Our Precision Triplet was originally designed around and fitted with a Reynolds Ouzo Pro Tandem fork with a 1.25″ steerer tube, 395mm length and 55mm of rake, i.e., the Santana spec., and a Dura Ace compact caliper brake.
We acquired it back in April 2012 and while the fork seemed like it might not be up to snuff for a triplet with three full-size adults, it would probably be OK for three somewhat small ones as there are tandem duos who use the same fork that tip the scales in the 400lb range of our trio.
However, the longer I’ve lived with the triplet and ridden it the more I’ve come to believe that some of the less than optimal handling characteristics of the triplet could be associated with fork deflection. After all, given the bike’s steering geometry, the triplet should be very resistant to stoker steer and hold a straight line with ease. However, of late I’ve noticed that I’m constantly course correcting the triplet even on dead flat roads: it can become quite tedious at times.
It goes without saying that fitting mud guards to the fork with it’s compact Dura Ace caliper brake is a challenge. I use an SKS Raceblade Long on the front to deal with the brake caliper’s minimal clearance, noting the fork crown isn’t all that generous either.
Therefore, since the triplet will likely remain in our stable for at least a few more years I’m thinking it may be time to have Mark Johnson at Precision tandem work with either Co-Motion, the folks at R&E or one of the custom builders to have a more robust pearl black steel fork produced for the triplet. I’d like to have a bit less rake and more steering trail and I’d also like it fitted with cantilever bosses and a disc tab. While I’d like to fit a disc to the fork, I’m really not in a hurry to have another front wheel built around a disc hub. Therefore, linear pull brakes on the canti-lever bosses might be the hot ticket as it would eliminate the clearance issues with the mud guard.
I’ve got at least all summer to have it produced as the next possible triplet outing isn’t until October in Tennessee. I think Miss Debbie is still on the fence about riding the triplet at STR as she continues to have comfort issues when we ride the triplet more than two days in a row and is also concerned about how much climbing their might be. So, that one’s still up in the air. However, GTR in Valdosta next year is a no-brainer: we’ll be all over that.
More to come, I’m sure….