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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    2008 C'dale Road Tandem 3 pricing question

    My girlfriend and I are seriously considering a tandem purchase. We're graduate students, so we want to minimize costs but still get a quality ride. We've been looking for deals on used tandems for a while now, and then yesterday I went to my favorite LBS in Bloomington, IN inquiring about tandems.

    Turns out, they are selling the 2008 Cannondale Road Tandem 3 for $1800, with the stock components on the C'dale website . While it's more than we were planning on spending, this seems like a pretty good deal, especially on a new tandem, and especially considering it would come with the benefits that come from ordering direct from a LBS (good service, assembly taken care of, discounts on accessories/future service, etc).

    What is your take on this? Is this a good price? We are in no hurry to order, and if we find a good deal on a reasonably used tandem in the next few months we'll check that out, too. But it sure would be nice to have a brand new tandem! Also, I noticed that a search on these forums turns up some reasonably good comments about C'dale tandems...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    It'll be $1800 well spent . . . maybe they'll sweeten the deal with a 'puter and/or water bottle cages, etc?
    Yes, have ridden C'dale tandems.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rahzel View Post
    ... we want to minimize costs but still get a quality ride... .
    We think you will accomplish that with C'dale 3.

  4. #4
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    If it is the right size for you go for it. Alternative is to buy used, but by the time you add shipping charges, and any required servicing, etc, you might not be saving all that much. You will get many yaars of pleasure.

    Funny how Cannondale lists the Travel Agent as a feature, rather than a requisite component to mix road levers with V-Brakes.

    Site says:
    "BETTER BRAKING
    In line Travel Agents on the Road Tandems increase braking leverage for a firmer, more confident feel when you squeeze the levers."

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Thanks, all, for your helpful responses.

    In terms of size, their M/S should fit us well (I'm 5'7" with a 32" inseam, stoker is 5'4" female). I believe their M is equivalent to a 54ish road frame (which is what my road frame is anyway).

    I talked to the bike shop just now, they mentioned that if I had any parts I wanted to include in the build, that I could bring them in and they'd buy back whatever stock parts we didn't use. This is good, because I have a saddle and some 105 9spd STIs, to replace the stock saddle and the Tiagra STI. So that should save even more $$!

    Any other C'dale buying tips are appreciated. Especially regarding which matching outfits we should buy

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    Did they give you a price on the Tandem 2? It looks like they are putting Travel Agents on those too even though they are using the Avid road discs.

    I would also get a new stoker saddle and a CaneCreek Thudbuster. You may want to consider upgrading to 10sp.

    The frame is equivalent to a 54. However, they put a very short stem on ours. I ride a 54 single and had to switch stems. So, you may want to consider that too too.
    Last edited by rmac; 10-11-07 at 10:24 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    The price on the Tandem 2 was 2600, for the stock mostly Ultegra grouppo (including shifters). With travel agents! haha. Unfortunately that is out of our price range (we're graduate students).

    10spd would be nice, but 9spd should be fine for us, especially since I already have gently used 105 shifters that they will install on ours for free, and buy back the Tiagra shifters that come with the bike.

    I have a 10cm -10* stem that I can install if the one that comes with the bike is short-tastic. That stem was great on my roadie, but I switched to an adjustable stem.

    Thanks for your advice!

  8. #8
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sounds like a very co-operative bike shop. Go for it!

  9. #9
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    I would strongly caution people against 10sp components on any bike, especially a tandem. In my experience, I have found that 10sp wears way faster than 9sp even on a light bike, rider combination. The advantages are so minor, when weighed against durability and smoothness of drivetrain. Every time they add a gear to a cluster the chain and cogs get narrower, meaning the pressure is spread on an even smaller area, giving you more deformation. If you can deal with slightly larger steps between gears, the longevity of your drivetrain would be best served with an 8speed set-up. Obviously this makes no sense on a bike already built, but on a custom build I would take the 8 sp.
    Live simply so others may simply live

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac View Post
    I would also get a new stoker saddle and a CaneCreek Thudbuster.
    +1 on thudbuster. This is probably the biggest thing you can do to upgrade your overall riding experience.

    saddle - stoker should put their favorite saddle on the bike, just like the captain.

    We have a cdale tandem (discs the biggest diff between the 3 and ours) and left it essentially stock except thudbuster, seats, stoker bar (drops), and brifters (Campy 10s Ergo works with the Shimano 9s drivetrain - I can't use STI). I've swapped out the cassette (11-26) to get friendlier gear jumps and bought but haven't installed some bigger chainrings.

