Hi: I am in the market for a tandem. I'm an experienced road and MTB rider and fairly competent mechanic. I know what to look for anyway. My wife rides a hybrid and enjoys it. Typical story: we'd like to ride together, and a tandem might really be fun.
No shop in town carries tandems, possibly could order one. Ordering will take at least 2-3 weeks, and I haven't found one in our price range which is <$1000. The local bike shops couldn't (or won't) order anything in that price range in the lines they carry. I know that isn't much, but that's what we'd like to start at. I am somewhat familiar with what an LBS could sell in the $800-$1000 range, if it were available locally, and I think it would be OK for starters, and could be resold later if we decide to upgrade.
Because of the price range, it's obvious we should be looking used. BUT - No used tandems have appeared locally since I started looking about a year ago. I live in a fairly small, fairly isolated town. Nearest larger city is more than 100 miles away.
I bought a nice road bike on ebay last year and have been watching pretty hard for two months, but generally by the time bidding ends, the price + shipping is getting close to what the bikes would sell retail, certainly not in the 50-60% range I'd expect to pay for a used bike. I haven't seen any real bargains or even reasonable prices (again, factoring in shipping). Another issue is that we need a "medium-small" frame size; I'm 5-8, my wife is 5-2. Sometimes there's decent prices in for bikes that are just too large.
I've seen some on-line tandem sales, one of which is the "Lamborghini" which searching on this forum shows some discussion, mostly "con". Same sources have what appear to be equivalent (low) quality MTB type bikes as well. I don't want a full-on race bike, prefer road style captain's controls, but would consider either style if the price was right.
I would be happy with decent quality / good value bike in the vein of the kind that are sold on bikesdirect.com. I have no problem with assembly and tweaking.
So, the point of this post: does anyone know of reputable mail order tandems in the decent quality, entry level price range? Something better than the Lamborghini I've referred to - maybe twice as much quality and expense as it's $500 price?
I recommend a KHS in your price range. 50% more than your goal, but I think the lesser ones will turn you off. Two months is not long on eBay. I spent many more waiting for the right thing in tandems, and then paid close to retail (it was new in box). But, by then, I knew what I wanted.
I don't know where you live, but you might try Mt. Airy Bicycles in Maryland (bike123.com). They have a large database of used bikes on their website, but you have to email for prices on particular bikes that interest you. You could also do a craigslist search on google ("craigslist tandem bicycle") and see what turns up. I sold a tandem a few years ago to someone who wasn't all that close to me geographically.