A Super light Custom Travel Tandem




Highlight: A fly-weight steel travel tandem from Rodriguez

These have been really hot in 2016!


Super Light Custom Steel Tandem by Rodriguez


Rodriguez Ultra-light tandems offer many advantages over other brands:

  • A Rodriguez rides like steel because it is steel
  • Rodriguez Tandems are built custom to fit both riders at no extra charge
  • We don’t skimp or use tricky weight saving techniques like leaving out the Stiffener Tube
  • Rodriguez Tandems are built to last forever without the use of non-standard parts
  • A fork that’s not only tandem rated, but handles better than any carbon fork on the market
  • An adjustable stoker to dial in your stoker’s fit, then a super-light steel or titanium fixed position stem to shave another pound or two
  • A lifetime frame and fork warranty (most carbon frames have very limited warranties)

For almost a decade now, we here at Rodriguez have been known for building some of the lightest tandem bikes on the road. One surprising thing about these bicycles built for two is that they are made of good ol’ American steel! Well actually, they are made of the New American Steel. In 2007 we introduced our 25.8 pound Ultra-light tandem and shocked our competition. Since the bike’s introduction, we’ve sold them steadily, but 2016 seems to be something special. We sold several just in the last few months.

Now you don’t have to sacrifice weight to have the durability, comfort, and superior performance of a hand-built steel tandem.

A twist this year is that many of them are travel versions using S&S couplings. This adds 2.7 pounds of weight, but we’ve been busy shaving weight where we can and now have these incredible bikes down to a science in the travel version as well. I thought it was time for a highlight on one that’s just coming through the assembly dept. now. This one is our Chorus version, and has some weighty additions, but still comes out incredibly light!

The Current Tandem at Hand
The Weight Break Down on this bike goes like this:

  • Rodriguez Ultra-light Chorus Tandem Model (28.6 pounds)
  • Rodriguez Travel Upgrade (+2.7 lbs)
  • Cantilever brakes for extra wide tire clearance (+8 oz)
  • Bodyfloat seat post for Stoker comfort (+8 oz)
  • Option for disc drag brake (+5 oz)
  • Spinergy Tandem Wheelset upgrade option (-5 oz)

Including the above list of weight additions, final weight on this bike is 32.5 lbs once the included lightweight custom steel stoker stem is installed. Our ultra-light tandem models come stock with a temporary adjustable stoker stem that is heavier. Once the stoker’s fit is completely dialed in, measurements are taken of the final preferred position and a lightweight steel (titanium in the case of the Record Tandem) fixed position stem is built to replace it.

Realize, when I quote weights, I’m quoting verified true digital scale weights that we will stand behind with a ‘no bull’ money back guarantee. This one clocked in at just 33lbs 4oz with the adjustable stem and the other options.


Custom Rodriguez Tandem with S&S couplings

This Rodriguez Travel Tandem (Chorus model) is not only great looking, but only weighs 33lbs 4oz as pictured here with the fully adjustable stem and several comfort upgrades that add some weight. Subtract 3/4lbs when the included ultra-light stem replaces the adjustable.

Lightened couplers and braze-ons all around help to keep this flyweight tandem one of the lightest, best performing tandems available today. This customer also chose to add rear rack braze-ons for light touring. At Rodriguez, your bike is really ‘your bike’. Just tell us what you want and we will make it happen!

View the full photo gallery for this bike here


If you or anyone you know, has been considering a high-end tandem, ultra-light or not, we ask you to consider a Rodriguez Custom Tandem. We build every tandem by hand, custom for its owners. We’ve been doing it longer than anyone else too. Since 1973 we’ve been building our tandems right here in Seattle’s University district. We’d love to be your tandem shop.


The New Rodriguez Bandito


The Lightest Road Bike with Disc Brakes!

Unleash the Beast!

For a decade now, we here at Rodriguez have been known for building some of the lightest bikes on the road. The amazing thing about these bikes is that they are made of good ol’ American steel! Well actually, they are made of the New American Steel. In 2006 we introduced our 13.5 pound Rodriguez Outlaw. That led to mass retirements of Trek Madone’s, Cervelo R3’s, Specialized Tarmac’s, and many many other overseas-made carbon frames. We love the look on people’s faces when they lift the Outlaw for the first time. Especially if they rode in on something they thought was ‘really light’.

Well, now we’d like to introduce something else equally spectacular. The Outlaw has a new cousin equipped with disc brakes, the Rodriguez Bandito. It took some time, and some planning to get this bike down to it’s fly-weight of just 15.9 pounds, but we’ve done it. The lightest disc brake bikes that we’ve been able to verify weight on are at least 2 pounds heavier than the Bandito.


