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Thread: Tandems

  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Tandems

    Looks like a tandem is in Jan's and my future

    I've been looking at the concept for some time. Today we wandered into a large bike shop and, among other things, asked what they had in the way of entry level tandems. Well, turns out the bloke we were talking to is not only a tandem rider but is keen enough to be thinking of starting a tandem riding group here.

    So, Jan's now keen. She rides but is very nervous thanks to a bad fall a few years ago - flat, low speed bike paths that are deserted and dead straight are her limit (I'm not kidding).

    My tandem experience is zero though I often tow my daughter around on her tag-along.

    Nothing can come of this until I get a job ... which could be next week or next year
    You also need to remember that this is Adelaide - not only does the bike industry here stink but the market's so small that there aren't many tandems around, so strategies like 'go ride lots of different ones' just aren't going to happen.

    Considering the time frame (flexible and probably measured in months rather than weeks), and the fact that I'll probably be limited to a choice of one or two (probably the Apollo range), any thoughts, comments or suggestions? General comments are probably more useful than specific at the moment as I won't go actively looking until I'm in a position to buy.

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    So the wife has had enough of you then

    Tandems are the quickest way to send any relationship in the direction it is heading. But they are fantastic. Does take a bit of time before the tandem accepts you though- They don't steer- the brakes don't work- and as for changing gears under pressure !!!

    Only problem is that if you do get into tandem riding- they get addictive. The stoker finds that they do have legs and lungs- the pilot finds out that the stoker doesn't. And speed is only limited by how loud the stoker cam scream. Great fun

    If you are contemplating a Tandem-Try to get a test ride on one first. And Try to get the right size for the pair of you.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  3. #3
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    So the wife has had enough of you then
    Wife? Ain't had one of them in donkeys years. The ex decided she preferred to go for an old boyfriend which wasn't nice at the time but now I'm getting tied to my best friend

    As my 'stoker in anticipation' put it - she gets a ring (girls can carry rocks that big?), I get a watch and we get a tandem The only draw back is that I have to buy the ring before I can buy the bike

    Size? At the shop we were in there is the Apollo which comes in one size or the Cannondale at four times the price She's tiny, I'm tall so nothing's going to fit us both anyway. It's a big shop (huge) so getting the bike set up properly shouldn't be a problem (lots of parts to choose from) and the fact that the bloke we talked to is a tandem rider should be an advantage over a shop that just sells the rare tandem.

    Any advantages or disadvantages to 26" wheels?

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

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    I bought a lightly used tandem last spring at the local bike swap. It's a basic level Trek, but not a bad bike at all. It came with lower level (but well functioning) Shimano components, and was the right size (med-small), and was about 1/2 normal local price so I bought it for $500US.

    Although you don't have a good selection in local shops, keep your eyes open, maybe even post some notes in places cyclists look. A tandem, especially an entry level one, is something people buy, use 10 times and decide 3 years later they might as well get rid of for 1/2 what they paid for it.

    It is fun. There's a little technique involved but nothing that 15 minutes in a large empty parking lot and then a couple of easy rides won't teach you. There is a tandem forum on this board which is where I got my advice last year.

    The reason we enjoy it is that it really is the only way we can have nice rides together. I'm no animal, but I just ride stronger and faster than she does. The tandem is the great equalizer. We can ride routes that she can't ride by herself (I horse it uphill), and we can talk pretty easily through the entire ride.

    This bike is MTB style: 26" wheels, MTB handlebars, etc. The only things I changed are: changed front bars to a more flat bar w/ bar ends. Put our own saddles on it, changed big 2" knobby MTB tires for 1 1/4" slicks (~32mm tires). The stoker seat post is suspension type which I think is important for the stoker's comfort.

    I might toy with changing the front end to drop bars if I can find the brifters at a good price, but for now, it's OK.

    One word of advice which you will hear from everyone, but it really can't be said enough: keep your stoker happy. Don't go faster than she wants to, or further. Make sure she has a comfortable seat, etc. Don't do anything, ever, to sour her. Like teaching kids things, it's much, much better to under-do it than over-do it. It's much better if they feel like you're quitting a ride too soon rather than too late.

  5. #5
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    We bought a barely used Burley Rock-n-Roll Softrde a short while back. We're hooked.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  6. #6
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    We, Tinymite and I, bought a Raliegh Companion tandem as an entry level tandem. Six months later we got a great deal on a very gently used Cannondale RT3000. We're hooked, too.

    Everyone talks about getting a bike that fits right. Good fit is, in my opinion, even more important when it comes to a tandem. Test ride whatever and whenever you can. You're shopping for two.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that frame quality is even more important on a tandem than on a single bike.

    When I owned my bike shop I used to keep 3 tandems in inventory. An entry level tandem, a midline Burley, and an upper quality Santana. It was interesting to ride one right after the other. After getting off of the Santana the entry level bike felt so noodley it was scary to rode.

    The next thing that I'd look for are real tandem wheels. At the budget price levels you at least want Shimano tandem hubs.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I think that frame quality is even more important on a tandem than on a single bike.


    The next thing that I'd look for are real tandem wheels. At the budget price levels you at least want Shimano tandem hubs.
    That frame is important- then the wheels- then brakes and then anything else that you will break by hitting things. But to find out if a Tandem is for you-still get a test ride.

    Couple of pics- On a good riding day- and on a not so good day.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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