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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 11-18-07, 11:13 AM   #1
Al Bundy
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Cannondale Road -1,2 or 3?

Hello All,

I am researching a possible tandem purchase for myself and wife/8 year old daughter. I haven't cycled since my teens, but see this as an opportunity to get some exercise and quality family time. I am interested social rides and later possible credit card touring. My leaning is towards a lighter, stiffer bike; I am definitely not interested in a `beach cruiser'... I will probably buy used.

I am 5'7" (30" inseam) and my daughter 4'3" (26 inseam). My wife is 5'4" and just giggles when I try to measure her! The Trek standover seems a bit high but a Cannondale M/S might be a good fit. I am hoping that my daughter may just fit without a Stoker kit -(any comments?)

I have seen adverts for new bikes with versions 1,2 and 3 and the price varies considerably. From all that I have read on here I `need' to get a suspension post at the back and I am keen to get a drag brake or disk (I did manage to blow out a tire due to rim heat years ago on a single). I am leaning towards a Cannondale as allegedly its pretty stiff, and is at a price point which I am comfortable with. A Co-motion would be nice but I dont think I want to pay that much (at this stage).

I don't know enough about the different wheels/component packages/etc. to make a value decision on what I want to look for. I have seen the low end version for 1800 new and at this point it might be better than buying used(?)

Looking for any advice or help.
Am in Temecula, CA

Newbie Mike
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Old 11-18-07, 04:15 PM   #2
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Find some tandems to test ride, both new and used, in your price range.
Buy the best you can afford and go on from there
A suspension seatpost is not a necessity but sometimes desirable, especially on stiff frames like C'dale.
The entry level Cannondale is a good choice for your needs.
My stoker has never had suspension seatpost on any of our 5 tandems in the past 32 years.
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 11-18-07, 04:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Al Bundy View Post
Looking for any advice or help.
Various articles that may be useful over the next weeks and months can be found here:

My own "first time buyer" article is included in the list and covers most of the basics:
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Old 11-19-07, 11:11 AM   #4
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Many thanks Gentlemen,

I will digest the links you have attached.

I guess my real question comes from the fact that I have been out of cycling for so long that I am not sure what added functionality the higher spec versions would bring. Its the same frame and there are some obvious differences like the suspension post and disk brake that are missing on lowest spec model, but is it just a case of the more expensive components lasting longer, being a little lighter or nicer to use? Is there anything I am going to hate having purchased the lower spec model after a year?
I believe I can swap out a seat post and add the disc at the rear as a drag brake for a fair bit less than the difference between the two lowest spec models.
I used to have a holdsworth single with Suntour stuff on - but that was 25 years ago.

thanks again,
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Old 11-19-07, 11:43 AM   #5
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I have a M/S Cannondale. I'm about like you (minus 1" inseam - or more), my wife is about 5'4" also, her legs are longer than mine. We have a Thudbuster that is raised up a bit on the back so you should be able to drop it for your daughter. I can measure things if you like but overall it's a good fit.

My bike came with 175 front cranks - keeps my rpms down and I've used a 175 for a while now (although I'm experimenting with 170s right now).

Disk brakes are relatively cheap (mechanical Avids anyway). 203 mm rotors came stock on them last year. Your frame will be fit for them although your hubs may not, on eBay I've seen standard rotor ones for less than $100 for both wheels.

The non-disc bike (Tandem3) comes with a drum brake in the rear so either way you'll have a non-rim brake. I believe that this will preclude using a disc but I'm not sure - you'd have to ask your shop.

Cannondale frame/forks are the same so you can upgrade as you feel comfortable. Exception is the "Street" tandem which is a mountain tandem frame (26" wheels). I'm looking at the 2008 online catalog for reference.

"...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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Old 11-19-07, 02:40 PM   #6
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I admit I'm a bit biased...but you can't go wrong with a good used road C'dale as long as if fits you. Just insure everything is in first rate mechanical shape and just go ride. You can always throw the latest and greatest pieces at it later, it so inclined, but I promise you won't have to do that to enjoy tandem fun. Most of what came on the bike originally, if well maintained and tuned, will give you plenty of fun at a reasonable cost... if you find that the tandem experience is less than expected or if you get really addicted and need to seriously upgrade, you can always sell it and probably recoup a very nice percentage of your investment....
Welcome and good luck.

Bill J.
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