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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 09-15-07, 08:58 AM   #1
STxRider
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First tandem questions

Same story as others. I ride singles and would like for my wife to ride but she feels it slows everyone down. She is correct but I would still like for her to ride with me. Anyway, after seeing a Raleigh Coupe that the LBS had on closeout for $800, I began researching tandem opportunities and lurking in this forum. Based upon some concerns with the Coupe shared on the forum, I debated purchasing the Raleigh long enough for it to sell. So, for the past several months, I've been looking (without success) for a good entry level tandem in the $1,000 - $1,200 range. We live in deep South Texas (think 4 hrs to San Antonio) and there are not many opportunities in the area. The LBS carries Raleigh and Trek. After the Coupe sold they have no current tandems in stock. Zero used tandem opportunities in immediate area.

I've located a used Trek T1000 that is a 5 hr (one way) drive. Seller states it was purchased new in 2004 and truly has 'never been ridden.' All original, all paper work, no significant accessories or changes. It's part of a divorce sale. Her asking price is $1,500.

Couple of questions:
  1. I am 5'10" and stoker is 5'2". Will I likely be able to fit a 58/43-56 frame to us? My single is a 56 so I am a little concerned about the captain sizing. Long drive to discover it doesn't fit. No local tandems to test.
  2. Does the price seem fair if the bike is pristine with basically zero miles? What would be a fair offer?

Thanks for any input. I feel lucky that my wife wants to ride and is willing to try (she even rides her own motorcycle). I think a tandem may be the answer.
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Old 09-15-07, 09:30 AM   #2
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I'd be concerned.

The current most popular style for starting is for the captain to put both feet down flat to stabilize the bike so that the stoker can clip in both feet. Try that on your single bike and see what happens if you try to lift it 2 centimeters straight up.
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Old 09-17-07, 06:19 AM   #3
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If your LBS sells Trek, what's their price for a new T1000? We paid in the mid-$2,000s for a T2000, so the T1000 should be less expensive.
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Old 09-17-07, 08:41 AM   #4
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Not knowing how much of your seatpost is exposed on your single, I'd think that not only is the standover height a potential issue, but I'd point out that on a tandem, you may need more, rather than less, seatpost extended for the captain, in order to attach the stoker's stem.

Check the published geometry tables closely. Tandems' bottom bracket heights are often a bit higher than singles, which tends to push the standover heights a bit higher for the frame size.

This is a reasonably good time of year to be looking for a bike; some will be selling before winter sets in. You might try, along with eBay, looking at Craigs List. Might take a leap of faith to buy sight-unseen, and shipping may eat up part of the budget, but there are good deals to be had.
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Old 09-17-07, 01:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by STxRider View Post
I've located a used Trek T1000 that is a 5 hr (one way) drive. Couple of questions:[LIST=1][*]I am 5'10" and stoker is 5'2". Will I likely be able to fit a 58/43-56 frame to us? My single is a 56 so I am a little concerned about the captain sizing. Long drive to discover it doesn't fit. No local tandems to test.
FWIW, the seat tube on the '02 through '05 large Trek T1000/2000 frame was in fact 57 cm from center of BB to top of seat tube, and 50.8 cm, C-to-C. Almost all Trek road frames of that time had horizontal top tubes, so Trek designated the large tandem as 58 cm in an effort to better communicate frame "reach" and "stack." Published standover was 79.7 cm/31.4 inches; effective TT was 57.5 cm/22.6 inches.

As for cost, bikes shops that I worked at used to calculate that the fair value of a 'pre-owned' bike in tip-top condition was approximately 2/3 of its replacement cost. MSRP for a new T1000 is $2420; by that old, somewhat arbitrary rule, a used but like new T2000 would be worth $1613 -- if equiped like the current model. So the asking price does not seem too far out of line. Depends a lot on equipment differences between the used bike and a spanking new one.

Regards,

Dave
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Old 09-17-07, 02:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bikeriderdave View Post
Depends a lot on equipment differences between the used bike and a spanking new one.
Add in the value of warranty differences and any free services also.
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Old 09-18-07, 04:36 AM   #7
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Hi,

Good that you ask the question, since measuring a tandem is a bit different to a single bike.

I am 5'9" and have a medium T2000 from 2005, which is OK standover wise if a little higher than my normal bike. Length wise I ride a 54.6cm top tubed single bike with a 74 degree seat tube angle and 12 cm stem. On the tandem the top tube measures up as a 56, but in reality is more like a 55 since the eccentric rotates fwd to tension the timing chain so I could run a no-layback seatpost on the tandem whereas on my single bike I can't.

Second thing to think about is that the fork on the Trek is longer than on a single race bike, meaning you need to take this as well as headset and steerer length into account when checking the bar height. Basically I could get my finger between a 28mm tyre and the bottom of the fork, then the fork crown itself is big, meaning it's overall about 2cm longer than a road racing fork.

I ended up with an imperfect fit; main issue being the bars were about 2cm higher than I like. It was OK for a year since I don't race the tandem, then began to niggle, so I have just installed an Alpha Q X2 tandem fork, which is only a bit longer than a racing bike fork, which gets the bars in exactly the right position and allows use of a short drop caliper brake. I will report back on the handling once we've been for a decent ride.

Regarding the adjustable stoker stem, I don't like it either. I quickly ditched it as you could use it to moor a small boat. Since it uses a shim to attach to the captain's seat post, you can substitute it for a standard a-head stem, which saves a lot of weight and looks more elegant. Given your stoker is 5'2" you'll probably need a super-long stem of more than 14cm, so you may need to use the adjustable for a while until you can source one.

Overall I think the best approach is to make a scale drawing. Use the Trek geometry chart on their website to draw out the Trek frame starting from ground level, then pencil in the bottom brackets and wheel hubs, tyre radii and work upwards to draw in the centre lines of the steerer, seat tubes and top of the top tube and top of the seat tube clamps. Then measure your single bike and transfer the dimensions of your saddle height and setback and drop to handlebars to your scale drawing. With a few estimates or use of google for things like headset stack height you should be able to see reasonably accurately whether the postions will work.
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Old 09-22-07, 07:33 AM   #8
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Try craigslist!

STxRider, have you tried craigslist??? I was just snooping around on craigslist/Texas, and there seems to be a few tandems for sale there. Some Burleys etc. Give that a try. My wife and I recently found a Cannondale MT 800 here in San Diego from craigslist that was in excellent condition, and we are now the proud owners! Hope this helps...
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