My Wife and I recently purchased a kent tandem from walmart. After dropping the chain twice and the ability to use only about 3 of the 21 gears, we took it back and got our money. This poor experience aside we did like riding together. After doing some homework this time. We are now planning to buy a new tandem. I have looked at many posts here and done some looking at what is around us. I have found 3 tandems we can test ride. A Raleigh coup...Raleigh companion...and a Trek T900. We only have about 1,300 to spend, so we are somewhat limited on what we can get. I would like an opinions from anyone who has had a chance to look at these bikes, and let me know what you think.
I wanted to get a Burley Samba...KHS Comp or Alite, but the stores do not have any we can try without buying. But im not comfortable buying a bike that I havent had a chance to ride. We only want the bike for weekend outings maybe 30 mile rides or so and want something comfortable and dependable as we are not experienced bike riders.
A lot of people start out with one of the choices you've indicated are available near you as their first tandem. Quite honestly, we probably would have bought an inexpensive Raleigh if it had fit my wife better (she is barely 4' 10" tall). As it is, we were fortunate to find a NOS Cannondale MT800 at a price we could afford.
Here is a link to much information which will be of benefit to you.
If you call them up you will find that they have a brick-and-mortar store in Reno. I have the KHS Milano which I got localy for under a grand, due to the local shop price-matching thier price.
Also, the KHS Milano tandems can be found on Ebay for about $800 + shipping.
A used tandem from one of the larger companies is a great idea, but if you can't find one, the KHS Milano is a great entry-level tandem. I ride mine 2-3 times a week and my stoker who is a novice cyclist is up to 2.5 hours of saddle time and increasing steadily.
Have you checked Ebay? There is a nice cannondale that is about 5 years old for $800. They have a bunch out there. My wife and I are in the same boat. We are going to try and work with the local bike shop as I believe in supporting them. By the way my local shop just told me Burleys are on back order with a 4 week delivery time which stinks becasue that was my first choice as they are known for being the "best bang for the buck".
We bought the Raleigh Companion about a year ago and after changing to narrower tires, a different seat for the captain, and adding clipless pedals, it's done fine for the kind of riding you describe. We even did one day of RAGBRAI on it last summer! A very comfortable bike, if not all that fast. The components work great, with nice shifting and good stopping power.
Nonetheless, there have been times when I wish we'd found a used bike at a higher level, mainly for the speed/effort factor. Last week, our paper had a classified ad for a Burley Zydeco for $500. A year ago, I would have picked that up for sure.
Good luck...the better the bike, the better the experience...provided it fits both the riders and the kind of cycling you plan to do.
Like you, we were nervous about buying a Burley without having a chance to ride one, but the fact that we could get so much more for our money finally convinced us to take the plunge. We haven't been sorry. Our new Burley (now two months old) has been fantastic. It would definitely have been worth waiting four or more weeks for.
You all have been great. I think I might just hold on to my money and hope to find a burley or Dale to test ride. Im not one to by thing on ebay...I find it really hard to buy something that I can't touch or really look at.
What kind of Burley did you get K&M?
I called a bike store a little ways away and they have an 04 Tamburello for sale for about $1,500..is that a good price? and do you think I would like it? Its not a MTB they said but I think I will go look at it anyway.
My wife and I just bought a Tamburello about a month ago. We love it. My single has a substantially higher component group and I was somewhat worried that it would drive me nuts. By and large, this has not been the case.
I am not familiar with any of the other tandems you were looking at, but if you can stomach the price of the Tamburello, it is a great place to start out. You are correct that it is not a mountain bike, it is lower end "performance" road bike (to borrow from Burley's own marketing language). If you're looking specifically for an off-reader, it is probably not the best thing. As our first road tandem, it simply could not be beat.
We got a Rivazza with the race package. Definitely more than you are looking to spend, but still an incredible deal when compared to similarly equipped bikes. It is my impression, though, that Burleys give you the most for your money pretty much all the way up and down their line.
