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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, 05:06 PM   #1
AndyH
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First Tandem Ride Report

After posting a couple times asking for advice on purchasing a first tandem, we finally got down to the Chicago bike rental place this afternoon. We had a blast, but the bike left something to be desired. They only had the Trek Cruiseliner tandems available. The first one I tried to ride a bit solo to get oriented, but the drive chain came off immediately. Walked a couple blocks to the other location to get another tandem (first place had rented the rest of theirs already). That one worked, but we found that the chainring must have had a bent tooth as anything over 3rd gear (it has 7) skipped every third full revolution of the pedals. Plus it didn't like 1st gear very much.

We are definitely thinking obtaining our own tandem may be worthwhile. However, I have a couple questions:

1. This bike we rode today had cruiser style handlebars. I've never used these before, only had a solo MTB. It seemed like I was having to expend a lot of effort to keep us going straight, and it seemed like I was making a lot of small adjustments. Do you think this has to do with the handelbar style, or the fact that the tandem is just bigger and heavier than a solo bike?

2. I know I am out of shape. After a couple hours my butt hurt! I assume this is because I was using the wide seat as a seat and not as a saddle. But how do you get more weight off your butt? Does a MTB or road bike help with weight distribution?

Thanks!

Andy
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Old 09-15-07, 05:19 PM   #2
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Andy:
That tandem is a bit low on desirabilty/quality scale. Rental tandems are usually 'bottom of the line', meant to take abuse from inexperienced folks and . . . heavy!
To get the weight off butt, drop bars would be a better choice as you'll put a bit more weight on hands and less on buttocks.
Heavy bike frame/components + fat underinflated tires will make for a challenging test ride! Those fat cushy saddles are no help either . . . they only 'look' comfy!
Suggest finding a shop that deals in quality tandems (not just rentals) and go for test spins . . . there''ll be a huge difference!
You are going about it the right way . . . test ride several new/used 2-seaters before inve$ting!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-17-07, 10:01 AM   #3
AndyH
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Thanks zonatandem! I am amazed at how quickly you reply to my messages, and always with such great information.

Can someone characterize the handling characteristics of cruiser handlebars vs. "straight" handelbars vs. drop handlebars on a tandem?
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Old 09-22-07, 07:24 PM   #4
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Can't say much about handling per se of the different bars, but would note that
straight and cruiser bars have limited numbers of hand positions which can be
important for rides much more than 20mi or so in length. They also suggest a
more upright posture for the pilot, which puts less weight on the upper body
and more on the crotch/saddle. Drop bars give you 3-4 options for hand placement
and tend to transfer weight forward, so more is supported by the upper body and
less by the saddle. Which is correct for you is something you have to decide.
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Old 09-22-07, 08:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyH View Post
Thanks zonatandem! I am amazed at how quickly you reply to my messages, and always with such great information.

Can someone characterize the handling characteristics of cruiser handlebars vs. "straight" handelbars vs. drop handlebars on a tandem?

In general, a tandem will be very steady once it gets moving. Ours, a Santana, is easier to handle and keep on astraight line than any single I have ridden, road or MTB. Starting, stoping, and low speed manuvers, are alot harder on a tandem and require some practice to master. The bars are not the issue, I don't think.
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Old 09-23-07, 02:12 PM   #6
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Bars are only an issue as for individual comfort/preference.
Agree, flat and cruise-type bars put person into a more upright position which will eventually translate into more weight on the buns and less choices for hands positioning.
Drop bars put weight ideally one-third on hands/pedals/butt. However, having said that, not everyone will choose drop bars to due body flexibility limitations/preferences.
Cruiser bars give me the feeling of less control, perhaps to the more laid back postion. Flat bars, depending on width, give good control but limited hand positons. Drops bars, again in proper width, give very good control and many hand position options. Because you have drop bars does not mean you 'have to' ride in the drops only. On longer rides, we vary our hand postions on the drops quite regularly to what feels comforable at the time.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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