Ibis Tandem – February Update


I picked up the bike from R+E on a Saturday afternoon – they made it look really pretty.    I made a fit appointment for a week later so that gives me a deadline to get the thing put back together. I also bought two Phil Wood bottom brackets and the tools to install them.



  1. John guessed wrong on the spindle length of the bottom brackets and I had to return to get longer ones – 127.5 in the back and 125 in the front.
  2. The back mounting rings went in by hand.  The front ones don’t work.  I can get the left side ring in with no problem but the right side barely engages before it gets really hard.  I think that part of the problem is that the rings are really tight on the cartridge, but I don’t know how much force I should use to seat the rings and I’m afraid to push it too hard.  I put quite a bit of torque on it (with a ratchet handle) but I backed off for fear of messing up the threads in the eccentric.  I’ll keep fiddling with it and if I can’t get it to work by Tuesday I’ll take it back in to R+E for help.
  3. The loc-tite stuff that comes with the Phil Wood bottom brackets is really messy
  4. John told me that the bottom bracket shell on the frame was deformed to the point that they couldn’t make it work with a shim so they took a shell that they would normally put into a frame and ground it down to fit into the one on the Ibis and then brazed it in place.  It sounds really heavy-duty but I’m surprised that the Ibis had been abused that way since the old eccentric didn’t show any signs of hard use.
  5. The Zefal pump still fits even though they had to relocate the toe-jamb.
  6. Still haven’t gotten decals – it’s been a month now so I’ll email Scot Nicol after the mail arrives on Monday.  At this point I’m just giving them to R+E so that they can use it on the next one they paint.
  7.  Managed to get the brake levers and stoker pegs onto the handlebars without messing up the finish on the bars.  (The old clamps fit the new handlebars just fine.)  Kind of wish that I had a right-hand bar-end shifter for the drag brake.
  8. I cut new Jagwire cable housing for both cantis and for the drag brake.  I have plenty left to do the shifters.
  9. I thought that my universal brake cables would work but the ball on the end doesn’t fit in the hole in the lever.  I had one stainless cable that did fit so I need to replace the one I used for the back canti or the little clip that holds the ball in the hole won’t work.
  10. The Shimano teflon-coated shift cables I have aren’t anywhere near long enough and the new cable I put on the drag brake is missing two strands so I’ll probably make a trip to Recycled Cycles on Monday to get three super-long shifter cables and one stainless brake cable.
  11. I also need bar tape.
  12. The steerer tube on the new fork is super long – I’ll leave it that way until we get it fit but I should be able to take a foot off of it.  I think I’ll let them cut it.
  13. I reinstalled the drive chain – I’ll probably have R+E replace it when I have them service it after the fitting.  Even if it is still good I’ll have them put a Wipperman master link into it so that I don’t have to carry a chain tool.
  14. The derailleurs were really easy to re-install – once I get some cable to connect them up we’ll see how easy they are to adjust
  15. It took me a while to figure out how the self extracting crank bolts worked – I tried to put the black hollow fittings in first and that was a mistake.  Luckily I had a red pin-spanner.
  16. The outriggers weren’t what I thought they were going to be.  They are basically slotted cable-stops.  I think I like them better than the removable ones on the Rodriguez tandem.  They didn’t slot the one on the top tube at the captain’s seat post.  I think that maybe a hacksaw will take care of that…


I weighed the frame when I brought it home (without the fork and stoker stem) and using the “with and without” method on our bathroom scale it weighs 13.6 pounds including the eccentric, headset and couplers.  At this point the bike has a Rodriguez fork, a Rodriguez stoker stem, Rodriguez brakes, Rodriguez paint and Rodriguez-installed couplers.  When I get done it is going to effectively be a Rodriguez bike with a 15 year-old frame and some iconic braze-ons.


I bought some cables and some bar tape and hooked up the derailleurs and taped the handlebars.  I also replaced the cable on the back brake, but the stud on the stainless cable I got was still too big for the hole in the lever.  I adjusted the brakes so that they seem okay – they probably both still need work but I can take it in to R+E now without being embarrassed about my handiwork.  I ought to get new straddle / straddle cables on both front and back.  I didn’t fiddle enough with the derailleurs to make them work – right now (on the stand) it shifts into all three rings in the front but it won’t go into the biggest cog in the back.  With some attention I can probably figure out how to make that right.  I did a semi-okay job on taping the bars – not quite symmetrical from side to side but otherwise it looks fine.  No luck on the eccentric threads – I’ll take it in to the shop tomorrow and see what they can do…

Got an email from Scot Nicol on February 11th saying that he was sorry about the delay with the decals and that he would try to ship them that week.

