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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 09-05-07, 05:03 PM   #1
ToastedWoobie
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Would like to get into tandeming, but where to get a bike?

I've called all the LBSes and only two even carry a tandem in store. One is just too cheap and one is overpriced (in my opinion: it's a bike that's been hanging from their ceiling for at least 4 years and still priced at the original showroom tag. The employees said there's no way they'd come down from $1600).

Now, I'm all for investing in a good bike, but my fiance isn't sure tandems are for him. He's got reasons: he cycles faster than me and I'm a good foot shorter than him.

So three questions:
1. Should I still pursue tandems? They've always looked like fun and now that we work near each other I think it could make our commute even more interesting (we currently both bike to work a few days a week).

2. Am I going to have to make my way to the coast to even see some decent tandems in stores? I'm in Fresno (Calif), so SF is only about 3 hours away, though a bike wouldn't fit in the car.

3. Is this tandem worth investing in? If so, any reason you think the owner should come down in price? It looks like a decent deal to me:
http://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/412047704.html

Any and all help is appreciated. This is my first time posting over here. I'm usually in the commuters section (although I lurk much more than I post).

Jennifer
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Old 09-05-07, 05:51 PM   #2
zonatandem
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1. Yes.
2. Possibly.
3.Would come in with a bit lower offer, but $650 is a decent price for an older Trek . . . providing it fits the 2-of-you and you like it.
Note: on a tandem he will NOT ride faster than you. Being a foot shorter than him is not an issue IF the tandem fits.
Tandems can make, or break, a relationship . . . it's a matter of proper communication and a bit of compromise for both of you.
Having said that, we've been married 52+ years and yes, we still ride TWOgether (32+ years on tandems).
Good luck, T/Woobie!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-05-07, 06:36 PM   #3
regomatic
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I'd say $650 is a very reasonable investment to try tandeming.

We started out 3-1/2 years ago with an early '90's Burley Duet for $800. It looks like your potential Trek is adequately equipped to provide a positive experience if the size allows adequate adjustment to fit both of you well enough and the condition is as advertised.
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Old 09-05-07, 06:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToastedWoobie View Post
......I'm in Fresno (Calif),

3. Is this tandem worth investing in? If so, any reason you think the owner should come down in price? It looks like a decent deal to me:
http://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/412047704.html

Any and all help is appreciated. ....
Jennifer
Jennifer,

Do you and/or your fiance belong to the Fresno Cycling Club?

I think I have seen that tandem... the six cages are difficult to forget. If it the same tandem (which I'm pretty sure it is) the owner (Vince) has been trying to sell it for a few months (since march to be exact). The bike is practically new.

Would the Trek seller allow you to test ride it?

If you are a foot shorter that your fiance... unless you are under 5' the frame looks like it would be a little too small for your fiance.

Are you exclusively looking at a commuting tandem? Or would you be interested on a road Tandem?

Finally, if it fits, offer the seller $550 and settle for $600.

Cheers,

Tandem team from Hanford
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Old 09-05-07, 07:08 PM   #5
ToastedWoobie
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I'm not a member of the cycling club, although I have heard of it. Really it's just because I'm more introverted than I probably should be.

I've sent the seller a note to ask about a test ride, so hopefully that will happen. As for height, I'm about 5'4". I am concerned about the bike being a bit too short. I've been trying to figure out frame sizes for tandems, but so far they just don't make any sense to me. And I couldn't find a good explanation of "57/47" anywhere.

Thanks for the replies. If this one doesn't work out, hopefully the next one will.
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Old 09-05-07, 10:53 PM   #6
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Fit is very important, however, just how perfect it has to be depends on the riding you want to do.

A certain amount of wiggle room exists by using longer/shorter stems etc.

57/47 would be the seat tube lengths in centimeters. 57cm would be a medium size for a road bike, probably too small for a 6'4" captain. For a mountain bike/hybrid geometry, though, 22" is pretty deep into the 'large' or 'extra large' category. 47cm would be a 'small' women's road bike, but 18.5" is a 'medium' mountain bike/hybrid.

I'm guessing the biggest hurdle with that bike could be the lack of standover clearance in the rear. If you're 5'4", even with the seat adjusted all the way down, you may not be able to straddle the toptube comfortably standing on the ground. Standover for stokers is not absolutely critical, as common tandem technique is for the stoker to clip in/put their feet on the pedals and not put them down during the ride, even at traffic stops.

