Author Topic: Coupled Tandem  (Read 2118 times)

Coupled Tandem
« on: January 11, 2021, 03:40:37 pm »
Hi folks,

I'm new here so I'll introduce myself. I'm 61 and have been cycling on and off most of my life. My wife and I bought a s/h Orbit tandem three years ago and absolutely love. At around the same time we sought to reduce our car usage as much as possible and as a result I built a cargo bike for local shopping etc. When, a few months ago, our car got to the stage where we needed to scrap it we took the decision to go car-less. This has been very successful and our tandem is our main means of transport if we are together, otherwise it's solo bikes. For the past three years our holidays have been with the tandem but using the car to get to other parts of the country. Now that we have no car our options appear to be limited for going further afield as taking a tandem on a train seems to be a logistical nightmare. So I am considering getting a coupled tandem in the hope that travelling with it will be easier, either by train or in a rented car. I would therefore appreciate the benefit of the experience of those of you who have gone down this route.

Cheers, Ian

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2021, 05:04:43 pm »
Hi Ian

In the best traditions of the Internet, I'll not answer your question directly (if at all).  Don't write off taking your tandem by train entirely, it depends wherabouts in the country you are, where you want to go and what rolling stock your Train Operating Company has.

I'm in Sussex and have successfully taken an uncoupled tandem on services operated by Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern by employing a Winning Smile and sliding it in to the regulation bike space. These services neither need nor provide a booking for putting any kind of bike on a train. A few years ago I took a Hase Pino, which is slightly shorter than a regular tandem, from London Liverpool Street to Norwich, which needed a booking. The rolling stock at the time featured a proper luggage van, as did the service from Grantham to London.

I doubt, however, you'll be able to get a tandem onto a service using dangly bike spaces, where the bike is hung up by its front wheel.

Russell OTP has recently got a new! shiny! tandem which I think has S&S couplers. I'll see if I can get him to reply.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 05:13:59 pm »
HK and I have three tandems currently and none have couplers. All future tandems would have couplers, whether S&S or other options. We have both had coupled solos for well over a decade.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 08:52:23 pm »
Hi Ian

In the best traditions of the Internet, I'll not answer your question directly (if at all).  Don't write off taking your tandem by train entirely, it depends wherabouts in the country you are, where you want to go and what rolling stock your Train Operating Company has.

I'm in Sussex and have successfully taken an uncoupled tandem on services operated by Southern, Thameslink and Southeastern by employing a Winning Smile and sliding it in to the regulation bike space. These services neither need nor provide a booking for putting any kind of bike on a train. A few years ago I took a Hase Pino, which is slightly shorter than a regular tandem, from London Liverpool Street to Norwich, which needed a booking. The rolling stock at the time featured a proper luggage van, as did the service from Grantham to London.

I doubt, however, you'll be able to get a tandem onto a service using dangly bike spaces, where the bike is hung up by its front wheel.

Russell OTP has recently got a new! shiny! tandem which I think has S&S couplers. I'll see if I can get him to reply.
Hi Tim, Thanks for you reply. I'm in Harrogate which is served by Northern Rail. Their bike policy is very ambiguous and does not allow tandems. In reality I don't think we would have much problem travelling out of peak times, which could get us to Leeds or York. The problem comes when wanting to travel further afield where we would almost certainly need to use LNER with its "dangly bike spaces". Also the idea of planning a holiday, buying train tickets in advance and then not being able to get on board with the tandem is not my cup of tea.

Cheers, Ian

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2021, 09:08:20 pm »
I have a Circe Helios and my next big spend on it will be to retro fit couplers. We live in Wakefield and also have to deal with Northern. Also the rolling stock that used to take tandems easily is rapidly being replaced with newer, less accommodating stock. Grand Central used to be brilliant and you could turn up at York with a full sized tandem and they just coped. Since they now have newer units, I would want to speak to the company directly to see what was running on any given service.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2021, 09:32:31 pm »
I have a Circe Helios and my next big spend on it will be to retro fit couplers. We live in Wakefield and also have to deal with Northern. Also the rolling stock that used to take tandems easily is rapidly being replaced with newer, less accommodating stock. Grand Central used to be brilliant and you could turn up at York with a full sized tandem and they just coped. Since they now have newer units, I would want to speak to the company directly to see what was running on any given service.
Thank you. I find it increasingly frustrating that many years ago when the term "active travel" didn't exist, yet alone was officially encouraged, we could just turn up at a station with our bikes, or a tandem, and put it in the guards van. Now, with all the awareness of global warming, it is increasingly difficult to take bikes on trains and it is a juggling act of different operators' policies, what rolling stock they're running on a particular service, which can vary from day to day. Oh how I wish the railways were re-nationalised and we had a government that would impose the provision of "proper" accommodation of bicycles. (Sorry about the rant).

