We bought our Trek T-1000 Tandem in Dallas at Richardson Bike Mart. However, we live in Beaumont. I am not comfortable with either of our lbs working on the tandem. Houston is 85 miles west of us. Does anyone know of a good mechanic familar with tandems in the Houston area? I know of just about every bike shop there but many of the mechanics seem to be of the shade tree type and are learning at my expense.
If your LBS has a mechanic that can breath in and out you should be fine, tandems are nothing special. There are only a very few things which are special to most tandems, the BB, and and and and the list is more or less over. Go on line buy some tandem length cables and you will have everything special on a tandem. If you have a drum brake download the directions to remove it. I do really think that for all routine things your local bike shop will do a fine job. Now if you start replacing parts, or need real advice on whats good and whats not, check out BF or contact one of the tandem specific shops, or do what most of do and ask the question and wait for Tandem Geek to post.
Most good single bike meachnix can do routine stuff on a tandem.
Adjusting derailleurs, trueing wheels, replacing cables is pretty much like what you do on a single.
As the previous poster stated the eccentric/cross over chain tensioning and possibly the adjustable stoker stem would be the only thing that might stump a novice mechanic a bit.
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
This is a great opportunity for you to learn to tune up your bike. Buy a book or spend some time on the Park tools website to learn what you're doing. If you take things step by step you will be fine.
All you need to start working on your bike is the same stuff as you'd take on any ride; an inner tube, puncture kit, tyre levers, pump and a multitool plus some oil, rags and a bucket of soapy water. Start with simple jobs like washing the bike and lubing the chain, then tune your rear derailleur, brakes and try some different saddle height / setbacks and tensioning the idler chain. Practice changing a puncture before you need to on the road. If you work step by step you will have no problems as these are really simple jobs. From there you can buy more tools - I'd also recommend a chain tool and a floor (track) pump. From there you can progress to doing almost everything with your bike. The only times you should involve the local shop will be to face a new frame so that the headset and bottom bracket fits properly. It's not economical to do this at home as the tools to do it properly are very expensive.
You will not only save a lot of time and money compared with taking your bike to the shop, but you'll have a much better grasp of whether your bike is working properly, which will save lots of unexpected breakdowns. The benefit of just washing the bike yourself is not to be underestimated as it's then you find small cracks which can lead to catastrophic failure.