People always ask us about our Pino, the reasons we chose such a unique bike, and our experiences riding it. Brendon put together this review to answer some of those questions. But if you have more, just shoot us an email and we’ll add it.
Modifications we have made to our Hase Pino Tour;
– new SPD pedal set for the recumbent, it only came with one set of SPDs
– Brooks B17 touring saddle. Hase original saddle is ok but it’s a gel saddle, which I feel is no good for long distance touring.
– Created some extra storage between the low rider racks with rope to carry spare folding rear tire, tubes, some tools and our MSR stove. Trying to keep as much weight off the rear end of the bike.
– Use 2 hydro packs on the back of the stoker seat for hydration. Easy access for both riders but in these hotter and more humid climates we have to keep on top of the cleaning. They get mouldy very quickly.
– Two Thule stroller hydration water bottle cages (from REI). Clamp to the handle bar stems and hold 2 x 1.5 Lt wide mouth water bottles. Carrying adequate water on this bike is an issue for self supported touring as there is only one frame mount on the down tube.
– http://www.Hornit.com 140 DB horn mounted for the stoker.
– Changed the 30 tooth smallest chain ring for a 24 tooth climbing chain ring. Inadequate gear ratios from factory for a touring tandem and we ran into knee issues as it was way too hard to climb even low-grade hills.
– Changed the 38 tooth stoker chain ring for a 48 tooth chain ring. The original set up did not adequately distribute of the work load evenly across the stoker and pilot cadence.
– Mounted a water cage to the seat stem to hold our MSR fuel bottle.
– Plastic handle-bar extensions ($5 each) that we mounted to the side of the stoker seat frame to hold our Ortlieb handle bar bag and two cup holders modified for our bluetooth speakers.
– Bar-end rear vision mirrors on the short stoker bull horn bars.
Choosing steel or aluminium for touring;
At the time when we bought our Pino there was no option to purchase a steel frame with Hase announcing they discontinued it. This can be a concern due to the difficulty of fixing aluminium in remote areas.
Why we bought a Hase Pino over other tandem bikes;
Some of the more common reasons are mentioned everywhere in other blogs, like ease of talking to each other and sharing the journey closely together, and these reasons are definitely a plus. However, our 3 main reasons that kept us returning to the Pino are:
– Em is not a cyclist and was adverse to cycling on a single bike. Nervous about riding a loaded touring bike, negotiating traffic and generally didn’t think she would enjoy the long days in the saddle essentially by herself for long stretches.
– Our riding styles are completely different and on a small practice tour on separate bikes we found large distances opening up between us. This is not ideal for safety, navigation and generally sharing the experience with a partner.
– Em fractured her coccyx 2 years before our start date and finds it hard to sit in a regular bike position for more than 20 mins so a recumbent option seemed to fit the bill perfectly for us.
The option of a test ride;
It is not easy to find someone local with a Pino and then convince them to let you take their expensive bike for a decent test ride.
We had to commit to buying ours sight unseen as we were based in Japan and started out tour in Canada.
We did randomly run into a French couple in Tokyo on a Pino before we left so did get a mini ride to check it out, but it is not easy to try before you buy.
What we love about our Pino;
– We can share the experience of touring together
– We get to support each other through the tough days
– We start and finish the day together
– It is a great conversation starter and is well liked wherever we go, (this can be a frustration in some circumstances as well.)
– Stoker position is super comfy and gives the options of easy hands free navigation, music selection, photos on the fly, little road treats on the fly.
– Hase kickstand and low rider racks.
What we don’t love about our Pino;
There are a few things about the purchase set up that could be changed;
– It is designed to fit people to 6 feet 5 inches but it is not easy to adjust the pilot position. I am 6 foot 1 inch and find the handle bar height too low and a little too wide putting a lot of stress between my shoulder blades.
– The wheel builds are not strong enough for a touring tandem. Hase insist 32 spokes is adequate but we experienced many problems with the low quality wheels and spokes. Within the first 1000km we rebuilt the rear wheel to a 40 spoke MTB standard rim.
– We found the factory gearing inadequate and had to change it immediately. Also the type of chain rings used are difficult to find outside of western countries. A standard crank set (eg Shimano) is easier to source around the world.
– It would be great to see more flexibility on purchase for different touring options i.e seat choice, gearing choice, lighting choice, wheel build options. In fact I would consider just buying the frame, kick stand/lowrider racks, handle bars, folks, stoker seat and build the rest of the bike to my specs.
