Tandem Cycling - I am 13 inches taller than my Stoker...
Bikeforums.net is a forum about nothing but bikes. Our community can help you find information about hard-to-find and localized information like bicycle tours, specialties like where in your area to have your recumbent bike serviced, or what are the best bicycle tires and seats for the activities you use your bike for.
After lots of gruelling trial and error, I have finally found some bikes that fit me. Now I am looking at getting a tandem for my wife and I to try out, but I am not sure we will be able to find one on the market that will fit a 6'5" captain and 5'4" stoker. We would like to start touring, and I believe it will be way better for our marriage if we are sharing a bike!
Anyway, I know custom is an option, but I wouldn't buy a custom until I was sure tandem cycling was good for us. I haven't seen any bikes that fit a small stoker and large captain. Right now I ride 63cm+ and she is on a 49cm. Yikes!
Thanks in advance,
09-25-08, 06:59 PM
The Cannondale 2008 Jumbo/Large fits us great. I am 6'5" and she is 5'3". 14" inches difference. The only problem is that they are not making the jumbo/large for 2009.
I'm almost your height, and Susan is only an inch taller than your wife. My legs are long for my height, and Susan's are on the short side. Solo, I ride some old 27" (67cm) frames with a fist full of seat post, and a 64cm frame with lots of post showing. Susan rides a 46cm frame.
We have a 21x18" Belinky tandem. As you can imagine, I have a LOT of seatpost showing, and a tall and short MTB stem. I'm the more active cyclist, so it is more important to me that Susan be a happy stoker. It works out OK, but someday I'd like a frame taller in front, no hurry though. With the seat that high, (and thus back, due to seat tube angle) I need the stem as short as possible. There would be lots of stems that would work for a taller torso.
TIP: Adjust the timing chain length to place the front BB ecentric at it's lowermost position. This will gain about 1" over the upper position. Half links and 1 tooth larger/smaller timing rings will allow 1/8" increments in BB spacing.
The only real issue has been tight clearance between my hips and her hand pegs. (fake brake levers, to allow riding on the hoods) I think the only real cure for that would be a longer stoker compartment. I was able to come up with some bars that had a different bend (but same width at the drops) that let my hips just clear.
09-25-08, 07:11 PM
I'm pretty sure a reasonable offer would secure this tandem which, if it fits, would be a great tandem for touring and travel.
09-25-08, 09:11 PM
It is possible for someone with a large size difference to fit on a stock frame. I am 6'5" and my wife/stoker is 5'2". We are both very fussy about bike fit, and both ride custom single frames. We rode a standard Santana large frame for many years quite happily. We had the advantage of my being long-waisted and she is long-legged, but our size difference is larger than your. I did have to put on a very long stem to get enough reach for me, and my wife barely had enough room for a suspension seatpost, but once we got the components right we were very happy. We also rode several other brands (including Comotion and Ibis) that I am sure we could have made work.
I have to admit that we ended up getting a custom tandem recently, but it was to get a longer rear cockpit, not to address our size difference. While we love our new bike, our position is very much the same. It is just that her face is further from my butt.
Not knowing more about how you and your wife are built, I can not say that it will work for you. However, I would council you to have an open mind and consider some creative component choices to make it work.
What does it take to fit a large captain and a small stoker on the same tandem?
Just guessing, you'd be happier with a 24" top tube than a 23"--it's easier to find a stem then that will give you the needed horizontal spacing between the center of the seatpost and the center of the handlebars. You also need to keep an eye on the handlebar height.
It's possible to fit stokers down to 5'2" on a tandem with a 23" (center to top) seat tube as long as you use a solid seatpost instead of the shock absorbing seatpost. You do have to be careful with regard to the top tube standover height.
My recollection is that the 1998 and later Cannondale J/L has the 24" front top tube, a 29" rear top tube, and seat tubes of acceptable length. It should work very well. Unfortunately, I can't find my Cannondale catalog right this second......
I've had about 40 stokers over the years, including a lot of tall ones and short ones, and I found that it was easy to fit 5'2" on the back of my 1991 (?) Cannondale J/L, with its 23" rear seat tube, just by stuffing the seatpost all the way down, but that 5' 1-1/2" would not fit (too short), though we did go around the parking lot for fun.
The pre-'98 Cannondale J/L has a 23" front top tube--not as good for tall riders as the 24" front top tube. The very earliest Cannondale tandems have a 12" rear bottom bracket height, a significant jump up from the more common 10.75".
09-25-08, 10:26 PM
As a first tandem, without going custom, there seem to be several choices already available.
A first tandem can be a bit of a compromise; but when you find out 'hey, we like this TWOgetherness!' then a custom could well be the next choice.
We have friends that are 6'7" x 5'3" that have put 30,000+ miles on a custom Co-Mo that we helped design.
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
Thanks for all the replies everybody! I will keep my eye out for a used Cannondale and other bikes of acceptable proportions. I think that $5000 Bushnell is WAY out of my current range, though it does look nice.
09-26-08, 09:17 AM
I think that $5000 Bushnell is WAY out of my current range, though it does look nice.
Make an offer... you might be surprised.
The size difference between my wife and me is not quite as extreme as 13", but still enough that I have a hard time riding slow enough, and my wife has a hard time riding fast enough, for us to ride together. But my wife was unwilling to even try a regular tandem, because she needs to be able to see where she's going.
The solution for us was a semi-recumbent tandem. We both really like it. Unfortunately, they are hard to find used; but I recently lucked out with a 1984 Counterpoint Opus II. Take a look at Bilenky Viewpoint, Hase Pino, etc.
Well, the update is that we finally test rode a tandem together. Had to drive 30 miles to find a bike shop that carried one, but at least we got a feel for what it's like being on a bike together. My wife didn't mind not seeing, and we liked it a lot. Now to find our size...
So... my wife and I are looking at the bike that TandemGeek earlier linked to. Considering that our intended purpose is to travel and tour on our tandem, are we ever going to be able to find a bike that fits us that well, with couplers and boxes, for anything less? It seems like if we want a bike fitting those criteria, it is going to have to be a used custom. Does anybody have experience waiting out the market for something like this? If we can find the money now, I'd rather buy a good used bike than have to fork out more later for the same thing, or the same money for a lesser bike. Anyway, I'm looking for outside opinions before we decide if/what to offer. Thanks everybody!
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.12 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.