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  1. #1
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    2007 Tandem Owners Survey

    Well, it’s the dead of winter here in North America and as a result of a little multi-tasking during the Super Bowl, here now is my 2007 Tandem Owners Survey!!!

    Yup. I'm afraid so. As in the four previous winters, I’ve decided to help fill the void left by the less than inviting weather that continues to keep us off our tandems by giving you an outlet for tandem-related Web content.

    My highly unscientific 2003/4 poll looked at how many, what types, and what brands of tandems y'all own and ride, and the 2004/5 survey looked at how teams stack-up in terms of experience, riding habits, physical characteristics, and involvement in tandem activities. In 2005/6 I decided to take the pulse of Hobbsians and the Hobbes list with a collection of questions that look at member tenure, disposition, likes, and dislikes.

    For 2007 I’ve decided to revisit “what you own and ride” with a series of questions that looks at what you have in your bicycle and tandem livery as well as questions pertaining to travel tandems, frame material, wheels, and carbon forks.\0

    You can find the Survey here: http://www.opinionpower.com/Surveys/388045412.html

    Keep in mind, the survey was launched tonight, February 4th, so the results will be a bit sparse for a few days. Therefore, you'll need to check back from time-to-time over the next couple of weeks to see how the results shape up.

    Graphed results can be found here: http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=388045412

    FWIW, there are three other statistics of interest that you can derive from the 10 questions in the survey that may be of interest; they are:

    - Percentage of respondents who own or have owned an S&S-equipped travel tandem
    Divide number of respondents to question #6 by the total number of survey respondents
    - Percentage of respondents who who own or have owned low-spoke count wheels
    Divide number of respondents to question #8 by the total number of survey respondents
    - Percentage of respondents who own or have owned carbon forks
    Subtract the total number of respondents to question #9 from the sum of the first two "not us" responses, then divide by the total number of survey respondents


    NOTE: The server will only register one survey submittal per computer and, as before, let me remind you that these surveys are intended for entertainment purposes only and responses are not being collected for commercial purposes. Additionally, no names or identifies are collected or associated with the completion of the survey’s on OpinionPower.com website.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Before someone asks, here are links to the prior year’s survey results:

    2005/6 - Hobbes Survey:
    http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=739033209

    2004/5 - Trivial Tandem Stats that looked at rider habits and characteristics:
    http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=149012009

    2003/4 - Tandem ownership.
    http://www.thetandemlink.com/SurveyResults_04.html

    Alas, results from my first survey are no longer on the Web.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-05-07 at 06:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the survey. One thing is unclear though, you ask how many bicycles your own, is that the tandem team or the individual answering?. I assume it is the individual as it is written, but the team might make more sense, so you might not get consistent answers.

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
    One thing is unclear though, you ask how many bicycles your own, is that the tandem team or the individual answering?. I assume it is the individual as it is written, but the team might make more sense, so you might not get consistent answers.
    It's relative... not all tandem owners have "teams", per se, and some "couples" have different views of ownership when it comes to bicycles.

    So, while a married couple might claim to have 9 bicycles (like us, where only one is truly Debbie's and where she is ostensibly the 1/2 owner of the three tandems), an unmarried tandem owner without a steady riding partner would most likely lay claim to only the bikes they actually own. Then again, someone responding who is part of a couple who live together may opt to include their collective bike count.

    Again, this is not a scientific survey by any stretch: average response counts are usually around 500 out of what I must assume are about 1,500 members of Hobbes, Double-Forte, and this forum + a few others who get picked up by my website. Therefore, if you assume that on average some 5,000 tandems have been sold annually in North America over the past 20 years (let's call it an even 100,000), we're only looking at an incredibly small and statistically skewed sample. However, despite it's weaknesses, these little surveys so give some insight to the other tandem enthusiasts who lurk on the Internet who post to forums like this and allow folks like yourself to see where you might fall relative to their perspectives and experiences.

  4. #4
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    From what I gather after completing the survey and looking at the results:

    Bikes are like Lays potato chips - nobody can have just one.

