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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 06-05-07, 12:11 PM   #1
dpemberton
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Trouble in TN

Hey ya'll,

I borrowed a tag-a-long from a friend to test my 7 and 8 yr old boys. They both loved it and it gave me an awsome work-out. Here is my problem. I have priced a new trailer bike for just under $100.00. I found another 7-sp trailer bike on Craigs list for $125. To me, the used mulitple speed trailer would be well worth the money compared to the fixed speed new one.

Here is my question. When I found the trailer on CL, I also found a Kent tandem for $140. Which would be the better deal? A multi-speed trailer and still have a very wobbly ride, or a cheap tandem? As they get older and more serious, I hope to upgrade to a higher level tandem, but I can't right now.

What to do, what to do??
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Old 06-05-07, 12:27 PM   #2
Ginny
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Hmmmm.
They are old enough to do the tandem, and will outgrow the tag along in about 15 minutes.
A kent will at least give you the ability to see if the boys like the tandem and for not much $$.
I'd be weary of a cheap tandem though.
Good luck!
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Old 06-05-07, 01:26 PM   #3
twilkins9076
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Here's a true story....
When my son was growing up, we bought him several department store bikes through the years. What with him abusing them, leaving them in the rain, running them through mudholes, and all the other things boys the age of yours will do with a bicycle, they all "wore out" about the time he outgrew them, and that was OK because that was what we expected. When he was 14, I bought my first bike, a name brand comfort bike, and started riding the local multi-use trails. He often came with me, even though at the time he had pretty much outgrown the last bike we had bought him. He had a little money in his pocket, and decided that he wanted to spend it on a new bike...another department store brand that seemed pretty nice. This purchase was made in the spring, and he was pretty consistent about riding those 12 mile round trips with me several times a week. The problem was, that it was all I could keep up with to keep that bike in good enough condition to be able to use it for 30-40 miles a week. Something was constantly breaking, getting out of adjustment, or just plain aggravating us. By the middle of that summer, I was frustrated enough that I went out and bought him an entry level Giant mountain bike. It cost maybe three times what he had spent, but was well worth the investment because it proved to be reliable (and repairable if it broke).

I've never ridden one of the department store tandems (actually never even seen one), but if my experience was any indication, and you are serious at all about biking, you would be much better off to be patient and search for a good quality used tandem that you can afford rather than jumping in with a less than ideal product.
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Old 06-05-07, 01:37 PM   #4
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If you do go the tagalong route, I would not recommend the Kent. At least the older model we had was not well made. The Burley Piccolo (no longer made) is top notch. The Adams seems to be the best of the lot of current production models. I don't know about Trek and others.

I think it depends on what you mean by cheap tandem. There are some very nice older (mid-80's to early 90's) tandems that can be had for under $1000, maybe even under $500. I agree at your boys age, they are about ready to be on their own bikes or stoking. My experience with tagalongs is they are generally good for 4-7 year olds. Of course there are exceptions. My 3 year old rides ours sometimes. Too short to turn the pedals, can't change gears but just loves to ride it. My 7 year old could ride it but prefers their own bike or stoker on the tandem.

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Originally Posted by twilkins 9076
The problem was, that it was all I could keep up with to keep that bike in good enough condition to be able to use it for 30-40 miles a week. Something was constantly breaking, getting out of adjustment, or just plain aggravating us. By the middle of that summer, I was frustrated enough that I went out and bought him an entry level Giant mountain bike. It cost maybe three times what he had spent, but was well worth the investment because it proved to be reliable (and repairable if it broke).
I just spent 2 hours last weekend tweaking some dept. store bikes for a neighbor. What a PITA. The one kid had never been in 1st or 7th gear, the other was so cramped in the position that he rode the MTB in BMX style. Poorly adjusted from the store plus my adjustments will last maybe a week before they need more tweaking.

Last edited by masiman; 06-05-07 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 06-05-07, 09:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I will probably go with the tag-a-long and save my pennies for a better tandem. I hope to get another year or two out of the trailer before they would out grow it.
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