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  1. #1
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    How many tandems?

    Just wondering how many tandems might be sold in a year in the US.

    I'm thinking complete bikes at >$1000,to include KHS,Raleigh,and so on.

    It seems that Cannondale pretty much owns the mountain tandem market.I mentioned this to a friend who works for Cannondale and he said something to the effect of "if we have the largest mtb market share,thens its a small market".The reason I said that is watching ebay it seems that there are more Dale s than any other mtb tandem.

    The road side is less clear: it seems to me that Co-Motion is gaining market share.


    dan
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  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfcas View Post
    Just wondering how many tandems might be sold in a year in the US.
    Bicycle Retailer & Industry News publishes a report based on US Department of Commerce data every year that captures a pretty good snap-shot of the trends. You can find the 2005 data and 2006 projections published this year at this url: http://www.bicycleretailer.com/downl...TATS_ISSUE.pdf

    The data seems to suggest that the tandem market continues to ebb and flow with the rest of the market, representing about .2% of all bikes sold by volume, or .3% by value. If you look at the entire bike market -- including big box stores and businesses selling tandem-shaped-objects -- that .2% works out to 36,000 tandems a year. However, if you use only the speciality bike shop numbers which are more like 2.5M units a year, you'll come up with a much lower number... 5,110.

    Conventional wisdom coupled with the occasional clues offered or found in business profiles done over the years has always suggested that premium-quality tandem sales have on average hovered around this same 5k unit per year number, hence the reference to he oft times mentioned "less than 1% of the market".

    As for how many tandems companies like Santana and Co-Motion sell each year, again past comments and profiles seem to suggest Santana's production numbers have historically floated between 1,000 - 1,400 units a year, with Burley posting similar numbers but with far less revenue and profits given their best-value position in the market. Co-Motion, on the other had, has as you note been consistently gaining market share each year. Several years back there was an article in the local Eugene papers where annual tandem production was cited as 600 units a year. Mind you, I don't have a clue what the actual numbers are, but this is what I've concluded based on the information available and, well, business owners have been know to inflate as well as to understate their production numbers just to keep folks guessing, so that too casts some doubt on the actual numbers.

    Regardless of what the actual numbers are, I would venture a guess that Co-Motion may now be approaching annual sales that are more or less on par with Santana... particularly with their new Periscope line of tandems and the burgeoning high-end performance market which it could be argued that they own. As for why Co-Motion has seen so much consistent growth, remember that Co-Motion was the last of the big tandem makers to enter the market at a time when Santana to a great extend, and Cannondale and Burley to lesser extent, were the only game in town for serious tandem buyers. In fact, when I bought our first Santana 10 years ago -- noting my last two places of residence were Redlands, California, and the Atlanta area -- I'd never heard of Co-Motion, never mind having seen one on the road. If I knew what I knew 12 months later I can tell you that our first tandem would have been a Co-Motion Speedster.

    Anyway, less I digress, Cannondale's numbers were always cited as placing them in 3rd place behind Burley a few years back, so you can draw your own conclusions on what the actual numbers might be. Trek is an odd one in that just on annual production numbers you'd expect that they "should" have a larger market share than Cannondale. However, Trek tandems continue to be far more scarce than C'dale models. I suspect the latter may be because Trek never demonstrated that much interest in expanding their market share or model offerings beyond having a high / mid / low point model in their line up. In contrast, when Cannondale introduced the CAAD models in '99 the had three off-road models and three road models. Of course they've since abandoned the full-line of tandems and now offer just two models -- the Road Tandem (RT) and the Street Tandem (ST), which is a de-tuned rigid mountain bike model. The latter suggests that there just isn't a big off-road tandem market, at least at the low-end as Cannondale owned that market throughout the 90's, first with the rigid Los Dos models, then the MT900, MT1000, MT2000 and front suspension-equipped MT3000 and MT4000. Again, with that heritage in the off-road market, one does have to wonder what the deal is with Cannondale's view of the current market demand. On the up side, I do know that Ventana's annual tandem sales have been strong and growing each year but it's still a very small market in the US. France is another story, as are other parts of Europe where off-road tandems abound!!

