Tandem Intrigue

The number of times I’ve been asked if Caroline and I still ride the tandem has been rather surprising. I think after hearing stories of how challenging our Tour Divide tandem adventure was earlier this summer, our friends expected us to simply hide the big bike in the back of our garage and never touch it again.

Well, to be honest, that’s exactly what happened.

But much to our amazement, the bike only sat there for two months. Since early September, we’ve been out on the bike every few weeks, challenging ourselves on the local maze of singletrack. We’ve swapped out the tires for some wider, knobbier treads, downsized the drive chainring to something a bit better suited for steep singletrack, and added a bash guard on the front crank.

The most intriguing aspect of the bike is how a modestly difficult trail becomes an entirely new beast on which we struggle through rock gardens and around switchbacks. I cannot recall a time I ever found my mind working so hard while riding – where will the rear wheel track through this turn? Do I have to warn Caroline about this rock? Will her cranks clear it? How close will her bars come to this tree? How can I get up that without being able to lift the front end?!  Oh nuts, I’m going to get yelled at for that one!

Another rather unexpected consequence of spending so much time on the bike during the Divide was some sort of breakthrough for Caroline’s confidence on technical descents. Even though she could not even see what we were blasting down as we crossed mountain range after mountain range, her head apparently became accustomed to the speed and feel of faster descending. Upon returning to Arizona, she got back on her hardtail, comically wobbled up our driveway, nearly out of control as she suddenly had handlebars that turned. Within a few rides, she was descending techy singletrack as she never had before.

So for those of you out there that are wondering, yes, we’re still riding Big Blue. So watch out, because our brakes only let us stop so fast!

One other thing to note: Salsa showed the next generation prototype at Frostbike a few weeks ago and are continuing to work at bringing the bike to market. They've even announced the name: Powderkeg

Stay tuned for further developments!

This post filed under topics: Kurt Refsnider Prototype Sponsored Riders Tandem

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Kurt Refsnider

Kurt Refsnider

After growing up in Minnesota, I’ve been lured away by the rugged charm of the mountainous west. I relish every opportunity I find to spend a day (or days) on the bike, linking together unknown trails and forgotten routes through deserted country, enjoying the simplicity and unpredictability. When driven to race, I am growing ever fonder of pushing the limits of endurance and sanity. [url=http://]http://[/url]


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Chris McKim | March 18th, 2013

Glad to see the intent towards a tandem.  How about a full suspension?  If the stoker isn’t happy, no one is happy!

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martini | March 18th, 2013

Heck yes i’d ride one! Er, WE’D ride one. Chequmegon would be prime target! As would all the gravel around us.

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Dan St.Onge | March 18th, 2013

My wife and I had a nice 26” tandem for over 10 years, after 2 kids and the advent of comfortable 29” mountain bikes, I found it hard to get her back on the tandem.  Developing a 29” tandem that would bring the same comfort as her standard 29er would be hard to resist.  Riding on the tandem is the great equalizer.  It gives us the opportunity to ride at the same pace and enjoy the outdoors.  I guess its a great way to get me to slow down and smell the “roses”.  I’m not claiming to be a racer, in fact I’m getting slower and older every year! 
We would love the opportunity to give the Powderkeg a spin.

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Shawn | September 24th, 2013

any chance I can order now. my wife and I are dedicated to Salsa and cant wait to own your tandem

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | September 26th, 2013

Shawn - Glad to hear you are excited about a Salsa tandem. Stay tuned. -Kid

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JohnClimber | October 15th, 2013

Any news on a release date yet?

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Speedub.Nate | December 3rd, 2013

Just stumbling upon this project now—actually your blog post from 2010. Love the idea of the Alternator dropouts for Rohloff compatibility. Would also appreciate rear brake bosses as an option; we run HS33’s as a stoker brake, in addition to front & rear discs. Adding “Powderkeg” to my Google watch list!

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shawn | February 23rd, 2014

Whats the latest on the tamdem? I got to ride one briefly. Lets just say I know someone you know and got the chance the day before the Dirty Kanza 200. My wife and I are looking forward to riding the DK together on your tandem :)

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