Bilenky was not always “Bilenky”- which is why the standout bike of his booth this year did not feature his name.
The twenty-five year old pink tandem had a Sterling head badge, but the bike was clearly all Stephen Bilenky. It was designed and built for heavily loaded cross-country touring, complete with typical touring fixins’ like spoke holders and custom racks. But in famous Bilenky Fashion, Stephen pushed the idea of a fully loaded tandem through blending accommodations for state of the art interfacing technology for the era and fun throw-back features. It’s clever and creative and thoroughly thought-through while maintaining a sense of humor.
Bilenky designed and built this tandem for a couple who planned to ride it fully loaded, from Philadelphia to California and back. It was designed to hold upwards of 500lbs of riders and gear and features custom front and rear racks he fabricated to match.
The stoker cockpit is completely independent of the pilot seat post, giving the rear rider total freedom and independence in positioning their handle bar.
At the time this frame was constructed, wireless computers were coming into vogue… though they had a pretty limited range. Bilenky created a special mount off of the head tube, complete with its own little bi-laminate feature, to hold the computer at the recommended length from the sensor.
Also, you’ll notice the sterling silver Sterling headbadge in this shot.
The frame came complete with mounts for half a dozen replacement spokes. However, the integrated frame infrastructure didn’t end there.
To allow for on-the-road chain replacement front bottom bracket re-positioning, Bilenky constructed this interesting assembly here. The fin seen here is made from a modified chainring and gives the riders leverage to easily adjust the eccentric bottom bracket. To further simplify and speed along the process, the shell bolts are equipped with their own quick release levers.
Also, on the right of the image frame (but poorly captured… you can see the full component in the complete bike image) is a silver tube mounted to the underside of the down tube. This is designed to hold solvent for cleaning the drivetrain on the road.
Tucked inside the front triangle is a tiny, pink, integrated toolbox, anchored by pump pegs.
The kickstand is its whole own situation. It is not only lugged and painted to match the frame, but its pivot bearings are an upcycled Campy headset.
The kickstand is a formed Reynolds 531 chainstay, complete with designer tube decal.
The Campy theme carries though, however. If you are sharp-eyed and clever, you’ll notice that the bike was dripping in period appropriate Campagnolo, from the cranks and headset and cable hanger and dropout to the Bullet grip shifters on the cockpit.
(Ed: What, no Campy seatpost?)