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  1. #1
    Junior Member Ehkzu's Avatar
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    My friend is looking for a $500 tandem

    I know, I know. But we started out with a Schwinn 10-speed tandem before we got our Santana Visa, and we only paid $300 for that (used of course). My friend is thinking of getting something new mail order for $500. One trick is that he's only 5'6" tall and his stoker is about 5'0". He wants to get his stoker sold on tandeming before he spends more on one.

    Any advice I can pass on?

  2. #2
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    Encourage him to go with a used bike if he can wait until one becomes available in his area. The big thing for me is, if he / she doesn't like tandeming, the resale on a 1 year old $500 tandem will be maybe $300. The resale on a used tandem you bought last year for $500 if well maintained will be about $475.

    The dilemma will be is he willing to wait for a deal to come along? We were not willing to wait. We bought a Trek T900 two (was it three?) years ago new. I've kept my eyes open (and the feelers out) in my area and finally this month stumbled across a decent used tandem for about $350. Now when I say my area we did have a 600 mile round trip to pick it up! We turned it into a mini-vacation so it all worked out.

    I appreciate the people who say, "Look for a good used tandem." However, some people live in an area where used tandems just never seem to materialize. Shipping a tandem? Do you want to spend $100-$150 on shipping for a $500 tandem, which you could then only budget $400 on to account for the shipping. Would our excitement for tandeming be as great if we had only window shopped, and hoped and dreamed for three years?

    I might also add, could he rent for a day? If there is NO interest from his wife after a day (given he has been given some suitable instruction on captaining) then he is out ~$50. If there is interest he would be better able to think through at what level he wants to enter the world of tandems. (You also did not state what their level of experience with cycling was.)
    NewbieIATandem
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  3. #3
    Junior Member Ehkzu's Avatar
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    He's a relatively inexperienced solo rider; she's a total newbie. I took her around our condo complex on our Santana. First time around she was a total squirrel. Second time was 100% better. Now she seems willing to give it a go. She's overweight and looking for ways to shed weight anyway. He's really eager to do something exercisey with her and has also said he's interested in stoking for me--though I haven't taken him up any serious climbs yet. But he's got heart, so I bet he'll be able to.

    We live in the SF Bay Area, which has lotsa tandems. So it should be possible to find a used one. I'll look around.

  4. #4
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    Both my wife and I are overweight. We got into tandeming when my wife said, "We need to find something to do for exercise we can do together, like a bicycle built for two." So... we started looking. We decided that if we were going to do it we were going to do it. We bought a Trek T900, rack, helmets, bike garb, water bottles, cages, helmets, etc. etc. and have not regretted it.

    If they are heavy make sure they get something sturdy. We are over 400 pounds, so I know of what I speak.

    They sound like they will be a great team. They both want to do it. I think they will have a great time. Make sure they get to test ride it. They probably don't want a speedy, drop bar, skinny 700C tire to start with. But I jump to conclusions.

    Good luck.
    NewbieIATandem
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  5. #5
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ehkzu
    He's a relatively inexperienced solo rider; she's a total newbie. I took her around our condo complex on our Santana. First time around she was a total squirrel. Second time was 100% better. Now she seems willing to give it a go. She's overweight and looking for ways to shed weight anyway. He's really eager to do something exercisey with her and has also said he's interested in stoking for me--though I haven't taken him up any serious climbs yet. But he's got heart, so I bet he'll be able to.

    We live in the SF Bay Area, which has lotsa tandems. So it should be possible to find a used one. I'll look around.
    Craig's List and Ebay. The Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos is a tandem distributer and may have a customer who wants to upgrade to... and wants to sell existing tandem.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Again though, be careful particularly with Ebay that you are not going to pay 20% of that $500 for shipping. Try to keep it local.
    NewbieIATandem
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewbieIATandem
    The big thing for me is, if he / she doesn't like tandeming, the resale on a 1 year old $500 tandem will be maybe $300.
    That is a huge maybe... more like $100

    Besides, a $500 new tandem will be vastly inferior to a used $500 one.

    I would suggest to go the renting/borrowing route and if tandeming is something they like, then get a 2 to 3 K bike

  8. #8
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    Borrowing maybe, renting!?!?

    If these people are willing to spend $500 that might be as much as they can swing. Regardless of what people, they sometimes can't afford it.

    Renting, from what I've seen, the daily rentals would be $20-$75 a day. Most of the rentals are NOT top of the line Santanas, Co-Motions, etc. either. So depending on where they rent from they might only be renting a $300-$1000 tandem in the first place. Or if they go to the beach, local resort, etc. they may be renting an ill-maintained, cheap tandem to start with. Will someone who is uncertain about tandeming (an inexperienced cyclist and a non-cyclist) really be able to tell if tandeming is worth a 2-3K expense with 10 or fewer rides? This would also use up their entire budget.

    I'd rather ride a $500 tandem for a year or two and enjoy my being Two-gether with my stoker and save up for a better tandem. Rather than not have a tandem at all for a year or two while we save up for a better tandem.