“The Rodriguez Bandito offers the serious weight weenie some never before seen features available on a fly-weight disc brake road bike!”


Custom Steel bike with disc brakes by Rodriguez


Verified 15.9 pounds with disc brakes and 32c tires!

First up: 32c Tires

Now here’s an idea. One of the benefits to disc brakes on a road bike is that the brake caliper no longer limits your tire width. So, if the frame and fork are designed properly, you can put wide tires on your bike. Unfortunately, race bike manufacturers don’t realize that most ‘everyday’ riders would like this ability, and design their forks and frames for the same skinny tires that you could run with caliper brakes:-( We ask “where’s the fun in that?!”

The Bandito is the first ultra-light disc brake road bike designed for use with wide tires. As a matter of fact, we even did the weigh in with 32c tires on the bike. You can run up to 35c tires on this bike. We see the ability to run wide tires as the most important advantage to road disc brakes. Otherwise, why pay the weight penalty?

Next features: Lighter, more comfortable and more durable than your carbon bike

Now you won’t have to compromise weight, ride quality, comfort, or durability to own the sweetest ride in the pack. The Banditio comes with our lifetime warranty, just like all of our steel bikes (most carbon bikes have just 5 year limited warranties). Steel has a well deserved reputation as the smoothest riding material, but also is thought of as heavy:-( This is because most of us owned heavy steel bikes back in the 1970’s, and we associated the ‘heft’ with the frame material. We loved the ride, but were willing to sacrifice that smooth ride to save a few pounds on aluminum or carbon fiber. Well, steel has evolved, and now we can make a Rodriguez from steel that’s lighter than it’s carbon or aluminum counterparts. Some of you are probably ready to email us and schedule a test ride…right? Others out there, I know will be reading this and thinking “Bull Sh#$%” right? Well, read on then. I’ll explain a few things that will help you understand how we can pull this off.

Use your head:
Let’s talk about head tubes and head sets. This is the part of the bike where the fork is attached, and the bearings are referred to as the head set. Originally, carbon fiber bikes used the same sized head tubes and ISO head sets as titanium, aluminum and steel bikes. This part of the frame is under more stress, and carbon frames began to fail at this point. So, manufacturers began to ‘beef up’ this part of their carbon frames. Unlike aluminum, titanium and steel frames, it turns out carbon frames needed more material in this area in order to have the strength needed. To fit these bigger head tubes, bigger, non-standard head sets were used, and sometimes a proprietary fork. The issues of non-standard, or proprietary parts are many, but one thing is for sure. The bigger head tubes and head sets, and proprietary forks may have made the frame weight lower, but added weight to the full bike when built.

Bottoms up:
Now, let’s talk about bottom brackets. This is the part of your frame that holds the bearings for your cranks. Needless to say, this is also also weak point on a carbon bike. It’s a point of great stress on any frame. To fit the ultra-light, standard ISO bottom brackets that are used in steel, aluminum and titanium bikes, the carbon guys had to glue in a steel or aluminum shell so they could put threads in it. This added weight to a carbon frame. This was also a weak point as eventually the glue failed. To solve the problem, the carbon guys again abandoned the long held ISO standards, and adapted one of several different non-standards. Again, the frame had to be ‘beefed up’ and a heavier bottom bracket had to be used.

Let’s compare:
This brings us to an interesting point. Wether intentional or not, these evolutions artificially make a carbon frame seem lighter than it is. If one weighs just the carbon frame, without it’s required heavier bottom bracket and head set, the frame can be a little lighter than our steel Bandito. So a published frame weight is not the only thing to look at. If one weighs the carbon frame with it’s fork, required head set, and required bottom bracket, the result will be quite different. You see, an ultra-light Rodriguez steel frame, you can still use ultra-light ISO standard parts. This means that you can run much lighter head sets and bottom brackets, and in some cases forks. The result is very similar weights, or often, a lighter combined weight for the Rodriguez ultra-light.

So, no more weighing just the frame. You need to weigh the entire bike, or at least the frame with it’s bottom bracket, head set and fork to get a real comparison. If you do that, you’ll find the secret behind the Rodriguez ultra-light steel bikes like the new Bandito.

Added weight for no reason:
When designing the Bandito, we weighed a larger head tube and head set like the carbon bikes run. A lot of steel bike manufacturers run these, but I have no idea why. For instance, the weight difference between an ISO head tube set up and a 44mm head tube was just shy of 1/2 of a pound! On a steel bike, that’s completely unnecessary added weight, as a steel frame is strong enough without all of that ‘beef’.

