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  1. #1
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    A couple of questions

    I've never had the chance to ride a tandem but my interest is rising (along with my daughter urging me on)
    A couple of things I'm wondering about...why does the stokers seat often come with some sort of suspension? Is it extra rough for some reason or is it because the stoker may not see the bumps coming?
    Also, can the stoker sit up erect at times without grasping the bars at all? My daughter and wife have never ridden with road bike drop bars. I'd like to find a nice used unit to test ride but finding one here in the midwest in correct size is unlikely. Nearest lbs have Burley, Trek and Cannondale. The Trek is a little pricey it seems so I might consider one of the Burleys or Cannondales in the $2500 range. Suggestions?
    and btw, I'm reluctant to do the ebay thing but that's just me.
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
    Schmidt

    06 Bacchetta Giro 20

  2. #2
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    When we were first interested in getting a tandem we bought the book, "The Tandem Scoop" by John Schubert. It is a very easy read and gives a ton of knowledge on tandems. This book describes all of the aspects of tandeming for both the novice and experienced. Thanks to this book we now own a tandem and the learning curve was much less painful.

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkijohn
    I've never had the chance to ride a tandem but my interest is rising (along with my daughter urging me on)
    A couple of things I'm wondering about...why does the stokers seat often come with some sort of suspension? Is it extra rough for some reason or is it because the stoker may not see the bumps coming?
    Also, can the stoker sit up erect at times without grasping the bars at all? My daughter and wife have never ridden with road bike drop bars. I'd like to find a nice used unit to test ride but finding one here in the midwest in correct size is unlikely. Nearest lbs have Burley, Trek and Cannondale. The Trek is a little pricey it seems so I might consider one of the Burleys or Cannondales in the $2500 range. Suggestions?
    and btw, I'm reluctant to do the ebay thing but that's just me.
    First of all, timing is everything... and if you live anywhere near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, your timing is perfect. The Iowa Tandem Club (aka, Paired Iowans Going Somewhere or PIGS) is hosting the Midwest Tandem Rally over the Labor Day Weekend in Cedar Rapids. You can read more about the event at the MTR Website: http://www.mtr2006.com/ Several tandem dealers always attend this event and bring along a variety of tandems for rally-goers to look at. You probably need to contact the MTR organizers to find out if you can visit the vendor displays without being a rally participant: Ed and Marlene Hayek (319)366-4793. However, you could also pre-arrange some test rides with some of the larger dealers who will be attending. Mark Johnson from Precision Tandems (www.precisiontandems.com) is located near Kansas City and will likely have a vendor booth. If you were to contact him and spend some time talking about your budget and ride plans I'm sure he could bring along a tandem or two in your size to have on hand for a test ride. Of course, having 400 or more tandems on hand would certainly give you a great opportunity to see what's out there and who knows, you may even find several used tandems for sale.

    Anyway, back to your questions:

    Stoker "shockposts" are popular because many stokers don't appreciate the jolt they receive when their captain fails to call out bumps and/or because the local riding conditions have less than ideal riding surfaces, e.g., road and bicycle trails with expansion joints in freeze zones that are subject to extensive heaving. Not all teams use shock posts but for those stokers who want or who need them, they are a welcome option or feature.

    Yes, if a stoker has a good sense of balance they should have no trouble sitting up and riding no-handed on the back of a tandem. In fact, you'll find many seasoned stokers taking photos, taking care of on-bike nutrition by pulling things out of jersey pockets, taking on cell phones, or pulling wind jackets and arm warmers off of their captains all while cranking along balanced on their saddles.

    Burley, Cannondale and Trek (they have a less expensive model the T1000 that is in the same range as the C'dale RT and Burley models) offer excellent tandems with first rate components for best-value pricing; anyone of their products would be a good choice for a first tandem so long as the frame is properly sized for you and your stoker(s) and fits in your budget.

    For more first time tandem info see the Tandems or Learning sections of our Website: http://www.thetandemlink.com/tandems.html
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-06 at 05:33 AM.

  4. #4
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    A HUGE thanks...

    Yes, I'm very close to CR, just 20 miles. I will follow up on this but can't miss my beloved Hawkeye FB game on Sat. Someone I rode with recently recommended Precision Tandems to me so I have been visiting their web-site. Again, TNX so much for all the helpful info.
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
    Schmidt

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkijohn
    Is it extra rough for some reason or is it because the stoker may not see the bumps coming?
    To what TandemGeek wrote I only would add that the stoker seat is almost on top of the back wheel axle. The captain seat is about mid way betwen the two axles. I , as a captain, find my single much more rough on the seat than the tandem....both aluminum, same saddle, but different tire size 23 vs 28.

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cornucopia72
    ... the stoker seat is almost on top of the back wheel axle. The captain seat is about mid way betwen the two axles. I , as a captain, find my single much more rough on the seat than the tandem.....
    This is why a really good tandem dealer will put the would-be captain on the back of a tandem before they let the captain head out with their stoker-to-be... If you've never ridden on the back of a tandem you'll never fully appreciate the stoker's world.

    Captain's have a super-plush ride -- regardless of frame material -- and sometimes find that riding a tandem is very similar to riding a solo bike, the handling differences notwithstanding. However, for the rider in the second seat it's a whole different ball game: No forward view, poor depth perception with regard to the shoulder of the road (everything along the edge of the road appears to be closer from the stoker's perspective), no unobstructed airflow or cool breeze across your face and upper body, no direct control over the speed and direction of the tandem, and predisposed to be "slacking" by just about every captain who ever gets tired or feels like the tandem is heavier or slower than it "should be". Oh yeah, and when you hear your stoker go "ow" or otherwise shout an explitive when you hit what feels like a little or moderate bump to you... rest assured that they're usually not being over-dramatic.

