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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!

View Poll Results: IP or OOP? (See post for details)
I've only tried IP. 64 56.14%
I've tried both and prefer OOP. 19 16.67%
I've tried both and prefer IP. 22 19.30%
I like them the same and/or switch back and forth from time to time. 4 3.51%
I prefer slightly OOP, but not a full 90 degrees (explain below). 5 4.39%
Voters: 114. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-08-07, 04:45 PM   #1
ROJA
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Poll: Do you ride in phase or out of phase and which do you like better?

Would love to hear comments from folks. I hear about going from IP to OOP and liking it, but does anyone go from IP to OOP and end up going back?

In case anyone isn't familiar, IP refers to in-phase cranks and OOP refers to out-of-phase cranks. A full explanation is available here.

Thanks.
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Old 02-08-07, 05:18 PM   #2
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We've been riding OOP for 30+ years and 200,000+ miles. Not even remotely thinking of going back to IP!
However, we've done quickie tandem test rides IP and stoker is the first one to complain about it. If we do longer test rides we do set up pedals 90 degrees OOP with pilot leading . . . yes, she notices immediately if pilot goofed up and has her leading by 90 degrees!
++ riding OOP for us: easier start ups from a full stop; easier/smoother climbing as there is always a power stroke going 'over the top;' minimizes any frame flex; less stress on BBs, rear wheel/spokes/drivetrain; minimizes or completely eliminates 'tandem snake' (when you follow n IP tandem and they are 'powering up'/standing the back end of the bike tends to weave/waggle or 'snake' back and forth).
Try it both ways for a few weeks and then decide which works best for your team!
OOPers are definitely in the minority . . . but then we're used to things like that.

Pedal on TWOgether (OOP, of course!)
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-08-07, 07:04 PM   #3
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Basically Rudy covers it. We tried OOP as trial for a few weeks after a posting by Zonatandem gave us the idea, and have never changed back. I agree that the power phase for us is better, There seems to be more lateral stability when only one person is powering the downstroke. Perhaps others have different experiences but we like it.
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Old 02-08-07, 07:18 PM   #4
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I have several posts on OOP v IP but the bottom line for us is a 5% increase in average speed for the same cardiac output in favor of OOP. Granted this is very qualitative and subject to error but our GPS data and HR data bear out the findings.

We second all of Zona’s observations and findings.

Now allow me to argue in favor of IP. Manufactures ship tandems IP. If OOP is better, why would they not ship it that way? I think that simplest reason is ease of sale. If a prospective new buyer of tandem sees OOP, they may think it is too difficult to ride. It just looks more complicated. We have had numerous threads and it continues to be discussed with its nuances and rider preferences – it is more complicated. IP is just an easier sell and it seems intuitively correct.

What cycling situations would favor IP? I have a friend who is a masters track racer and he was telling me that on the track, male tandem teams can reach 50 + mph at peak sprint and they always ride IP. So for out of the saddle coordinated sprinting, IP is the best because it produces max torque and acceleration which is needed to win sprints.
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Old 02-08-07, 08:58 PM   #5
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The one lone slight OOP vote. We go with the captain advanced a few teeth. We've done it with the captain ******** (my wife would contend with a ******** captain) a few teeth but that led to some weird feedback in the pedals. IP was somewhat choppy. Slight advanced OOP has really smoothed out the stroke.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:07 PM   #6
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Haven't you seen the promos for the new sitcom where Patrick Warburton, (aka, David Puddy on Seinfield) talks about compromise and marriage? "My wife wanted a cat. I didn't want a cat. We compromised and we got a cat."

We have ridden both ways and while I think there are definitely some arguments in favor of OOP, at the end of the day Debbie prefers IP for a variety of reasons, none of which are flawed.

