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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 08-28-05, 06:57 PM   #1
AndyGrow
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The wife and I took two tandems for rides this past weekend. One was an old Trek, and the other was a newer (3-4 years old) Burley.

We weren't really riding them to decide which mfgr to purchase, but to just try riding a tandem. We loved it.

We've found there are MANY mfgrs out there. Most are pretty decent, from what we can tell. But we need help in deciding on what brand, and what specific model.

I am 6'4" tall, weigh 230#. My wife is 5'7" and 150#. We plan on doing tours (not self-sufficient tours, but supported ones...like centuries, etc), as well as some racing.

So...steel? Aluminum? Burley? Trek? Cannondale? Co-Motion? The list goes on and on.

Oh yeah - most important...we are budgeting $2500 for the bike. We've already got the pedals, shoes, saddles, clothes, helmets, etc. And I should mention - we don't HAVE to spend the 2500, if we can get a good bike for less.

Thanks for your suggestions!

Regards,
Andy and Vickie

Last edited by AndyGrow; 08-28-05 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 08-28-05, 07:05 PM   #2
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Well, with a budget of $2500.00, you do have a choice of a few new tandems and a wide range of used ones. We have a 2003 Cannondale MT800 which we like very much. It came in well under $2500.00, new old stock, from Tandems East. We like it, especially since we replaced the crappy oem seats with Brooks sprung saddles. We will be riding more now that the weather down here is getting cooler. I guess you don't have that problem in Dah Yoop, eh!

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Old 08-28-05, 07:18 PM   #3
phinney
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Cannondale's are known for frame stiffness and with a frame as big as you'll need stiffness could be an issue. We got their road tandem last year and it has been a great bike for us. We're 6'2" and 5'6" and fit the X/M frame so you'll probably want the next size up.

The Cannondale's have disc brakes and ours were scary weak when new but broke in after a few rides and are excellent now with no mods required. I don't even know what drivetrain group is on it but it shifts just as good as my full Ultegra road bike.
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Old 08-28-05, 07:43 PM   #4
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I am 6'4" tall @ 195 and my stoker is 5'7" tall @...one something... a little more than your stoker.

Our KHS comes in way under your budget!
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Old 08-28-05, 08:05 PM   #5
woodcycl
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Another vote for the Cannondale Road Tandem -- as I picked up the 05' a couple months ago. Yeah, I'm biased of course since I have one. However, I am not brand loyal when it comes to bicycles ... as they are nearly ALL good bikes.

The Cannondale is known for stiff frames ... and that is a benefit for you and your stoker based on your descriptions. And, the new 05' Cannondale tandem is priced right at $2500 when you include tax and a few upgrades that Tandem East will provide to you if you go with them for purchase and setup.

If you can find a 1 to 3 year old used "good" tandem ... in nearly any of the nicer brands/models ... you'll save a few bucks, or have a higher-end tandem normally costing $3k+ for your $2.5k price range.

You are asking the age-old question that "all" of us ask at some point ... and nearly "all" of us know the actual answer ... you can't really go wrong with whatever bike you choose once you get above a certain price point.

Good luck ... and please keep us informed as to what you decidie.
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Old 08-28-05, 08:23 PM   #6
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Andy - your story is similar to ours. $2500 budget. That would leave out the Santana and Co-Mo's. C'Dales looking pretty good but, considering that not only are you looking at the recreational investment, you should also consided the health benefits. I, for one, can't put a dollar value on health; if I were to do so, it would be in 100's of thousands of dollars. This is where I decided my money would go in terms of riding comfort "payback" dividends that in my humble opinion, far surpass the initial $$ outlay. I have two C'dales hanging in the garage which serve the solo riding needs just fine. But, when it comes to riding comfort for two, we decided the Co-Mo with a metal frame (albiet high tech) nicely fit the bill for the ride comfort factor. Bottom line - When my stoker, who is 49 years young after a 30 mile ride says, lets do that again says it all to me. Can't say enough about our ride. Good luck.
Dave M
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Old 08-28-05, 08:37 PM   #7
will dehne
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Andy and Vickie:
We bought a Cannondale Tandem Aluminum for $3000 about seven years ago. We bike a lot. We do centuries and Time Trials all the time. We ride most of the time on Wisconsin Rails to Trails which are lime stone and the fine grit plays hell on the equipment. (That means quality bearings and seals are required)

