Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: SE Michigan
Bikes: '03 Litespeed Blue Ridge; '04 Litespeed Solarno; '12 VooDoo Nakasi
Test rode both bents yesterday. The Screamer first then the Duplex, both 2003 models new in showroom condition.
The Screamer has better seats - more comfortable. The Duplex I would slide down and had to shifing myself back into the seat several times on a two mile ride. My wife didn't like the Duplex seats because the metal bars of the seat dug into the sides of her legs. We we test ride it again, I am going to bring some pipe insulation from Home Depot (cost me $1) and slide it over the bars on the seat bottom to see if that helps.
I found the steering of the Screamer very touchy and having my arms up in the air was not all that comfortable. The Duplex under the seat steering was more forgiving and easy to use. I am also not a big fan of the clicking rotating handle bars for shifting like the Screamer has. I much more prefer the bar ends of the Duplex.
Component wise, the Duplex seemed to be setup better, with Ultegra derailures and disc brakes. The Screamer was SRAM 9.0 everywhere and a supplemental drum brake. I am familure with Shimamo quality but unfamiliar with SRAM, so that may be causing some bias here. Any my only use of those rotating handle bar shifters was on an early 90's Diamondback Wildwood my wife owned - she didn't like them.
The positioning of the captain was more comfortable for me on the Duplex with my feet lower, very similar to an exercise bike I own and use in the winter. The Screamer had my feet up higher, level with the frame of the bike. I flet crunched - pehaps my belly got in the way. An employee at the second store where we tested the Duplex was familiar with Rans, they sell them also - just don't have a tandem in stock) said the setup for the captain could have been wrong if the seat was in too much upright position, that would cause the crunch position I was feeling. Also, where we test rode the Screamer was very hilly in a subdivision, up and down, up and down, many short hills about a block long and many curves. The Duplex was tested on a long straight slight inclining road, out and back. So if I had tested both on the same conditions, it may have affected my judgement.
The overall quality and feel of both bikes felt very good and both have S/S couplers. The Duplex is marked down several hunderd below the Screamer because the owner wants to get the newer style in. The shifting on both were smooth and precise and braking was not an issue. The second store employee also suggested putting a handle bar on the Rans where the handles extended past your legs and then down, leaving your hands in a much lower position, which would eliminate the hanging arms feeling I had. He owns a Rans single bent and loves it, been riding bents for 10 years and is partial to their products.
Since the Screamer is 1.5 hours away and the Duplex is only 40min, I may go back to the closer shop and test ride a single Rans bike, seeing if I can get the seat adjusted so I don't feel crunched and how much converting the handle bars would cost.
Any thoughts on our test rides would be appreciated. Thanks,