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2021, 11:19:45 am »
I have a Moulton tandem adaption. Having to separate it for rail transport would result in two or three cumbersome sections that we couldn't cope with.

Hence the main reason for retaining our car. We can just about manage to load and unload two sections.

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2021, 11:45:17 am »
For the companies using the new Class 800 trains (LNER and Great Western) you will not have a hope. It's difficult enough to fit a solo in their bike spaces (each space is supposed to fit two bikes, but it is almost impossible to get more than one in). Cross-Country also has dangly spaces so will almost certainly be impossible too. The only companies which are likely to allow tandems are those which still operate the old 125s. I think Great Western sold theirs to ScotRail, so you may be alright there, and I believe Anglia still use them. But both are a long way from Harrogate.

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2021, 06:06:42 pm »
For the companies using the new Class 800 trains (LNER and Great Western) you will not have a hope. It's difficult enough to fit a solo in their bike spaces (each space is supposed to fit two bikes, but it is almost impossible to get more than one in). Cross-Country also has dangly spaces so will almost certainly be impossible too. The only companies which are likely to allow tandems are those which still operate the old 125s. I think Great Western sold theirs to ScotRail, so you may be alright there, and I believe Anglia still use them. But both are a long way from Harrogate.
Are your comments about using an unseparated tandem or do you also mean a tandem in two sections?
Thanks, Ian

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2021, 06:11:23 pm »
Tandem in two sections is likely to be about as annoying as two solos; it's the lack of space for bikes with handlebars that's the main problem.  Half-a-tandem is generally more unwieldy than a solo bike, too, as you can't wheel it to the right bit of platform as the train arrives.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

DaveJ

  • Happy days
Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2021, 10:49:13 pm »
Our separable Thorn went on the LNER train from London to Edinburgh and back last year.  The advantage of starting off at one end of the line is you don't have the problem Kim describes, of trying to wheel it to the right part of the platform as the train arrives.

The Thorn separates in front of the front seattube, so it comes apart quickly and cleanly.  I unscrewed the cable separaters, and undid the S&S coupling, just leaving them hand tight, so I was able to wheel the bike around the station, and then actually separating it took less than a minute.

That still leaves you with two bits of bike to put on the train, and in our case, four panniers too.  Its something of a rush.

The bike just about fits in our Toyota Yarris.  We have to take the rear wheel off if we want to go anywhere in the car once the bike is in though.  Otherwise the passenger seat is all the way forward.

It has let us do some things we wouldn't otherwise have been able to do.  The trip to Scotland for example, and back in 2019 we took two tandems down to the ferry in Portsmouth, one inside and one on the roof, so that we could have five days cycling in Brittany and Normandy with our daughter and her husband.

     

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2021, 06:58:58 am »
Our separable Thorn went on the LNER train from London to Edinburgh and back last year.  The advantage of starting off at one end of the line is you don't have the problem Kim describes, of trying to wheel it to the right part of the platform as the train arrives.

The Thorn separates in front of the front seattube, so it comes apart quickly and cleanly.  I unscrewed the cable separaters, and undid the S&S coupling, just leaving them hand tight, so I was able to wheel the bike around the station, and then actually separating it took less than a minute.

That still leaves you with two bits of bike to put on the train, and in our case, four panniers too.  Its something of a rush.

The bike just about fits in our Toyota Yarris.  We have to take the rear wheel off if we want to go anywhere in the car once the bike is in though.  Otherwise the passenger seat is all the way forward.

