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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 11-06-06, 05:35 AM   #1
salmonchild
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Couple of first tandem questions.

Hello all,

i have just picked up a beautiful (to me) pashley tandem to add to my stable of bikes and have a couple of questions that i hope you can help me with.

looking through the 'spring pictures' thread (filled with lovely rides) i noticed a few of you run the front and rear chainsets at different positions, is this just personal preference of does it have performance results i.e. power applied on the dead section of the other rider?

also, i'm not sure if it is common to all tandem setups but the front brake lever also actuates the rear brake. unfortunately for me, when riding with brakes (my main ride is a brakeless fixie) i like to constanly cover the levers but these levers are in the drops- are dual pull levers available for a flat bar setup and are there and suppliers you would suggest for tandem parts?

finally do you have any tips when starting riding a tandem in terms of controlling the bike or is it just a ride and learn situation? i don't mind too much causing myself small injuries but would really like to avoid toppling a tandem and hurting my friends!
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Old 11-06-06, 06:45 PM   #2
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Sheldon Brown

Since no one else has posted a reply, check out Sheldon Brown's very complete posts on tandem and other bike issues, problems and concerns. Don't have the URL handy, but you have Google....
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Old 11-06-06, 07:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonchild
i noticed a few of you run the front and rear chainsets at different positions, is this just personal preference of does it have performance results i.e. power applied on the dead section of the other rider?
There are quite a few postings in the archives that deal with this subject, but this one is not too long or drawn out and has a few links to other resources:

Pedal clocking (phase)

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonchild
ialso, i'm not sure if it is common to all tandem setups but the front brake lever also actuates the rear brake.
Thankfully, it's becoming quite rare to find a tandem set up this way. The dual brake control levers were originally used on tandems to allow captains to operate three brakes by two levers before integrated shifting systems were widely available and bar-end shifters precluded the use of the bar-end shifter as a drum brake control. Any of the available configurations were sub-optimal in that if you elected to run the rear rim & drum brake off the same lever you had to bias the brake cable pull to favor the drum brake, rendering the rim brake of marginal utility. If you ran both rim brakes off of one lever you lost the ability to independently operate the front and rear rim brake which was also not desireable. All that said, you'll still find a few tourists who favor the Diacompe 287 tandem levers with their dual cables. As for adapting to a flat bar bike, you can install a cable splitter or "yoke" that allows one brake lever to actuate two brakes, brake control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonchild
finally do you have any tips when starting riding a tandem in terms of controlling the bike or is it just a ride and learn situation? i don't mind too much causing myself small injuries but would really like to avoid toppling a tandem and hurting my friends!
You may want to peruse some of the articles linked off of my Web site:
http://www.thetandemlink.com/Learnin...l#anchor356041
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Old 11-06-06, 07:26 PM   #4
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Welcome to the tandem fold...I hope you love yours as much as we do.

The bikes you've seen with the pedals at different positions are set up as Out of Phase (OOP) as opposed to In Phase where both the front and rear cranks are at the same position. OOP is said to have some advantage in that you always have one rider coming down in the power position, and no "dead spots" in the crank revolution. We've not tried it, so I can't attest to how much of a difference it really makes, but some say it helps in climbing. It is more difficult to master, especially on a standing climb. We've seen a couple do it, and it looks kind of odd to see two standing riders on a different stroke.

As far as learning to start and stop, I recommend reading the article by Bill McCready entitled "The Proper Method". You can find it at http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/propmethod.html. There are also lots of good threads for new tandem riders out on the archives at tandem@hobbs. You'll have to browse through the different archive files to find them, but there is a ton of information out there.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 11-06-06, 09:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonchild
i have just picked up a beautiful (to me) pashley tandem to add to my stable of bikes and have a couple of questions that i hope you can help me with.

looking through the 'spring pictures' thread (filled with lovely rides) i noticed a few of you run the front and rear chainsets at different positions, is this just personal preference of does it have performance results i.e. power applied on the dead section of the other rider?

also, i'm not sure if it is common to all tandem setups but the front brake lever also actuates the rear brake. unfortunately for me, when riding with brakes (my main ride is a brakeless fixie) i like to constanly cover the levers but these levers are in the drops- are dual pull levers available for a flat bar setup and are there and suppliers you would suggest for tandem parts?

finally do you have any tips when starting riding a tandem in terms of controlling the bike or is it just a ride and learn situation? i don't mind too much causing myself small injuries but would really like to avoid toppling a tandem and hurting my friends!
See: http://sheldonbrown.com/synchain.html#phase for the chainset question. I recommend keeping them in phase.

