Wife wants us to join in the fun and am thinking a tandem is the way to go. As I am not sure it will be a lasting relationship (the tandem, not the wife - I'm too old to get divorced), I want to start with something used.
What are a couple of decent used bikes to look at? I assume all the standard names (Burley, C'dale, etc.) are good. Want something under 40 lbs, if possible.
Anything in particular to stay away from?
Is there a good source of used listing to look at? I have been watching eBay, but there has not been much of anything tandem-wise listed for a while. A couple of nice ones that are the wrong size and a bunch of non-serious stuff that weighs too much and have 'throw away' gear.
Jamis makes something called a Cignal line. Does anyone know anything about this bike?
Well, We're a Co-Motion team on a steel road bike tandem. Other than the Co-Motion I've only been on a trek hybrid tandem (hated it). We're very happy with the Co-Motion and would buy one again without hesitation. It has a plush ride as it's steel. Due to the geo it handles very much like a single bike.
I dont know how choosy you can be seeing as you are looking for used equipment. Search around for tandem clubs and look at the for sale page that most site's have.
Used models to consider would be those produced by the following makers since mid-90's if you intend to do serious riding:
- Burley (All X-Zydeco)
- Cannondale (All X-MT3000 w/suspension forks)
- Co-Motion (All)
- KHS (Higher end models)
- Meridian (All)
- Santana (All)
- Trek (T100, T200)
There are many other smaller volume producer brands that would also work fine for a first tandem, e.g., Kuwahara, Specialized, Ibis, Rodriquez and Longbikes come to mind. You'll also encounter some lesser known models that may or may not suit your needs.
For pleasure/fun riding older models and even some of the < $1k "cruiser" & comfort models will work.
A great way to start is with the KHS Tandemania Sport. We have had one for three years, and although it is heavy, it is great. The cost is under $1000.00. We have had a lot of fun with this bike and are getting ready to get a new road tandem. We did a couple of modifications like the seats and stems. I can ride it solo, when I pick my husband up from work, (I say a lot of prayers that I will find a curb to climb back on the bike at stoplights, as he is 5'11" and I am 5'6"). the ride home is a sure delight. I always have some stranger put their thumb out at me on the trip downtown.
Try and ride one of these, they are great especially if you want stability.
I agree with one old roadie, except, trying a tandem with an experienced captain takes out the fun of getting to know the bike together.
The captains back is sure to get sore, and some couples find they can't ride together.
After 25 years of marriage and 26 years of riding together, we found we had no idea of how the other rode. We have accepted the fact that I watch things in the distance and Hal watches where the wheel is going.
"Wife wants us to join in the fun and am thinking a tandem is the way to go. As I am not sure it will be a lasting relationship (the tandem, not the wife - I'm too old to get divorced), I want to start with something used.
What are a couple of decent used bikes to look at? I assume all the standard names (Burley, C'dale, etc.) are good. Want something under 40 lbs, if possible.
How about the new Raliegh Coupe?"
Paramount, I am also in the market to get into a tandem for what may end up to be rather limited use. However, mine will be used for father/daughter longer distance events ridden at "comfort" speeds (first long one being RAGBRAI this summer). So I am looking at the steel frame Burley Zydeco Mixte-X, the aluminum frame Raleigh Coupe, the steel frame Raleigh Companion (because of the lower top tube for the stoker which is perfect for a child) and a few others at the moment are under consideration. I don't have the luxury of trying any of them out because I live overseas in an area where they don't carry them in the shops. I have plenty of spare parts to adjust the captain's cockpit to fit my needs once I finally do select a tandem.
I was reading about the Raleigh Coupe on the internet, but doubt if there are any used models available yet as it just came out in 2003. Price new is $999 - $1099 according to the dealerships I have spoken to in the last few days. The name of their 2002 model is the AL Tandem and perhaps will come up in the used sale market. It looks like the Raleigh Coupe uses a pretty standard frame that quite a few tandem makers are using for various bikes decked out with different packages in the comfort to off road category. You can read 3 reviews here of the 2002 Raleigh AL Tandem model (pretty much the exact same component package as the 2003):
I also read a review somewhere where a couple tried out a Raleigh Coupe at a shop and kept having chain slipping problems under heavy load pedal cadence. Evidently the shop owner tried a few things to correct the problem and they didn't get it solved, so the couple bought a different brand instead. Who knows if it was an out of alignment frame, loose chain, chain-line problems or what, but at least it is worth noting and something to watch for if you get a chance to try one of the Coupes out.
