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  1. #1
    For The Fun of It
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    Considering A Tandem to the Stable

    I have spent the better part of the past week absorbing all the information I can on tandems and researching the market pretty hard.

    I have been been bicycling on and off for most of my life. I am 44 and in pretty good bicycling shape save for a bit of a bum left knee. My girlfriend is a rank newbie. She does pretty good on her comfort bike and can pretty easily put an hour in the saddle at slower speeds. Am I correct in assuming that the tandem will be an equalizer. Arbitrarily meaning that if I were a 60 on a scale of 1-100 and she were a 20 would we together make a 40? I hope it makes sense to pose the question that way. We get along fabulously and really enjoy our time riding together. I am hoping with the tandem, we can increase her saddle time and increase our speed without unduly taxing the above referenced bum knee. I am 5'11" with a 33" inseam and she is 5'6" with a comparatively short inseam.

    We took a test spin on the only tandem I was able to find in my neck of the woods...a Trek Cruiseliner. I was relatively underwhelmed with the bike, but did feel we had potential. She enjoyed it and seems excited about getting a tandem. I have called nearly every shop withing a 250 mile radius and can't find any that stock tandems. There is a place in Birmingham AL that has over 50 in stock. She will not ride drop bars and I can go either way. I know for sure I don't want to go on the cheap. I can appreciate good quality equipment. I am equally sure, because I have so many passtimes, that I will not become a tandem addict. I enjoy hunting, fishing, kayaking, gardening, motorcycling and a number of other activities that will preclude me from spending a lot of time on a tandem. For that reason, I cant justify a high end tandem.

    I am considering a Trek T900, a Cannondale Street Tandem, two KHS models, and some new Burleys that can be had for around 1500. I have looked hard at all the classifieds I can, and there is little that ever pops up in the Southeast. I know where there is a Cannondale Street tandem (500 miles away) brand new for 1199, or I can have my LBS order one for 1699. I'd immediately switch to narrower tires and a comfort saddle for both of us. The Trek might be a little too low end. It doesn't have the extra down tube that so many tandems have. It is tempting, but I am leary of our combined 325 pounds on that frame. The KHS bikes fall in between the Trek and Cannondale in price.

    What are your opinions on the above bikes, and should I be looking at any others in the same price range? What else might an aspiring tandemist need to consider. Thanks in advance.

    Paul

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Trek T900 has the advantage of being able to fit a broad range of riders, but if you will always be the same two riders, the Cannondale is clearly a better bike. If you like higher quality bikes, you should start with the Cannondale Street Tandem at the very least or a Trek T1000. You don't mention which Burleys you are looking at, but as Burley has gone out of the tandem buisness there are good deals to be had.

    You might consider a lower end tandem as a starter bike, but in that case you might want to buy it used, and get a better bike once you know you will stick to it. If you are buying to keep, buy the best bike you can afford, think of how much you would spend on the bike you would care to ride and multiply times 2. It is not difficult to gage the quality of a tandem once you know what you would look for in a single.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jinker's Avatar
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    I got a '94 Burley Rock'N'Roll softride used last year. I replaced the rubber (tires and brakes), lubed the chains and checked everything over, and am extremely happy with the bike. While a little old tech component wise, it's put together very well. It may not be the blingiest around, I still get that 'owning an object of quality' feeling which is nice.

    All that to say, have you looked for used? Why spend thousands on a bike with the latest 30 speed drivetrain when a well looked after used bike will suit your needs? (Shop service and warranties would be a couple good reasons if you're not comfortable wrenching)

  4. #4
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    Paul - try:

    http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

    We bought our Co-Motion Co-Pilot from someone posting on this website sight-unseen. They shipped it to us (it is a travel tandem so shipping was easy). The bike was perfect and as advertised. We have ridden it for almost 9,000 miles.

    Your analogy of (60 + 20)/2 = 40 is right when you are climbing hills at 10 mph or less. It is simply power-to-weight ratio. However, when you are on the flats or on downhills, tandems have a distinct aerodynamic advantage. Instead of 40 it will be more like 70 at speeds above 20 mph.

