15 May 2009

Ellsworth Witness tandem

And so it begins.

A few days ago under the affects of new bike euphoria I Tweeted, "Can I get a (Ellsworth) witness?!" Sheesh, talk about starting things off with a cliché. :(

But screw that, a few days ago Shelley and I received the bulk of the stuff needed to build our first full-suspension mountain bike tandem and it rocks. It ROCKS. You hear me?

First I gotta thank the 'sponsors'.

Ellsworth - this company is one of most outstanding mountain bike companies in the world. All their shiz is still made right here in America (not just assembled here or designed here) and lucky for me they launched their own recovery plan whereby new bikes were discounted $700 if you sent them any(!) old complete bike or frame. Ellsworth gets the tax write off, needy people get a working used bike and Shelley and I get a brand spanking new ride. Martin is no dummy, I jumped at the offer.

WebCyclery (and Henry Able) - this company is actually a brick and mortar retailer in OR but they happen to have a big web presence and phenomenal customer service. Oh yeah, the happen to be tandem experts. It helps that Henry is a tandem-crazy person himself (he has a road, full-suspension and single speed tandem at least…) and the guy is passionate about riding them. Way passionate. Henry answered all of my questions patiently and even though I did not get ALL of the parts through WebCyclery they were never anything but fantastic. I did a 15 year stint in the bicycle industry and this is why IBDs succeed.

This morning I finally broke down the boxes, put the frame in my repair stand and sorted through all the parts to see if anything was not going to work or was missing. Here are those pictures. Turns out the 350 mm Ritchey Pro seatpost I ordered for myself will not be long enough. Luckily though Ritchey makes a Comp in a 400 mm length so that's now on the way. Even though I triple and quadruple checked the advertised dimensions against my single and tandem bikes, there is nothing like dropping 5 large on a bike that you have never seen in person to make you sweat… I was not absolutely positive it would fit us until it showed and thank GOODNESS it will be fine. Shelley will actually need a 350 mm post and the stoker top tube is plenty roomy. And with the 400 mm post in front and one of my 15 cm stems it will be fine for me. One word: relief. One more: Anticipation. One more: I'm calling in sick as soon as it's ready! Oops, that's more than one but you get the idea.

I was able to recycle some parts from an old tandem (the captain's cranks) and from my single (headset, shifters, derailleurs, saddle and pedals) and had a some tires and tubes and a saddle and pedals lying around for Shelley but everything else is new.

Speaking of new, I love the fork I got for this bike. LOVE it. It's the 2009 Fox Talas. OMG, this is one sweet way to hang a wheel on a frame.

ASIDE - I had to sell two tandems to afford this one! I sold the beautiful, custom Ti Cycles steel bike with the daVinci Designs drivetrain that Cameron and I used to ride in the Courage Classic to a good friend and I will need to sell our Rodriguez mountain bike tandem as well. I'm okay with this. :)

What's next? I need to build the wheels and then assemble the bike. I'm still waiting for two parts to arrive, one of which is that longer seatpost, but my goal is to be in the dirt one week from Saturday. Yes!

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