Debbie's observations:
- She likes the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the pedal strokes that come with being IP.
- She finds it reassuring when we're in sync, moving together with the ebb and flow of the bike.
- She finds my legs spinning out of sync with hers to be a distraction (remember, she has lots of room and can see a lot more from her saddle than most stokers who have their faces in their captain's back)
- She likes it when we climb and sprint out of the saddle with the bike moving side-to-side (I'm a bike thrower)
- She's seen other couples riding OOP and, well, it just looks wrong.
- She doesn't find the ride to be any more or less enjoyable OOP, so what's the point?
- She knows we can't ride technical single track on our off-road tandem OOP so why add complexity to something that's pretty simple and intuitive.

So, while I could argue the point and put us in phase for all of the other oft cited reasons, the juice ain't worth the squeeze. Call it a compromise or giving-in, but we (not me, not I, and not her), WE ride IP.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-08-07 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 02-08-07, 09:51 PM   #7
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Riding IP looks more symetrical than OOP and tandems in shops are set up IP. Heck most shops/salespeople that sell tandems have no idea there is a choice!
When we did extended test riding for C'dale in the early 80s on their first prototype, we had to explain to their engineers why we wanted to change their IP setup to OOP. One of their engineers finally exclaimed: "Yeah, that makes sense! Do it."
Majority of folks ride IP. Does not mean that IP folks are right or OOPers are wrong. It's a question of team's preferences.
Agree that real off-roading does not lend itself to OOP when there's obstacles to negotiate, but on trails, etc. it's perfectly do-able.
OOP works well for us, and 90% of the folks we've explained it too and who've tried it, tend to stay OOP.
20/30-some some years ago we were really the odd-balls at any tandem get together by pedaling OOP. OOPing is no longer on the endangered practices list! Just like rabbits, we've s-l-o-w-l-y multiplied!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-08-07, 09:55 PM   #8
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We now have a da Vinci and now go ip and oop with ease.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:21 PM   #9
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Loved the 'doubler effect' on the daV and the use of 4 cogs instead of 3 chainrings. Gave it the smoothest front shifting of any tandem we've ridden + workmanship was outstanding. However, being used to 90 degrees OOP, the IP-OOPing and Independent Coasting was not to our liking.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:22 PM   #10
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We switched to 90* OOP on the road tandem about 6 weeks ago after reading some posts here on the forum. The first few miles felt kinda strange, but then things settled down as we got use to it. I have to say that it does seem like it has increased our top end speed slightly. The other benifit is that for us it seems to facilitate climbing out of the saddle better that IP. I don't think we are going back.

In the Mountain bike tandem we are still riding IP. Its already hard enough to time the pedals over rocks and logs and such IP.

Mark.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:40 PM   #11
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The wife and I are IP and OOP every few pedal strokes. Our tandem has a drive train that allows her to pick her own cadence +- 20% of my cadence. She usually likes to pedal 10% slower then I. I had to think for a moment of what the rest of you are talking about. Google counterpoint tandems, still made by Bilenky and someone else.
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Old 02-09-07, 05:10 AM   #12
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I voted "tried both and preferred OOP" but as a matter of fact we indeed like/prefer OOP but we never tried IP (and never will)
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Old 02-09-07, 05:34 AM   #13
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It's telling that a full third of folks have not even tried. And for those who do, it's 2 to 1 in favor of OOP. My suggestion: get out yer wrenches and make some changes on that bike!!! Most folks seem so afraid of adjusting anything they never learn what their optimal settings are.
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Old 02-09-07, 06:44 AM   #14
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I voted... that I have tried OOP and prefer IP. To be truthful I have not given OOP, what some would say a real try. I did not stick with it for a few weeks.
As has been said OOP does not work well off road. I am not sure I want to be riding one tandem IP and the others OOP. I also like the way IP is for standing. While this is no comment about those that prefer OOP I think the bennefits are greater for those that do not have a smooth spin.

