Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem
High End Tandems
We have a Burley Duet, and are thinking of upgrading. The Burley has been a good serviceable bike for 14 years. However when we ride it, it always seems slow, and not very responsive. This is particularly true in comparison to riding our single bikes. ( Merlin Extralight, and a Canondale R2000). I compare it to the difference between driving a Ford Explorer and a Porsche.
I realize it's not fair to compare a $2000 tandem to a $6,000 single bike. My quesiton is how much of the slow heavy feel of the Burley is attributable to the bike, and how much is inherent in the fact it's a tandem. Stated another way, would we see a noticeable, even measurable, difference in up grading to a higher end bike. (I'm thinking something like a Santana Team AL with aero wheels, or possibly carbon fiber).
How many of you have upgraded to a high end tandem from an entry level tandem. Did you notice a significant difference? Was the price worth it to you?
Tandem performance has made great strides in 14 years, primarily in tubing technology. Changing from a '95/96 Santana Arriva (steel) to a '98 Erickson (steel) made for a huge difference in performance, primarily due to more aggressive steering geometry and a stiffer, more responsive frame. Cost is relative; our 3 tandems still represent a lot less money than a nice boat, an RV, or anything else that might consume our leisure time so no regets on spending $$ for cycling.
If you are really looking for a change in performance I would recommend searching out a Co-Motion (any model), perhaps a newer Burley with the Race package, as well as the Santana you have mentioned for test rides. Heck, if you can find a newer Trek T2000 or a Cannondale RT1000 they too would give you a flavor of how far the technology has come.
We rode a Burley Duet for about 10 years (we still own it.... saving it for when our girls may visit with their husbands). A little more than a year ago we bought a Santana Sovering. We loved it from day one. Mostly better handling, responsiveness, and ease for climbing. We did not ride test a carbon frame bike, after reading Tandemgeek, Zonatandem, and others comments, we wish we did. If only the stock market had a nice run up.....