Our New Pino

Between Penzance and Marazion, don’t we look pleased with ourselves!

After a seven week wait it arrived two days before we set out for our annual holiday in Cornwall. We had just enough time to set the bike up and have one quick ride into Sheffield centre (to pick up some inner tubes and other bits from Decathlon) and then we had to pack the bike into our trusty camper van for the long drive down to the West Country.


Setting up the Pino was a little bit more tricky than anticipated, first of all the boom was firmly stuck at its shortest position. I didn’t want to exert too much force but the manual implied that there was no particular trick or releasing action so we just twisted and thumped it until it started to move, once it had been moved a bit it became quite free.

Then I had to lengthen the chain. John at JD cycles had been careful to give me all the bits I needed but he didn’t explain that the chain supplied was the right length for a child. I hadn’t quite realised the purpose of the extra length of chain he gave me in the goody bag so I’m glad I decided to do the job before we travelled, I might have left the spare chain behind.

Our first ride was a bit scary, for the first time we were on roads that I knew well from commuting so it was hard to avoid riding as though I was on my very manoeuvreable Brompton and once or twice I found I’d positioned myself in difficult places at junctions. We chickened out of the main right turn that we faced on busy London Road, just too many things to go wrong for a pair of novice Pinonauts.

After that we had to pack it into the van. This turned out to be much easier than packing a normal bike inside (having two teenagers with us we normally load three bikes on the rear rack and one inside the van – the teenagers meanwhile saunter off to the airport and fly down to Cornwall once we’ve driven there, unloaded and set everything up, something wrong there).

Here’s the rear section stowed early on in the process

Here’s the van fully loaded with the front section of the Pino nested neatly on the rear-facing seat of the van.

So it all fits in neatly and it’s no problem to pack everything else around it. We found it nearly as easy to put the Pino in the back of a small hire car (Rover 200 Rent-a-Wreck) and our own Ford Focus.

Once at the campsite it took about ten minutes to assemble the bike and about ten days before people stopped exclaiming at it. By the end of the holiday most cyclists on the site had tried it out, plus a few non-cyclists, and our son Jamie and his friend Will were getting dangerously interested in how fast it would go on the road. Jamie draws the line at riding it in Sheffield, “too many people know me!” Will became quite adept at chauffeuring attractive older women around the campsite.”

Cornwall is well endowed with steep hills but we managed to find three routes that combined relatively few hills with a good number of cafes. However our first ride started with a daunting task as we rode down to the King Harry Ferry between the “mainland” near Truro and the Roseland Peninsula. The King Harry is a fine chain ferry across a beautiful stretch of river but on each side there is a big steep hill. We were pleasantly surprised that we could both execute a commendable hill start at the ferry and climb up the side of the valley without feeling too much strain. Incidentally the ferry cost only 50p for the Pino (charged as one bike). A small saving towards the cost of buying it.

These first rides were only around 20 miles out and back but everything worked well. The transportability of the Pino made it very easy to drive to the start of the ride in a small hire car (Once the camper van is attached to its various awnings and extensions for a long stay it becomes a kitchen-bedroom-teenage hangout and it’s too much work to pack everything up make it roadworthy again, plus it would deprive the teenagers of their life-support).

At the end of the ride, packing the bike up again into the car is a bit more challenging as my brain seems to turn to mush when I’ve been exerting myself but we gradually worked out a routine, plus ways of attaching hand baggage, drinks, mirrors, computer, fine adjustment of seats and boom and other minor tweaks to get it all working smoothly for us.

Because of the big difference in our fitness and strength it took quite a while for me to work out how to let Isobel contribute. On uphills we both had to work hard but on the level she didn’t feel she could “keep up” with me so didn’t contribute much effort, if any. Gradually I forced myself to select a gear that felt a bit too high but also I pushed a bit less hard, Isobel began to feel some resistance to work against and, to my surprise, we began to pick up speed as her effort kicked in. A lot of work to do yet but we are beginning to understand how to cooperate.

The Rohloff gears were a revelation. Every time I changed gear I gave thanks that we had decided to spend the extra money. I’ll say a bit more about that in another post.

So a big success, I’ll post details of our Cornish rides and also some of the small personalisations that we have done. Looking forward to some more riding in September.

Previous posts when we were buying the Pino > First Experience > Process of Elimination > A Proper Ride on the PinoPino Transmission – Rohloff?