The available ‘extras’ from Hase that we reckon are a must for touring;
– Definitely the kickstand, despite the high price tag
– Maybe the ergo grip extension bars, but again a high price tag at $180. I thought about trying some old school big bull horn style to bring my riding position up to a more vertical position.
Using a trailer?
There are many bike forums discussing this issue, not just for tandem touring. Pros and cons with a trailer;
– extra space can = extra weight
– another piece of gear to break
– extra tools and spares to carry
– extra dead weight to haul
– can be a liability in high winds
– makes the set up much longer and harder to manage
– additional costs
I have been mainly thinking about these points since breaking the frame. I have a feeling the problem with the stress on the coupling comes from the torsional stress created with the load on the rear racks. A trailer;
– can remove weight from the bike frame
– gives option to carry extra water & food for remote self-supported touring
– can easily detach trailer (and weight ) from the bike to get through loose sand for beach camping etc.
– easy to arrange and pack gear
I am not sure if I would go for the trailer option. If I did, I would use the Bob Yack with suspension. In my research it is probably the strongest and most reliable (but also most expensive).
The crack in our frame was a major failure of the lower coupling weld. We heard an unusual noise as we rode across an uneven bridge join on a major highway traveling at reasonable speed down hill. We didn’t notice anything initially but upon inspection 1 week later we noticed the fracture. While our gear is not super light, we definitely don’t run anywhere near the 225kg weight limit set by Hase, even with fully loaded food and water.
Our fracture could not be repaired, too much damage. The only option for aluminium as far as I am aware is to find a skilled TIG welder. I think this would only be a temporary fix for this type of frame and would highly recommend getting Hase to send out a new frame (under warranty) and rebuild the bike, which was the option we took.
Not sure how to prevent this problem yet. For self-supported long distance multi climate touring it is hard to run under 210kg (including both body weights). Keep the speeds down as much as possible, especially on the variable roads of developing countries. It would be worthwhile testing how a trailer could reduce the stress on the frame. With the standard setup, the Pino is suited to credit card touring or supported touring around developed countries.
Other broken bits;
– cracked the 24 tooth chain ring
– multiple broken spokes, maybe 25 in total in 7 months. No problems with the rear wheel as stated after the new wheel build. 32 spokes are not strong enough for this bike.
– 3 front derailer cables.
– Cracked the frame
Sourcing parts for Pino on the road;
Everything is over sized or under-sized tubing and parts. The running gear is all top line but this makes parts hard to find in some cases.
The Avid code R brake pads were hard to source even in the USA so we are carrying 8 spares.
The crank set are not standard mounts and impossible to find in Central America.
Good quality tires were always a problem to source across central and South America and we ran through tires rapidly, especially the front 20”. They were cheap enough to replace and easy enough to find but they wore through quickly.
The cables for the gears are a standard design and easy to find, and the drive chain is standard and easy to find too.
We did have to replace the free wheel bearing for the stokers crank side early on in the USA, which Hase again were very helpful with sending to a dealer. It is a specific Pino problem and depending on where you travel it can be difficult to replace.
Hase customer service;
This has been a very honest take on the Pino as a self supported touring bike. We love the bike as a whole, but due to bike failures we experienced on tour our stress levels were high as we anticipated the next problem. In saying that, every problem we experienced became part of the adventure and Hase were incredibly supportive on all accounts.
They covered our cost of a rear wheel build, replaced the frame without question and had it delivered to us in Mexico within a week. They supported us with replacing the front crankset as the teeth wore out on all chain rings, as well as replacing the stoker free wheel bearing early on in our tour. We are truly grateful for all of their support and don’t believe we would not have been able to complete the journey on the Pino without their assistance.
While it was frustrating to have a lot of problems with such an expensive bike after just a few months on the road, we felt confident they would always do their best to support us throughout the journey.
How I think Hase could improve their Pino design;
I have thought about this quite a bit and thought I came up with a solution to the weak coupling mount by adding an extra SIS coupling and to bring the mount further back into the diamond frame area. This however would change the ability to break the bike into 2 parts and keep all the cables together.
The design is brilliant on an engineering level but I am not convinced that simply beefing up the coupling welds has made the joint stronger.
I think the only real solution is to lose the coupling and have a continuous tubing throughout the frame. Maybe even have this as an option for people interested in touring. It would eliminate the weak area and enhance the stiffness the bike inherently lacks. Maybe this could be a bit problematic for general transport situations in planes, trains and sometimes bus’, but I think I would pay the oversized fees for the amount of times you need these options on a bike tour and have the security of a more solid frame.