketed. Most of their dealers are not exactly tandem-speciality shops.

  4. Pingback: The Tandems of NAHBS 2013… | The TandemGeek's Blog

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