Took the bike in to R+E and they “chased the threads” saying that they’d had some problems with threads in eccentrics and had recently replaced a tool.   John pointed out that I had the spider with the chainrings off by one bolt so that the pin that keeps a lost chain from getting stuck wasn’t under the crank.  While the bike was there they installed the bottom bracket for me and adjusted the brakes and derailleurs. I asked about the cable guide by the captain’s seat post and the guy adjusting the brakes said they normally didn’t slot those so I could choose which triangle the cable stayed attached to.  He agreed that it meant the handlebars didn’t detach but offered that a second splitter would solve the problem.    He also said that sometimes the studs on brake cables didn’t fit and you just had to file them down.  He replaced one of the two missing set screws in the brake straddles.

I brought it home and installed the front cranks and the timing chain (I had to loosen the eccentric to get the chain on.)  I rebuilt the back spider to get that pin in the right place.  I tightened the bolts on the stoker stem because it was shifting.  I adjusted the tape on the front handlebars to make it a little more symmetrical.  I installed the splitters and figured out that the problem with the brake cable stud was that the spacer it fit into was rotated 180 degrees.  I want to talk to John first but I’m planning to cut the Captain seat post cable guide so I put the splitter on the front part of the cable.  I think that I’ll have R+E cut padding just so I have it in case we decide to take this bike to Alaska…

 Here’s the as-built spec sheet

Here are the pre-build-up photos

On Valentines Day Odette and I went into R+E for a fitting.  I had really just eyeballed the saddle heights when I put the bike back together, but I evidently got the fore/aft positioning pretty close because it was a really short session.  (The biggest change was a stem with more rise to get me in a more upright position.)  Smiley didn’t think much of my plan for switching in a second wheel set but he independently suggested Serfas Drifters as the right tire for our intended use.  He noticed the stoker peg that won’t stay closed and asked the frame builders how to fix it – after some discussion they settled on shoe-goo.  Afterwards we had a conversation about slotting the cable guide on the Captain’s seat post, and I asked them to do it for me.  I also asked them to cut the steerer tube to size, to put on new chains and to go over everything for tightness and adjustment.  I had them cut custom padding for me while they had it.  Odette bought a new pair of shoes.  Then we went out to dinner.


They called the next day to say the Wipperman chains weren’t in stock so the bike wouldn’t be ready until Friday.  I went in on Friday afternoon and they hadn’t started yet – I hung out for an hour and a half and watched them re-cable and adjust.  (they didn’t like the Jagwire brake housings I’d used for the shifter cables.)  They figured out how to substitute spacers so that the drum brake fit without my hack.  They said the short-cage derailleur wasn’t intended for the wide-range cassette on the White Industries hub (they haven’t seen the Hugi one.)  As long as I don’t cross-chain from the big chainring I ought to be okay.  They QA’d everything.  They didn’t have a Wipperman master link in stock for the 8-speed chain  I put a rack and a tail light and couple of bottle cages on when I got it home.  The next day, Saturday, I toured the R+E machine shop and met the man who invented/manufactures the Maddox brake.  He said I was responsible for half the the warranty cards he’s received so far.  Odette and I rode 15 miles on the Ibis and stopped and bought a dishwasher (but had it delivered.)  The bike felt really good – I raised my saddle and thought that the brakes were a little firm but I’m really happy.  On Sunday we rode it for Chilly Hilly.  (The weather was anticlimactic – warm and only a singly shower en route despite earlier predictions of cold, wet and maybe snow.)  We rode strong and caught the 11:30 ferry back.  Learned that it won’t go into the smallest ring if you wait too long to shift down.  We dropped the chain shifting down too quickly at the bottom of a hill.  But we got lots of compliments on the bike from other riders, so we had that going for us.

Here’s a gallery of Chilly Hilly photos I purchased from Marathon.

I swapped wheel sets so these photos have the wider tires in them, I cleaned the frame a little but the drivetrain is dirty, the shoe-goo did its thing on the stoker peg. I still have to get padding cut and I want to mount a handlebar bag bracket. Still waiting for Scot Nichol to send me the decals I paid for back at the beginning of January.  Here are some photos of the bike showing what it looks like now:

posted to Reddit and to BikeForums (UPDATE: on 3/1 I received the decals form Scot Nicol.)

Here are some photos related to the Topeak rear rack I mounted on it.  (Note that the welds holding this rack together broke after a few hundred miles on the bike so I replaced it with a Nito rack from Rivendale.)

2015 drive train upgrade

One Reply to “Ibis Tandem – February Update”

  1. I stumbled across your blog looking for quick ways to change out bar setups with cable couplers and found your extensive write up on the Ibis. I found and bought a Cousin It about 8 years ago on eBay for cheap, made numerous changes to it (as it was setup for mountain biking i.e. flat bars and suspension fork, etc) sold off quite a bit of exotic MTB parts to partially fund the change to drop bars and to source a rigid fork. All that said, you’ve done an amazing job on your build, and I really enjoyed reading the details. Quite informative. My only wish is that I could commit to 10% of the miles you do a year, quite impressive.
    Anyway, I love my Ibis, and yours too, in fact I have two other Ibis’, and they all ride incredibly. I will never sell.
    Thanks for sharing this .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *