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  1. #1
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    How to transport a tandem

    I recently purchased a tandem and I would appreciate your experiences with racks. I am considering having a 2"' receiver installed and am debating between a Draftmaster or Yakima, Thule type with two arms. I have a minivan and would like to be able to open the hatch with bikes on the rack. The Draftmaster seems like it would be a good choice but it's very pricey.
    Has anyone had problems carrying a tandem on the back, sticking out on both sides of the vehicle?

  2. #2
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    I have a full sized Chev conversion van and recently bought a tandem. I had seen several racks that carry the bike sideways, but a tandem even without the front wheel is seven feet long. The thought of both ends of the bike sticking out beyond the sides of the van was not appealing to me. My nightmare was going down a narrow alley with barely enough room for the van, and twin trails of sparks flying from the bike scraping both walls. (I usually woke up just then) I also believe there are laws in most states about how much, and on what side, an object can protrude from a vehicle.

    I finally bit the bullet and bought a Draftmaster. I had to have a hitch installed. So I have quite a few bucks invested in a thing to carry my tandem. But I'll tell you, unequivocally, that the money was well spent. The Draftmaster rack is a real work of art, well engineered and easy to use. All the components, nuts, bolts and fittings are first class. They didn't cheap out. When the bike is mounted and the rack is 'opened', I have full access to my back doors.

    Expensive, yes. But worth every penny, IMO, in the long run. A plus is that the rack can carrry two solo bikes, one on each side of the tandem, as well.

    -Dave

  3. #3
    Senior Member tchazzard's Avatar
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    Hi; I have hauled bikes on the roofs of cars for years. Last year I bought a tandem. I picked up Yakima's side winder, which allows for easy loading of the tandem. This said, it would still be a pain if you own a SUV or van.

    This past spring I picked up a SportsRig trailer (www.sportsrig.com). It is more expensive than a roof rack, but it will quickly pay for itself in fuel efficiency and ease of use. I have also found that I can carry lots of other stuff with it, like trash, lumber, recycling, etc. A picture of the trailer with the tandem, Thule cargo box and folded up Burley trailer is shown below. This was a pre-trip picture taken before we made the long drive up to Prince Edward Island for a week of biking this past September. The trailer pulled nicely at speeds as high as 75 MPH. You would not even know it was behind you.

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    Draftmaster racks are very nice systems. They can be a bit pricey though. I was at the interbike trade show last month and saw that sportsworks has come out with a very nice roof rack. It will go on both yak and thule. Cool factor of the Sportsworks is 1.) you dont have to take the front wheel off, 2.) due to the way the rack tilt sidways, one smaller sized person can do it all by themself. 3.) if you already own a yak or thule for your 1/2 bikes this will work along with it.

    Bad point to roof racks 1.) I hear all the time about people forgetting they have their bike on the roof and WHAMO, they trash the vehicle and the bike by driving under something.

  5. #5
    Kev
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    I wish I could find it, I have to look around. There is a specific roof mount rack designed to carry tandems. THe length is the big issue.

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    Kev, you are correct, they are longer. Pretty much every manufacturer makes a roof rack for a tandem though. You just have to make sure to get the correct one.

    If I was starting from scratch and needed a roof rack, I'd go with the Sportsworks tandem on Thule load bars.

    If I needed a receiver rack I'd take the hit and go with the DraftMaster.

  7. #7
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Most rack manufacturers made extensions for roof racks for the additional length associated with tandemns, but the issue (I believe) is with a hitch monted rack.

    As far as I'm aware, the Draftmaster is the only rack that will prevent each end sticking out. Unless you own a Hummer!

    Sure you can take both wheels off, but then what do you do about racks, fenders...etc.

    Sorry this doesn't help, and I don't think it's the answer you wanted.

    BTW, if you know of anyone who wants a Draftmaster rack, I know of one available. The person who has it had a SUV, and then got a pickup so no longer uses the Draftmaster. (It is "NOT" the "Specialty" and does "NOT" have the tandemn attachment - it's the 4 bike model) But, I think you can buy the "Specialty" attachment for it!

    L8R
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    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  8. #8
    Junior Member Brian Hooker's Avatar
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    Although I do not own one, I have heard good things about Badger Racks (http://www.badgerrack.com/). No affiliation; just my 2cents.