    Glad to see the results with the S&S since our tandem is coming with them soon. Only a few people can't deal with them. The majority seem to love them.

    Since you touched on the wheel issue and whether trouble has been involved I would like to have seen a related question concerning team weight.
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggus
    Since you touched on the wheel issue and whether trouble has been involved I would like to have seen a related question concerning team weight.
    I addressed team weight in '04: http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=149012009

    However, I have yet to marry up weight as the independent variable on wheel and brake performance in a survey to see if there is any type of correlation. Perhaps a subject for a late winter follow-up this year or fodder for next winter's survey if I'm really feeling frisky.

    That said, with the exception of the typical no-brainer where a mega-watt generating power team or mega-clydesdale team foolishly try to use superlight frames and components with poor results, durability or reliability correlations between tandem teams that fall at or below the average weight mid-point are otherwise pretty tough to nail down since wheels and brake components have so much variability in terms of correct set-up and, of course, human factors like poor technique.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-05-07 at 02:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Great survey and well thought out.

  7. #7
    Cyclist- Bike 'n a half
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordoftherings
    Great survey and well thought out.
    Markers of a successfully written poll are prompt responses and high response numbers. Approximately 330 on the first day = Touchdown + Two Point conversion + recover the onside kick.

    As long as you're doing this good we will hold off on completing the survey for two weeks or so, anxiously anticipating, that within that timeframe, our total number of bikes owned will increase by 33% and number of tandems will double.

    I also found it very interesting that some of your previous poll questions made textbook shaped bell curves, another marker of a good poll, and for most of them, we would fall right in the middle of their high points.

  8. #8
    Señor Mambo
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    For question 3, I don't see an option for tandems with 20" wheels (i.e. Bike Fridays, etc.).

  9. #9
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    For question 3, I don't see an option for tandems with 20" wheels (i.e. Bike Fridays, etc.).
    No, there is not.

    When I did an earlier survey on Tandem Ownership , the 20 Bike Fridays reported represented 3.4% of the rolling stock captured in the survey. For comparison purposes, there were 28 multi-seat tandems (24 triplets, 3 quads & 1 quint) and 42 recumbent tandems. My quess is, the ratios are probably similar today.

    However, with those previous data points in mind, some things just didn't warrant further parsing. For example, you'll notice that there are only two categories for multi-seaters: rigid bikes with 3 or more seats and "convertible" or "cabrio" models that can be changed from tandem to triple, quad, or quint through the use of S&S couplings. I also don't parse long from short wheelbase recumbents.

    The only reason that I decided to parse out 700c from 26" conventional upright road tandems in this survey was because many years ago there was a raging debate on the pros and cons of 700c vs 26" wheeled tandems. Builders like daVinci remained firmly in the 26" camp until just a year ago when they gave into demand for and introduced a 700c model of their Independent Coasting System (ICS).

    Therefore, if you own a Bike Friday tandem or one of the two Moseman travellers you could check either the last box which is essentially "none of the above" or perhaps the box for either Road – 700c or 26" Conventional Upright as that's the riding configuration that they replicate: your call. If you happen to have say, an Air Friday off-road tandem like some friends up near Seattle, you might elect to list that under Enduro or Off-Road, as appropriate.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-06-07 at 02:23 PM.

  10. #10
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    Nice survey. Interesting to see how well the Bontrager and Rolf wheels are doing.

    Echo the comments on brakes. In next year's poll it would be great to get an idea of how people like their brake setup. Questions could cover:

    - Team weight inc. load
    - Main use of tandem, e.g. heavy touring, light touring, sport riding, MTB, MTB downhill, recreational
    - Current brake setup e.g. hope, formula, hayes discs, shorty cantis, vee brakes, calipers, hub
    - Any modifications, e.g. standard, pads changed, larger disc, cables changed, fluid changed
    - Satisfaction with current setup H / M / L for dry, wet , sensitivity, power
    - Similarly for previously used setups and satisfaction

    You would of course have to analyse weight categories and / or uses separately - I don't know whether your survey tool allows this. A simple solution could be to have different questions for each, e.g. for light road use use Q1-10, for med road Q11-20 etc...