    Good luck in your search. If you appreciate good equipment, you will probably be disappointed by a cheap tandem.

  5. #5
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    Paul, contact me driectly at- k r r 5 8 @ a o l . c o m

    We have a Santana for sale that might work for you. I'm 5'11" and my wife is 5'3 or 4". The bike is steel, Campy drivetrain, Velocity wheelset, stoker shock post, carbon fork, XTR brakes, FSA bars, SPD pedals, Sugino cranks. Near perfect condition.

    We built a brand new tandem over the winter so this one needs a home.


    KRhea
    Portland, OR

  6. #6
    SDS
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    Yup, more like 70+. Be careful of your cadence and effort level on the tandem, because the doubled mass resists acceleration compared with a single bike, and that can be hard on your knee. You have to resist the temptation to add power by yourself when the tandem doesn't accelerate as fast as you think it should. You have to work as a team and keep the cadence high, and perhaps wait for the speed.

  7. #7
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    Paul,
    I am in Diamondhead, MS. We might not be too far apart. We would be happy to let you guys take a ride on our Santana if you want to ride a different tandem. Just drop us a note and we will try to work out a time. (address removed, spammers found it) or pm me here.

    Tandems Ltd in Birmingham AL is where we purchased 2 tandems in less than 3 years (First one kinda got a little wet during Katrina and is now resting in our attic) Jack and Susan are good people, will really take time to show you the ropes and will let you ride as many tandems as you can stand. They were very patient with us. I would recommend you give them a call and set up an appointment prior to making the trip.

    Jack
    Last edited by just me; 07-03-07 at 05:28 AM.

  8. #8
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    I can say the T900 would have no problem with 325 pound combined weight. We are 400+ pound combined. Haven't had any problems with it yet.

    If you can wait a bit you can find a used one. But if you are having a problem with finding a dealer within 250 miles you might have a while to wait to find a used tandem locally. Or... travel to the 50+ in stock store over a weekend, make a minor vacation out of the trip. (That's what we are doing in a couple of weeks to pick up a used one from across the state. Better to make a 2-3 day mini vacation to pick up a used Univega and Yakima Sidewinder than to try and make a 5+ hour drive to pick it up, and a 5+ hour drive to bring it home.)

    Maybe you could talk your Trek dealer, who has the Cruisliner, into ordering a T900 for you to try. If you choose not to buy it, it is a better tandem to have on the floor than the Cruisliner for anything more than around town jaunts. (It's really nice to have 24 speeds to pick from when you start to go a bit further. "Granny! Bring them thar' gears for this big ol' hill.")
    NewbieIATandem
    Big Team on Trek T900

  9. #9
    Junior Member thalver's Avatar
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    Hello Paul,

    If you are anywhere near New Orleans, I'd be more than happy to let you try out our tandem. I'm always eager babble incessantly to a new victim about the joys of tandeming.

    There is also a good Cannondale "garage bike" available locally from a private seller. (probably 10 years old with virtually no miles) The price struck me as a bit high, but it may be negotiable. If you really love ours, we have upgraded and will need to put it on the market sooner or later. But that really isnt the point. I'd be happy to have you try ours whether you have an interest in one like it or not.

    Tom

  10. #10
    For The Fun of It
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    Thanks everyone for the responses. I am very grateful for the feedback and the PM I got in response to this thread.

    Jack, I may take you up on that offer. I live in Saucier, so a quick trip over to DH would be worthwhile. I will not have another weekend off for a bit, but as my next one approaches, I'll drop you a pm if I'm still in the market.

    Tom, I work in New Orleans, and have a house that is being reconstructed in Meraux, so getting to NOLA is no problem. Weekends off are hard to come by though. I might be interested in the used C-Dale if you want to post or pm the contact info. I'm also interested in hearing about the one you are going to put on the market.

    Thanks again to all who responded.

    Paul

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