    Figure out the captain's reach (top tube plus stem), drop (or rise - bar height above the rim level on the fork), decide on a bar width, and those changes can be made when you get the bike too. The rear is trickier and we only experimented with it after we got the bike, having had no prior experience fitting stoker stuff. Easy enough as it's just a bar and stem, no cables etc.

    frame is nice (or at least the same as any other cannondale tandem) so you can upgrade things as they wear out (or you feel like it).

    hope this helps,
    cdr

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    Rahzel:

    As you have such a co-operative bike shop: Try swapping the stoker bullhorns for dropbars, to see what she perfers (cdr sort of suggested this).

    That along with the Thudbuster ST would be my suggestions (after basic fit - stem, saddles, pedals)

    Don
    (wishes this Cannondale had been available 2 years ago, along with strong Canadian $ - really like the red ...but then I wouldn't have had the fun of building the Tsunami from Chuck's....)

  12. #12
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    Note on the drop bars. Our stoker (my now wife) uses narrow bars, about a 40cm. However we got 44s for the back seat of the tandem to clear my hips. She can still poke me if she wants but it's optional with the wider bars, not a forced thing with 40s or 42s. Make sure you get wide enough bars if you do this option.

    cdr

  13. #13
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
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    +1 on checking the bar width when going to drops for the stoker. My daughter usually rides 40cm bars and we had to go to 42 bars for the same reason as CDR.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for your helpful responses. To those who commented about the stoker bar width: we checked today and the stoker bars on the back are plenty wide (47cm maybe?). She likes bullhorn bars better than drops, also.

    I have a sizing question: me and my girlfriend are pretty solidly a Medium/Small in the C'Dale sizing (I'm 5'7" with a 32" inseam, she's 5'4"). However, the bike shop has a Large/Small in stock, and are offering a 10% discount ($180 off the original price) on this and other in-stock bikes (end of season, etc).

    I know, I know, the captain's fit is the most important aspect of purchasing a tandem, and I also know that the M/S will probably fit me better than the L/S that the bike store has in stock. However, I stood over the L/S frame in the shop today and I was able to clear the top tube by 1.5" with my feet flat on the ground, clear of the pedals. C'Dale seems to have pretty generous top tube standover clearance on their tandems.

    So, my question is this: will the M/S really fit me $180 better than the L/S? If we compromised and got the larger frame (and thus a shorter captain's stem), how much difference would a 70mm stem versus a 90mm stem make in the handling? Are we better off spending an extra $180 for an extra inch of top tube and 0.5" of standover height (seemingly the only two real differences between the frame sizes)?

    As graduate students, the $180 discount is awfully tempting... so any advice is appreciated.

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    i am 6" tall and my wife 5'5" and we were fitted and order the L/S. My road bike is a 57cm and the C'dale Tnadem I believe is 56cm and change and the atandard stem is a little shorter, so the stem will be change to a longer one than stock. Small changes in a bike have always mean big changes in comfort (or disconfort), so i would go with what fits you the best.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. We'll ride the L/S to test it out, but I'll keep in mind that even an inch of extra top tube may make a significant difference in long-term comfort.

    Any other tips about this issue?

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    I can only mentioned what our bike dealer advised, in which you don't want to have a very agressive low profile (as the tandem captain) as you may have on a racer single. During my test ride of a Burley duet, i could tell how a lower streched out profile would make it more difficult to control a tandem and creates tension on your shoulders. In my case the effect would not have been as bad, b/c I am quiet larger than my wife, but you can feel the difference. The dimmensions on the Burley were almost identical to the C'dale L/S and we were extremely comfortable. My wife has probably riden a single twice in past 5 years, and she was able to do 22 miles on the Burley rental with a bit of a sore behind, but a big smile on her face. I'am an avid biker so we compensated each other.

    Hope this helps.

  18. #18
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    We're 5'7" and 5'4" and use a M/S. My legs are short 29" so I have a 12 cm stem. It's a relatively long position but not very high. If you have 3 less inches in torso (7.5 cm) then the L may be a long stretch. I suppose it depends on your arms.

    $180 in 5 or whatever years will be nothing but having the right size bike will be worth spending it now.

    cdr
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    Go with the M/S, The top tube on the Cannondales is very low, to make it easy to swing your foot through the frame instead of over the saddle. If you clear the L/S by an inch and a half you should really go for the M/S.

    I picked up my Road 3 Cannondale just 3 weeks the stoker and I love it.

  20. #20
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eegretCL View Post
    Go with the M/S, The top tube on the Cannondales is very low, to make it easy to swing your foot through the frame instead of over the saddle.
    Of course, if you're so inclined you can also swing your leg over the handlebars of a road tandem with drop-bars in much the same manner as track bike riders. This method has also been adopted by many fixed-gear riders who may or may not know why track bike riders mount their bikes this way.