It has let us do some things we wouldn't otherwise have been able to do.  The trip to Scotland for example, and back in 2019 we took two tandems down to the ferry in Portsmouth, one inside and one on the roof, so that we could have five days cycling in Brittany and Normandy with our daughter and her husband.

   
Hi Dave, thank you for your helpful reply. Are suggesting that it would be impractical to use LNER unless starting from a terminus? With regard to fitting your Thorn in a Yaris, you say that you remove the rear wheel, Do you have mudguards and a pannier rack fitted, and did these need to be removed?

Thanks, Ian

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2021, 08:11:13 am »
For the companies using the new Class 800 trains (LNER and Great Western) you will not have a hope. It's difficult enough to fit a solo in their bike spaces (each space is supposed to fit two bikes, but it is almost impossible to get more than one in). Cross-Country also has dangly spaces so will almost certainly be impossible too. The only companies which are likely to allow tandems are those which still operate the old 125s. I think Great Western sold theirs to ScotRail, so you may be alright there, and I believe Anglia still use them. But both are a long way from Harrogate.
Are your comments about using an unseparated tandem or do you also mean a tandem in two sections?
Thanks, Ian
I was really commenting on an unseparated tandem but may also apply to separable ones re class 800s. Since these have arrived on my local line I haven't even tried my (inseparable) on them - it's clearly impossible. I've taken solos on them often, it may be possible to get both halves of a separable tandem in one bike compartment but it won't be easy. One thing to watch out for is wheel size: it is very difficult to hang a 700 wheel on the upper hook with anything but the narrowest tyres. And anything greater than about 55mm rim/tyre depth is hard on the lower hook.

One trick might be to use carriage J on the 9 carriage version of the train. This has two bike compartments next to each other, you could put half in each.

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2021, 10:56:54 am »
There's a bit more discussion on this topic in the 'Tandems on Trains' thread.  My experience is:

Mine has 2 sets of S&S couplings (total 6 couplings), such that you end up with the front half (which includes the pilot's saddle & stoker handlebars), the rear triangle (includes stoker saddle), and then 3 loose tubes. The result of this is that if in a real bind, you can take the wheels off, produce your handy bin bags and fit everything into 3 bin bags (front half; back section; wheels and random tubes) which suddenly ceases to be a bike and goes in a luggage rack or behind some seats. I've used this to get it on a bus, when even a regular bike wouldn't have got on.

Take a look at this website for pros and cons of different coupling positions - http://www.sandsmachine.com/tandem.htm

At the time we got ours, it wasn't because we planned train trips, but because I'd had a major injury during a ride that meant I couldn't physically bend my knee, so my pilot had to leave me on the side of the road whilst he rode over 60km back to car. The ability to produce some bin bags to convert a bike to 'luggage' is incredibly useful in a crisis.

DaveJ

  • Happy days
Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2021, 11:13:19 am »

Hi Dave, thank you for your helpful reply. Are suggesting that it would be impractical to use LNER unless starting from a terminus? With regard to fitting your Thorn in a Yaris, you say that you remove the rear wheel, Do you have mudguards and a pannier rack fitted, and did these need to be removed?

Thanks, Ian

We haven't tried getting the separated bike on the LNER anywhere except a terminus, so I don't know.  I imagine that if the station staff can tell you where to stand, it would be OK, but if you are left guessing, it would be quite difficult.  I suppose you just chuck the bike and panniers on, and sort them out once the train is moving.

We've put the separated tandem on one of the local trains here, and that was OK.  We wheeled the two bits the short distance along the platform, and it was fine.  But we didn't have the touring panniers that day, and we didn't have to hang the parts of the bike up.

We do have rack and mudguards on the bike, but taking the rear wheel out gives just enough room to get the bike in the Yarris without having to move the passenger seat (and it really is JUST enough room).


Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2021, 11:37:24 am »
Thank you for the introduction Tim!   ;D

We do indeed have a shiny new tandem with couplers but cannot comment on their convenience for transport as the only time we have uncoupled it the 9 months we have had it was to bring it home from JD.  A worldwide pandemic is our excuse.   ;)

In any case the source of that tandem has now closed forever.

Welcome Ian and good luck.

