I'm sure you guys get this question everyday, but I haven't had any luck with searches reveiling the information that I am seeking.
Background: I'm an active cyclist, putting on 500+ miles a month on a regular road bike. I also do the occasional race to mix in with my 20-100 mile rides. I am 6'4.
My fiancee is not so active, and we have a huge difference in our cycling abilities. She wants to ride with me, but gets frustrated that I go so fast while I get frustrated that she goes so slow. A tandem has long seemed like a good answer for us to ride together a couple times each week. She is 5'1.
The problem lies in that we can't afford a nice, custom built tandem that would fit us perfectly. I've been looking at used tandems for the past year, but the few that I have liked haven't met the size requirements.
I'm looking for help in finding a decent tandem to ride 1-2 times a week. The reality is that I'll most likely be looking at something more like a Lamborghini Viaggio rather than a custom built Co-Motion.
Even looking at some of the bikes from decent companies and I see $2000+ bikes that have a 59cm captain sizing. I ride a 62 cm and a 63cm road bike and just not sure I could go that small, especially for that price.
In my experience, riding a tandem is all about the stoker and he/she having a happy and comfortable ride. Your first tandem should focus on your stoker. If you as a captain can work that out, you've got a chance at a happy future as a tandem team.
Kinda harsh, I know. But be realistic about your expectations for your stoker.
Your situation isn't that different than mine, although my wife is a little taller than your fiance. We came up with a solution in a used large Santana. The cost was under $1500. It took a while to find a used tandem in the right size, but I'm glad we waited for it. If in your shoes, I'd look for a used decent tandem rather than a mediocre new tandem. Our Santana has worked out wonderfully for us. Good luck in your search.
Those "extra" 3 or 4 cm of seatpost that you'll have exposed will come in handy for the stoker's stem, etc.
Many of the photos posted for this group show a lot more captain seatpost than you'd see on a road bike, even in these days of relatively small frames (contrasting to days of yore when you got a frame as tall as you could stand over).
A hair more standover is welcome when starting up using "the proper method", too.
Ha ha....thanks for the advice guys. From the searches I've done, pms sent, and responses, it looks like the general concession is that it's a better deal to keep looking for a good used Tandem rather than a cheaper online version.
I'm hoping I can come across a nice deal before I get back home (3 weeks) so we can start right off on our rides.
I want to suggest three possible solutions to getting both of you on a tandem.
1. Bushnell is probably as low-priced (not cheap) as you can go in a new, custom dimension tandem. If they're in your price range, get 30-31" inches of bottom bracket spacing for more room in the stoker compartment.
2. With a long, high stem you might be able to achieve your fit on a slightly small tandem. You don't have to worry about cantilevering weight past the nose with a stoker on the back to hold the bike down with the brakes applied. What really matters is the horizontal spacing between the handlebars and the seatpost. You probably have already thought of this.
3. I have probably had forty stokers over the years of practically all sizes. A 5'2" stoker will fit on a J/L tandem with a 23" seat tube, as long as you use a solid seatpost instead of a shock-absorbing seatpost. Just a little bit smaller, and you are there. The extra one or two inches in front of the stoker to the captain's seatpost that you may get with a larger frame comes in handy for greater stoker comfort. If you dispense with the shock-absorbing seatpost to broaden your choices for stoker size, you might find a tandem that fits. You do have to be careful at starts and stops owing to standover height, but MTB shoes and the size difference make that easy.
I'd agree. get a quality older tandem. look for an 8sp cassette version if possible, they're old enough to be cheap, but they usually have the better shifting that newer designs have. it cost me about 600 to convert my 7sp freewheel cannondale to an 8sp cassette bike. but it now shifts better than new. cannondale makes an xl/small that should fit you perfectly and a 15yr old one should cost well under $1000. i gave away a 6sp burley last year.
'10 C'Dale Tandem RT2. '07 Trek Tandem T2000, '10 Epic Marathon MTB, '12 Rocky Mountain Element 950 MTB, '95 C'dale R900, "04 Giant DS 2 '07 Kona Jake the Snake, '95 Nishiki Backroads
Here is an example of what's available on older, medium good used stuff. This did not sell yesterday for a couple of reasons, seller did a soft - second person presentation, had his facts wrong, and was just a wee bit high. These deals usually sell quite easily.
Bottom line is be patient, do a little home work and you will find just what you can use and really enjoy. If you end up not liking the experience you can always sell it with minimal or no loss. Good luck.
Well, I was in a similar situation as you (except for the height). My stoker basically wanted to be out riding with me--touring specifically--but she didn't want to work hard or even contribute much unless she was in the mood. So, all I can say after a 1500km tour with her is that, boy, oh, boy are we glad we got ICS.
It was fun and relaxing for her. Pretty punishing for me at times, but I enjoyed it that way.
Brewer45 got it spot on: It's all about the stoker.