Then, add to that the larger bottom brackets. The added weight again would be wasted on a steel frame, but none-the-less, a lot of steel bike builders use them.

If a steel bike has these larger head tubes, head sets, bottom bracket shells, and bottom brackets, it is a pretty heavy frame, and a really heavy bike. But, we don’t don’t use that stuff. I would put our ultra-light steel bikes up against any fly-weight on the market of any material.

In closing I’d like to say, if you love really light bikes, and you haven’t ridden a custom, American hand-made Rodriguez ultra-light, DO before you spend money on a carbon frame mass-produced overseas. If you already own a carbon bike, we challenge you to come in for a ride…but be careful…most who do wind up on a Rodriguez.

Thanks for reading – Dan 11-2016



Related Articles

Weight a Minute – Honesty in advertising
Steel vs. Carbon – Steel CAN be lighter
Chaos – Downside to abandoning ISO standards
The New Carbon… Carbon Steel!
Forever Bike – Proprietary parts 🙁

Just Sit On It!

This article was written Feb. 6th, 2015. Prices quoted reflect that date, and may have changed if you are reading this at a later date.

Bodyfloat Seat Post Installed and Adjusted • Just $250 at R+E Cycles • (206) 527-4822

What do the roads you ride feel like?


Do you find yourself having to stand up frequently over cracked, crumbling asphalt on your rides? How about you commuters? Is your expletive quota reached on just about every commute? I’m sure that you’re hoping for the city to fix the road, but that’s just wishful thinking now, isn’t it?

Now you can ride in comfort and quiet while sitting on your bicycle seat. “Surely you jest!” you’re thinking to yourself right now, but I’m not. Let me fill you in on the secret we’ve discovered.

Suspension seat posts have a long history, but most people think of them like we did….only worth using on the back of a tandem. That was before the Bodyfloat seat post.

If you would like to make a comfort upgrade to your bicycle that really works, and is high performance, this article is for you. Let me take you on a short journey into the world of suspension seat posts and show you where it is now.

First, a little history:

Early Attempts at Comfort:


As the Nation’s oldest tandem manufacturer, we’ve got a long history with every suspension style seat post imaginable. All the way back to the early Hydrapost, suspension seat posts have been added to almost every tandem we’ve built. Stokers (the person on the back of a tandem) are not aware of upcoming bumps unless the captain (the person up front) warns them in advance. Needless to say, there are lots of times when that does not happen, and the stoker feels the full force of the bump. So, tandem manufacturers like us have always tried to use a seat post that would mitigate this problem a bit.

The first designs were to try to make the seat post into a shock absorber. While a few of these seat posts were somewhat effective, they were not really the kind of product that anyone wanted to use on a high performance single bike. They were heavy, and only provided some ’emergency’ relief for that ‘whoops I forgot to warn you on that one’ situations. They basically worked like a pogo stick built into the seat post. One problem with this design is that your seat tube is at an angle (usually 73° from the ground or so), but gravity is trying to pull your body down at a 90° angle. This creates a lot of what’s been called ‘stiction’. Basically, the shock absorber is stuck in place until you hit something violent enough to break it free. When it breaks free, it drops, but then returns with great force (like a pogo stick). Kind of a delayed reaction with a slightly dampened energy return. In the absence of any other designs, these were used for several years.

You still see these seat posts all over on ‘comfort bikes’. They are very inexpensive these days, but don’t really work very well.

Comfort in the 1980’s and 1990’s


The first product to really work well was the Alsop Softride beam. This was in standard use on many brands of tandems for the stoker position for almost 20 years. We also built a lot of single bikes for the beam through the 1990’s. It required a special frame design, with special braze-ons and lots of specific parts. So, it didn’t really take off too well as you couldn’t easily add one on to your existing bike. When used though, this product did exactly what it was supposed to. The beam dropped a little bit with the riders weight (straight up and down and not at the 73° angle). When the rear wheel dropped into a rut, the rider stayed at the same height. Like the suspension in a car, the wheels could go up and down, but the rider didn’t feel the impact. No sticktion, great suspension, but your bike had to be custom made to work with the design. My wife and I ride a tandem with a Softride beam to this day. She swears by it, but the company is now gone.


