Despite its comfort, the HHH isn't slow, even with monster tires. The grunting you put into it is returned in immediate speed—more so than even on a single, because you’ve got two engines. Is it a speedmaster racing-ish tandem? Happily, no. It's so much more and so much more fun.
WHERE IT'S MADE, WHAT IT COSTS: Taiwan, where mfring cost are lower, so we could pull out all the stops, not compromise on the number of joints required to make the frame as good as it can be. The craftsmanship is unsurpassed, and the frame costs only $1,800.
You'll notice the frame is super triangulated, with more lateral bracing than most modern tandem frames. The extra bracing makes the HHH frame stiffer and stronger, but have, for the most part, been removed from most modern tandems (which used to have them) as a way to reduce manufacturing costs and make them easier to S/S couple. If you're dreaming of a globetrotting tandem, shield your eyes from the HHH.
IT'S A GOOD VALUE: The $1,800 includes—
• the best eccentric by far—the Bushnell Retro ($125)
• two seat posts ($60 value) & headset ($50 at least).
For the first 20 buyers we’ll include a designed-by-us NITTO-made tandem Bullmoose style stoker stem. We have only 20. They’re a pain to get, and the minimums are too high for us to do it again. Either way, you get a $100 to $200 value included.
MATERIALS: CrMo steel frame and fork. Tubes are ovalized vertically at the head tube and laterally at the captain's seat tube intersections to allow piercings—kind of like the way Burley did it. This allows full-length marathon tubes and high-integrity joints.
CONSTRUCTION: TIG-welded frame with investment cast seat binders and head tube reinforcement rings. These are our own design, they're good, and they say RBW on them forever.
BRAKES: V-BRAKE braze-ons front and rear. DISC-MOUNT on the rear. The cable guides are exactly where they should be, so cabling is easy.
DROPOUTS: Chunky Rivendell-designed, expensive investment castings.
ECCENTRIC: It's made for the BUSHNELL, and comes with it. ($120 value) INCLUDED IN THE $1,800 PRICE. The Bushnell eccentric is the best in the world. (An eccentric allows the timing chain to be tensioned. All tandems need something to do that, and the other styles of eccentrics are crude in comparison, and don't work as well.)
SEAT POSTS: 29.8MM, and comes with two. (total $60 value at least). The stoker stem fits onto the seat post, and it's easy to get 29.8mm stoker stems.
HEADSET: 1 1/8" threadless. Comes with a good one (all you need). It might be a Tange, might be an FSA. We've used both, they're excellent. $50 value.
BRAZE-ONS: Ample for assorted racks, four water bottles, and even a kickstand plate. Tandems are sort of tricky to put a rear rack on. The chainstays are spread to 145mm, and racks made for 130-135mm. You need a tandem-specific or disc-brake specific rear rack. We don't have them—sorry, but that would be the straw that broke our back—but Blackburn, Topeak, Tubus, and others make them.
"This is Rivendell’s first and only tandem. It seems risky. I feel better buying from an established tandem veteran expert" (you may be thinking...)
Good concerns. Yes, it’s our first and only tandem and we’re going to stop after this. If that makes you nervous—understood! But also understand that I/Grant have owned two tandems before—a 1981 Tom Ritchey and a more recent Mercian that I designed myself (they let me do it).
Also understand that although tandems are “a different animal,” but it’s not a jellyfish versus grizzly bear contrast. It’s more like trout versus salmon. They’re still two-wheelers that use most of the same parts, they should both ride smooth and easy, and the HHH does.
It's neutral, not quirky, easy to control in all conditions. It's pleasantly light=steering and easy to maneuver even for a week captain. The stoker will be happy with the long chainstays, which put the rear axle further back, so a bump's enerfy isn't directed straight up at the ol' crotch. Stoker and captain alike will like the roominess and comfort.
There are 65 on the road as of Sept 1. We've received raving feedback from about 25 of them, a mix of experienced tandem riders and tandem rookies.
ARE THEY A STANDARD BIKE IN YOUR LINE FROM NOW ON?
Absolutely....NOT. After two rounds of prototypes (six bikes), we nailed all the details, did an finite element test on the frames to check the stresses and make sure it's overbuilt...and at this point we could go forth and make hundreds. But tandems are expensive for us to deal with. We don't ship fully assembled ones, because we don't have boxes for them--maybe they're gettable--but in any case, assembling a tandem takes too much out of Mark.
SO I GET A FRAME AND FORK AND THEN WHAT?
Have your local dealer assemble it, and offer them $270 to do it—it's worth it to you, and they'll think it's worth it to them. Buy some parts there, while you're at it. We have all of the parts you need, but it's only good form to buy some stuff--accessories and SOME parts—from your in-town dealer. But make sure they've assembled tandems before. We don't want them calling us and asking questions they shouldn't have to ask--or what's worse, accusing us of spec'ing a bike with incompatible parts.
DO YOU HAVE TANDEM-SPECIFIC PARTS?
Cranks, yes--but we ordered the arm lengths according to the frame size, so here's what you get if you get a frame and want the cranks:
SMALL FRAME: 170 both
MEDIUM FRAME: 173 front, 170 back
LARGE FRAME: 178 front, 170 back
Main drive rings are 44 x 34 x 24, with the smallest two steel, as they should be. Timing rings are 38T steel, and come with ring guards.
The cranks are our own SILVER brand. Not rebranded cranks out of the mfr's book. We designed these ourselves, spend $12,000 on the tooling, and they're cold-forged 7075 T6 aluminum, and pass the strictest Mtn Bike EN tests (cranks have tests, this is the toughest).
WHY SUCH SMALL RINGS ON A TANDEM?
The big 650B tires make the 44 feel like a 48 on a mtn bike; and with 11/12T rear cogs, why go bigger? The smaller big ring is more usable. When you have a 54 (as many tandems do), it's usable on descents that terrify your stoker, but for regular riding it's just a chainguard for the middle ring you're usually in.
And remember. the HHH is a fun-and-traveling tandem. It's not the bike you take to beat the fast guys on their singles. It's a family terrific bike. Even the large size fits a typical 5-foot stoker. By the time your child or grandchild is ten--hope aboard, let's go get some ice cream!
SAGE, DARK GRAYISH BLUE, AND MAYBE AN ORANGE. No options. Our regular painter couldn't fit them into his booth (which is in Taichung, Taiwan, by the way), so they went to a powder coater.
We like all the colors, but it's human nature to prefer the color you can't get because we ran out. Keep in mind that the HHH is, in its humble hobo low-tech rockem-sockem fun family and serious expedition way, unlike most or maybe all other tandems on the market. There's no carbon. It's not suspended (no need!), and it's not disc-only. It's not a drop bar bike--ride it with our BOSCO bars or ALBATROSS bars or CHOCO bars--or some other non-drop.
It is highly unlikely that we'll do these tandems again. We'll certainly "support" them with parts and technical support. We have decals for repaints. But no more bikes. The plan was to make 25, but we got orders for 60+, so we ordered 70, then added a second run of 30 more to make it an even 100. That is final.
CALL OR EMAIL TO ORDER OR FOR MORE INFORMATION.
You can talk to Dave, Mark, Roman, Will, or Grant. Any of us can tell you all about the HubbuHubbuH. Please call to order. 800 345 3918
And here's more information, including drawings and geometry. It has long chainstays, long top tubes, and is designed for upright, sweep-back handlebars. It's not a drop-bar, skinny-tire tandem.
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