Here is my recommendation: The brakes are very important. Your weight plus your wife plus luggage plus bike is a lot to stop. Imagine going downhill at over 30 MPH and there is a deer or some child and you need to stop? I wonder if the less expensive Tandems cut corners on braking ability.
If so, I recommend against a less expensive Tandem. (Ours has hydraulic brakes)
We are speed conscious. Today we went on lime stone path at 46 mile in 2 Hours and 45 minutes. That is moving fast if you consider about 10 stop signs. An Aluminum Tandem is a lot lighter than steel. That matters on acceleration and hills.
Another thing to watch for is the geometry of the bike. You both need to be comfortable and efficient if you want to race. Compare it to your Road bike. I mean the distance from saddle to crank and to the bars.
Welcome to Tandems. We love them. We are both 63.
Will and Helga
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Old 08-28-05, 09:33 PM   #8
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I am 6'6" and my wife is 5'6". We are on a Burley Tosa Large. Our budget was @ $2 -2.5K in '04

If you think you can hit $3k, give Co-Motion a hard look.

Cannondale, Trek, Burley were the best choices in my original budget. Test'em if at all possible!!!
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Old 08-28-05, 09:36 PM   #9
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Just received our new 2005 C'Dale road tandem. It's been a great bike, probably the best value out there today. It comes with Ultagra shifters/brakes, XT rear DR, and a 105 FD. It also comes with great Avid BB-7 disk brakes that do a wonderful job of stopping us. Our team weighs in at about 280 Lbs, but we load the bike down with lots of extra baggage. We just did a century yesterday, our first tandem century, and it was beaucoup fun. Got up to 42 MPH on one descent. I was concerned about harshness, but my stoker says she's as comfortable as she is on her 1/2 bike, a Trek 2100 with carbon forks and stays. Harshness has more to do with geometry than material. You may be able to find a dealer who will sell you one for about $2,200 + tax, but, whatever you do, find a good dealer who will support you. A good fit is worth a lot and if you have any problems (tandems can be somewhat more touchy) service means a lot, too.

No doubt there are many excellent tandems out there, but dollar for dollar, this one is hard to beat. OHB
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Old 08-29-05, 01:39 AM   #10
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I ride a Dale MT2000, and can recommend it to any one. It is a stiff frame, but stokers can get a suspension post fitted. Mine has been upgraded severely for my use but the standard spec on these models is good enough for a year or so, or until parts need replacing, where an upgrade is recommended. To be honest, providing you buy a good brand, then for 2.5k you are going to get a good Tandem so manufacturer will not come into it. What will is good fit, good components, suitability for the use you are going to give and the colour-- Got to keep the stoker happy.

Take time in sizing your Tandem, and this where Cannondale may have an edge with their "Standard" stock sizing. Compare the ride quality of a couple of manufacturers, as they will differ but the other thing to do is when buying, get some of the upgrades you know you will want- like saddles etc.

By the way pilot 6'2" 180 lbs- stoker 5'6" 150 lbs Tandem size Large/medium. And still room to adjust for larger/smaller stokers/ pilot. I can even set the front up for me to ride as Pilot comfortably. Can't stress it enough, but offroad Stoker does need a suspension post. Just gone to the Cane creek Thudbuster, from a cheap post, and the change is worth it.

Last edited by stapfam; 08-29-05 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 08-29-05, 04:45 AM   #11
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I read a good engineering monograph about tandem design on a "custom" tandem Co.'s website. Unfortunately they seemed to be describing the Cdale tandem, not their own- making the point that size of the tubeset is more critical on a tandem than a road bike for reasons of power transfer and handling. With the size of your team, the Cdale frame would probably flex less than all the rest. I do NOT like aluminum racing bikes, but the Cdale tandem is a great handling machine. My stoker doesn't complain about ride harshness at all.
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Old 08-29-05, 07:01 AM   #12
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I fifth the Cannondale.I don't like Aluminum singles,but our C'dale tandem rocks.We tested a steel tandem and it seemed to go in several directions at once,and my stoker/wife was freaked out.

We got on the C'dale road ,and she said "this is much better".My logic was to get a frame that is STIFF,and if needed soften it down with fat tires,suspension seatposts as needed.It is not harsh at all for me the captain,and the wife uses a suspension seatpost.Ours is a X/S,and we have ordered a X/M frame to tweak the sizing a little and give her a longer toptube.I plan to sell the X/S frame after we get the new frame.

Since they make a Jumbo/Large,it looks like an ideal fit for you.Most companies largest stock frames have a ~57cm top tube,woefully small for you anyway.

My wife once had a C'dale single,and she got battered by it.She says that the tandem with the sus seatpost is a nice ride,and as a captain it steers solid and is easy to control.

We are a 350 lb team.

dan
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