  11. #11
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    Yes, it's quite interesting that -- as of today -- fully 34% of all Rolf-owning participants and 26% of "Sweet 16" users report problems. Too bad TG forgot to ask how many of those using non-tandem-specific aero wheels _had_ experienced problems. Would also be interesting to know how these results compare to the record of conventional, full spoke count wheels. But intriguing results, nonetheless. Thanks, Mark, for your efforts.

    Dave

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeriderdave
    Yes, it's quite interesting that -- as of today -- fully 34% of all Rolf-owning participants and 26% of "Sweet 16" users report problems. Too bad TG forgot to ask how many of those using non-tandem-specific aero wheels _had_ experienced problems.
    Rolfs definitely took a few more "hits"; however, they scored better with regard to satisfactory resolution than did the Sweet 16s. Interestingly, it's the Bontrager Race Lites that seem to have the least problems.

    As to your curiosity about non-tandem wheels, assuming everyone who answered the previous question who were using non-tandem aero wheels (9) or aero/disc wheels other than approved AeroSpoke tandem-wheels (7) also answered the following one with regard to problem-free use (10), you can back into the number of folks who had problems which works out to 38%. My guess on conventional wheel reliability is currently somewhere in the 90% - 95% range.

    Here's a summary of all the pertinent, interim statistics:

    Race Lites (Population of 32)
    88% HAVE NOT had any problems
    13% Have had problems
    13% HAD problems but they were taken care of
    0% HAD problems, and customer support was UNSATISFACTORY

    Sweet 16's (Population of 35)
    74% HAVE NOT had any problems
    26% Have had problems
    14% HAD problems but they were taken care of
    11% HAD problems, and customer support was UNSATISFACTORY

    Prima Vigor (Population of 35)
    66% HAVE NOT had any problems
    34% Have had problems
    31% HAD problems but they were taken care of
    3% HAD problems, and customer support was UNSATISFACTORY

    Other, non-tandem aero / disc wheels (Population of 16)
    63% HAVE NOT had any problems
    38% Have had problems

    As an aside, it is interesting to note that nearly 20% of those who have taken the survey are riding tandems with the low spoke count wheelsets. Of the 553 different wheel choices noted by the 447 folks who answered the question so far, here's how they break down at the macro level:

    431 (78%) Conventionally spoked wheels
    108 (20%) Bontrager, Rolf or Sweet 16's
    14 (3%) Aero Spoke or Disc Wheels
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-08-07 at 11:17 AM.

  13. #13
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    I wonder if the numbers would change if the count of wheels (multi tandem riders) or mileage were factored into the wheels questions. Although, I will assume that a problem implies beyond normal wear and tear which would negate the mileage problem question.

    Nice pulse.

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman
    I wonder if the numbers would change if the count of wheels (multi tandem riders) or mileage were factored into the wheels questions. Although, I will assume that a problem implies beyond normal wear and tear which would negate the mileage problem question.
    If you follow the forums you can pretty well correlate the results back to specific instances where folks reported problems. What you couldn't get from those comments was how pervasive they were. For example, I already had a pretty good idea that there were some Sweet 16 and Rolf wheel issues, along with just a few Bontrager problems. It was also fairly well known that Rolf was doing a pretty good job of jumping on warranty claims and getting wheels turned around for clients with few questions asked. Conversely, a few Sweet 16 owners were quite vocal with regard to their problems, repeated problems, and the customer support / warranty claim process. In almost all cases, we're talking about what were clearly pre-mature failures, e.g., spoke breakage, loss of tension, hub flange failures, and rim cracking.

    Therefore, all a survey like this does is give us a way to see the good, the bad and the ugly quantified in numbers by the same folks who probably have already posted their issues + a few more who, having seen that others have had problems decided to add their input.