After the Softride company went out of business, we were stuck with various seat post designs to try and provide some relief to stokers. The shock absorber version was not so good, so we tried some of the parallelogram designs that were out. These tried to take the stiction away by attaching the seat to a parallelogram and allowing the rider weight to raise and drop straight up and down like the Softride beam did. The problem that we ran into with them was that the ‘falling rate’ of the spring design was wrong. You could say they were built backwards. The spring was strong when the seat was at the top, and got weaker as the seat moved downward. So, if a bump was hard and the seat post began to drop, the rider would end up all the way at the bottom of the action. Then they would have to lift their weight back off of the seat to get the seat back up because the spring was too weak to actually lift the rider.

Even with their imperfections, we were limited to use these for the stoker positions of many tandems. Some people used them on single bikes, but like I said, these designs were not very high performance. For those who wanted something incredible, the wait was almost over. In 2013, the answer would arrive in the form of the Bodyfloat.

“OK Dan! Bring it in to this century already!”

In 2013, one of the guys who worked on the design for the original Alsop Softride beam visited our shop. He brought with him a new seat post design that he was very excited about, the Bodyfloat. He did a demonstration install/setup for Scott (our shop manager) on his personal bike. It was near closing time, so Scott rode the bike home with the post in it, and then he rode it back in the next morning. He said to me “I’m buying that seat post, and leaving it on my bike!” That’s a testament to the performance of this new post. Scott has ridden every suspension post available, and never thought he wanted one on his personal commuter. This post changed his mind.

The 2015 Bodyfloat Seat Post Just $250 at R+E Cycles We were so excited about the new design that we invited the Bodyfloat representative to display his post in our Bike and Pike event last year to show our customers his new product. It was an immediate smash hit, and several of our customers ordered them for not only their tandems, but their single bikes as well. Then, just as quickly as it took off, they couldn’t produce them fast enough for our demand. We spent several months without them. I was kind of bummed out because I wanted to try one on my own bike. Well, good news. They figured out their production issues, and now they are readily available, and 40% less than they were a year ago! The original version was Titanium at $425, but the new version is aluminum at just $250. The Ti version is still available for the rider that needs a super long seat post.

The Bodyfloat works on a different principal than all other suspension seat posts before it. Instead of having a falling rate design, it has a ‘rising rate’ design. The Bodyfloat springs are lighter at the top, and gradually get stiffer as the seat drops. No more having to lift your self off the seat to raise the seat back to start position. It also drops just slightly as your weight sits onto the post like the old Softride beam design did. The wheels can drop in and out of bumps while you, the rider, stays stationary in space.

I have since installed one on my bike and had the same experience as Scott. I will keep it on my bike, and I’m considering installing one on the Captain position of my tandem as well. It’s amazing how I can only hear the bike hitting the small bumps and cracks in the road, but I do not feel them anymore. I have to say, I’m impressed!

I can talk until the cows come home, but maybe you should just come to the shop and try one for yourself. Give us a call at (206)-527-4822 and set up a time to come by with your bike and your riding gear. We’d be happy to set one up for a test ride.

Not exactly ‘Plug and Play’

The Bodyfloat does need to be adjusted to your weight and riding style by a professional. Not to worry though, we’ve been trained in the proper set-up and will do it for you for FREE with purchase of a Bodyfloat! Free is a very good price.

“But…but…wait! I ordered one online and it’s not set up for me.”

If you’ve already ordered one online, or from someone eles who didn’t set it up for you, no need to worry. We can set it up for you for just $25. Just call us for an appointment.

Steel Rodriguez Outlaw vs. Carbon S-Works Tarmac

Steel bikes don’t have to be heavy, and here’s proof!

As many of you know, we have one of Seattle’s largest bike repair shops and we service every make and model of bicycle. As a high end bicycle manufacturer (Rodriguez and Erickson), we have become the ‘shop of choice’ for folks who ride high end bikes of every make. It’s always fun to weigh the high end bikes that come through our repair shop. Even though I’ve written a lot about the fact that our Rodriguez Outlaw is the true featherweight, some people still think that a steel bike has to be heavy.

So….a picture is worth a thousand words right?


The Shootout – Who’s the Real Featherweight?

Steel Rodriguez Outlaw vs. Carbon S-Works Tarmac


The other day, a Specialized S-Works Tarmac came through our busy repair shop, and we had the chance to put it up head to head against our Rodriguez Outlaw on the same scale. The results were not surprising to us, but to anyone who thinks a light bike has to be made from carbon fiber, the results are probably quite shocking. One of the mechanics snapped the shots below with his phone, and texted them to me.