    Oh well, I've rambled on enough. Again, the Bicycle Retailer & Industry News data will give you something to chew on and you can draw your own conclusions. As for me, hey... I've been doing my part for the movement: we've gone through six tandems in 10 years and still have 3 of them. I'm also contemplating lucky number 7. And to think, if it wasn't for my obsessive compulsive tandem addiction I'd have that MV Agusta F4 sitting in the garage along side my trusty Honda CBRXX.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-10-07 at 04:03 AM.

  3. #3
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    Wow! That was one of the best internet-message-board posts I've ever read. I read several meassage boards every day on many diverse topics, and your post is a perfect example of the kind if info that makes all the trolling worth-while.
    Even though I don't really know what to do with the info ..Thanks.

  4. #4
    Cyclist, Inline SpeedSk8r Sk8erByker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    In contrast, when Cannondale introduced the CAAD models in '99 the had three off-road models and three road models. Of course they've since abandoned the full-line of tandems and now offer just two models -- the Road Tandem (RT) and the Street Tandem (ST), which is a de-tuned rigid mountain bike model.
    FWIW, Cannondale has added a 2nd Road Tandem model for 2008.
    Charlie & Pat

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sk8erByker View Post
    FWIW, Cannondale has added a 2nd Road Tandem model for 2008.
    Interesting...

    Are the specs available beyond the dealer network or must simple consumers like moi wait until Interbike to see what they've cooked up to match Trek's offerings?

  6. #6
    Cyclist, Inline SpeedSk8r Sk8erByker's Avatar
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    I have the specs at the shop. I'll get them to you later today
    Charlie & Pat

  7. #7
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    To our knowledge, in the mid-70s, Santana was the first to build 'tandems only' in the US; however, years later they did briefly attempt to enter the single bike market. The only other quality tandems produced in minimal numbers in the US at that time were by Schwinn (Paramount, Schwin Twinn) and some Huffy and Huffy look-alike cruiser types. Most multi-geared tandems were imported from Europe (Jack Taylor, Geoff Butler, Colin Laing, Follis, Gitane, Gottfried, Pogliaghi,) and we then had very few US custom tandem builders (Bill Boston, Assenmacher, etc).
    Burley, Co-Motion, Cannondale, Ibis, Tango, Trek and others entered the fray in the 80s. Even the Japanese started exporting tandems like Kuwahara and Fuji.
    By the early 1990s tandems were marginally on the increase. We took delivery of a custom Co-Motion back in 1993, when it was just 3 guys working out of a garage in Eugene, OR. More US custom builders also got into building quality 2-seaters.
    As the US population increased and became a bit more bike-savvy, tandems were no longer an oddity.
    Our very first tandem rally (MTR, Kokomo, IN 1975) had about 30 participants; nowadays there's a multitude of tandem rallies with hundreds of tandems in attendance. Have participated in events with 500+ tandems on the road.
    Still the number of twicers sold in the US is quite low and Bicycle Retailer's numbers are quite accurate.
    While tandem brands/builders have come and gone, there is now a bigger choice, not only in brand names, but in frame material.
    Steel was king for years, but Cannondale introduced heat treated aluminum, and soon others followed.
    Titanium and carbon fiber and magnesium or combinations thereof, now compete with steel and aluminum tandems.
    Introductory bicycles-built-for-2 are now available in the $1,000 or less range; most are Chinese imports.
    KHS, Raleigh, Univega, Schwinn are all examples; heck even WallyWorld is selling tandems . . . for less than what a crankset can set you back, you can now purchase a 'tandem shaped object' as Mark refers to these 2-seaters.
    While tandem ownership in the US is on the increase, it's by no means a tsunami!
    Perdal on TWOgether!
    Ruy and Kay/zonatandem

  8. #8
    Senior Member ftsoft's Avatar
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    If the length of time it took to get our CoMotion Speedster once it was ordered (2 1/2 months) is any indication, CoMotion is doing quite well.

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