    The S&S coupler data is quite similar in that the vast majority of folks who own the things (>83% at last check) are quite pleased with them. However, as I would have expected, there are about 10% of the owners who may have bitten off more than they can chew with the couplers, noting that it does take mechanical aptitude, some patience, and a willingness to master the disassembly, packing, unpacking, and reassembly process. As for damage and hassles, I suspect there are a multitude of problems being reported here, to include folks over-stuffing their cases and being hit with excess baggage fees, lost cases, damage from rough handling as well as from improper packing. But, again, the numbers are relatively LOW on the negative side of the equation and, what's more important, are the numbers you see in terms of how many owners have upgraded to a travel tandem and who are travelling with their tandems... goodness in terms of the health of the sport and industry.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    If you follow the forums you can pretty well correlate the results back to specific instances where folks reported problems.
    I don't know of anyone else who follows them as closely as you do. I remember the high level concepts and generate rough statistics in my head but neither do I retain nor generate specifics as you can.

  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman
    I don't know of anyone else who follows them as closely as you do. I remember the high level concepts and generate rough statistics in my head but neither do I retain nor generate specifics as you can.
    Hence the self-imposed moniker, TandemGeek.

    Frankly, I'm not even sure why it "sticks", it just does. I had the same affliction with cars in my youth where I could for some bizzare reason identify just about anything on the road, but was clueless as to where I picked up half of the information that I seemed to have floating in my head.

    Damn shame I can't do that with investment data or work-related things. Guess I turned left when I should have turned right somewhere back in my vocational choices.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-12-07 at 11:33 AM.

  17. #17
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    After a week I decided to take a look at the survey results to see what’s what.
    http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=388045412

    So far there have been approximately 500 respondents who collectively seem to own a bunch of tandems and bikes; however, when you run the numbers they don’t quite tie so, as predicted, everything is pretty much “interesting” but inconclusive and not representative of anything other than what people with too much time on their hands who ride tandems are willing to share about their bikes.

    Ok, as to the numbers, as I said about 500 folks have taken the survey.

    Bikes owned: 2,870+
    That’s 5.8 bikes per respondent, noting that 58 of the folks who responded indicated ownership of 10 or more bikes.

    Tandems owned: ~ 838
    That’s 1.7 tandems per person, noting that 27% of the respondents had two tandems (up from 21% in 2004), 9% have 3 (up from 5% in 2004) and one had 10 or more (yikes!, but actually down from 3 in 2004). Included in there were 130 folks who said they owned S&S-equipped travel tandems (132 less the 2 folks who said they sold theirs) which, assuming they only own one-each, represents about 15.5% of the tandems owned. I haven’t normalized the data but at a quick look that’s up 3% since my 2004 survey. Looking at the same 2004 data, Triplets, Quints & Quads are about the same, as are trikes, recumbents are down, but semi-recumbents are up.

    As for frame material:

    55% Steel
    36% Aluminum
    4% Titanium
    3% Carbon
    1% Other

    Now, here’s my question. I get the Bamboo tandem (Calfee) but what the heck are the 4 “other” tandems made of if they’re not made from steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon or carbon/ti, magnesium, or bamboo? Thermo-plastic, wood, lead pipe, or PVC?

    OK, how about carbon forks? By process of elimination, nearly 1/3 of the folks who responded to this survey indicated they had at least one tandem with a carbon fork. If I run the number of carbon forks that were reported (123) against the numbers of tandems owned (838), the data suggests about 15% of the tandems owned by this group have carbon forks. Now, how did the various different brands of carbon forks break out? Remembering that there were a total of 123 carbon forks reported, here’s the break down:

    9.8% Reynolds Ouzo Pro
    15.5% Santana V-Brake
    45.5% Wound-Up
    18.7% AME/True Temper
    10.5% “Other”

