My wife and I have such different pedaling styles that we almost kill ourselves just trying to go around the block. I have been exploring the idea of independant pedaling systems. Any thoughts on IPS would be great. I have also been told that pedal position can be altered between front and back rider. What work best for all you? Thanks Jeff Emrick
Kona Dr Dew, Lemond Le Alp, Mongoss NX-7, Trek T200 Tandem
I don't know how long you have been tandeming, but my wife and I found it took us over 500 miles before we got in sync with each other. It even felt ugly at first. Now (4,000 miles later) we frequently have people tell us how smooth we look together. Hills were the worse to get use to at first. We both use to climb very differently. They still are a challenge.
I've heard people say they really like the independent pedeling. It sure looks awkward though.
Some folks have luck with the cranks 90 degrees out-of-phase. This is actually fairly common for teams who ride with lower cadence. It also might be worth trying other out of phase arrangements starting with just 1 chainlink difference and going all the way to 90 degrees.
For safe cornering be sure to always have the captains crank be the lead crank if you are more than about 2 chainlinks out-of -phase.
Is the problem that you want to pedal at different cadences? If your stoker's legs are shorter than yours, and your tandem's cranks are the same length front and rear, then your stoker is being forced to pedal in bigger circles than is natural for her. If she DID use those longish cranks on a solo, she would probably pedal more slowly in a higher gear to compensate - but she can't do that on a tandem, where her pedalling has to follow yours.
So perhaps the solution is to have (e.g.) 172.5mm cranks on the front and 167.5mm cranks on the back. As far as I know, only TA supply cranksets in differing lengths front and rear, and they're not cheap...
As an aside, my stoker and I have tried out-of-phase pedalling with the stoker's pedals three chainring teeth "behind" the captain's, and didn't like it. We found that stopping/unclipping and getting under way were both more difficult. I would imagine that 90-degrees out-of-phaseness would be worse. On the other hand, the experiment is free!
We had the same problems when we started. I'm a gear masher compared to my wife, and my wife's more of a cadence rider compared to my style. Being the captain I had to make an effort to always keep in mind that my stoker (and we all know the stoker's always right) was having a hard time.
I made and effort to meet somewhere in the middle. We now stay around 90rpm's which was just a tad up from my natural stroke and a tad down from my wife's natural cadence. Like the above post mentioned, 500 mile later we started getting into the swing. 1,000+ miles later it's pretty much a non issue.