Yet with what I have read about riding OOP here the past few weeks, I think I might give a serious try again. [when riding season is back]

glenn
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Old 02-09-07, 06:52 AM   #15
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We read somewhere that "OOP hurts the spirit of the tandem team" and that "OOP looks awkward and wrong" for us those observations felt true for the first 10 or 20 miles. After that, for us is more like ball room dancing or love making. We have to admit that, in spite of the pool's results, we are a rare breed. None of the teams we ride with or by uses OOP. ElRey is right, most people are too afraid to try thinkering with something that works well.
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Old 02-09-07, 07:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornucopia72
ElRey is right, most people are too afraid to try thinkering with something that works well.
I don't think they are afraid so to speak. I find most people will not adjust their bikes because they don't know how, don't care or don't want to. Couple that with a lack of desire to experiment and they typically won't. Fear only comes in when they have a change they did not completely buy into.
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Old 02-09-07, 07:23 AM   #17
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We only ride off road and I've tried both ways.

The one time we rode OOP was accidental due to the chain breaking and when I put it back together I didn't realize I had the pedals OOP. It didn't take long to realize the problems. When crossing a log or other obstacle I always allow time for the back pedals to clear before starting to pedal. When the pedals are OOP whichever one is down slams into the obstacle. The same goes with tight cornering around trees and rocks. I have to know which pedal to keep high to avoid the obstacle.

So, as mentioned before, when riding off road IP is the only way to go with us.
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Old 02-09-07, 07:44 AM   #18
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About 100 km OOP so far, we like it except for two problems that might be show stoppers:
1. I struggle with my stoker to get the push off pedal up where I can push from a standing stop. She always leaves me with my pedal in the bottom of the down stroke where there is nothing I can do.
2. When taking the flat narrow slot between a slow bump and the curve I don't know where to put the pedals such that neither the curb nor the solw bump hit the peddals, have not hit yet but I worry. (Lots of those on some of our rides).

If we can work these two kinks out, we will stay OOP I think. Standing on the peddals OOP is fun.
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Old 02-09-07, 07:55 AM   #19
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Not afraid... unmotivated. I'd guess that most "I've only tried IP" teams see no good reason to make the effort to try riding OOP. Simply put: For most teams IP works, and for them the old saw, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies. Especially in the case of OOP, which will obviously take some effort getting used to.
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Old 02-09-07, 08:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
Heck most shops/salespeople that sell tandems have no idea there is a choice!
Right. Try again.


Here's Mark Johnson, owner of Precision Tandems, along with his family... 13+ years selling tandems



Here are Jack & Susan Goertz, owners of Tandems Limited... 20+ years selling tandems



Here are Mel & Barb Kornbluh, owners of Tandems East.... 19 years selling tandems



Pat Gibbons & Lynn Dexter, owners of Tandem Cycle Works of Colorado... 10 years and the only brick & mortar store front tandem retail business in the US.



Dick & Marylin Powell, former owner of Bicycle Outfitter.... many, many years in the biz..



Bill & Jan McCready, owners of Santana Cycles, Inc... 25+ years producing & selling tandems.




And, for the hammerheads, feel free to check some Co-Motion Classic photos from 2005.... Just try to find a team OOP.

http://www.pbase.com/turnert/comotion

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-09-07 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 02-09-07, 09:00 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikeriderdave
Not afraid... unmotivated. I'd guess that most "I've only tried IP" teams see no good reason to make the effort to try riding OOP. Simply put: For most teams IP works, and for them the old saw, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies. Especially in the case of OOP, which will obviously take some effort getting used to.
+1. That's about the size of it.

Most people tend to go with the flow and look to folks with experience and the masses to see how it's done when they start doing something new, like tandem cycling. Why did the first tandems way back in the late 1800's get set up in-phase? Who knows, but it's probably something as simple as "it looked more graceful" and just seemed right. From then on, most tandems were displayed, test ridden, and sold with the cranks in phase and that's the way it is.

