In reference to their tandem bike, we overheard Odyssey’s Ben Ward say, “This is the best bad idea we’ve ever had.” We caught up with Jim Bauer, one of the masterminds behind the contraption, to get a closer look at it and figure out just what the hell is going on with the two-seater BMX.
Location: Cerritos, CA
Frame: Metal Rebel Command Center, custom made.
Fork: Odyssey Director
Bar 1: Odyssey Civilian Svelte Hi
Bar 2: Odyssey Civilian Svelte Hi
Stem 1: Odyssey Elementary
Stem 2: Odyssey Classic top load
Grips: 4 Odyssey Team grips, various colors.
Barends: 4 Odyssey Par ends
Seatpost 1: Odyssey Intac(to be changed to Jims Beam)
Seatpost 2: Odyssey Intac
Seat 1: Odyssey Aitken, white
Seat 2: Odyssey Aitken, white
Cranks 1: Odyssey Wombolt LHD
Cranks 2: Odyssey Wombolt custom LH and RHD.
Sprocket 1: Odyssey Vermont
Sprocket 2: Odyssey MDS
Sprocket 3: Odyssey MDS
Brakes: Odyssey Evolver EVO II
Cable: Odyssey Slic Kable
Brake Lever: Odyssey Monolever
Front Tire: Odyssey Aitken Plyte, 2.25″
Rear Tire: Odyssey Path Plyte, 2.1″
Rims: Hazard lite 36H, powdercoated.
Front Hub: Odyssey Vandero2
Rear Hub: Odyssey Cassette V3, 10t RHD
Spokes: Odyssey aftermarket stainless spokes.
Pegs: GSport Plegs (removed for racing)
Pedals: Odyssey Twisted PC, white
The frame was custom made by S&M, as well as the modification to the cranks to make the rear set Left hand and Right hand drive. The Chain on the front is actually 2 chains. The rear stem has a shim to make it fit on the front seatpost.
Whose idea was it to build a tandem bike and why?
It was my idea to have a fun Interbike showbike. We have riders bikes and a “perfect” show bike usually, so this was to show all the part colors, and a lot of parts at once. It was mostly for fun though, to have something to ride around Interbike. It wasn’t even in the booth 80% of the time. It was usually rolling around the event.
Who played what roll in designing, building, etc?
I sent a rough sketch of the idea over to Neal Wood at S&M to see if it was possible. Timmy Ball, master craftsman over there, and Neal banged it out no problem.
How did you guys design the bike and get it built?
Off my rough sketch and picture old tandems, Neal made CAD drawings and Timmy designed the one off jigs. They did it all, with only my idea as help.
Did it take long to fine tune everything and get it working? Or did it go according to plan the first try and work out right away?
It pretty much went together perfect first time out. The seatpost/stem combo took some fiddling, but was pretty straight forward. Its not ideal, you are pretty close to the driver in the back seat. A way longer (tandem specific) stem would be good, but then the rear cockpit would be tight. Its fine for what it is. To start over-thinking it would take the fun out of it. We were worried about the front chain tension because there is no adjustment (some tandems have spring loaded tension wheels, but we didn’t want that). The Shadow chain allowed for some extra tuning, and 28/28 fit perfectly. We were lucky on that one.
If someone wanted one of these, is it practical at all for say…cruising down the beach with a lady friend?
Not really. BMX bikes are not the best for distance riding, and tandems are wierd to say the least. So mix that together and you have a bike your lady might not want to ride. I know my lady doesn’t like it too much. Just crusin’ the beach? Thats probably ok if you live at the beach already, because it wont fit in most vehicles. Taller bars and higher seats would help, too.
What is the craziest thing (and/or best trick) you’ve seen go down on the tandem?
Matt Beringer did peg wheelies at speed down a steep hill. Matthias Dandois was doing wild spinning flatland moves at Interbike. Really the whole team on it at once was crazy. That was a lot crazier than it looked.
Is it hard to ride?
It’s not hard to ride by yourself, in the front. It is impossible to ride alone from the back (unless you are holding the front bars) Two people just have to get in jive with pedaling, because you can’t stop pedaling unless you both stop. Ryan (Fudger) and I discovered it’s hard to ride when one of you is left foot forward and the other is right foot forward. When setting up for jumps, someone always feels kooked.
Why is the front seat post bent so much?
After the photoshoot with the team, the aluminum post was kinda bent. It had Matt sitting on it, Chase on his shoulders, Gary standing on it, Adam hanging off it, with Aaron and Mike hanging on him. Basically everybody but JC was putting his weight on it, and it was too much. After Ryan and I took it around the track we bent it even worse. It will be upgraded to a steel post.
Do you think the mismatched colored parts will catch on and become a trend?
I’ve seen the brakes before, but everything else is usually mixing up stuff that works. I can’t see someone buying 2 cranksets to mix the colors, but stranger things have happened. I guess you can trade with a friend.
What was the idea behind the full team ad on the bike?
It was an idea I had that Jimmy LeVan had also. It was one of the first things he said when he saw it. Sadly, Jimmy was in the hospittal when the shoot took place. Taj was hurt also. Next time we will have them on it too.
Do you guys have any other wild/custom projects in the works?
I have one idea, but nothing solid yet. I’m sure we can get something done my next Interbike.