How to make a tandem bicycle from two bikes! No welding, no fancy tools needed other than a power drill. You're going to need: -crescent/ adjustable wrenches -chain breaker -extra chain -electric drill -bolts/ nuts -two bicycles, nothing fancy (possibly a smaller frame for the stoker if you'd like, and if you're picky and want certain cranks, go with frames with square/ taper BB's) -crank puller (optional) -allen keys -basic bike tools -probably some other stuff I can't remember right now. This doesn't necessarily need to be in any particular order, in when you do this, but on the rear bike, we're going to need to drill at least two holes through the headtube and through the steerer tube of the fork. Drill holes corresponding with the size bolts you're going to use. I also wouldn't recommend smaller bolts, considering that we're going for strength here. This drilling is going to prevent the frame of the rear bike from turning like the cargo of a semi-truck, which could be catastrophic if it happens on a left turn for the drivetrain.
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MAKE SURE THAT WHEN YOU DRILL, THE FORK IS LINED UP PERFECTLY STRAIGHT WITH THE FRAME. I don't think I need to explain why. It might be easier to check this with a front wheel mounted, or if you particularly don't care about it, clamp it in a vice as I did. So you should have a front bike without a rear wheel, a rear bike without a steering set of handlebars and three rods bolted through its steerer tube. Splendid.
Take the rear bike and set it up with that front wheel with the rear axle, and using whatever combination of nuts you can get a hold of, make sure the fork tightens so that the dropouts of it are closest to the axle. Try to get the rear dropouts of the front bike on over the axle. Now of course, it depends on what fork you're using, what your rear dropouts are like, etc, but if for some reason your fork doesn't fit with whatever configuration you're using, stretch it. Yes, if it's a steel fork, it should stretch pretty easy, as mine did just put your foot on one leg and slowly bend it. Make sure it fits over the rear dropouts, as opposed to inside of them now, and bolt that middle wheel on as tight as you possibly can!
I figured I'd give the stoker something to do, (okay, realistically, gear cables don't run this long! ), so I installed a shifter on the rear bike's set of handlebars which control the gears for the bike, though I found out that they honestly don't help so much anyway. Ha haa. And as far as brakes: if you want, you can install two, but they have to be controlled by the captain, because you don't want the stoker doing anything stupid.
I highly recommend a front brake, and on the middle wheel, you can install a back brake for the front bike, or a front brake for the back bike. Bottom line is, even as heavy as the thing is, it works fine for me with just one brake. And no bike shop would ever condone this, but if you, like myself, have a nicer deraileur and are lacking horizontal dropouts, get a cheap deraileur hanger and stick it in between the hardware and tighten the hell out of that wheel! It's proven to work fine, but looks pretty bad in my opinion. That's it?
What? ! Yep. It's that easy. Just make sure everything's tight and the hand - controlled parts are properly tuned up, and it's ready for a ride!
So how do you ride it? Yeah, there are three wheels and it's pretty difficult to turn (I say it turns like a semi-truck going through the drive-through of mc donald's) but trust me, it's not that bad once you get the hang of making really wide turns.