    Regardless, while it takes a certain degree of flexibility and coordination, standing on the left side of the tandem and swinging your right leg up and over the handlebars when you mount and dismount is yet another way of ensuring you break the habit of swinging your leg behind your saddle as many folks do with their single bikes. The latter can and usually does lead to giving your stoker a kick in the torso or head.

    Frankly, if you have the ability to swing a leg over a saddle, you probably have all the flexibility that you need to go the other way over the handlebars and the bend in your leg is well adapted for the technique... even more so than for going over the saddle.

    What's the advantage or benefit vs. stepping over the top tube on a road tandem?
    • You're less likely to mar the finish on your top tube with your cleated cycling shoe.
    • It's actually a more natural movement once you get the leg swing down.
    • It's the most effective way of breaking the rear-kick mount/dismount habit
    • It will define you as a true tandem afficianado and master of your ride craft (not really; it looks dorky but what the heck.)

  21. #21
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    Assuming its a Cannondale shop...find CAAD9 54 cm and 56 cm frames (geometry of the CAAD9 and the RoadTandem is quite similar). If you don't mind the 56 cm, you're fine with the L/S. If the 54 cm just feels right, you need the M/S. My rational for this is many of us have our tandems configured as close to identical to our single bikes as we can make them.

    As has been pointed out, the tandem will last for years (even tandemgeek only replaces them every 5 years) and $180 extra on a bike you ride versus the lower cost for one that sits in storage is a small price...

    In most cases, its stoker comfort which is most important...Captains are avid cyclists and would ride no matter what, it will just not be as fun/comfortable. Rear Admiral will only go if they are comfortable and without the flag officer, the bike is parked.

    Hope this helps,

    Don

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    What's the advantage or benefit vs. stepping over the top tube on a road tandem?
    • You're less likely to mar the finish on your top tube with your cleated cycling shoe.
    • It's actually a more natural movement once you get the leg swing down.
    • It's the most effective way of breaking the rear-kick mount/dismount habit
    • It will define you as a true tandem afficianado and master of your ride craft (not really; it looks dorky but what the heck.)
    You forgot that by stepping over the bars you don't kick the stoker who is standing right there and about to tell you how great the ride was. On a tandem that's quite critical if you want to ride again.

    I'm not flexible enough to do either bar or seat kick so I actually have to step over the top tube. Embarrassing.

    cdr
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  23. #23
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    I tried the swing over the front bars, and it works but it is a stretch. I will have to work on the flexibility so it doesn't feel like I will pull a muscle. For now I will have to step over the frame.

  24. #24
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prairie*boy View Post
    (even tandemgeek only replaces them every 5 years)
    Now, now.... Our '98 Erickson has 10's of thousands of miles on the frame, remains in the stable, and is ridden every week, albeit with a component refresh back in '02: new wheels, fork, and rear derailleur.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. The GF and I went out to the shop today to test ride the L/S C'Dale tandem. Here are our initial impressions about tandem riding in general:

    1. We both have terrible senses of balance. The first twenty or so stops and starts (we rode in a very urban setting) were very whiteknuckled. We were thankful that we didn't tip the tandem over at all!

    2. Shifting wasn't as clean as on our singles, but that was to be expected, with the longer cable length and Tiagra/105 equivalent components (I have 105/Ultegra mix on my roadie).

    3. Captain has to work on balancing the bike better at stops, as stoker would often have to put her foot down (and of course she makes no mistakes ). Stoker has to learn read the Captain's mind, also

    4. Captain needs an upright stem. Even though my handlebars were only an inch or so below the saddle, I felt way too low. Maybe more time riding the tandem will fix this.

    From these initial impressions, we came to the following conclusions:

    1. We definitely need the M/S size. We rode the L/S with a short (80mm) captain's stem, and that was way too twitchy. Even in spite of it being our first tandem ride ever, it was pretty nerveracking starting and stopping. Hopefully the extra 2-3cm of stem and -3 inches of wheelbase will help relieve some of the twitchiness. Do you all agree?

    2. Stock saddles on the C'Dale sucked for both of us.

    3. This bike shop is pretty awesome. They spent over half an hour before and after our ride talking about the bike, riding techniques, specs, and just chatting with us about tandems in general. Bikesmiths in Bloomington, IN gets my vote.

    We still need at least a few weeks to save up the money, but when we buy our bike we'll be sure to post again about how much fun we're having!
    Last edited by Rahzel; 11-09-07 at 05:50 PM.

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