This is a Thorn Adventure touring tandem. The steel frame is high quality and all the components are chosen to perform over the long run – mainly mountain biking kit such as the Shimano Deore crankset. The wheels are 26" and built with 48 spokes for the strength needed to carry a hefty bike plus two passengers and all their kit and we don’t expect any breakages! We’ll replace the slick tyres with something a little more robust for the trip because, whilst the vast majority is on tarmac, there are also long stretches of gravel track.
The frame is large at the front and small at the back. Kathryn says she has more room than on the Dawes we rented last summer and she loves the zany handlebars which give plenty of different hand positions.
The bike is fitted with Shimano LX v-brakes which are quite powerful enough. There’s also a cable-operated drag brake which weighs an absolute ton but allows us to keep the speed down on long descents without overheating the rims. I’d prefer a cable-operated disc brake such as the Avid but unfortunately there’s no disc mount on the frame.
Thorn recommend their own "comfort" riser bar for the captain with bar-ends mounted inside of the brake levers. It looks weird but it does give a good aerodynamic riding position. I’ve found the very upright ride too restrictive so I flipped the stem over as you can see. Even so I had to take a spacer out from underneath but it feels about right now.
We still have to fit a front rack and the fitted Blackburn rear rack may have to go – I’ve read reports of breakages which can seriously spoil your day. Thorn’s own racks are expensive but purpose-built and made of steel so they’re easier to fix should the worst happen.
The Thudbuster stoker’s seatpost is our own addition – not cheap, but very solidly made and it works extremely well. We’re already experimenting with different saddles as we both got numb bums after 10 miles on the fitted Selle Italia and Terry models. Riding a tandem is not like riding a road or mountain bike because you’re in the saddle pretty much the whole time so it has to be comfortable.
This Sunday (March 30th) we’re taking part in a 100km audax ride from right here in Lanchester. With 1,800m of climbing, I can’t imagine we’ll have to ride anything as hard as this on the trip itself so it should be an excellent test piece!