See: http://sheldonbrown.com/tandem-brakes.html for the brake issue. I consider using the same lever to control front and rear brakes to be a Very Bad Idea!

See also: http://sheldonbrown.com/tandem for more of my tandem stuff.

Sheldon "Sheldon Brown" Brown
Code:
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
|   There are essentially three entities riding a Tandem:   |
|   The captain, the stoker, and the spirit.                |
|   It is the spirit who likes in-phase cranks.             |
|                                      --Osman Isvan        |
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
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Old 11-06-06, 11:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salmonchild
looking through the 'spring pictures' thread (filled with lovely rides) i noticed a few of you run the front and rear chainsets at different positions, is this just personal preference of does it have performance results i.e. power applied on the dead section of the other rider?

We run ours with the captain pedals 2-3 teeth ahead of the stoker. We found this accidentally becuase at one point after I cleaned the chains, I put the captain a tooth or two behind the stoker. All of a sudden there was some serious feeback in the pedals. After a nice knock-down-drag-out I finally figured out it was the pedal position that was causing all the problems....not my stoker. Damned - I'll get her next time.
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Old 11-07-06, 04:29 AM   #7
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thank you for the responses. i'm sorry for not searching the forum first, but i was too excited about announcing my new position as a tandem owner!
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Old 11-07-06, 02:00 PM   #8
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Can still relate to a new "Team" as I have had a few different stokers this year, and I have been relegated to Pilot. (Regular pilot has had work problems this year). My suggestion is to find a regular stoker. It takes time to get a team working so chopping partners is not good for you and scares the hell out of the newcomer if they are new to you.

Get used to the Tandem by riding it solo for a while. It works and acts differently to a solo. Then find a stoker- I presume you will be pilot- That is prepared to have a few knocks and tumbles. Ride together for a month before saying that it is not for either of you.

Good luck and do not look for the speed that a tandem can get until you trust each other.
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Old 11-07-06, 10:28 PM   #9
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We have ridden tandem for over 31 years and have ridden 90 degrees out-of-phase for 30 years.
We find it easier as stated previously as there is always a power stroke coming 'over the top.' Easier climbing. easier start-ups from stops. Less flexing of frame, a bit less wear on some components.
Try it, you might like it! We do!
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Old 11-07-06, 10:49 PM   #10
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Congrats on the tandeming. I'm also a fixie rider. I only have 2 bikes, a three person tandem (triplet) and a fixed gear (52X18). The three of us ride in phase but we've never tried OOP, it works great for us. I've never heard of the dual braking but I imagine others have already talked about it. As far as handling, of course do the things already advised. I find that the main thing is to stay relaxed yet aware, don't worry. We only fell once in this (our first) year of tandem riding, and it was when we were doing a U-turn in a road that was too narrow for the 11 foot bike to turn around.

Depending on your stoker and the components on your bike, you could even consider making it a fixed gear/single speed. This probably sounds crazy to most people, but according to sheldon brown, it actually works well. I would think it would be fun.

Good luck!!!!
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Old 11-09-06, 06:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djembob02
Depending on your stoker and the components on your bike, you could even consider making it a fixed gear/single speed. This probably sounds crazy to most people, but according to sheldon brown, it actually works well. I would think it would be fun.

Good luck!!!!

ha ha, don't encourage me! the one roadblock i keep hitting when i think of doing this is that as far as i can see the tandem is completely original and a big part of me would like to keep it that way.
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Old 11-09-06, 11:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by djembob02
.... you could even consider making it a fixed gear/single speed. This probably sounds crazy to most people, but according to sheldon brown, it actually works well. I would think it would be fun.

Good luck!!!!
...you would'nt have to worry about getting chewedup because of your poor choice of gears...
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