    Now, here is what was reported on wheels. I looked at the data two ways. One where I assumed that all of the wheels that were “we don’t know or care, but they work fine” were 40h or 48h wheels which suggested that about 64% of the owners were riding on 40h or 48h wheels. When I factored out those responses the numbers dropped to about 59%. 36h wheelsets only represented 16% with AeroWheels accounting for nearly 25% of the wheels owned. Those numbers seemed high and, if I looked at the total number of wheels represented in the poll (515) I realized that I had apples and grapes since there were 838 tandems out there. Therefore, my gut tells me that there still are a lot of folks riding “conventional wheels” but 15% (129) of the wheels reported out of the 838 tandems out there were running “go-fast” wheelsets. Hmmm. 15%; that number sounds familiar. Oh yeah, it’s about the same percentage of tandems running carbon forks. Given that the three major brands/models of paired, low-spoke count wheelsets were a hot topic on the forums this past year it was interesting to see what this group had to offer about them.

    Here’s how the 129 go-fast wheelsets reported under question #7 came out:

    29% were Rolf Prima Vigor Tandem
    27% were Shimano-Santana Sweet 16’s
    25% were Bontrager Race Lite Tandem
    8% were some other non-tandem specific aero wheel
    5% were “Aerospoke” wheelsets (no longer offered in 700c, but still available in 26”)
    5% of some other non-tandem specific aero spoke / disc wheels.

    Now, peeling back the onion a little and using the statistics reported for question #8, here’s the summary of how the 109 Rolf, Shimano-Santana, Bontrager wheels represented in the data came out when only compared to each other:

    37% were Rolfs with about 30% of the owners reporting some type of problem with all but 1 resolved satisfactorily.
    33% were Shimano-Santana’s with about 28% of the owners reporting some type of problem, with 4 unhappy campers.
    30% were Bontrager with only 12% reporting some type of problem, all of which were satisfactorily resolved.

    So, what does all of this mean? I have some of my own theories but I'll keep them to myself and let y'all draw your own conclusions.

  18. #18
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    It means you should either buy Bontrager wheels or normal ones if you don't like hassles.

    Secondly the proportion of 'unobtainium' tandems out there is growing. I suspect it's that people whose tandem is made of a branded tubing e.g. 853 or ZR8000 fail to realise it's steel or aluminium underneath.

    Good work!

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Love mrfish's new 'unobtainium'! Used to be titanium was considered 'unobtainium'; but now many of the $7,000+ tandems are, as he points out, actually a form of steel or alu.
    High priced tandems are now in the 5 figures; nice wheels cost more than what a tandem used to cost.
    It's just a question of more 'zeroes' and we know that a zero means nothing.
    An interesting survey!

  20. #20
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    ...but now many of the $7,000+ tandems are, as he points out, actually a form of steel or alu.
    It's pretty amazing but, at the same time, if you factor in inflation and the higher cost of the newer chi-chi equipment and technology, it's not all that hard to see how manufacturers are arriving at these prices.

    For example, based on the consumer price index, your custom steel Co-Motion that you cost you $5,000 in 1993 (I'm thinking fillet-brazed, custom-sized, custom paint + Phil Wood all around) should cost you almost $7,200 today. So, what do you get with $7,200 today?

    Well, for about $6,900 you could get a 31.5lb custom-sized Co-Motion Supremo outfitted with:
    - A zonally-butted air-hardening tandem frame vs. True Temper 4130 chromoly (39lbs)
    - An Alpha Q X-2 carbon tandem fork with carbon steerer vs a Tange chromoly fork
    - Chris King threadless headset vs. a Tange headset
    - FSA SL-K MegaExo bottom brackets & carbon cranks vs. alloy Specialized cranks
    - Shimano DuraAce STI 10 speed vs. 8 speed SunTour bar-cons
    - DuraAce Triple derailleurs vs. SunTour XC Pro
    - Alpha Q carbon seatposts vs. alloy
    - Rolf Prima Vigor wheelset vs. SunTour XC Grease Guard w/Mavic Box Rims

    Although your custom was truly custom, for similar dollars you can see where many consumers are putting value today, i.e., long-lasting durable components with a robust, fillet brazed frame and custom paint aren't as important as lightweight, carbon, go-fast goodies hung on a nicely TIG welded frame with a really nice stock single color or two-tone paint job.

