Hase Pino: a Tandem with a View

She sits there, patiently waiting to go, tempting you. Taunting you. Her designers devised a 12,000km (7400 miles) trek across Canada under 240 kg (530 pound) loads to test her. Where will she take you? London to Gibralter? Paris to Peking? New York to San Francisco? Or maybe just a pleasant cruise to the theater: you know you can never find parking there for the car...

She's the Hase Pino which you have long coveted and finally own. A tandem bicycle with a recumbent seat forward and a regular post seat for her captain, she allows her riders to pass the time in pleasant conversation without even raising their voices. And the oddness of the arrangement ensures that you are greeted with smiles wherever you go. The bike has other advantages:

It is short enough to load onto a standard rear-mounted bike carrier on a car, or push onto the train with you. The Pino is also a great bike for family tours; a special attachment to shorten the pedal length is available for the front seat. Like the conference bike, the Pino is also an enabler for people with a disability. It can be ridden by one rider as well, so if you work in the same direction as your partner, you can commute together and enjoy the healthy ride and quality time chatting and until the first drop-off point.

Of course, it is designed for two and this is where one of its strongest points is noticed: both the stoker and the captain have a clear view. On a standard tandem, and to a lesser extent on a double recumbent, the rear person cannot see where they are going. The only tandem with a comparable panoramic view we have tried is the Ostrad Janus: a crazy fun-park ride, also a guaranteed smile-maker, but lacking some of the practical advantages of the Hase Pino, including the subtle matter of the panoramic view being to the front. (Although many families own two cars...a second tandem seems perfectly in order.)

The Pino does suffer from many of the usual disadvantages of tandems, and a couple unique to the Pino design. The bike is heavy, although for a price lighter weight components can get the tour bike down to 17.7kg (just under 39 pounds) and the sport bike weighs in at only 13.7kg (30 pounds). It takes a couple kilometers to get accustomed to the unusual steering because the front wheel is off-set under the seat of the stoker rather than directly under the handlebars. A little practice overcomes this drawback, but it is advised to find a quiet place free of pedestrians and parked cars for your first ride.

Disk brakes are an essential on this bike, with its battering ram front end and tandem inertia. It is also available with a Rollhof hub, which has the significant advantage that it can be shifted under load or while stopped, which always requires a bit more coordination on a tandem.

And as a final caveat, I will give this warning: a tandem bike is a "relationship accelerator". If the relationship is on the rocks but you just haven't noticed yet, a tandem is the catalyst for the break-up. But, if you and your partner are made for each other, a tandem (any tandem) will bring you closer. So be sure you are ready for the consequences, then let the horizon be the limit.

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