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  1. #1
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    First Tandem - Burley Duet?

    My wife and I are interested in getting into tandem riding. Neither of us has any serious experience biking (she being visually impaired but has loved going on tandems in the past). I have seen that Burley no longer manufactures tandems, and am not sure if the Softride thing is still made either.

    Assuming we rent a tandem for half a day and love it, we may be interested in purchasing a tandem. I saw the following on Craigs List which is local. Over the course of the last month, it is about the only name-branded tandem I have seen. While it is a lot, I am thinking it may be good value for the money.

    Any thoughts and/or pitfalls to avoid? We are 5'8" and 5'4". If we go renting a tandem for half a day, that is not exactly a lot of experience to know what will/will not work, especially if it is a Trek cruiser tandem.

    Tandem description I looked at (with pictures) - http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/bik/395145951.html

    2003 Burley Duet Softride road tandem, size small, purchased new in 9/2004, only ridden a few times. Like new condition. Beautiful red powder coat finish with black fork. Custom-designed Chromoly tubeset, Truvativ Elita crankset, Shimano 105 front derailleur, Shimano XT rear derailleur, Shimano 105 STI shifters and brake levers, Tektro Mini-V brakes, 27-speed with Shimano HG50 11-32 9-speed gear cluster. Black Velocity Fusion rims, Panaracer 700x28 tires. Loaded will include Shimano Flight Deck computer with virtual cadence, custom Softride seat bag, rear rack and new rack trunk bag, 2 water bottle cages, clipless pedals. Your stoker will love the Softride feel! Local pickup preferred, NW suburb of Chicago. Tandem alone was $2495 new (not including tax), will sell with all accessories for $1800 firm.

  2. #2
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    My wife and I have owned our 2005 Duet for over one year and have had no mechanical problems. We enjoy riding together and plan to tour in the future. No regrets. Mike

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    While the Burley ad did not give a frame size, it does look like their smalll frame.
    Burley tandems or Softride beams are no longer being made.
    However, if this bike fits both of you, it would be a decent deal, especially with all the extras thrown in.
    Have ridden several Burleys, including Duets and Softrides . . . most bang for the buck in tandems in our opinion. It would be a great first tandem . . . much better than the Trek you referred to.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Depends on how you want to ride it.

    Do you plan to ride it 5 days a week and put in 20+ miles per ride?
    Do you plan to ride it 1 or 2 days a week for 5-10 miles per ride?

    I am not an expert having only had a tandem for three nows, but I know we are more of the second type. Sometimes we go on 15+ mile rides, but mostly is moderate around town/ bike path riding. We have a Trek T900 and it is meeting our needs quite nicely.

    I just would like to remind you that $2500 is a lot for something you you are trying out. You could of course resell it for about what you bought it for being used and a quality tandem. If you buy a $700-$1000 new tandem and don't like it you will take a little bit more of a hit reselling it, but would not have to come up with $2500.

    Think about how you plan to ride it.
    NewbieIATandem
    Big Team on Trek T900

  5. #5
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    Will they let you test it? The soft beam rocks up and down with every stroke. We never have used one but have drafted off people who did and it almost makes you dizzy. $1,800 for a practically new Duet with some extras is a good deal. The key is how well it would fit you and how well your stoker likes the soft beam. Half a day renting a tandem will tell you if you like being/can be a captain... since it sounds like your stoker has tandem experience and liked it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member SambaMixte's Avatar
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    My first was and is a burly!

    The deal on the duet sounds great, if you fit the bike. I bought a Samba Mixte back in 92, used and haven't looked back. My stoker pool is 2 teenage daughters and they are motors. I've had some work on the brakes, new captain handlebars, bar ends for both stoker and pilot, and am thinking of upgrading from the suntour rear derailler. Like most of the other bikes in the stable, it does tend to evolve to fit the direction we are riding. We are not long distance riders (more than 50 miles) yet, but someday we will upgrade to road tandem (or God-willing) a triplet.
    The Duet mentioned sounds like a fast bike and smooth stoker cockpit. We passed one last year (mother and very young son team) and it looked like a fast ride. Good Luck!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    we have a burley samba with a softride beam. my stoker loves it. we demo'd a few tandems with suspension posts, and borrowed a friends older duet (no beam). watching and riding the beam are two different experiences. the pogoing is only annoying for her on really steep climbs. for some, the aspect of a beam that bothers them is that it has some lateral motion in turns. the extra comfort is worth the trade off for my stoker. She says that bumps are rougher on our recumbent tandem, then again you can't stand on the pedals.

    the softride beam is no longer in production
    Burley Softride Samba
    Rans Screamer
    1997 Vision R44
    Novara buzz flyby
    1987 centurion ironman
    1999 specialized FSR XC comp

  8. #8
    TWilkins
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    I agree w/ the others, this looks like a reasonable price if the bike is in as good a condition as stated and if it fits you. We ride a 2005 Duet, and the small sized frame fits us well at 5'7" and 5'0" respectively. I don't know how the softride beam might affect the stoker compartment length, but since your wife is taller than mine, make sure it's not a little cramped for her.

    The Burley is a great value, and a very nice quality bike for the money. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Duet as a great option for new tandem teams.

    Since you don't have a lot of cycling experience, here's a website maintained by TandemGeek that has a lot of helpful information for new tandem teams....www.thetandemlink.com

    Good luck, and have fun!
    Tracy Wilkins
    2011 Trek Madone 5.2
    2005 Burley Duet Tandem
    2009 Surly Cross-Check (Commuter)
    www.springfieldcyclist.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    On our personal tandems we do not use any type of suspension for stoker.
    Have put several-100 miles on tandems with Softride beam and stoker having test ridden other suspension seatpost set ups, she declared the 'beamer' was the best of the bunch. This from a stoker with 200,000+ miles of experience.
    The only time stoker Kay complained of excessive bounce on the beam was when we riding at a very high spin rate climbing a hill . . . one click back on the cog and all was A-OK again.
    Our experience/opinion only . . .
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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