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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 03-14-08, 01:55 PM   #1
lazlo
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Choice of Burley Duets

I'm shopping for our first tandem, and I've come upon 2 Burley Duets. One is a 1998, has Shimano Deore components and a 7 speed cluster; the wheels are 26". Original owner, only 500 miles on it, $600. The other one is mid-90's (I think), has Suntour components and a 6 speed cluster. The wheels are 27", and it also has an Arai drum brake. 2nd owner, definitely more mileage, $695. I'm pretty sure the first bike is the one I want, but I'm curious about the value of the Arai brake. The owner makes it sound almost essential, but I've heard its main use is on long descents, which at this time we're unlikely to attempt. I'm also sure the Shimano components are better. Any opinions would be appreciated.

Lazlo in PDX
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Old 03-14-08, 02:28 PM   #2
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I don't think the first bike is a Duet. We have a 1993 Duet. IIRC, the Duet was always a road bike with 700c wheels.

If it has 26" wheels, it would likely be a Samba or a Rock n Roll.

As for the Arai Drum brake, unless your doing loaded touring, or ride in very mountainess terrain I really don't think you need it.

By the way Shimano components are not necessarily better than Suntour. It depends on which Shimano group you're comparing to which Suntour group.

Suntour's best stuff was the equal of Campy and Shimano.
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Old 03-14-08, 03:09 PM   #3
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Looking at the pictures, the wheels look more like 700c than 26". The Shimano components are Deore LX, the Suntour derailleurs are XCE. I guess my concern with Suntour is that I read here that Suntour parts are hard to come by if I had to replace any of the drive train.
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Old 03-14-08, 03:25 PM   #4
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Doesn't sound like a difficult decision.

700c vs 27" means that you will have many more tire choices.

I don't have anything against Suntour but some day those shifters are going to die. When they do you might find yourself replacing a bunch of parts to make everything compatable again.

You can always install a Arai brake if you decide that you'd feel better having one. That's about a $100.00 upgrade complete.

The fact that my first choice is also less expensive is a bonus.

Honestly, if there weren't the two to pick from, I'd be OK with buying the Suntour bike too.
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Old 03-14-08, 04:37 PM   #5
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Does "cluster" = freewheel, or cassette? Latter would be preferable, and having potential for a few more gears for the 7-speed, versus the 6-, would be nice.

If you're going to ride from Timberline Lodge back to Portland, you might welcome the drum brake.

Having another $95 for saddle upgrades, or whatever, would certainly help your pocketbook.

Share the pictures after you buy it.
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Old 03-14-08, 08:08 PM   #6
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I don't have anything against Suntour but some day those shifters are going to die. When they do you might find yourself replacing a bunch of parts to make everything compatable again.

There's not a compatability problem. The derailleur that came on our Burley Duet was a Suntour XCE. I believe the bar end shifters are Shimano (they're OEM whatever they are).

We currently have a Shimano Deore rear derailleur on it, and it shifts fine. Pre STI, 6 speed indexing, I'm pretty sure the spacing is all the same.
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Old 03-14-08, 10:00 PM   #7
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No Duets built with 26" wheels. Older ones had 27" and newer ones 700c.
Cost of Arai drum brake, as stated, around 100 to 125 bucks.
I'd grab the one with the least miles on it . . .
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Old 03-15-08, 06:12 PM   #8
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No Duets built with 26" wheels. Older ones had 27" and newer ones 700c.
I spoke to Burley about this recently, as our ('94-ish) Duet came with 27" wheels. Burley told me that "No Duets ever came from the factory with 27" wheels." I built up a pair of 700 C wheels for it, and they fit just fine with no issue with regards to cantilever posts....
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Old 03-15-08, 09:45 PM   #9
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Having test riden tandems for Burley, we recall the first Duets came out with 27" wheels and thumbshifters mounted on dropbars.
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Old 03-17-08, 06:46 AM   #10
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Having test riden tandems for Burley, we recall the first Duets came out with 27" wheels and thumbshifters mounted on dropbars.
That is really interesting; do you recall what year that might have been?
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Old 03-17-08, 07:41 AM   #11
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We have a 1989 Duet with 27" wheels.
We've had it since new (20,000+ miles ago)

Dan
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Old 03-17-08, 09:12 AM   #12
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Looking at the pictures, the wheels look more like 700c than 26". The Shimano components are Deore LX, the Suntour derailleurs are XCE. I guess my concern with Suntour is that I read here that Suntour parts are hard to come by if I had to replace any of the drive train.
If they are in good shape, either of the two tandems would be a great buy. IMHO It comes down to which one fits you best. We have a mid 90's Duet with the original cranks/chain rings that we adapted to 9 speed with an XTR DR and DA bar end shifters. It shifts like a dream and rides like a cadillac, literally. The only draw back is weigth, little over 40 lbs. We had to increase the rear spacing from 135 to almost 145... no big deal.
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Old 03-17-08, 09:18 AM   #13
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The only draw back is weigth, little over 40 lbs.

Your frame might be a little lighter, given that I'm not sure when the design changed. However our 1993 Burley Duet weighs right at 50lbs.
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Old 03-17-08, 02:47 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the responses. Both of them do, indeed, have 27" wheels. I'm trying to get the '98, but am having some trouble getting together with the owner. I'll post pictures when I've got it. Then, I'm sure I'll have lots of other questions as we start riding!
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Old 03-17-08, 07:45 PM   #15
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Rosiewoodboat:
When we did test riding on one of the first Burleys it was either late 1988 or very early 1989. The Duet was the only model they had then. We were quite impressed with the bike and the price . . . recall it was around $1200 brand new from the factory.
Test rode the bike for several months.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 03-18-08, 11:09 PM   #16
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Your frame might be a little lighter, given that I'm not sure when the design changed. However our 1993 Burley Duet weighs right at 50lbs.
I am not sure what model year our Duet is. We bought it used in 1997. It weighs 43.50 lbs with four water cages, two sets of frog pedals, a large frame pump, and a seat post mounted rear strobing light. It has 40h wheels front and back. Fir/hadley front and mavic/shimano back. Canti brakes front and back.
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Old 03-24-08, 07:13 AM   #17
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All this talk about 27s and 700Cs, made me have to post our Duet. This is an early 90s (92/93 so far as we can tell) Duet. My fiancÚ and I picked it last Summer for a song and have been rebuilding/updating it to where it is now. Currently, 9 sp barcons shift an XT rear derailleur. We've kept the original Suntour XCE front as it shifts just fine on the 52/42/28 triple. Wheels are Phil woods laced to Velocity Dyads (built by us), 700C. Brakes are Paul Neo-retros, and tektro levers. Rear rack is a Tubus.

The hardest thing about this bike is finding a decent 26.6 seatpost with setback in silver! We've got a pair of Kalloys in there for now....

Best regards all!
-Rosie

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Old 03-24-08, 04:03 PM   #18
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Our "first tandem" was a Diamondback hybrid purchased on a complete whim. We learned how to ride and learned what we liked most/least about the bike. Our second tandem is a Burley Duet of the late 90's vintage. This bike took us from casually enjoying to absolutely loving our tandem experience. Our third tandem will be a custom Co-Motion Speedster Co-Pilot (arriving in about 3 weeks!!!!). This is the bike that will take us into our twilight years.

Get a tandem and ride. If you find joy doing it, you'll buy at least a second if not a third.

brewer & malkin
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