Stoker seat posts and seats
My wife is really short and when I dropped a suspension seat post on our Burley, it was too high for her.
I'm vexed. The bike is close to being too big for her in the first place ( she can stand over it with only the barest of clearance). I'm now considering perhaps a carbon seat post with a Brooks B-67 or something like that. We really need to put on a few miles before we go nuts buying stuff. Sorry, I'm ranting, but we've both been off our bikes for a while and are excited about our first tandem. I've read all the previous posts on the subject and feel even more confused now
Thanks for any input.
My advice is not to worry about it much--unless she does. You don't HAVE to have a suspension seatpost on the back of a tandem, many stokers prefer not to have one, and prior to the early '90's suspension seatposts were either nonexistent or very scarce. Make sure you call out the bumps.
If you are only a little bit too high, there might be things you can do:
1) Not all saddles are of the same height between the rails and the top of the saddle. Get one lower than you have, and you might be low enough.
2) Not all suspension seatposts require the same amount of space between the top of the seat tube, and the saddle rails. Look for one that requires less (vertical) space. Don't be turned off by cheap posts (which also often do not have much travel and are therefore perhaps what you need). I haven't tried one of the parallelogram posts (Thudbuster), or spoken at length to somebody who has, but of the straight-up-and-down posts, one of my favorites is a cheap Taiwan post, marketed under several names, including (shudder) Nashbar. Disassembly of this post found a spring and an elastomer and a preload adjusting nut, pretty much what you'd get on any post. It also has the typical low-end single-bolt-with-serrations seat rail clamp. This post requires no less than 3-5/8" between the top of the seat tube and the saddle rails.
The only problem I had with the post, was that we thought we could not get the preload up high enough for spirited riding with a 140-lb stoker. The elastomer seemed a little mushy, and it seemed like we couldn't increase the preload enough by turning in the nut, so we removed the elastomer and replaced it with a stack of (!) pennies. Aha, adjustable, high preload (more than with any off-the-rack suspension post I have tried). One of these days I've got to go back and replace the pennies with something lighter.
Have you done a curb stop yet? Curbside pedal up, unclip on that side, ride next to the curb and stop, and put a foot down on the curb, which is a lot higher than where the bottom of the tires are....good deal for the petite.
We had been riding Treks equipped with suspension seatposts for the stoker before we got our Burley, which came without a suspension seatpost. In spite of the lack of suspension, my stoker says the Burley is more comfortable. She hasn't found the bumps to be any big deal (even though I'm not always great about calling them out). Having a saddle that works for your stoker and having the saddle, bars and cleats properly adjusted is probably far more important to stoker comfort than suspension. I'd give it a try without the suspension and see how she feels about it.
I am very surprised to read that some stokers do not find the suspension post necessary. Maybe the explanation is that our ridding is a little more aggressive and/or our roads are not as smooth as in other regions. We ride in pace lines with strong single riders and come down hill fast on narrow winding roads. Also my eyesight is not what it used to be and in some instances I do not have time to brace myself leave alone calling: Bump!
.... well a lot of our roads are pretty bad and, like you, we like to go fast, join in the local racing team's paceline and all that. We also like to go long (usually over 120 miles each Sunday), but she says she's fine. Maybe a stoker with enough of her weight on the pedals, where it belongs, won't have so many issues with the seat.
Thanks everyone; We went for our first ride today and everything fits just fine.
A suspension seatpost is not a 'MUST', but many stokers like them.
Having said that, Kay has been riding as stoker for 30+ and does not use a suspension seatpost. Short stoker? Kay is 4' 10 3/4" tall! We do ride a custom tandem for proper fit for her.
An alternative would be spring saddle that soaks up some of the rough stuff.
Pedal Oon TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
My wife is also 4' 10" tall and she is much happier since I got her a Brooks B67S seat with springs. I like Brooks sprung saddles also and have a B67 for me on our tandem.
Originally Posted by zonatandem
I have a fairly new Brooks B17, Champion Special on my road bike and love it! I bought it in the winter and spent about a month keeping it buttered up with a variety of potions before I road it. It is breaking in great and was very comfortable the first time out. I'm buying a B17 for the tandem and have been trying to get my wife to try one. I even agreed to break it in for her! Unfortunatly, like most folks she looks at mine and simply cannot believe that it is comfortable, but I think she will change her mind with time. I suppose the best plan would be to buy her one and just break it in myself. Then if she likes it, great, if not, then I can continue to use it.
Originally Posted by DocF
Back in the 70s-early 80s Kay rode a Brooks B-72. She loved it and put 30,000+ miles on it until . . . .on a century ride she broke the rails on the sadde. With 30 miles to go her solution was simple:"Find a rock and jam it between my saddle and the carrier" . . . she literally rode a saddle 'as hard as a rock!'
Time for a change.
A carbon seat post will rely on having some room to flex. If your wife is that short that the post has to be fully in the frame, it will not be able to flex and give some comfort. Two things to look at, possibly a shorter crankset . This means that the legs will not be as extended, so will allow the saddle height to be raised, and with short legs may be better for the rider in any case. The other is a very well sprung saddle.