    How many people are riding on $1500, $1000, $500, $400, ok, probably not much at all below that... tandems happily being ridden regularly but they are not "active" on this board. I guess I'll step off my soap box now.
    NewbieIATandem
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  9. #9
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Lend them yours.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewbieIATandem
    Borrowing maybe, renting!?!?
    Over the years we have encouraged several couples to try tandems. One couple, the would be captain could not steer the ship. Another couple, the would be stoker could not stop steering from the back. Another couple, the would be stoker had to be dragged to do very short rides. Yet another couple, tried our old Burley once and then bought a nice Co-motion. We are having troubles keeping up with the last couple....

    So, that is 1 out of 4. All it took was one ride and they "knew" that tandeming was/was not for them.
    Last edited by cornucopia72; 07-14-07 at 10:16 PM.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Ehkzu's Avatar
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    I got our dentist & his wife stoked (so to speak) on tandems & they promptly went out & got a high-end aluminum Santana they now do centuries on. With this couple...it's not going to be like that. Best case they'll do Golden Gate Park on bicycle Sundays--but I think the guy will be my stoker on more serious rides. We went tandem shopping today & found that his 31.5" max standover rules out most 19" front tandems unless they have a really low/very sloping top tube. Next week we hope to look at a Trek 900. He prob'ly won't spend $900 on a tandem unless his mate asks better questions than her entry today: "why do you want to torture me?" (She was joking. Maybe).

    Too bad they can't afford a Bike Friday (their tandems start at $1,350). I know fer sure that would fit them.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like it might be prudent to take the stoker out with YOU a few times to make sure she knows what tandeming is like with an experienced captain. Maybe not even worth the effort to have them try tandeming together until you get a slightly better sign from her.
    NewbieIATandem
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  13. #13
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    I just picked up this bike: http://www.abikestore.com/Merchant2/...rghini-viaggio
    for $500 shipped. Unfortunately my stoker's been out of town for 2 weeks, but we got a couple rides in before she left and love it. We need a sprung saddle or suspension post for the stoker, and I may swap the front derailer for something better (not that it needs it, but I've got parts and I like to tweak). I'm 6'3" and she's 5'5", and we fit well on this. I'm at the max extension on my seat post, and she's right about the middle, so I think the fit might work for you.

    The 35mm tires don't provide a ton of cushion, and the stoker noticed this compared to the rental MTB styles we tried, so you may want to consider even the cheaper options like the Pacific Dualie, which looks comparable with 26" wheels and grip shifters, for way cheaper, which might even be stronger for the weight consideration. Part of me wishes we'd done that, but this bike impresses my roadie friends more, and I hate grip shifters

  14. #14
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    You might want to have them rent or borrow one a few times first.

    I ride a lot(about 300 miles a week)...my girlfriend is a newbie. We rented one twice. We had fun but both of us were unsure on plonking down the money on a new Cannondale road tandem. a lot of money for something that might not get used.

    I found a 2001 MT800 on craigslist for $800. The thing was owned by a bike shop employee and it is mint with lots of upgrades. We have been putting in the miles on it and love it...and who knows...maybe I can talk her into a new Co-mo next year.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    My own experience - I rode a rental tandem 20 metres in a park. The deraileur wasn't adjusted and wrapped itself into the spokes when I changed gear....many years passed without thinking about tandems...Saw a Trek on sale and took wife for test ride. I was surprised when she said she liked it and that we should buy it on the spot.

    Bottom line is that they need to just go for it. Whatever they buy whether a $500 mail order bike, second hand one or new, it doesn't really matter as any cycling is better than none.

    Whether $500 is a lot of money is another matter. One has to make choices just like anything else. I can imagine there are easy ways they could save $500, e.g. selling old stuff on ebay, switching electricity provider, reducing debts, drinking less, extra work hours, stopping CD buying habit, take next holiday at home riding new tandem every day...

  16. #16
    Junior Member Ehkzu's Avatar
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    My friend almost bought a new Trek T900 but it turns out he's too short for it--the standover was, um, snug. But he discovered that the $600 Raliegh aluminum "dirt" tandem with 26" wheels fit his and his stoker just fine. He bought it today. I brought it to our place on the back of our van and they and we went out on Palo Alto's Baylands this afternoon. His wife seemed to actually like it. And he's ecstatic. It actually looks OK. Not quite our Santana Visa but I wouldn't sneer at it myself for casual riding arounding.

    Now to sell him on buying our old Yakima tandem mount for a Yakima roof rack...

  17. #17
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    www.atomiczombie.com

    If your friend has mechanical skills or knows someone who does, the book they sell there has directions on how to make a tandem out of two bikes.

  18. #18
    High Octane superunleaded's Avatar
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    Wait 'til you see what I did to this stealthy black tandem.
    Marin Century - roll call!

  19. #19
    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superunleaded View Post
    Wait 'til you see what I did to this stealthy black tandem.
    Marin Century - roll call!
    Can't wait to see it. Pics please.
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  20. #20
    High Octane superunleaded's Avatar
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    Hi Chris

    Hi Chris,
    Not to hijack the thread. I'll post it in your "we pimped our ride this week" thread.

    -gas

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