    Now, to be fair, I think Co-Motion's Speedster & Java tandems were true bargains back in 1993 as they were still trying to build brand-name recognition and marketshare. So, new tandems were priced more like $2,500 - $3,000 and were basically on par with what are now the Primera and Speedster models that sell in the $3,150 - $4,150 range.

    Just something to consider.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-13-07 at 09:17 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    ....for similar dollars you can see where many consumers are putting value today, i.e., long-lasting durable components....
    The parts themselves are long-lasting and durable, but given the pace of change and obsoletion in the drivetrain over the past 10-12 years, I think many experienced cyclists do not look at the components the same way they did before. 10 years ago I would typically opt for the top end components almost by default. But now after going through 7-8, 8-9 and 9-10 with varying degrees of compatibility and parts availability, the cost difference becomes a greater factor. 5-6-7 was pretty much a non-event relative to current upgrade/support paths.

  22. #22
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Well, we are in a bit of rut as we need cusom sizing to fit stoker properly; while aestethics do not inprove the ride we are the ones that have to look at it/ride it, so we get what we need/want/like all wrapped into one machine.
    Yes, frame materials have changed (our Co-Mo was Tange Prestige) and sealed bearings stuff is now readily available (less shop/maintenance time, more riding time) and inflation has added another zero to most everything. As masiman says, obsolescence in components is a given. Reminds us of the old Detroit scenario with their cars . . . a new model/gizmo every year whether we need it or not.
    Back in 1977 we rode a 34 lbs. custom Assenmacher tandem that set us back the then princely sum of $1,200. There are still lots of 34+ lbs tandems being sold now; some of them a that price level or even below.
    We also have sub-30lbs/super geared/fancy braked/'carbonized'/ etc. tandems, all at a price increase, of course!
    Heck, we're just gonna go out and ride!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  23. #23
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    After three weeks I decided to take another look at the survey results to see what’s what.
    http://www.opinionpower.com/results.cgi?id=388045412

    There were 500 respondents in the first week, and an additional 65 during the subsequent two weeks. Again, as a group, these folks collectively own a bunch of tandems and bikes.

    Ok, as to the numbers, as I said about 565 folks have taken the survey.

    Bikes owned: 3,211+
    That’s still about 5.7 bikes per respondent, noting that 62 of the folks who responded (11%) indicated ownership of 10 or more bikes.

    Tandems owned: ~909
    That’s 1.6 tandems per person, noting that 27% of the respondents had two tandems (up from 21% in 2004), 9% have 3 (up from 5% in 2004) and one had 10 or more (down from 3 in 2004). Included in there were 150 folks who said they owned S&S-equipped travel tandems (152 less the 2 folks who said they sold theirs) which, assuming they only own one-each, represents about 16.5% of the tandems owned. What’s noteworthy here is that nearly 1/3 of the folks who responded during the last two weeks (20/65) have S&S equipped tandems. I haven’t normalized the data but at a quick look that’s up 4% since my 2004 survey. Looking at the same 2004 data, Triplets, Quints & Quads are about the same, as are trikes, recumbents are down, but semi-recumbents are up. Enduro & Off-Road tandems account for 17% of the types of tandems owned, with is up 5% from what was reported back in 2004.

    In looking at the “why we upgraded” it would appear that nearly 56% of the survey respondents are on at least their second tandem, with about 24% of the folks who upgraded indicating that they moved up from a ‘starter’ tandem. Almost tied at around 16% - 17% were: fixing problems or replacing a damaged tandem, buying an S&S equipped model, and “just wanted something new”.