I put together a quick Facebook post of the images and our website lit on fire! Apparently, there were some recent newsworthy events (like a New York Times article for one) causing cyclists to take a second look at U.S. made steel bikes. As it turned out, this post was well timed. As a result, there are a lot of folks out there investigating light weight steel frames to replace their existing carbon frame. You might be surprised to learn that we’ve been converting people to lighter weight steel for several years now.

Anyway, back to the photos. Below is a side-by-side shot showing exactly what the 2 bikes weighed on the same scale, on the same day.

Now you can have the perfect blend of ride quality and durability of steel in a custom hand made bicycle, and not have to sacrifice on weight. You don’t have to sacrifice on anything I suppose. The Rodriguez Outlaw is custom made in Seattle USA from True Temper S3 tubing. Every frame is built specifically for its owner, and can have any color you want. The Outlaw rides like a steel bike because it is a steel bike.

It’s as light or lighter than any high end carbon bike made overseas, and will serve you for a lifetime of cycling as it’s not going to wear out. You’ll feel more confident on the downhills, and this frame climbs like a rocket! Just ask Steve if you don’t believe me!

Thanks for reading, and please share this article if you know someone who might be interested.

Links inside this article:

Rediscovering Steel Race Bikes

Outlaw Guy Head Outline
If you’re curious about the specs on the bike mentioned in this article, here you go!

Another Convert

Dan – October 2011

Today while I was writing the Outlaw web page, a customer (let’s call him Steve) brought in his Cervelo R3 carbon bike for a new rear wheel and some various other work. Little did he know he was in for the ride of his life! You see, while we were gathering up the parts and building the wheel, Scott asked him if he still wanted to ride today? He said that he wanted to, but the bike wasn’t cooperating. It was a slow day in the shop, so Scott offered to loan him a bike for the afternoon. The customer agreed.

The bike that we loaned him was a Rodriguez Outlaw made with S3 tubing. This is a bike that is comparable in price and weight, and happened to have the same SRAM Red parts group that Steve had on his Cervelo R3.

Well, Steve road about 50 feet down the street and then back up again. “OMG!” he said, “this thing is incredible”. Scott made some final adjustments and told Steve to make sure and ride some hills that he was used to while he was out. “I’d like to know how it stacks up against the Cervelo R3” said Scott. The truth be told, we already knew how it stacked up.

Fast forward about 45 minutes and Steve rolls back up on the Outlaw. He said “I’m getting one of these!”. He decided that he would get the wheel now, and ride the Cervelo for a few more months. Then he took off down the road on the Cervelo.

Not so Fast?

Well, months turned into minutes as Steve is being fit for his Outlaw frame as I write this. Turns out 5 minutes on the Cervelo and he said to himself “I can’t ride this thing anymore”. He turned around, came right back to the shop, and ordered his Rodriguez Outlaw.

This is not the first time that we’ve had a customer make a conversion this fast, but since I was right in the middle of writing the Outlaw web page while this was going on, I thought an article was in order.

I’ve said over and over that a person really has to experience this bike. Even if you already own an expensive carbon bike, the Rodriguez S3 Outlaw is still a bike that you will find worth trying. I cant’s stress it enough… It’s THAT GOOD! It’s as light or lighter than his Cervelo, it’s faster than his Cervelo, and most importantly, it’s much more fun to ride that his Cervelo. If you want to see why Steve, and so many others have abanDoned their expensive carbon bike after riding one these, I dare you to give it a try.


Steve's new, lightweight Rodriguez S3
Update November, 2011 – Steve’s Bike looses 1/4 pound!

Now the bike is finished and Steve is enjoying it. The total weight of the bike is 4 ounces lighter with the steel Rodriguez Outlaw frame than it was with the Cervelo R3! The Cervelo was a very respectable 15.5 pounds, but the same parts on a Rodriguez Outlaw frame/fork weighs in at just 15.25 pounds. That’s even including a heavier saddle! Not only is Steve going to be more comfortable, he’s riding a lighter bike now. Not to mention how sweet his Outlaw looks! Seeing is believing….. click here.

To view the complete ultra-light steel bike race gallery here.

A lot of people ask me “how’d you do that?” when they lift one of our steel bikes. It’s hard from them to believe that a steel bicycle frame can be as light, or lighter than a carbon fiber frame. The fact is that we’ve been doing this for almost 40 years. Dennis Bushnell has tremendous experience in the field of building lightweight steel frames. Although the steel has evolved over the last several decades, our methods have too. Our frames are differenct because of that experience. If you think you might be like Steve, and want to try one of our ulrta-light steel bikes, give us a call at 206-527-4822 or shoot me an email today.