People always ask us about our Pino, the reasons we chose such a unique bike, and our experiences riding it. I put together this review to answer some of those questions. But if you have more, just shoot us an email and I’ll add it.
Modifications we have made to our Hase Pino Tour;
– new SPD pedal set for the recumbent. The bike came with only one set of SPD pedals.
– 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 moldy 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 water on this bike is one of the biggest problems 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. Extremely poor gear ratios from factory for a touring tandem. 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 was no-where near close to an even distribution of the work load between 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 i-home speakers.
– Bar-end rear vision mirrors on the short stoker bull horn bars.
Choosing steel or aluminium for touring;
There was no option to purchase a steel frame from Hase. We were informed they have discontinued making this frame. It was a big issue for me because of the difficulty in fixing aluminium in more 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;
We had committed to buying the bike without a test-ride as our plan was to leave our work in Tokyo and purchase and start out tour in Canada. So no option for a test ride for us. We did run into a French couple on a Pino in Tokyo before we left so did get a little ride to check it out but pretty much the answer is no.
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 too many things about the purchase set up that could easily be changed by Hase but they seemed to not listen to advice from bicycle tourists. For the money, in my opinion this is not good enough.
– They say it fits people to 6 feet 5 inches. Everything about the pilot position cannot be adjusted adequately. 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 sub standard for a touring tandem. Hase insist 32 spokes is adequate. Too many problems with the poor wheel and spoke choices for the cost. Have rebuilt the rear wheel to a 40 spoke MTB standard rim. (no problems since).
– The factory gearing is no good and had to change immediately. Also the type of chain rings they have used are impossible to find outside of western countries. They should offer a standard crank set (Shimano maybe) that can be found all over the world.
– Hase should offer 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 ‘extras’ available at purchase from Hase that we reckon are a must for bike touring;
– Definitely the kickstand, even though it is incredibly expensive.
– Maybe the ergo grip extension bars, but again at $180 they are incredibly expensive. I will be trying some old school big bull horn style to see if I can bring my riding position up to a bit more vertical very soon.
– Generally every addition is way over priced.
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
Pros (for the Pino rider)
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
– have the option to carry extra water and food for more 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).
We have managed to crack the frame. It was a major failure of the lower coupling weld. We definitely heard an unusual noise when we hit an uneven piece of bridge join on a major highway going at a reasonable speed down hill. This bike flies when on long down hills. We didn’t notice anything initially on inspection but about 1 week later we noticed the fracture. I am way more cautious on down hills with speed control now. Still not ideal for a $8500 bike. We are not super light with our gear but 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 2nd and 3rd world countries. Maybe consider a trailer to reduce the stress on the frame (debatably though). I now believe this bike is really only suited to credit card touring or supported touring around Europe, USA etc, 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 are always a problem to source in 2nd and 3rd world countries and this tandem seems to run through tires rapidly, especially the front 20”. Can find them but they wear through quickly. Good news is they are cheap.
The good part about the Hase Pino is the cables for the gears are standard because of the 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 does make us a bit nervous that the problem will occur again in a place where it may be difficult to fix.
Hase customer service;
This has been a very honest take on the Pino as a self supported touring bike. We do love the bike as a whole and would not be out here without it. It is a constant strain on my/ our stress levels as we wait for the next thing to fail, all part of the fun though right? Hase has been pretty good with their support on all accounts.
They covered our cost of a rear wheel build, replaced the frame without question and had the new frame delivered to us in Mexico within a week. They have supported us with replacing the front crank set as the teeth have worn on all chain rings, as well as replacing the stoker free wheel bearing early on in our tour. So, we have been truly lucky to have their support, and while it is frustrating to have a lot of problems with an expensive 7 month old bike on the road, we do feel confident they will do their best to sort the problems In the future.
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 they insist that by “beefing” up the coupling welds it has made the joint stronger. This is a pretty poor answer to a major problem and some what assumes their clients are a bit dim.
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.