A few years ago I was blessed with the opportunity (or cursed if you see multiple bike syndrome as a problem) to take a tandem off of a friends hands for free. A mid 80s (I think) Burley Rock N Roll tandem. Old school all steel!
The catch? It had been wrecked. Frame was straight, but it needed handlebars, cranks and chainrings, a new timing chain, wheels were tacoed and a few other random parts.
My goal was to fix it up and install a “child stoker” kit so the little ones could ride with me.
What is such a kit? It is composed of another bottom bracket in a housing that bolts to the stoker seat tube, two more chainrings, connector chain for the whole contraption to attach to the main stoker cranks, an extended stem for a shorter reach and kid-friendly (shorter) cranks.
Well great, just order one up from Burley, right?
Well, no. Burley doesn’t even make bicycles anymore. Sometimes this kit shows up on ebay as a whole, sometimes in pieces.
Thankfully I was able to score the “most” unique part of the kit from biding my time on ebay – the bottom bracket. After that, I was able to re-create the kit with other various pieces and parts.
My own DIY child stoker kit parts list:
- Burley Child Stoker crank bottom bracket and shell (ebay). Even this could be fabricated on your own with a square taper BB, a BB shell from a wrecked steel bike and some cutting / welding work
- “Standard” tandem cranks of any length (I got a used set from ebay)
- Tandems East Original crank shorteners (ebay)
- Control Tech Stoker Tandem Bike Stem – extends from 215mm to 255mm (Amazon)
- However – this was not available in a size that would fit the Burley’s “Captain” seatpost (26.6mm). So I ordered the 29.8mm (seatpost size) x 25.4mm (handlebar size) version. On top of all that, the shims weren’t available to span the range from my seatpost to the stem, so I also had to order another seatpost too! What I ended up with:
- Chainrings (two) at 110BCD and somewhere close to 40T. It didn’t matter what # teeth as long as both were the same. I think I found two 38T rings at the local used bike shop (Lucky Bikes – link below)
- 7/8/9 speed chain with a Powerlink. You’ll need to adjust the length based on the chosen location of the bottom bracket.
- Chainring bolts long enough to “double up” chainrings on the stoker crank (see image below). A spacer might be needed based on your setup for timing chain clearance
Wanting to have the bike ride-able while there is still good weather left in the year, I turned to Lucky Bikes to do all the repair work. Kip and crew did a great job fixing the beast up. Rebuilt wheels (one needed a new axle), cassette swapped out to Hyperglide, new handlebars and cork tape, new Michelin tires… etc…
Once those guys were done I installed my DIY child stoker kit and … Voila!
Ready for fun family rides!