All my posts on the Hase Pino pino-ALLROUND-700-27k

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9 Responses to “Our New Pino”

  1. Andy in Germany Says:

    Great entry. I especially like the bit about ‘Life Support’. One question: What’s the advantage of the Pino being a recumbent/upright combo? I’ve seen them in Germany as well, and my enquiring mind wants to know.

  2. chrisrust Says:

    Thanks Andy, I think I’ve given some of the reasons in my earlier posts about buying the Pino (tagged as “Tandem dreams”). There are some very personal ones about older people and recumbents, for example Isobel gets pins and needles in her hands when riding an upright and she has no problems on the Pino, ideally we would both like to be recumbent but as I explained there were reasons why that was not so practical. The Pino is also very popular for people with disabled children who can pedal but may not be able to support themselves on an upright.
    Then there are some general reasons for any rider. The Pino is quite a bit smaller than conventional upright tandems, even with a split frame we’d not find it so easy to put one of those in a car, the riders are closer together, it’s easy to talk with your heads so close, and importantly both riders have a good all-round view, on a normal tandem the stoker is staring at the sweaty back of the bigger captain.
    It’s a very adaptable bike, one size fits all since the extending front boom and very adjustable handlebars mean that a very small or very big person can ride on front or rear, and swap between the two. It’s easy to ride solo as the pilot is sitting in the middle of the bike, on most tandems a single rider has poor control because there is little weight on the rear wheel but the Pino is very nice to ride, you can ride to pick up your friend from the station or put a box on the front seat and have a great cargo bike. The luggage capacity is better than a conventional tandem, four full-size panniers plus scope for other stuff, so with the transportability it’s a great touring bike.
    Finally it’s just a lot more fun, it’s so original looking (and quite rakish) that it always gets a smile. Why have an expensive but ordinary tandem when you can have one of the most interesting bikes in the world?

  3. gareth Says:

    Fascinating post

    Does it break into two parts or fold – couldn’t quite work out how you were getting it into the small hire car.

  4. chrisrust Says:

    Hi Gareth,

    It splits in two, takes about 10 minutes and a bit easier if you have two people (needs three hands at a crucial moment but I can usually do it with two). It uses Hase’s own frame coupling which is probably stronger than the generic S&S couplings. If you look at the photo above of the rear section in the back of our van you can see that it has been broken apart just where the frame tubes converge. The coupling is below the rear of the front seat and incorporates the attachment for the rear mounting of the front seat. I’ll post some photos when I have time.

  5. Antony Says:

    Congrats on the Pino, and on saving 50p – with a bike that costs so much you need every justification you can get… :) I find the most fun part of the Pino for touring is that the stoker has their hands free to read the map, get a snack, feed the captain, and so on.

    Consider stopping in with the German Pino contingent at http://www.pinoforum.de , it’s got a very small English section but Google Translate can make the rest accessible to you.

    If you find that you consistently have cadence issues, I think you could get away with giving the stoker a different chainring at the front. With a recumbent I don’t feel like it’s as important to be synchronized.

  6. chrisrust Says:

    Thanks Antony, I think we have the cadence problem fixed and we can even cruise in city traffic with few problems. I’ll have a look at pinoforum.de

  7. Simon Says:

    I can;t wait for a more detailed post of the pino/rolhoff combo itself.
    Lots of large pics and examination of how the combo works please!


  8. chrisrust Says:

    Well I have some things to say about the experience of using the Rohloff (basically it’s fab) but I don’t think I can say much about the product at a technical level.

  9. David Rossi Says:

    I’m currently deciding between a hase pino or a custom co-motion periscope tandem (with modified lasco freewheeling cranks) The bike is for ferrying my son (40 about plus new offsping in trailer. He grown up from the age of 4 weeks in trailers, graduating to childseats and now wants to peddle his own bike but doesn’t have the road sense or energy / power levels needed to cover more than a few miles.

    my problem is to rohloff or not. I’ve got a thorn raven equipped with a rohloff – very neatly done and a lovely machine. Also a Newton 21 century tadpole trike that’s been fitted with a rohloff hub as an afterthought using a big ugly tourqe arm – it does spoil the look of the machine and makes wheel removal a faff.

    How does the rohloff sit on the rear – does it use the speedbone disc mounts to stop rotation or use a nasty full sized torque arm ? Also how do the 2 cables exit the shifter and route to the hub ? Last question does it use the external gear box or the 2 split cables ??

    Photos would be wonderful – well done on an excellent (expensive) but good value ? choice.


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