All in all, it doesn't look like too bad of a bike and component package for the price point and will run well at comfort speeds. Plenty of other tandems to choose between, but since you had asked about the Coupe, I thought I would share some of the things I have looked at with regard to this model.
Thought I might mention that my local Raleigh dealer is offering the Coupe for $630, with bottle cages. By the time I pay shipping on a higher-end used one I will be paying about twice this much, from what I am seeing on the sites above. Thanks, again, to everyone.
Originally posted by ParamountScapin Thought I might mention that my local Raleigh dealer is offering the Coupe for $630, with bottle cages. By the time I pay shipping on a higher-end used one I will be paying about twice this much, from what I am seeing on the sites above. Thanks, again, to everyone.
Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.... If you are accustomed to riding high-end single road bikes you may find the performance and "feel" of an economical "comfort bike" lacking. Many would-be tandem shoppers have test ridden low-end or entry level tandems and walked away because of a bad first impression only to try again a few years later with a high quality performance tandem which they found to be excellent.
An old rule of thumb is, if your expectations for bicycle performance are based on what you get out of a $500 bike, expect to spend about 2 - 2.5x that amount for a tandem of equal quality. Therefore, if you're riding an all-Ultegra equipped single bike, expect to pay at least $3,000 - $3,500 for a steel tandem of equivalent quality and performance. The exception is Trek & Cannondale who own the entry level price point for high performance aluminum tandems. Due in part to their economies of scale on component costs and in-house frame fabrication capacity they both offer really slick go-fast tandems (RT3000 & T2000) for the low $3k's compared to $4.4k for similarly spec'd tandems from the tandem-specialty makers.
If you're riding a $2,500 bike or something even a little more exotic the multiplier for an equivalent tandem is a little lower than the previously mentioned 2 - 2.5x. A custom steel, all Campy Chorus bike with FSA Carbon pro crankset can be had for anywhere from $5.5k - $6k but a Ti model with the same grouppo is going to set you back $7k - $8.5k.
Your original quest for a used tandem is a good way to start off. If you're a go-fast single bike rider strongly consider something like a used Cannondale RT3000 so that you give yourself the best of all possible chances to really feel "comfortable" on the tandem AND so you can get an appreciation for how well a tandem can perform. If you'd prefer steel, search out a used Co-Motion Speedster, DoubleExpresso or Java. These are tandems that will be stiff enough to eliminate frame flex but still have steering geometry that is more "sporty" and similar to what you'd find on your average road racing bike. The shifting feel of an Ultegra equipped tandem will be very similar to a single road bike -- just a little heavier feel to the levers due to the longer cable runs and added friction.
Finally, let me point out that you have one of the best tandem dealers in the country there in South Jersey. Tandems East is home-based business operated by Mel & Barbara Kornbluh and if you're really serious about getting your wife into cycling, a visit with Mel & Barbara will improve your chances of success by a factor of 10. Visit them on the Web: www.TandemsEast.com
Mel & Barbara have been featured on OLN's Bicycle Journal and quoted on several tandem cycling articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal or been picked up by AP.
"Thought I might mention that my local Raleigh dealer is offering the Coupe for $630, with bottle cages. By the time I pay shipping on a higher-end used one I will be paying about twice this much, from what I am seeing on the sites above. Thanks, again, to everyone."
I was curious what dealer had the Coupe for $630? At that price, one could buy it and upgrade to a better set of components and have a pretty nice ride for the MSRP+.
My local Raleigh dealer is in Drexel Hill, PA (75 miles from here). Go to the Raleigh bicycle website and look up dealers. Has the name of the shop and phone number. He also offered to provide bottle cages for that number. Have fun!!
