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Old 11-05-10, 11:16 AM   #1
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Bike Friday Tandems?



I'm thinking about a tandem as a solution to the speed differential between my GF and I. It would be used for 50-100km day rides and touring. I would not plan on folding it frequently.

We have zero tandem experience.

Just wondering if anyone who owns a Bike Friday tandem could let me know what their experience has been and what model/setup they would recommend.
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Old 11-05-10, 11:56 AM   #2
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Rohloff is also used as a tandem hub. many tour on those ..

many Germans or Thorn /SJS customers in your 26" wheel type.
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Old 11-05-10, 01:25 PM   #3
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Borrow a tandem first as tandems are often a cause for loss of a GF. If she and you are compatible enough to ride one then put the money out for a good one. For what its worth tandems which my wife and I love are money pits. Roger
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Old 11-05-10, 02:54 PM   #4
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I'm with Roger.. borrow/rent a tandem for a few 30 to 60 mile rides and see how that goes.. the g/f may not be as happy riding as a stoker as the captain (unobstructed views, no sweaty body blocking the wind etc.).. captain gets the sweet ride being in the middle of the long wheelbase, stoker not so much.. with 20" wheels, you'll probably want much more than V-Brakes for the long downhill runs so you won't overheat the rims and blow the tires .. you pick up much more speed on a tandem downhill .. I'd want discs .. my 26" tandem is an older model with front and rear caliper brakes and an additional drag brake hub in the rear.. mine also sits mostly unused in the garage .. if you're seriously thinking tandems, I'd be looking for 26" wheel models for lots of good reasons with comfort and safety high on the list.
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Old 11-05-10, 03:07 PM   #5
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There are Bike Friday tandem builds with a removable section,

that it works, when the section is removed, as a single too , so if the tandem relationship doesn't work out ...
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Old 11-05-10, 03:24 PM   #6
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Connie & I rented a tandem once... we haven't had the urge to do it again. It was like driving a huge truck compared to the nimbleness of small wheels.
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Old 11-05-10, 04:12 PM   #7
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If you're single and love cycling, buy a tandem and find a BF/GF to suit.

The fellow in our tandem club that organizes an international tour every year says, "No BikeFriday tandems, please! I've never been on a tour when they didn't have problems." The teams I personally know that used to have BikeFriday tandems have switched to S&S coupled tandems.

YMMV
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Old 11-05-10, 04:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by vik View Post
I'm thinking about a tandem as a solution to the speed differential between my GF and I. It would be used for 50-100km day rides and touring. I would not plan on folding it frequently.
Sorry, this is the folding bike forum, not the folding girlfriend forum !!!

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Old 11-05-10, 05:22 PM   #9
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Sorry, this is the folding bike forum not the folding girlfriend forum !!!


We have a tandem but not a BF. We ride it 3-4 times a year when we want to do a longer ride. My bride is a 7 mile girl on her own bike. With our tandem we can stretch that to 20+.

Definitely suggest test riding one for a few miles first to make sure it is what both of you want.

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Old 11-05-10, 06:31 PM   #10
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I have a Bike Friday tandem, which I got at a great price. I've never taken it apart, so I can't address that. I ride it with my seven-year-old. I have found it to be perfect for that application, because the nested seatpost and stem make it easy for a 5'9" adult and a 3'11" child to ride together. When he's taller, I expect to go to a regular non-folding tandem frame, unless we skip directly to him having his own road frame. I like mine a lot, but if there's not a huge disparity in height between you and your GF and you don't plan to fold it often, I can't see why you'd prefer it over a regular tandem frame or an S&S coupled frame.
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Old 11-05-10, 07:01 PM   #11
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s.. the g/f may not be as happy riding as a stoker as the captain (unobstructed views, no sweaty body blocking the wind etc.).. captain gets the sweet ride being in the middle of the long wheelbase, stoker not so much.. .
This design solves the marital conflict issues. She sits comfortably in front with a nice view. Easy to have a conversation because our heads are pretty close together. Has her own derailleur so she can pedal at her own cadence. Rides hands free so she can sip wine and eat crackers and cheese. I'm in the back huffin' and puffin'. The little guy is just happy to be along for the ride.

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Old 11-05-10, 07:47 PM   #12
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I like mine a lot, but if there's not a huge disparity in height between you and your GF and you don't plan to fold it often, I can't see why you'd prefer it over a regular tandem frame or an S&S coupled frame.
I'm looking at all my options. I'm considering the Bike Friday:

- I have enjoyed all my Bike Fridays so far
- cost is reasonable
- smaller wheels are stronger and I have 406 wheels/tires I can share between bikes
- hand made by people I know and like

My GF is 5'6" and I'm 5'11".
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Old 11-05-10, 07:50 PM   #13
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I have a Bike Friday tandem, which I got at a great price. I've never taken it apart, so I can't address that. I ride it with my seven-year-old. I have found it to be perfect for that application, because the nested seatpost and stem make it easy for a 5'9" adult and a 3'11" child to ride together.
Have you had any mechanical issues or reliability problems?
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Old 11-05-10, 08:00 PM   #14
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This design solves the marital conflict issues. She sits comfortably in front with a nice view. Easy to have a conversation because our heads are pretty close together. Has her own derailleur so she can pedal at her own cadence. Rides hands free so she can sip wine and eat crackers and cheese. I'm in the back huffin' and puffin'. The little guy is just happy to be along for the ride.