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2021, 07:12:30 am »
Thank you for the introduction Tim!   ;D

We do indeed have a shiny new tandem with couplers but cannot comment on their convenience for transport as the only time we have uncoupled it the 9 months we have had it was to bring it home from JD.  A worldwide pandemic is our excuse.   ;)

In any case the source of that tandem has now closed forever.

Welcome Ian and good luck.
Hi Russell,

Thanks for chipping in. Sadly a Bob Jackson frame or complete tandem from JD would have been our first choice. They are less than an hour's drive from us (not that we have a car but could always hire to collect) and I made enquiries with them on this matter a few months back. Options now appear limited. I don't want to run a Rholhoff hub so Thorn is out. That leaves Co-Motion as the obvious choice, but an (even more) expensive one.

Reading the responses to my question and other forum posts it would appear that having a coupled tandem doesn't make the possibility train travel that much better, but for us it would make the use of a hire car to transport a tandem feasible.

Your Sapphire looks like a beauty and I'm pleased for you that just got in there. So sad that BJ have closed down, not just from our point of view.

Cheers, Ian

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2021, 11:02:42 am »
You could try Woodrup Cycles.  I spoke to them many years ago when I was researching a new frame, just after Chas Roberts closed, I think it was.

http://www.woodrupcycles.com/tandem

I seem to recall an interesting conversation with him but have no experience of them at all.

R

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2021, 11:25:14 am »
You could try Woodrup Cycles.  I spoke to them many years ago when I was researching a new frame, just after Chas Roberts closed, I think it was.

http://www.woodrupcycles.com/tandem

I seem to recall an interesting conversation with him but have no experience of them at all.

R
I hadn't thought of Woodrup, thanks. I see they show an open frame model which, in my mind, is well suited to S&S couplings.

Cheers, Ian

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2021, 11:31:29 am »
You could try Woodrup Cycles.  I spoke to them many years ago when I was researching a new frame, just after Chas Roberts closed, I think it was.

http://www.woodrupcycles.com/tandem

I seem to recall an interesting conversation with him but have no experience of them at all.

R
I hadn't thought of Woodrup, thanks. I see they show an open frame model which, in my mind, is well suited to S&S couplings. I've dropped them a line and will post back their response.

Cheers, Ian

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2021, 10:00:48 pm »
About LNER tandem loading policy for AZUMA. The LNER website says:

The size of the bike storage is the same on all of our trains. Tandems up to 2.5m in length with both wheels removed can also be stored onboard.

and

Bikes must have a reservation (tyres measuring over 7.4cm and tandems require two reservations).

We loaded a Thorn Adventure with no wheels and upside down in an IEP loading trial held in 2014 and this has carried through to LNER policy for these trains. I have only seen one report of it being done in practice and suggest for the moment the best way to follow up on that is to go to the Tandem Club website discussion:

https://tandem-club.org.uk/forum/discussions?id=11216

I'm working on an article for the Tandem Club Journal where I will suggestways of making practical use of LNER's permissive policy as well as the current state of play with other companies.

Tandem in two sections is likely to be about as annoying as two solos; it's the lack of space for bikes with handlebars that's the main problem.  Half-a-tandem is generally more unwieldy than a solo bike, too, as you can't wheel it to the right bit of platform as the train arrives.


This is not our experience. Our S & S coupled Thorn Adventure spilts in two equal halves and I find it's an easy carry, front in one hand and the back in the other with the rear wheel on the ground freewheeling. At the train door it's easy to load one half then the other on my own unless there is a full gale blowing the door shut or the track is way off level with the same result. The stoker handles any luggage.

We now have another tandem with the more usual divide just ahead of the captain's seat tube but have yet to try it on a train. It is easy to move around on smooth ground just like the half and half split. Either type should be no problem hanging in the Hitachi built trains (Class 800, 801, 802 GWR IET, GNER Azuma) provided the space hasn't been filled up with luggage. I'm confident the hook size will be OK with tyres up to 50mm wide. The other option is to ignore the hooks and stand the halves down on the protected couplers. Yes, protectors are essential if you want to avoid the risk of taking a chunk out of someones lower leg or luggage. As far as I know the planned system of bike reservations for actual hanging locations has never been used successfully but you must reserve two spaces as the reservation system is used to prevent too many bikes on one train.