    How much are folks paying for tandems? Well, once again there are some interesting numbers here. Rather than regurgitating the data that you can see in the Web results I decided to group the 10 different categories into four subcategories with a little bit of overlap that do a better job of illustrating the trends:

    43.5% Entry Level / Affordable ($0 - $3,500)
    28.1% Mid-Level ($2,500 - $4,500)
    25.7% High-End / Exotic ($5,500 - $10,000)
    6.9% Boutique/Exotic ($10,000 - Up)

    As for frame material:

    57% Steel
    35% Aluminum
    4% Titanium
    3% Carbon
    1% Other

    Once again, I’m waiting for someone to weigh in on what materials were used to fabricate the “other” four tandem frames. I’m hoping it’s just a labeling issue where a few folks didn’t make the connection between ZR9000 and aluminum, or Reynolds 853 and steel, etc.

    OK, how about carbon forks? By process of elimination, about 25% of the folks who responded to this survey indicated they had at least one tandem with a carbon fork. You’ll note that once again the last 65 respondents have had a big influence on these numbers which, after the first week, were at about 33%. If I run the number of carbon forks that were reported (129) against the numbers of tandems owned (909), the data suggests about 14% of the tandems owned by this group have carbon forks. Now, how did the various different brands of carbon forks break out? Remembering that there were a total of 129 carbon forks reported, here’s the break down:

    10.8% Reynolds Ouzo Pro
    15.5% Santana V-Brake
    45.7% Wound-Up
    17.8% AME/True Temper
    10.0% “Other”

    Now, here is what was reported on wheels. I looked at the data two ways. One where I assumed that all of the wheels that were “we don’t know or care, but they work fine” were 40h or 48h wheels which suggested that about 66% of the owners were riding on 40h or 48h wheels. When I factored out those responses the numbers dropped to about 61%. 36h wheelsets only represented 16% with AeroWheels accounting for nearly 23% of the wheels owned. Those numbers seemed high and, if I looked at the total number of wheels represented in the poll (576) I realized that I had apples and grapes since there were 909 tandems out there. Therefore, my gut tells me that there still are a lot of folks riding “conventional wheels” but 15% (135) of the wheels reported out of the 909 tandems out there were running “go-fast” wheelsets. Hmmm. 15%; that number sounds familiar. Oh yeah, it’s about the same percentage of tandems running carbon forks. Given that the three major brands/models of paired, low-spoke count wheelsets were a hot topic on the forums this past year it was interesting to see what this group had to offer about them.

    Here’s how the 135 go-fast wheelsets reported under question #7 came out:

    30% were Rolf Prima Vigor Tandem
    27% were Shimano-Santana Sweet 16’s
    24% were Bontrager Race Lite Tandem
    6% were some other non-tandem specific aero wheel
    7% were “Aerospoke” wheelsets (no longer offered in 700c, but still available in 26”)
    6% of some other non-tandem specific aero spoke / disc wheels.

    Now, peeling back the onion a little and using the statistics reported for question #8, here’s the summary of how the 114 Rolf, Shimano-Santana, Bontrager wheels represented in the data came out when only compared to each other:

    37% were Rolfs with about 29% of the owners reporting some type of problem with all but 1 resolved satisfactorily.
    33% were Shimano-Santana’s with about 26% of the owners reporting some type of problem, with 4 unhappy campers.
    30% were Bontrager with only 15% reporting some type of problem, all of which were satisfactorily resolved.

    Well, that’s about it for this year’s survey. I’m sure there will still be some added inputs but, if history is an indicator, the data won’t be changing all that much as the big “surge” always seems to come in the first week. However, the number of respondents to this year’s survey is up again from the previous year’s surveys so perhaps the web-presence of tandem enthusiasts is on the rise.

  24. #24
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    Tandem Survey

    Thanks TandemGeek for running the survey once again, and doing the analysis. Very interesting reading. Noticing that only 3% own a carbon tandem, I will be very interested to see how we doing on our Calfee that I can't wait to get my hands (and feet) on. Have ordered it with Rolfs so that also has me very curious as the number of riders having problems surprised me. In previous posts about Bontragers on both T&H and BF I read of more issues with Bontragers. Your survey shows that they are the best lightweight wheel. I will keep this forum posted on my experience with it, and the Calfee.
    Counselguy

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