How do yo u like the Rivazza? I am thinking about getting the sport model or the Tosa. I test road a Santana this morning and really like it as well. Thing that kind of sucks is I can test ride the Burley as they have none in stock. Oh well. Did you test ride a whole bunch of different rides before getting the Rivazza?
That 04 Burley Tamburello @ 1500 is a good price.
Remember, you will get the lifetime Burley warranty on that frame & fork; as on a used bike you would not, as the warranty is not transferrable. The Tam' sells for $1800.
You live in a large enough metro area (Omaha) that something should pop up.
Have ridden lots of tandem brands/models and Burley has a great and deserved reputation; they really back up their product + it's made in the USA.
We love it! We'd never dealt with a disc brake before, so figuring out how to set that up and adjust it has been a bit of an adventure (but if you have a shop doing all the work, that shouldn't be an issue) --- and the brake itself functions beautifully.
>>>Did you test ride a whole bunch of rides before getting the Burley?
No. We had a hard time finding tandems to test ride. We borrowed a couple of Trek T2000's and put over a thousand miles on them and we took one short ride on a Co-Mo Speedster. We were never able to locate a Burley to test ride, but the rave reviews and incredible price finally convinced us to take the plunge and get the Burley anyway. We certainly haven't been sorry.
Thanks for the feedback on the Rivizza. I can't locate one either to test ride. Going to have the LBS order one.
The disk brakes are not too bad to work with. I have the 6" version of those on my mountian bike and they are sweet for the money. Much easier to work on then hyrdaulic disk brakes.
I too have a newly purchased Rivazza. I got lucky and found a last years model on the floor at a bike shop and I got to ride it. This bike is sooo awesome. The other bike I was looking at was the raleigh pursuit but I went with the Burley...
I also seriously considered the Raleigh Pursuit and could have had it for a great price. I was very tempted because it had great components but I don't think the frame is in the same qiality as the Burley. I ordered a Burley Tosa instead.
Own a Colnago Super (1979), a Bridgestone road bike , circa 1985, and a Santana Arriva tandem (1997).
Unless you have INTIMATE knowledge and experience of a particular manufacturer and model, don't buy anything a shop won't let you test ride first. Wait, scratch that. NEVER buy a bike the shop wont let you test ride first. Burley Samba, in addition to the bikes you mentioned, worth checking out. Another tip, though this is sort of cheating: Test ride several models to get a feel for what you like, fit, need, etc. THEN check Ebay for possible available second-hand bikes that match your needs. You might even be able to get a significantly better bike for your budget this way. I saved about 1500 smacks on my Santana Arriva by doing just this. Good luck!
I believe there are actually two Burley Zydeco mixte-x models I could only find one on the Burley website. The $999 model on the website is an aluminum frame. My LBS showed me a model on the floor (that was just sold but more on the way) that is a chromoly frame with better bearings, same components and costs an additional $200.
I tested the Raleigh Coupe too. Liked the components and disk brakes, but the frame size didn't work for my stoker with the shock seat post and I'm concerned that after 20-30miles on an aluminum frame that my stoker will feel the road vibrations too much. So I'm going either with a new Burley Zydeco Mixte-x chromoly or a used Samba or Rock'n Roll. Good luck. It's tough to make the decision, but fun too.
We rode a Miyata Duplicross ... see http://www.gpbard.info/bike.htm for several years. We purchased it on sale when Miyata bikes were being discontinued in the USA. It has been a fine bike but a bit heavy and of medium quality. Recently we purchased a new Trek T2000 but it was a model from a couple of years ago. The components are better, it is lighter, goes faster and easier.
Prior to buying the Trek, we tested several different bikes of good quality. Some are a little more flexible than others, some steer more quickly, some have better components, some are road, some off road, and some in between.
All in all though, I would say that you would be well served by any of the popular brands and the better the components the better the bike.
You might also look for something used but well maintained.