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  1. #1
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    Raleigh Coupe vs Burley Samba

    What are your thoughts on the two tandems? The new 2005 Coupe has an aluminum frame, 700C rims, disk brakes, and Shimano components for $1,400. The 2005 Burley Samba has a somewhat heavier chromoly frame for $1,600. The local dealer only have the bikes to order from a catalog so I have not been able to test ride them. I plan to ride with my daughter on street rides up to probably ~50mi. I'd appreciate any comments to help decide. Originally, I was looking for a used bike, but the Coupe looks good in the catalog. thanks.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Our neighbors just obtained a Coupe; last year's model with cantilever brakes. They got a pretty good deal on it. As usual, the dealer was the weak link in the transaction in that the bike wasn't properly "tuned" before delivery: brake pads and brakes were not adjusted correctly (pads dragging, out of alignment, and no toe-in), the wheels were out of true and way off on spoke tension, timing rings hadn't been adjusted to minimize out of round/cam effect on timing chain tension, and other minor nits. The stock tires seemed pretty low-quality and as it turned out the cloth-wrapped wire bead on the rear tire came apart on their 3rd outing, leaving them with a non-repairable flat on a family ride. Of course, upon returning to the bike shop they were good about replacing the tires for no charge, unfortunately the LBS guys demonstrated their total lack of tandem knowledge by recommended 23mm racing tires for our neighbors who are both tall folks that have a team weight well over 350lbs. The LBS folks couldn't imagine anyone needing a tire larger than 25mm. Our neighbor was savvy enough to suggest that they probably needed the bigger tire and I believe they ended up with either 25mm or 28mm.

    Moral of the story? The Raliegh is not a bad entry level tandem, but given it is a mass produced product extra attention during set-up and pre-ride is essential. Therefore, unless you do your own wrenching, be sure your LBS knows what they're doing.

    It has been my experience that the Burley products arrive in very good trim, have well-built wheels, and are usually sold by better bike shops with some tandem experience.

    The net take-away here would be, I think the Raliegh is over-priced at $1,400 and the Burley is closer to where it should be. If you could get the dealer to discount the Raleigh by 10% - 15% it would be a good deal but be mindful of the comments on pre-ride tuning and set-up and make sure its got a good set of tires.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Agree, the Burley is a better bet than the Coupe.
    Have ridden a Coupe, and it was fine; but Burley is more than a cut above that and IOP the better investment.
    The Raleigh is made 'somehwere' in China; the Burley is made in Eugene, OR, USA if that makes any difference to you.

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  4. #4
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    My wife and I ride a Burley Samba and have been very satisfied with the quality and ride.

  5. #5
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    I would not hesitate getting the Raleigh Coupe '05. Very nicely equiped and built. Had 0 problems on our first maiden voyage. Shifted great, stopped very well, and was very comfortable. Not to mention that it looks awesome!

    The '05 model has been significantly overhauled. I had none of the issues tandemgeek mentioned and believe that to be an isolated incident or more assembly and tuning related except for the tires. Truthfully, could not have been more happy with the purchase. The bike is very confidence inspiring.

    Maiden Voyage on Raleigh Coupe '05

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeCKis300
    I had none of the issues tandemgeek mentioned and believe that to be an isolated incident or more assembly and tuning related except for the tires.
    Check that; they purchased the Pursuit, not the Coupe.

  7. #7
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    tyrngear smh's Avatar
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    We (wife and I) picked up a brand new '03 Coupe w/ 26" wheels and v-brakes. these things retailed for around 900ish. only put about 1000 miles on it so far. but most of that is with another buddy of mine who is right around 200 pounds, as am i. we've beat this thing pretty good, especially some hard fire road descents, w/ no suspension. Other than some of the original components being a bit suspect (our stock 26x1.95 cross tires blew far too quickly (sidewall failure)), and the truvativ chainrings were replaced by shimano rings. the frame sizings are a little bit limited, but if you & your stoker fit well, cool!
    What i learned in the single bike world holds true pretty well for tandems too: 90% of the experience has to do with your mechanical ability. in other words, in the hands of a cyclist who must rely on their LBS to keep the bike dialed, the best components in the world will only stay dialed a slight bit longer than cheaper ones. similarly, the last time i checked, an xtr rear derailler tears off the hanger just about as quickly as an LX, 'cept the LX won't set you back like $100 for a new one!

    an argument can be made to support high end parts if a. you're a racer/competitive rider who pushes the bike hard, who needs the best/strongest (ask Stapfam (about his requirements of his bike) on this forum, this guy pushes stuff very hard, and there's no sidestepping the quality issue for this person, his yearly budget comes in cheaper by buying quality parts first, as his harsh performance demands and big mileage are much more conducive to saving $$$ and ensuring better safety through quality parts. b. you're a quite competent mechanic (who can get that extra bit of performance and longevity out of high end parts) c. your budget is quite tall. steel frames of good manufacturers might have a little smoother ride than a raleigh alum, but if you're not worried about nuances in ride expereince, the raleigh is lighter and should carry a similar warranty...seems like a few people on this forum (myself included) have had a very positive experience with raleigh, both directly with them and through the LBS.

