Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: London, UK
Bikes: Trek T200 plus enough others to fill a large shed
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Our new tandem
The new tandem is with us. It is a Trek T2000, which I'm sure you've all seen on these pages before. My thoughts based on a 1/2h test ride plus a 20 mile ride home through South London, partly in the dark.
Things I like
- It goes faster up hills than I thought it would. We went up many of the draggy hills from the bike shop in the big ring without even realising. Downhills also faster
- No screams from the stoker, even after a front wheel slide when riding over some leaves on a bike path. Good team communication and mutual compliments on bike handling when we weaved between cars at some traffic lights on our second ride. Not so different to a single handling wise.
- Surprisingly comfortable. The wife even told me no need to change her saddle as she likes the one it comes with, and that she likes the suspension seat post. Ditto up front the tyres seem pretty good.
- The wheels. I'm not a tourist, so no 40 spokes for me. I know people like reliability, but when Rolf is making wheels with 10 spokes, 24 is pretty conservative I think. Hubs and rims also look pretty stout too
- Shifting. I've got 4 year old Campag Record on my bike and my wife has new Centaur, and neither bike ever shifted like the tandem does.
- Attention: Cries of 'Look Sam, they're riding a tandem' from women out shopping with kids (maybe followed by educated debate on merits of Campag vs Shimano, but I don't think they were the type). Looking forward to the next group ride when the chap with the latest shiny colnago will be well overshadowed.
- At last, perhaps a bit of respect from car drivers (maybe just curiosity but I'll take what I can get)
Things I dislike a little, but not enough to change yet
- Maybe a new pilot's saddle - it's growing on me, although until today I always preferred a flite.
- Re-position the Ultegra levers. I'm now less surprised that some Campag users here don't get on with the Shimano hoods. Also braking is a bit different, though thousands of other people seem to manage fine with STI levers, so I probably just need to get used to it.
- Re-tape the bars - gaps appeared on both bars on the 10 mile ride home. Either the Saturday kid worked on this or the tape is crummy.
Things I had to change
- 44cm bars up front. I don't even know any rugby playing cyclists who normally ride with 48cm bars.
- Similarly at the back - my wife rides ladies bend 38cm handlebars, so why 48cm cyclo cross bars for her too? It can only be related to captain width. We'll see if we can fit me in between a set of 40s from the shed for now!
- Criminally the standard stoker bars have a double groove, so are much less comfortable than a track bar. At very least they could have filled the double groove some cable outer. Maybe something to follow the re-taping.
- RXE Time pedals f&R. These are excellent functionally as well as being cheap enough to put on all your bikes
- LED lights as it gets dark fast round here plus we didn't want to get killed on the way home
- 5 red plastic Bontrager bottle cages
Changes still to come
- Maybe computers front and rear, or maybe rear only as the stoker can always tell me how fast we're going
- Gear indicators. I thought they were horrible on cheap hybrids, but actually they would be useful on the tandem
- Non-adjustable stoker stem as the adjustable one probably weighs a few pounds and is useless if you know where you like your bars. We'll keep it for the neighbours test ride or perhaps for building a comedy bike.
- One or two fewer spacers under the front stem as it's still higher than I'm used to
- One of the five bottle cages bangs my knees a bit, so will have to go