As many couplers configuration leave long unsupported tubes it is worth thinking about loading in a way that protects these vunerable parts from attack by massive wheeled cases and baby carriers. I hadn't thought about that when I took the picture you can see in my Tandem Club forum post. Quick action straps are very useful to stop the halves flapping around or falling over if standing on the deck.

If you plan to take a tandem on any of the tandem permissive train services, print out the company policy for tandems. These are linked from the left had column here:

https://tandem-club.org.uk/files/information/trains/index.html


Station staff are not usually aware of these policies and some train managers likewise. Be early and if taking a coupled tandem on a non tandem permissive service it does no harm to split it away for the immediate gaze of railway staff and public.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2021, 11:37:17 pm »
Half-a-tandem is generally more unwieldy than a solo bike, too, as you can't wheel it to the right bit of platform as the train arrives.


This is not our experience. Our S & S coupled Thorn Adventure spilts in two equal halves and I find it's an easy carry, front in one hand and the back in the other with the rear wheel on the ground freewheeling. At the train door it's easy to load one half then the other on my own unless there is a full gale blowing the door shut or the track is way off level with the same result. The stoker handles any luggage.

Fair point, I was imagining two people with half-a-tandem and some quantity of luggage each.

My own (non-tandem) experiences have always hinged on the ability to use the cycle to transport itself and luggage to the relevant part of the train.  On the few occasions I've tried to do cycles-on-trains with barakta (who can't lift things due to her disabilities), it's become a nightmare as soon as we've had to convert her trike from something that can be wheeled into something that has to be carried, in order to comply with TOC policy.  We gave up and used cars  :(

TBH, I find a folded Brompton and a non-trivial bag to be difficult enough to carry for any kind of distance.  Cycles have wheels, and I wish the TOCs would allow us to use them to make it easier, quicker and safer to get them on and off trains... </rant>
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2021, 06:51:46 am »
About LNER tandem loading policy for AZUMA. The LNER website says:

The size of the bike storage is the same on all of our trains. Tandems up to 2.5m in length with both wheels removed can also be stored onboard.

and

Bikes must have a reservation (tyres measuring over 7.4cm and tandems require two reservations).

We loaded a Thorn Adventure with no wheels and upside down in an IEP loading trial held in 2014 and this has carried through to LNER policy for these trains. I have only seen one report of it being done in practice and suggest for the moment the best way to follow up on that is to go to the Tandem Club website discussion:

https://tandem-club.org.uk/forum/discussions?id=11216

I'm working on an article for the Tandem Club Journal where I will suggestways of making practical use of LNER's permissive policy as well as the current state of play with other companies.

Tandem in two sections is likely to be about as annoying as two solos; it's the lack of space for bikes with handlebars that's the main problem.  Half-a-tandem is generally more unwieldy than a solo bike, too, as you can't wheel it to the right bit of platform as the train arrives.


This is not our experience. Our S & S coupled Thorn Adventure spilts in two equal halves and I find it's an easy carry, front in one hand and the back in the other with the rear wheel on the ground freewheeling. At the train door it's easy to load one half then the other on my own unless there is a full gale blowing the door shut or the track is way off level with the same result. The stoker handles any luggage.

We now have another tandem with the more usual divide just ahead of the captain's seat tube but have yet to try it on a train. It is easy to move around on smooth ground just like the half and half split. Either type should be no problem hanging in the Hitachi built trains (Class 800, 801, 802 GWR IET, GNER Azuma) provided the space hasn't been filled up with luggage. I'm confident the hook size will be OK with tyres up to 50mm wide. The other option is to ignore the hooks and stand the halves down on the protected couplers. Yes, protectors are essential if you want to avoid the risk of taking a chunk out of someones lower leg or luggage. As far as I know the planned system of bike reservations for actual hanging locations has never been used successfully but you must reserve two spaces as the reservation system is used to prevent too many bikes on one train.

As many couplers configuration leave long unsupported tubes it is worth thinking about loading in a way that protects these vunerable parts from attack by massive wheeled cases and baby carriers. I hadn't thought about that when I took the picture you can see in my Tandem Club forum post. Quick action straps are very useful to stop the halves flapping around or falling over if standing on the deck.

