A great tandem. Light, fast, strong and with loads of luggage carrying capacity. But also so much more.
It fits all sizes of adult and kids down to 1.5m. Remove the rear saddle, replace it with a specially designed rack and carry two Bobike childseats. This extends the range down to tiny kids - just as long as they are old enough to support their heads they can fit in the seat. Remove the childseats and you have a long-bike style load carrier with a massive platform on top for bulky loads.
Replace the rear seatpost and turns back into a conventional tandem that you can ride with your partner or a friend. Its a quality machine capable of thousands of miles of happy touring. A bike for all of life.
The Helios haa a strong but lightweight oversized aluminium frame which can transmit the power of two strong riders and keeps the handling sure and confident whether loaded or unloaded. The two 20" wheels make the entire bike small enough to go in the back of many hatchbacks, but the length of the frame gives enough suspension so the bike rolls smoothly and effortlessly.
There is also the option of a packaway frame, a coupling system that makes it small enough to fit into a bag or an Airnimal Traveller case for airline travel. The design, using a compression drain pipe and coupled rear top tube, makes for easy re-coupling, the drain pipe effectively holding the two ends of the tandem in place ready for the insertion the coupled top tube. The two case, or two bag, option requires a bit more dis-assembly, but transmission and brakes will stay in place. The front brake lever stays with the front section and the handlebar with all other levers stays with the rear section. Velcro ties are used for releasing and reconnecting the cables. This system even allows you to convert your tandem to a triplet!
The Helios Triplet Kit can be bought as part of a standalone bicycle or retro-fitted to an already purchased Helios tandem. The modular design means that the triplet can be separated for easier transportation or converted back into a standard separable Helios tandem. You can read Josie Dews account of touring the CHannel Islands with three children here.
So there it is! One bike that can carry two toddlers, a bigger child and toddler, an adult and two kids, two fully grown adults or an adult and 50 kilos of sand. Its a tandem, a triplet or a freight bike and you can put it in a suitcase. Beat that!
The Helios with Steps motor got a great review in Cycle magazine - "an extraordinary machine" - read it here.