Calfee Update #3: The Frame Returns Home…

As mentioned in my note on 30 September, our Calfee tandem was shipped out via FedEx on Monday and arrived at the FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Georgia, on Thursday evening, 27 September.  However, delivery of the boxed-up frame was deferred until Monday, 1 October, as we weren’t returning from a trip to Utah until late on Sunday night, 30 September. It was right around 9:00am on Monday when FedEx delivered the frame. Shortly after finishing up yard work around 2:00pm I pulled the frame out of the box and put it together for the 1st time.  It seemed much-more solid than it did when it left so, being cautiously optimistic, I was looking forward to a quiet ride on Tuesday morning!
After finishing up a few other must-do things around the house around 4:30pm, I organized my collection of bagged-up parts and began the process of rebuilding the tandem so we could give it a shake-down ride on Tuesday morning. Things were going well until l hit an unexpected snag: the left-hand / front derailleur shift / brake lever decided it was time to not work again.  Yes, this was the third time the Shimano Ultegra ST-6703 triple shifter decided to stop working; the prior time back in May/June 2017 is covered in another blog entry that outlines the cause and repair procedure.  It was at this point I took a break to make dinner… lest I take out my frustration with the shifters on some other part of the tandem. To make an already long story short, after dinner I decided to go to a local bike shop to get some new Shimano STI brake and derailleur cable housing so I could add a pair of in-line derailleur cable adjusters and otherwise address a few other issues with my cables and housing that I discovered during the build-up process. It was about 8:00pm when I returned home and resumed work on the bike. I installed a new rear brake cable and housing to see if I couldn’t reduce some drag that I was experiencing with the Gator-Housing.  After that minor success, I repaired the left shifter and installed it with new STI cable housing and an in-line adjuster.  As before, once the through bolt that that holds all of the left-hand shifter cogs, gears and bushings together was re-torqued the shifter worked fine. Now all I had to do was to run a new cable for the rear derailleur, right?  I wish. No, now the rear shifter was acting up and it took me close to 30 minutes to get that sorted-out.  However, as the clock ticked off 10:00pm I had new housing and cables installed and both shifters were functioning correctly. All I needed to do was to re-wrap my handlebars with new bar tape, then clean up and go to bed.  Never did I have so many issues reassembling a bike or tandem, never!
Around 9:30am on Tuesday, we headed out on the Calfee for a 32-mile shake-down ride. It was a bit cooler at 9:30am than when we last rode about 10 days ago, but the skies were blue and the sun was shining so I knew we’d be fine once we got moving…. and we were. As for the bike,  sadly the clicking that alerted me to the S&S coupler issue returned about 1/2 way through our ride; I was not a happy camper. We finished our 32-mile loop and once we were back at the house I did a re-check of all the couplers. Thankfully, there wasn’t any play in the rear coupler joint. Before rendering a decision on whether or not the problem had truly been resolved I decided to re-seat and re-torque all four couplers but did so such that each coupler nut was unloaded when I applied torque just to be sure they fully-seated. After doing so the frame felt pretty solid again. Hopefully we’ll get out for at least a short ride on Wednesday since we won’t be able to ride on Thursday due to an 11:00am appointment on the south side of Atlanta. More to follow.

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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2 Responses to Calfee Update #3: The Frame Returns Home…

  1. I noticed your Calfee frame being held by the stoker post with a clamp. I use a product made by Hirobel that holds my Calfee (as well as other bikes) without pressure on any components.

    This link might work:

    I hosted a racing team and watched the team’s mechanic. This is what he used for all the team’s bikes.

    All the best,

    Steve Scholl

    Sent from my iPhone

    • TG says:

      Thanks Steve.

      I can clearly see how the Hirob works well on a wide variety of very high performance bikes such as the Aero bikes they used in the linked ad; odd shaped seatposts, etc., do present challenges.

      However, for clarity, the only time our very light Calfee (6.2 lbs as shown) is ever held just by the stoker seatpost in the Park workstand is when it’s a bare frame and the fork has not yet been installed as was the case in that photo. As soon as the fork goes on (the next step) the front wheel/tire go on and the tandem is then held by the very round and solid stoker’s Thomson seatpost, with the front of the tandem resting on the front wheel.

      Thankfully, almost all of the bikes in our stable are of conventional frame tube design with round seat posts and round seat tubes. But, at least for the tandems, it’s just very easy and convenient to use the stoker seatpost / front wheel on the ground method for what is usually 95% of the things that need to be done to the tandem. When doing work on the headset, etc. with the fully built-up tandem @ 30lbs that requires removal of the fork, the captain’s seatpost provides the attachment point for the workstand clamp.

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