There is no doubt that OOP "feels" better for some teams and y'all can continue to cite your various theories and when asked, help to convert others so they too can see the light. However, the greatest probability of a successful conversion will come from teams that usually ride alone or with single bikes who haven't done much riding with other tandems, never mind having never attended a tandem rally. Moreover, if you happen to ride with them OOP is more likely to "stick" as it's not nearly as odd looking when just a lone tandem or even two tandems are riding OOP. Like anything, once a team has it in their head that OOP works better for them, well then it does. Again, as to why, look to your stoker's strengths and weaknesses or what it was that ailed you when you rode in phase as a Team.

Frankly, at the end of the day, notwithstanding issues associated with riding tandems on technical off-road single track, riding IP or OOP is simply a matter of figuring out what your team prefers... similar to which side of the bed you sleep on, blonde or brunette, etc...

Also, for a lot of teams, keep in mind my earlier anecdote about "compromise". Unless your stoker's a type A personality and/or the cyclist in the cyclist in the family and a real driver behind your tandeming activities, they'll usually go along with what ever you suggest as captain as long as it doesn't cause them too much pain, discomfort, mental anquish or create "image" issues if they are prone to vanity.

And, yes, OOP does feel "easier" which goes back to another one of my analogies about OOP: riding IP = a 1000cc/150hp two cylinder engine, whereas riding OOP = 1000cc/150hp four cyclinder engine. Same displacement, same power, but a completely different power band and torque curve. Likewise, any problems with a weak cylinder or ignition timing will have a different impact on engine performance in a 2 vs. 4 cyclinder engine.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-10-07 at 05:33 AM.
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Old 02-09-07, 09:40 AM   #22
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I've been OOP my entire life!
I can see the advantage from a power balancing and efficiency perspective. But I find myself siding with TG's Debbie too-I like the in-sync feel, and it just looks wrong.
Just for grins though we'll give it a try.
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Old 02-09-07, 11:53 AM   #23
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Have ridden tandem with the McCreadys, the Kornbluhs, the Goertzes and theGibbons/Dexter duos and they all were riding IP. These folks are all *experienced* in tandems/sales.
Most LBS salespeople that sell tandems have no idea about IP or OOP. OTOH, a tandem specialty shop does know and *may* explain folks the option, but only if they ask. Most newbie tandem purchasers have no clue. Asides from fit they worry about 'what color' to choose most of all.
We have been involved in tandem riding/sales/promotion/writing/national workshops and rallies since the mid-70s.
We are not trying to convert tandemers to anything; we ride OOP and like it and we are glad to explain it to anyone who asks.
The ultimate choice is up to the tandem team.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-09-07, 12:16 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
These folks are all *experienced* in tandems/sales.
Most LBS salespeople that sell tandems have no idea about IP or OOP. OTOH, a tandem specialty shop does know and *may* explain folks the option, but only if they ask. Most newbie tandem purchasers have no clue. Asides from fit they worry about 'what color' to choose most of all.
That exactly has been our experience.

So far in the poll, only 50% of those who try OOP prefer it to IP. We have to admit that if we had ridden only a few miles OOP and then went back to IP we wouldn't prefer it either. As it was said above... it takes some effort and motivation and I will bet that for some teams "fear of change" is a factor.
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Old 02-09-07, 01:31 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornucopia72
That exactly has been our experience.

So far in the poll, only 50% of those who try OOP prefer it to IP. We have to admit that if we had ridden only a few miles OOP and then went back to IP we wouldn't prefer it either. As it was said above... it takes some effort and motivation and I will bet that for some teams "fear of change" is a factor.
The sales people use the promotional materials PAID for by the manufacturers. Brochures feature happy couples riding IP. Their web sites feature and depict IP. Manufactures, if assembled by them, ship IP. I have talked with manufacturers and they know the advantages of OOP but prefer the ease of sale. Dealer and distribution networks follow manufacturers lead.
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