I have seen a set up very similar to this in Paris, only they had a trailer with a little tiny baby in it. They were helping us find a way to our hotel. You should see them go through traffic on that thing! Fearless! I'm still kicking myself for not taking the picture. I love this bike, it's so cool.

Vik, if you want to ask about tandems in general, Machka just got into it quite recently. I'm sure she'll have some advice for you on a regular sized tandem. Just post in touring or general cycling forums.
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Old 11-05-10, 09:51 PM   #15
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vik,

If you want to compare a Bike Friday tandem to a full sized tandem, C0-Motion is just about 2 miles from Bike Friday in Eugene.

I have not considered one because wife has expressly said she does NOT want to see my butt 100% of the time. So, separate bikes work best for us. She is also able to deal with 20-40 mile rides on her own Friday.

Lou
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Old 11-06-10, 04:38 AM   #16
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Have you had any mechanical issues or reliability problems?
None.
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Old 11-06-10, 07:06 AM   #17
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I have not considered one because wife has expressly said she does NOT want to see my butt 100% of the time.
I've been tandeming for 31 years and am an officer in our local tandem club.

I've noticed several posts about the poor stoker having nothing to see but the captain's backside. From outside tandems looking in, this would seem to be the case, but I don't know any tandemists who have found this to be a problem in the real world. In fact, just the opposite - the stokers' view is far superior to the captains'. Teams will share their experiences after the ride: the captains will talk of gravel patches and pot holes and the road stretched out in front of the bike, as single bike riders will. The stokers will talk of beautiful views and lovely sights off to the side of the bike that their captains and single bike riders never see.

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Old 11-06-10, 08:48 AM   #18
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I'm thinking about a tandem as a solution to the speed differential between my GF and I.
Have you considered a long bungie cord?
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Old 11-06-10, 09:34 AM   #19
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Our tandem is a regular non-folding one, but I know two couples that have the Bike Friday models (one Family Tandem and one Two'sDay). They use them regularly and I haven't heard of any issues.

I agree with tcs about the view for the stoker on a tandem. On a single bike we tend to almost always look straight ahead since that's necessary for safety. But the stoker on a tandem is free to look around at all the other sights.
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Old 11-06-10, 09:48 AM   #20
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Have you considered a long bungie cord?


Not to pull a bike, but I do carry a bungee/webbing strap to tow my friend on his longboard.



My plan at the moment is to just ride my slowest heaviest bike with 2" expedition touring tires. If we go touring I'll just carry everything. That may be our ultimate solution. I'm not sold on a tandem yet, but I figure it's worth some investigation.
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Old 11-06-10, 09:52 AM   #21
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Vik, if you want to ask about tandems in general, Machka just got into it quite recently. I'm sure she'll have some advice for you on a regular sized tandem. Just post in touring or general cycling forums.
Thanks for the suggestion. I was aware of the fact she is getting into tandems with her hubby. I am a bit hesitant to draw too many parallels between our situations since my GF has very little in common with Machka im terms of her riding skills/experience.
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Old 11-06-10, 10:00 AM   #22
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My plan at the moment is to just ride my slowest heaviest bike with 2" expedition touring tires. If we go touring I'll just carry everything. That may be our ultimate solution. I'm not sold on a tandem yet, but I figure it's worth some investigation.
When my wife and I tour, I carry nearly everything in a 2-wheeled trailer, hoping it'd slow me down. It didn't work; the engine matters far more than the bike when it comes to speed. If you want to slow yourself down, 2" tires might help, but something like a Surly Pugsly with insanely wide tires might do the trick.
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Old 11-06-10, 10:22 AM   #23
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When my wife and I tour, I carry nearly everything in a 2-wheeled trailer, hoping it'd slow me down. It didn't work; the engine matters far more than the bike when it comes to speed. If you want to slow yourself down, 2" tires might help, but something like a Surly Pugsly with insanely wide tires might do the trick.
Even if the slowing down works we can't really bike tour if 100-120kms a day isn't feasible - nor can we ride with others. By slowing myself down to her speed we would resolve half the problem.
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Old 11-06-10, 12:00 PM   #24
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These guys offer a differential cadence drive train in a tandem bike,
but it would not probably be something that green gear won't offer or build, even as a custom upcharge.

http://www.davincitandems.com/
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Old 11-06-10, 02:28 PM   #25
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The Da Vinci on paper is a great idea and do work with the proper stoker. The flaw with them happens when you go into a fast corner and the stoker has his/her crank pointing down on the inside. I have seen bikes crash because of this. Roger
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