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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 10-11-07, 08:41 AM   #1
kdthomas
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tips for first-time tandem seeker?

Hello from AL!

My husband (5'10") and I (5'8") are very interested in purchasing our first tandem road bike. We'd love to find a quality bike we don't want to upgrade in the immediate future and spend between $2000-$3000. I've done lots of research and am very impressed with CoMotion's Primera but the new ones are obviously out of the price range we'd like to stick with. Can anyone recommend a source for a good used one or older model? Also, what size would we likely need? Does the co-pilot option ride just as well?

We are going to a tandem shop to ride various models on Saturday but I'm trying to research all I can in advance. Thanks for any tips!
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Old 10-11-07, 08:42 AM   #2
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Oh, I forgot to mention that our combined weight is under 300 lbs (he's 155 and I'm 125). Thanks for any suggestions or advice!
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Old 10-11-07, 11:25 AM   #3
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Welcome ...
There have been a number of threads up in the last week or two or three on this topic. You might do some scanning of the forum; usually the first message will have the kernel of the question, and you can see what kinds of ideas come out.

And, various Tandem Club and store websites will have ideas too.

Having said that, I'll start off with a few of the basic replies you will get:

1. A good used tandem will be less expensive than a new one, will give you the opportunity to try the idea of tandeming out, and you can sell it for about what you paid for it -- only the first buyers seem to experience depreciation in tandem-land.
2. After riding that first tandem for a year or so, you'll know if you will be happy with it, or if you can't resist upgrading to a bike like the other tandem riders just got.
3. Craig's List can work, but you will want to know what you're looking for / not looking for, and may need to act quickly, including being able to pay cash on the barrel head and take the bike home that day. [Refer to recent posts about using a bare-bones trunk-mounted bike carrier, with wheels off, for an economical fix on that regard.]
4. eBay can work, but may bring with it issues of shipping, etc.
5. End-of-year closeouts may be an option. You might be fortunate and find a nearby shop, with a tandem that suits/fits you, which they want to move, and you might get a good price from them. It could be a very serviceable bike for you, and you can get some of the benefits of dealer service.
6. Local tandem club, or other tandem club websites, may have listings of bikes for sale. Some of those will have sold months ago ... and just not have been un-listed.

Happy reading of the forums ..
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Old 10-11-07, 01:19 PM   #4
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How many times have I seen this: "We want a quality bike that we don't have to upgrade...and we don't want to pay very much for it"? Sheesh. Tandems are expensive and quality tandems are REALLY expensive. Used ones are less expensive BECAUSE they have been used and have outdated components.

I understand budgets and all but if you want an inexpensive tandem you're going to have to get something older. Sometimes you can find a 15-year-old tandem that was ridden for a couple of years and then stored for the remainder. The components may be good, but they are old and obsolete. I have a hard time getting parts for our 10-year-old Gary Fisher Gemini tandem.

If this sounds like kind of a rant, it's because it is. We just received delivery of a new custom Rodriguez tandem that ended up costing in excess of $6700. There's no way I'm going to sell it for cheap until it's good and used.
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Old 10-11-07, 01:23 PM   #5
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You might also try:

http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

We have a Co-Motion Co-Pilot size small. Captain about 5'11", stoker about 5'6'. It fits us well.

Our bike has couplers. Aside from the additional weight, I cannot tell that the bike rides any differently.
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Old 10-11-07, 01:41 PM   #6
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Here's a 2006 Primera Co-Pilot I found from a dealer that has been in their store for 2 years...can you tell me if this is a good deal? It is a bit over our price range, but if it is a really good deal maybe we should reconsider it after all--or do you think I could talk the dealer down?

Primera Steel co-pilot frame with steel fork - Metallic Cranberry Red.
Controls:
FSA Aluminum bar/Stem
Profile Aluminum Stoker bar/Co-Motion stem.
Comotion stock saddles
Race Face sealed bearing headset

Drivetrain:
Shimano 105 9speed STI shifters
Gossamer Tandem Cranks 30/42/53 tooth chainrings
XT Cassette 11-34t
XT Rear derailleur
105 Frot derailleur

Brakes:
Avid single digit V-brakes

Wheels:
DT Swiss made Comotion Tandem hubs - rear is drum brake ready - black
Velocity Dyad 40 hole rims - black
DT Swiss steel spokes - silver

Quoted price $3799.99 plus shipping.
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Old 10-11-07, 02:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kdthomas View Post
Here's a 2006 Primera Co-Pilot I found from a dealer that has been in their store for 2 years...can you tell me if this is a good deal?
So long as the shipping isn't ridiculous, it's a very good price. Current replacement value is $5,295.00. Your call on how hard to negotiate for something even better.

The frame is made from the same tubing used for the Speedster Co-Pilot and Supremo Co-Pilot, so all of your cost differences are in the components... and the Primera's components are reasonable for the price point.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-11-07 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 10-11-07, 02:52 PM   #8
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Sticker shock is not just in the tandem market! Quarter million+ for a house? $30,000 for a run-of-the-mill car? $8+ for a sandwich and $3 for a cup-a-joe?
It's all relative. A used tandem would be a better and less co$tly bet.
S&S fittings are now a costly option and yes, they ride just as good as a standard tandem if not just a wee bit stiffer due to thickening of tubes to allow the fittings.
Good you luck n your search. Be patrient, you'll find what you want.
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Old 10-11-07, 03:37 PM   #9
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Thanks for all of the tips so far. Of course I expect that whatever we end up buying, we will want to update after we've been riding a while. I'd like to get a frame we can keep, though, so that we will only need to update components. I'm also debating over whether a Co-pilot is worth the extra $$ since I'm not sure how much we'd be flying with ours, but on the other hand I don't want to limit our options unless we do a frame update...

I realize that buying a quality tandem does cost lots of $$. I'm just trying to sort out what's most important to look for in a 1st tandem, and of course it would be a bit stupid for us to buy the top one on the market before we've even spent much time riding one--we plan to find one good enough that we can enjoy riding, but not good enough to empty our savings before we even know if this will become a major hobby. You guys have all been great resources!
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Old 10-11-07, 03:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kdthomas View Post
We are going to a tandem shop to ride various models on Saturday but I'm trying to research all I can in advance. Thanks for any tips!
Alabama, huh? I assume you are going to visit Tandems Ltd. I'm thinking that Jack will serve you well.
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Old 10-11-07, 04:11 PM   #11
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Yes, we are going to Tandems, Ltd. I'm looking forward to meeting Jack and Susan and hope they can help us find the perfect bike.
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Old 10-14-07, 11:38 AM   #12
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Jack and Susan do have a couple 'old stock' tandems listed. If one fits, you could get a real deal.
Good luck!
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