    if you're rather new to the tandem thing and not experienced with pushing the bike hard, you'd be surprised at how well the economy parts will serve you, moreso if you have mechanical skills. i raced road and mountain for years, and observed quite a few cyclists who's measure of their own ability on the bike was tied a little too closely to the components fitting their bike. As I spent more time with the bikes, I realized that my performance and enjoyment of the bike and all its associated activities have less and less to do with expensive components per se, and more to do with properly selected and maintained components.

    so what i'm trying to say, is that you need to define your motivations, skills/requirements and goals before you purchase. Don't be worried about the dubious pedigree of a raleigh tandem; if you're not as concerned with showcase parts as you are with functionality and maybe a little cost savings, the raleigh is a solid choice. spend the $$ you save by buying the raleigh on lots of tools to work on your bike, and also attend mechanics seminars whenever you get the chance, from your local shop to tech fairs put on at rallys and commmunity education classes... these sorts of investments will pay big dividends down the road, and will ultimately serve you well in developing your own paradigm for selection of frames/components to match your objective and subjective criteria.

    good luck!

    s-
    tyrngear

  8. #8
    Older Than Dirt
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    We looked at a Coupe (2004) before we bought our Cannondale MT800. The 2005 model is quite an upgrade from the older versions.

    We probably would have bought it if the fit for my wife was better. It is not easy to find a bike for a 4' 10" woman.

    Actually you would be well served by either bike, it just depepnds on how much you want to spend and how long you would intend on keeping the bike before upgrading.

    Doc
    Say Ya to da Yoop, eh!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    Our neighbors just obtained a Coupe; last year's model with cantilever brakes. They got a pretty good deal on it. As usual, the dealer was the weak link in the transaction in that the bike wasn't properly "tuned" before delivery...
    The stock tires seemed pretty low-quality and as it turned out the cloth-wrapped wire bead on the rear tire came apart on their 3rd outing, leaving them with a non-repairable flat on a family ride.
    Moral of the story? The Raliegh is not a bad entry level tandem, but given it is a mass produced product extra attention during set-up and pre-ride is essential. Therefore, unless you do your own wrenching, be sure your LBS knows what they're doing.
    My wife and I bought last year's model as well. I agree with the points above. We worked with a mechanic at our LBS. We went on a number of test rides and kept getting adjustments 'til everything was in good shape. In the end we upgraded the real derailleur, the stoker's stem, and the saddles before purchase.

    My wife commented that the tires didn't look like they'd last a week. Nonsence, I said, and after half a dozen training rides we took it to France for 4 weeks without a spare tire. 3rd day of the trip the sidewall tore, and we limped to a shop. Aside from that minor incident the bike's working great for us with very little maintainence. We have less than 3000 km on it, and we've ridden mostly on dry paved roads so we've been pretty nice to it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mhendricks's Avatar
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    We also bought our Coupe last year and it's been absolutely the best. We've done several charity rides and rides towing our dogs. It's just been a great experience. Like everyone else has said once you get it dialed in, just ride. I will say one thing. The first thing we did is change the tires. I bought Avocet FasGrip City K 26 x 1.5 tires. Best tires in my opinion with less rolling resistance and slicks we just cruise along.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all your responses. I finally found a LBS that had the Raleigh Coupe in stock. Nice bike. Unfortunately, my stoker is just a little too short for the smaller size frame. I could remove the shock seatpost, but I'm concerned that the stoker will feel too much road vibration and bumps. So I'm going to keep looking and probably focus on a chromoly frame which may be a little more foregiving without the shock seat post.

    We looked at a Burley Zydeco Mixte-x. That seems like the only bike that really fits a 4'6" stoker. I'd like better components, but maybe this will work for a starter. The one at the LBS had replaced the MTB tires with small slicks. Also wondering if I'm going to have to replace the largest 48 ring up front for a ~52. Anyone have comments on the Zydeco?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorb
    Thanks for all your responses. I finally found a LBS that had the Raleigh Coupe in stock. Nice bike. Unfortunately, my stoker is just a little too short for the smaller size frame. I could remove the shock seatpost, but I'm concerned that the stoker will feel too much road vibration and bumps. So I'm going to keep looking and probably focus on a chromoly frame which may be a little more foregiving without the shock seat post.

    We looked at a Burley Zydeco Mixte-x. That seems like the only bike that really fits a 4'6" stoker. I'd like better components, but maybe this will work for a starter. The one at the LBS had replaced the MTB tires with small slicks. Also wondering if I'm going to have to replace the largest 48 ring up front for a ~52. Anyone have comments on the Zydeco?
    Hmmm. My experience is several years old and it sounds like Burley has substituted slightly different components since then.

    I had a customer who was quite an avid recreational rider but who couldn't get his 4'10" wife to ride with him because she was just never comfortable on any bike she tried. As an interesting aside, their last name happened to be Little. Anyway he bought a Zydeco Mixte in the smallest size and we set up the rear of the bike as well as we could without the stoker. About a month later I happened to meet them on a group ride. She was so pleased to finally have a bike that felt right to her that she absolutely gushed with compliments. It was almost embarrassing! In their first month they had ridden that bike around 800 miles so that was a pretty good test.

    The bottom line is that the Zydeco Mixte frame looks to me like a pretty good design if you happen to have an unusually short stoker. I'd also add that nobody in the bicycle business is more pleasant to deal with than Burley.

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