Thanks, Paramount. I was just curious. Perhaps other dealers are selling the bike sub $900 as well. At $630 and if I lived in the area, I would consider it as an addition to the family stable of cycles (and have my wife and son ride RAGBRAI on a tandem as well) without breaking the bank. I have no idea how the 2003 Coupe compares to the 1999 Cannondale MT800 frame with Sugino cranks, SRAM 7.0 drivetrain and Shimano/Sun Rhyno Lites wheelset, Big Apple 26" x 2.35 (2127 mm circumference) slicks that I bought.
These are all great family / recreational tandems.
The frames and secondary components (bars, BBs, headsets) and wheelsets are the major cost difference. Cannondale makes the MT800 frame (which is the same frame used on it's MT2000) in the US and the ones Raleigh and Schwinn/ Diamondback are using are produced off-shore in Asia at a substantially lower cost. In fact, there is an outfit in SoCal called "Chuck's Bikes" that sells bicycle & tandem frames produced by these same Asian companies under their own label -- Tsunami -- for about 1/3 of the MSRP of the Cannondale MT frame. Is the Cannondale frame worth 3x as much? It all depends on how much the warranty is worth to you (which would only apply if you are the original purchaser as most warranties on bikes are not transferrable) and other intangibles. The rest of the components can all be compared apples to apples to quantify the difference in quality / value.
I've seen some of the Raleigh and Schwinn/Diamondback tandems and taken the Diamondback bikes for a test ride. As I said, nothing I've seen suggests they wouldn't be great entry level recreational tandems and/or knock-around fun tandems for a family. If you plan on doing serious off-road riding or long-distance / challenging road riding these bikes will begin to show their weaknesses with regard to their efficiency and durability, particularly the wheels, bearings, brakes and other parts entry level cyclists sometimes take for granted.
I hear where you are coming from as I am used to the component game with my mountain bikes and know you get what you pay for.
I got the 1999 Cannondale MT800 used here in Vienna at an LBS. No warranty. I took it as is. I hadn't done too much research yet, but knew that Cannondale had tandem frames available with XL captain's fitting. I walked into this LBS asking about that and they just happened to have this used MT800 in the shop in the size I needed. They had swapped out the original canti brakes for new Avid Single Digit 5's, new cables and housing, Shimano SPD pedals, BBB Carbon Fiber handlebars and bar ends, a graphite stem, new Schwalbe Big Apple 26" X 2.35 fat slicks and the bike was in tip top shape since this LBS was probably renting it out and kept it well maintained. I paid about 1/2 the cost of a new one and felt the bike was in good enough shape to buy it rather than wait until I was in the states to get a 2003 model - or some other brand. In addition, the sizing was exactly what we needed with an XL up front and a Small in the rear. I put on new Bontrager saddles that I like (men's up front and a woman's one on the back) as well as a pair of Ride2 crank shorteners - and that is all I have done to it as it was in such good shape. I don't think it has been ridden up in the mountains too much if at because the rim braking surface is in too good of shape.
If I was going to upgrade it, I would probably get a wheelset with DT/Hügi's or Chris King tandem hubs and try to get a quality, lighter weight wheelset built that would improve things over the Shimano HF07 and Sun Rhyno Lite 40 spoke set that came with it (original set). Either disc brakes or the Arai Drum brake and maybe a couple of Thudbusters for off road comfort. However, I think for our purposes of me hauling around an 8 year old or a 10 year old as well as our participation in the upcoming 500 mile RAGBRAI - the bike is in pretty good shape. It could use a smaller granny ring up front for some of the hills we are doing here in Austria and the reality I have to provide most of the energy with a kid on the rear. If the rear hub goes, then I will go for a better set of hubs. I'm not a fan of SRAM mainly because I've never used their products before (I like Shimano), but the SRAM 7.0 seems to be performing well and the LBS had it lined up fairly well. The Sugino cranks seem to be a solid entry level set and for our purposes will be fine. The bike in XL/S frame size with that heavy wheelset and big fat tires weighs in at 40 pounds. I could probably spend $1000 and get it down a couple of pounds with BB's/cranks/wheelset, but that is just wish list type of stuff and not practical for why we bought it. I do all of that with my single bikes.