If you plan to take a tandem on any of the tandem permissive train services, print out the company policy for tandems. These are linked from the left had column here:

https://tandem-club.org.uk/files/information/trains/index.html


Station staff are not usually aware of these policies and some train managers likewise. Be early and if taking a coupled tandem on a non tandem permissive service it does no harm to split it away for the immediate gaze of railway staff and public.

Hi Martyn,

Thank you for your helpful reply based on real life experience. It addresses a point which I have been wishing to raise: Where to fit couplers? Options are with an open frame design, as I see it, one pair of couplers either ahead of the front seat tube or behind it, or two pairs of couplers as above plus a pair ahead of the rear seat tube. I appreciate that splitting the bike behind the front seat tube involves removing and replacing the timing chain, which whilst a faff is not something that would put me off if I felt the advantages out weighed the benefits. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Your comment about protection for the couplers (or more from the couplers) is noted. Do you use something specific for this?

Cheers, Ian

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2021, 07:02:39 am »
You could try Woodrup Cycles.  I spoke to them many years ago when I was researching a new frame, just after Chas Roberts closed, I think it was.

http://www.woodrupcycles.com/tandem

I seem to recall an interesting conversation with him but have no experience of them at all.

R
I hadn't thought of Woodrup, thanks. I see they show an open frame model which, in my mind, is well suited to S&S couplings. I've dropped them a line and will post back their response.

Cheers, Ian

As promised... I have exchanged some emails with Kevin Sayles, (who has been building frames for 50 years and spent 10 years with Thorn, so should know his stuff) and he has been very helpful. The price he is quoting is no more than I would expect. He has added the caveat that he is likely to be retiring around this time next year, so that's another option that is likely to disappear.

I will be discussing this matter further with "The Stoker"...

Re: Coupled Tandem
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2021, 11:26:06 am »
Putting the couplers behind the captain's seat tube to give a 50/50 split gives you two bits both usefully shorter than a solo bike. We have found this works very well for loading into a small car with the bike's wheels in place. We ran an old Citroen C3 with the back seat out for a couple of years as a tandem and tool van. In 2019 that car and our 18 year old Berlingo went to scrap with electronics failures due to water ingress so we bought a C3 Picasso which takes the tandem halves very well behind the folded rear seat.

We collected our recently bought Thorn Discovery with the couplers ahead of the captain's seat tube in the C3 Picasso but even with the rear wheel off it doesn't fit laid flat. We don't plan to car transport that bike a lot but I may look at converting the rear mudguard to split, Rinko style, to shorten the rear section.

So the 50/50 split has it for small car transport but having to manage the sync chain when coupling up is a pain. The Adventure has Thorn through drive so the sync chain stays threaded when the bike splits but once slack it falls off the rear sync ring and gets itself into spaces where it can get stuck. I have made a device to keep the chain tight around the ring but it needs more work to be fully reliable. I have yet to find a really good way of getting the correct crank positions first time while manipulating the couplers. For 50/50 split, crossover drive with a sync belt might be best to avoid the oily chain handling and to allow marking of the belt for refitting with the correct crank positions.

The 50/50 split appears to have potential to make up overlapped as a psuedo solo for wheeling accros the station panniers in place and loading into a single bike space. So far I've not got this idea further than a few photos and scribbles. This might be a good way to go if the stoker can't deal with the luggage alone, as in Kim's post. If a train that takes bikes standing down on their wheels is part of a regular trip it would be worth putting some effort to make up the custom couplers for pseudo solo. They wouldn't need to be especially strong so lumps of plastic or plywood might do.

The split ahead of the captain's seat tube is much quicker and easier to use. A pseudo solo from this split would need the front wheel off the ground, perhaps with a castor under the front BB so would be heavier and inclined to head off down slope and be less convincingly solo like.

I can't see much value in having two pairs of couplers except for regular air transport using a hard shell case. For fingers crossed type infrequent air carraige of a split tandem in a cardboard box or plastic wrapper, best packing could depend on the carrier as some charge more for extra length and some treat all large sports equipment the same.