    We carry our Meridian Quest either in the bed of our truck, or on an older Thule hitch mount on the back of our Grand Cherokee. With the Thule, I wrap an old hbar grip around the toptube and turn the hbar so the fr wheel is perpendicular to the bike, securing hbar to toptube with an old pedal cinching strap. Overhang on either side of vehicle is not too bad.

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member UncaStuart's Avatar
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    We've been using a low cost Rhode Gear trunk rack for years to move our tandems around. It looks a little funny to have a Meridian hanging off the back of a Honda del Sol (the bike's probably worth more than the car at this point), but there are some benefits:
    • can go into any public parking garage
    • can parallel park
    • don't have to worry about ripping the bike off during a forgetful moment

    On the other hand, getting into the trunk during long trips can be a hassle!

    To get it under the maximum width, I strap the handlebar to the frame at 90 degrees so I get a span of 7'8" without having to remove a wheel.

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member UncaStuart's Avatar
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    *****

  11. #11
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    For future reference, here is a URL that will take you to collection of links to the various rack system & sports trailer providers who offer tandem products:

    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/T...l#anchor810905

    My .02 on the BEST way to haul tandems:

    1. Inside the back of a Suburban or Van, out of the weather and secure.
    2. Inside the back of a SUV or mini-van: same as above but a little less room.
    3. Pick-up Truck bed, with or without camper shell.
    4. Roof mounted systems for cars/vehicles where it is practical.
    a) Surburbans - three cross bars and single bike mounts can be used to haul up to four tandems up top.
    a) ATOC Tandem Topper is the original swivel-head design and they offer models that work with tandems, triplets and quads.
    b) Tandems East tandem mount. Good product, not too expensive.
    c) Rocky-Mounts tandem mount. Good product, not too expensive.
    d) Yakima's OLD tandem mount. Not fancy, but a good design.
    e) Yakima's new Sidewinder. Over-engineered and aesthetically challenged, but a good solid product.
    5. Draftmaster. A great idea, well-built and relatively easy to use. However, can be a pain to gain access to rear doors of SUV/mini-vans while it's installed, requires some storage space when not in use, i.e., awkward to drive around with and poses limitations for vehicles parked in garages.
    6. Rear trunk-mount carriers - Cheap, easy to use but also presents the highest risk of causing cosmetic and/or real damage to cars and bikes if care is not used in mounting the rack and, in turn, bikes to the rack.
    7. Howling Dog / Sportsrig Trailers. Very cool and perfect for hauling stuff around that just can't go on the roof, inside or on back of your vehicle. Cons are storage requirements, added burden of driving around with a trailer, and loss of ready access to systems like 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 which can always be there when you need them.

    Bottom Line: There is no single best solution or system so you pick and choose from any one of these good systems to find the right one for your needs and limitations.

  12. #12
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    We put ours in the side of our Aerostar Van. We have using our rear rack, but it is a little wide. The rear rack is fine for short trips.
    Diane

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    Thanks for all the responses. I ended up getting a Thule 939 hitch mounted rack. It holds 4 bikes and is designed to slide back to leave enough room to open the rear hatch on the minivan. Very nicely made, although discontinued. A few places still had/have them in stock. I had 4 bikes on it and no problem sliding it back. It works for me.

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    I just got the SportWorks U2 roof rack. It mounts on either Thule or Yak's load bars. It holds the tandem by the wheels so the pain of removing wheels is gone. Depending on what vehicle is being used one person can load and unload the bike solo.

    I'm able to get it off and on the Explorer by my self. It's not all that easy but, with practice I'm sure I'll get better at it. It's not hard at all with two people which, if I didnt have two people I wouldnt be loading the tandem anyway eh. I'm very happy with the Sportworks U2 and would recomend it any day.
    http://www.bicycleracks.com/stbob.asp

  15. #15
    Licensed Bike Geek Davet's Avatar
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    Just remember that the bike is on the roof before you pull into the garage!

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by livngood
    My .02 on the BEST way to haul tandems:

    1. Inside the back of a Suburban or Van, out of the weather and secure.
    2. Inside the back of a SUV or mini-van: same as above but a little less room.
    This belongs under "you know you are a tandem cyclist when....". My captain, when purchasing a new vehicle, drove the "finalists" home and stuffed each van with the tandem+at least one other bike. BTW the Dodge/Chrysler mini-vans really ARE large enough to stuff a tandem w/front wheel ON into the back hatch.

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