There is a new polished aluminum tandem mountain bike frame 18/16" for sale here in Vienna (700 Euros) which is probably from the same Asian frame maker as you mention. The shop says it was made for one of the Austrian bike companies (KTM), but I am sure they get their stuff from Asia and it looks the same as the Raleigh Coupe pictured frame. In thinking about a second possible tandem for my wife and other child, I had just mentioned that the 2003 Raleigh Coupe with Shimano Deore, TruTativ cranks, WTB saddles, etc... for $630 sounded like a pretty reasonable price point for the frame alone - let alone all the components with it. Of course, that is based on the similar type of alumninum frame for 700 Euros that I have seen here at the LBS in Vienna. Of course, 700 Euro includes the 20% Value Added Tax, so you would have to factor that in as well. What's the price of the Asian frame you mentioned at Chuck's Bikes? I see the Fandango frame is $750 at the link you provided. The Fandango packages were indeed pretty attractive and of course are a step up from the Raleigh Couple due to the suspension fork and disc brakes. Too bad they don't make a larger captain's sizing for we tall folks. Ditto for Raleigh.
The rest of the family fits the mold of entry level, recreational riders. It's me who is the mountain nut and would enjoy the higher end components/tandems - even though they would be overkill for my wife and children. In fact, I would enjoy a Two-Niner wheeled mountain tandem - but that's another story. So I am trying to be realistic and keep to our needs - not my wants. I never take components for granted, but I do most all of my own maintenance these days (outside of overhauling suspension forks) and keep things running quite well. I've got bikes purchased in 1989 with low end Shimano parts still running fine and I've got bikes with Deore, LX, XT and even XTR running just fine. I'll have to learn how to maintain the timing side of the drivetrain for a tandem, but assume I can learn that.
After all of that, what I really need is a tandem that fits a 5'3" captain and a 5" stoker to rent for my wife and son to ride on RAGBRAI at the end of July.
You'll have to scroll through to find the tandems. These frames are just about all from Asia. The tandems seem to come from Kinesis (KHS & several European models), ORA Engineering (who manufactures frames for Cervelo, Schwinn/Diamondback, Raleigh & others) and one or two others. Quality is spotty. One of the triplets -- from ORA -- was purchased by a tandem dealer/friend in Kansas and it was really rough. Even as someone who makes a second career living out of selling and working on tandems he had a hard time getting this one put together and may still be working on it. Definitely not a lot of Quality Control. But, this was just one and other off-brand name tandems (Scott & Look) as well as Chuck's own Tsunami-branded tandems have been sold that seem like OK frames for entry level - intermediate use.
Somebody mentioned a triplet as a possible addition to their fleet. Perhaps one of the best deals I've seen on an adult-size triplet is from St. John's Street in the UK: the Thorn Trident at £899 (~$1,450 USD). Shipping would add about $200 but that's still a deal on a complete, ready to ride triplet. It weighs about 80lbs and is made in Asia for Thorn but it's as durable as can be and up to the task of hard riding. We have some very strong riding partners who own one and they've done MS150's on it with 3 adults and hammered along with just about everyone else on the flats and downhills, topping out at speeds in the 50mph range with no worries about feeble equipment.
For kids, Thorn also makes a Me-N-U2 triplet sized for an adult and two children for about $1,950. This is a somewhat better quality bike that is made by Thorn.
We're in our second year of riding a KHS Roma, their top-of-the-line road model. It's Ultegra and XT equipped with an aluminum frame. We're real happy with it although we haven't done any real long rides on it yet. The best part was that it cost under $2500. I find it quite comfortable. There is some frame flex but between my wife and I we are close to 400 lbs so you have to expect some.
I'm seeking a tandem and looking a purchasing used. Fit shouldn't be too bad as I am 5-9, 145lbs and stoker of 5-6, 120lbs. Looking at an old SCHWINN DUOSPORT TANDEM PARAMOUNT DESIGN on ebay for cheap (free ship), http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1