    Bottom Line: Never take your stoker for granted. Pamper them, praise them, and thank them often because riding a tandem alone ain't no fun.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-24-06 at 05:34 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member djembob02's Avatar
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    Regarding test riding. It is definetly recommended. BTW, how old is your daughter. On precision tandems.com you can see Mark's daughter growing up stoking on the tandem. My girl is 4, she rides in the middle of our triplet.

    My wife is in the back and actually rarely complains of bumps even without a suspension seatpost, though she does have a rather cushy saddle. Both my stokers can ride hands-free and as long as they aren't both leaning the same way, I hardly notice. My only issues is when my wife tickles our daughter. Then she wiggles around a lot. (Do note that both stokers are very petite)

    About the Midwest Tandem Rally and your football game. I am pretty sure that the rally is a three day event, so you could probably just show up for a little while on one of those days.

    Good luck. We love our bike (2500 miles in our first 10 months)
    Bobby

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by djembob02
    Regarding test riding. It is definetly recommended. BTW, how old is your daughter. On precision tandems.com you can see Mark's daughter growing up stoking on the tandem. My girl is 4, she rides in the middle of our triplet.

    My wife is in the back and actually rarely complains of bumps even without a suspension seatpost, though she does have a rather cushy saddle. Both my stokers can ride hands-free and as long as they aren't both leaning the same way, I hardly notice. My only issues is when my wife tickles our daughter. Then she wiggles around a lot. (Do note that both stokers are very petite)

    About the Midwest Tandem Rally and your football game. I am pretty sure that the rally is a three day event, so you could probably just show up for a little while on one of those days.

    Good luck. We love our bike (2500 miles in our first 10 months)
    My daughter Maggie just turned 13. She's been a dancer since she was 5 so she's got strong legs! She's a daddy's girl and loves to spend time with me, riding, playing ball, working in the garden or whatever. She seldom asks for anything but she is excited and often speaks about getting a tandem. I absolutely love the story on Precision's website about why you should never go cycling with your children! (tongue in cheek of course) I did e-mail Precision and learned they will be in CR but will not have a booth because they do not have room on their van for any extra bikes. Wonder if anyone else will have tandems available for test rides?
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
    Schmidt

    06 Bacchetta Giro 20

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkijohn
    Wonder if anyone else will have tandems available for test rides?
    Ahem. Well.....DH and I are riding our first Tandem Rally in Cedar Rapids (with all the attendant questions which we'll post later,), howerever, we're riding a low-budget Co-Motion which doesn't seem to be one of your choices. Just show up at breakfast on any day, and I'm sure bunches of people would be thrilled to let you sample their tandems. Tandem riders LOVE to promote their particular tandems Inquiries to my prefs addy, would be answered!

    Lakes and Rivers
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    Our bike: Co-Motion Primera
    My bike: Terry Isis
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  10. #10
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    I think the only way you could wrong in your situation is if you get someone(s) don't like riding. You could get a pretty low budget tandem and have a heckuva time. From the tenor of your post, I would guess that it is more a matter of getting a tandem that falls in your budget. It is starting to get toward the end of the season and people are/will be starting to unload them. A great time to buy. And a great time to get one and keep the desire alive in your daughter. She's going to be a sophomore(?), before you know it she'll be all grown and gone.

    That tandem rally will be a great opportunity to get some test rides. I know I would do the same and offer my tandem as L&R stated above. I have offered my tandem locally a few times to those that wanted to try.

  11. #11
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    Try checking out the www.bikeiowa.com website classifieds. Or even post a want to buy classified. (From Aug 10, a Trek T1000, from late July a Cannondale and Co-Motion).

    It is a good suggestion to get some test rides. But at the same time, riding tandem together is the thing.

    Try to find a bike you can have fun with, with your stoker(s). It is less about the bike and more about the experience.

    Good luck.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkijohn
    Someone I rode with recently recommended Precision Tandems to me so I have been visiting their web-site. Again, TNX so much for all the helpful info.
    We find Precision Tandems very reasonable/reliable. We do not have time/knowledge to find the best deals and to research components, etc. We rely on Mark to recommend good parts and to buy them at competitive prices. We bought our Santana from him and most if not all of the components/upgrades. Tires, tubes, chains, etc we buy from Nashbar, Specialized, etc.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Anyone else bringing demo tandems to CR rally?
    Yup, Bob Davis of ariZona tandems will be bringing a couple of his c/f tandems to ogle/test ride.
    While not in the lower price range, it does not hurt to look/ride
    Have seen used tandems for sale at tandem rallies, so keep your eyes open. Owners usually stick a 'for sale' sign on 'em.
    MTR is a great place to learn, ask questions and get some experience.
    Yes, stokers can ride no-hands easily.
    While TandemGeek lists some disadvantages for stokers, here are some advantages: No need to mess with shifting, decision making, braking (unless stoker controls third brake), and stoker stays warmer riding in cold weather!
    If captain calls out all bumps, most stokers would not need suspenmson seatposts. Kay, my stoker of 31+ years of tandeming, has never used one on our personal tandems.
    Have fun at the rally . . .and yes, it's a 3 day event.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  14. #14
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Visited Bob Davis shop near Phoenix today and he showed off the 2 carbon tandems he'll be bringing to Cedar Rapids MTR event over Labor Day weekend.
    Last year he introduced a 23 pound Davis Double Lite tandem; for this year the weight is even lower (!!!) with some rather novel/trick components, including a customized c/f crankset + c/f ecccentric.
    He'll also be bring a new lower priced tandem, the Farr Double, with a mix of carbon fiber and alu tubes and Rolf Vigor wheelset. Weighing in at a tad under 30 lbs and a couple thousand $$ less than the DD Lite model.
    This guy is a carbon fiber genius; check 'em out at the rally!

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