Our Calfee Tandem Returns Home & Is Now Ready To Ride!

As predicted by FedEx’s delivery system, our Calfee tandem frame arrived in Kennesaw, Georgia, on September 23rd.  As for why it took 6 days instead of 4, it’s still a bit of a mystery but it would appear it had something to do with being shipped over a weekend and/or through Brownsville, Tennessee, since that’s where it seemed to sit for two days.

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It was signature service so I had the frame dropped-off at the local FedEx office instead of having them attempt home delivery as the odds of us being at the house when they come by are slim to none.  I headed to the FedEx office just before noon, signed for the shipment and happily headed back to work with the boxed frame in my truck.  It was interesting to see that I had sent the frame out in a bicycle wheel box (below left), but that it came back in a bike frame box (below right).

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However, they did an amazing job of packing the frame: it was completely mummified in 1/8″ thick foam sheeting and immobilized in the box with air batting and wadded-up foam sheeting.  It probably took me the better part of 15 minutes to get the frame unwrapped and then all of that packing material stuffed back into the box so that I’ll have it available for any future needs.


After inspecting each of the four pieces of the frame I went ahead and did a loose assembly of the frame so that it would look like a tandem frame instead of an Erector set waiting to be played-with.

On initial inspection, the repair looked fantastic.  In fact, and as you’ll see in the larger, detailed photos a bit further down this entry, I couldn’t really even see the repair as they did a very nice job of putting some finishing touches on the coupler joint that completely covered the weld.  Additionally, they appear to have refinished the frame and applied new Calfee decals on at least the rear stays, head tube and the down tube.

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Just a lot of loving care, to say the least, and probably a pretty good explanation for why it takes an extra day or so for the bike to move through final inspection, delivery prep and shipping.

OK, let’s take a look at those couplers.  The first photo below is of the rear coupler on the opposite end of the top tube from the one that had the broken weld. There’s about a 1/2″ of the coupler sleeve exposed where you can see the weld joint: it’s very subtle as it was worked-down after being welded.  That “working down” process is what went a bit too far on the front coupler, leading to the weakened weld that eventually broke.


In fact, here’s a photo of the boom tube’s front coupler where it’s a lot easier to see the weld.


And now, here’s the coupler joint that was repaired: beautiful!  They apparently removed some of the original composite material from behind the coupler and the applied a 1″ band of new material that also covers the weld joint.  It makes for a very nice, clean look at the coupler that I would have gladly paid to have applied to the other three couplers.


It was Friday afternoon before I could carve out a couple of hours to re-assemble the tandem so it would be ready to ride on Saturday.  I actually set up one of my GoPro cameras with the intent of capturing the rebuilding process on video that I would compress to about a minute for the blog.  Sadly, I somehow ended up taking a single still photo instead of the hour-long re-assembly process: Doh!  I hate when I do that.  I just don’t use the cameras enough to be proficient with them. Cest la vie.


Anyway, it found it interesting that the frame came back with an extra seat clamp that it didn’t have when it left and eight new nylock nuts on the water bottle bosses.  I definitely put the parts away they came off the tandem, which is to say they were grimy and should have been cleaned before I did the rebuilt.  But, it’s just going to get dirty this weekend as we’ll probably be riding on wet roads.

As far as any major discovers or issues on the rebuild, there weren’t too many. I can definitely see a cable housing change over the winter when I put new cables on and it looks like it’s almost time for fresh brake blocks, but that was about it.

Just glad to have her back and ready to ride!  A big thanks to the great people at Calfee for doing a wonderful job on the repair and refresh of the frame and turning it around as quickly as they did.  It’s not like they don’t have a lot of other work in process at any given time.  So glad to be part of the Calfee family of friends and owners.


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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