For $650 you could try the bike out with very little risk. It shouldn't be that hard to unload the bike for near what you paid for it in a few months/next year if it really doesn't suit your personalities/riding styles/bodies.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:44 AM   #7
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That Trek T100 is prety much exactly our first ride, ours is blue. It is a very competent bike, the frame in particular is better than the components, which is a good thing, components can always be replaced.

The only part we have replaced (besides chains and tires in normal wear) were the cantilever brakes, the rear brake was hard to adjust and keep it centered, the spring lost strenght, replaced them for some standard Shimanno V-brakes. I added aero bars, which look kind of funny in this bike but allow me to rest my hands, change possitions and add a couple of KM/H of top cruising speed. The SRAM grip shifter works surprisingly well. My only complaint is that I don't care for is hybrid set up, it is neither a road nor a mointain tandem, could turn it into a road tandem someday, if and when the whole shift group needs replacement. Could not go the other way to a mointain tandem because of frame geometry and 700 c wheels. Now we have a Co-Motion Mocha and the Trek is not being ridden much.

650 is very reasonable, just make sure it fits, and once you find a bike that fits you should go for it rather than wait around for the next deal which might be a better price but does not fit. Sure you could save $ 50 or $ 100 but you could wait a long time, and miss many a ride. One great ride is worth $ 50 to us ($25/person).


I am 6', my wife 5'2", our bike is same size as the listed bike, the seller called it a large. For us it fits quite well, my road bike frame is actually smaller. Stoker should fit, even with a suspension seat post I think, we use one and still have 1/2" of clearance left over. On the fit, the limitation for a short stoker is often the suspension seat post, you need at least 2.5" of clearance above the seat clamp if you will use one. I think your fit problem might be the captain, however if you are looking for a used bike, a XL/Medium combination is very odd to find, a little small is less of a problem than a little large.
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Old 09-06-07, 08:41 AM   #8
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His reasons for not wanting to tandem aren't very sound. Think of a tandem as one vehicle with 2 motors. Regardless of your strengths, you will always be together. When climbing a hill, he will likely ride slower than he does on his single (& you will ride faster). On the flats, the two of you will likely ride near his pace on his single. Downhills you can ride faster than he can on his single.

Large differences in heights may be an issue in finding a bike that fits both of you. If you become avid, you can look for or have made a frame that fits both of you.
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Old 09-06-07, 10:56 AM   #9
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The bike will not be too short for you. Long seat posts are readily available and stoker handlebar height is extremely adjustable. My 5' 6" stoker fits fine on a our aluminum Trek, which has a 44 cm seat tube! The captain's position will also fit "taller" than implied by the 57 cm designation due to the TT slope, which places the 'bars much higher than on a traditional 57 cm frame. This might be a good bike for you, if your captain can get reasonably comfortable. Check it out!
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Old 09-07-07, 07:48 AM   #10
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+1 Test ride the Trek. If it fits buy it. Provided there are no hidden gremlins, it seems about as good a purchase as you can get as you can always resell it on ebay or craigslist for what you paid for it.

First step before getting on the bike is to measure and check you can make it fit you. Easiest way to do this is to measure your road bike and make sure the tandem can be adapted to closely approximate these measurements. This may include changing the stem or seat post. Remember though you're not buying a custom bike so it doesn't have to be totally exact - for $650 as long as it's comfortable it's OK. For me this means as long as the saddle can go in exactly the same position as my road bike, the handlebar reach is +-1cm and bar height is upto +5cm away from my road bike and I can stand over it it's OK.

Next get your other half as an experienced cyclist to check bearings for adjustment etc. and gauge whether anything needs to be replaced. Ask for an allowance off the purchase price if anything major needs to be done. However judging by the comments of others it's likely to be in good condition.

After that you can test ride it. Since you've not ridden a tandem before it's best to approach this in stages: 1) each get on the bike with the owner as captain for a 5 minute ride 2) After that you can let your other half take the captain role with the owner as stoker for a 5 minute ride 3) You should ride together for a longer test / familiarisation ride. If after that you still like it and don't think it's weird / likely to kill you then you need to buy it!
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