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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 05-01-08, 03:24 PM   #1
swc7916
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The 24-pound Tandem

Interesting story by Dan Towle about the 24-pound tandem:

http://www.rodbikes.com/archives/06_08_news.pdf

(BTW: I was at the bike expo and the only other tandem manufacturer that I remember being there was Co-Motion.)
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Old 05-01-08, 04:52 PM   #2
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haha pretty funny
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Old 05-01-08, 05:27 PM   #3
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Most tandem weights are advertised MINUS pedals and accessories and they always give the weight of their smallest frame.
Have hefted a real sub-20 lb c/f racing tandem . . .
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Old 05-01-08, 06:56 PM   #4
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Where's Paul Harvey when you need him? I'd sure like to know 'the rest of the story', as this is another one of those things where the missing details are probably pertinent and add a lot of valuable context.
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Old 05-01-08, 07:56 PM   #5
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In my search for a new tandem I have been amazed by how much tandem manufacturers bad mouth each others products. The only thing that they all seem to agree on is that it is a bicycle made for two
Funny article though.
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Old 05-01-08, 10:05 PM   #6
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Okay, reminds me of an old story. The new guy at the optometrists was asking how to price glasses. The optometrist tells him, "You tell the person, 'That'll be $100'. If they don't flinch, then you say, 'That's just for the frames, the lenses are another $100.' If they still don't flinch, you say 'each'".

So maybe this was the tandem bike that was 24 lbs....each.
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Old 05-02-08, 07:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
Interesting story by Dan Towle about the 24-pound tandem:
I guess I'm somewhat surprised achieving a 26.8 lb steel tandem wasn't news worthy on it's own merits. Assuming Dennis did the fabrication I must assume that it probably handles quite well for the design intent.


And now for the rest of the story....

The tandem weighed at the Seattle Bike Expo was apparently Brand-X's high-end steel racing tandem which should weigh about 32 lbs.

Brand X doesn't make a 24 lb steel tandem; however, they have developed an aluminum tandem where the prototype depicted on their Web site with lightweight components tipped the scales at 24 lbs, sans pedals. A check of the archives will bear out that one of the list members stokes what is probably one of the largest Brand-X aluminum racing tandems and tips the scales at 29 lbs with pedals, etc... and I also provided a link to another team's posting at Hobbes who have a 28.6 lb model with pedals, etc.

As to how the facts got buried behind what may have been a case of 'he said, she said" and glossed over in the article, who knows. One would have thought appropriate due-diligence and back-checking with Brand-X prior to the publication of the article would have yielded the correct details to support a more accurate report if that was the intent. Of course, as written, it is quite entertaining... and the 26.8 lb S3 steel tandem does sound rather remarkable.

I would have enjoyed reading more about the R&E tandem such as dimensions, frame style and component choices than the anecdotal story. Therefore, if you have any links to more information on the S3 tandem, please post.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 05-02-08 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 05-03-08, 10:13 AM   #8
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I read the article as a criticism of the salesman, not of the bicycle or the manufacturer. You imply that they claimed the weight for one bike while showing another, which is certainly a sales issue, not a manufacturing issue. The moral of the story seems to be "If you pay extra for light, check that it's really light" as opposed to "Buy our bikes".

If you go to www.rodbikes.com, click on the "Specialty Bikes" at left, scroll down to the "Trillium Outlaw", click on it. It has similar claims for lightness and lists the components. This may not tell you anything about the tandem, but does give more info on one of the regular bikes for which they claim the light weight.
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Old 05-03-08, 12:59 PM   #9
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I read the article as a criticism of the salesman, not of the bicycle or the manufacturer.
I thought about that and I can appreciate how frustrating it is for builders who hear all kinds of riduculous claims and end up trying to tell clients the 'facts of life' regarding what's possible and the trade-offs they need to be willing to make for what are more or less bragging rights over light weight vs any truly quantifiable performance improvements.

I guess what I struggled with was what I saw as a not-so-subtle indictment of an implied Brand-X marketing practice vs. calling out someone at a display booth who purportedly didn't understand the product line or who truly was talking out of the wrong end of their food processing tract. However, if there was someone representing Brand-X at a Seattle Expo booth who was mis-representing the products, then Brand-X really did have a problem... given that all of their marketing materials and product data clearly state the accurate weights and specs. The latter is what struck me as odd as I'd assume that the author of the article is also well aware of what his competitors product offerings are, what they weigh, and the like. Again, it's not like these are secrets. Moreover, it sounds like the motivation behind the construction of the 26.8 lb R&E steel tandem's construction was the exact same motivation behind the Brand-X 24 lb aluminum tandem's construction: a demonstration of what's possible to counter the marketing messages of other sub-30 lb offerings.

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The moral of the story seems to be "If you pay extra for light, check that it's really light" as opposed to "Buy our bikes".
Absolutely. In my work our entire team is guided by the principle of "Trust, but verify" and that really applies to just about everything these days. Frankly, I usually don't waste time talking to 'sales people' who clearly don't understand the product or pay much attention to what they say. However, if I was in the business I'd have an entirely different perspective on this and, again, in that light the R&E article does have merit assuming it was an indictment of someone who was spewing out BS or misinforming consumers, even if it's out of ignorance.

As for avoiding surprises on bike weights, I would hope anyone who is writing a big check for a bike or tandem frame where the primary selling point was weight would get the guaranteed frame weight in writing along with an agreed to build kit / end bike weight as part of the deal. Similar to a late delivery commitment, failure to meet the spec would be grounds for a refund or reduction in the selling price or some other type of consideration.

In closing, perhaps I'm oversensitive to these weight-based topics and bike weight claim issues as I'm still fooling around with our uber-light tandem(s) to learn more about them. In doing so, I've seen what's out there and I'm impressed by what can be accomplished; however, light ain't cheap and doesn't in and of itself make anyone's performance improve. In fact, performance, comfort, and reliability can go south in a hurry if you're not careful where you trim the weight.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 05-03-08 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 05-03-08, 01:44 PM   #10
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So does all this mean that the 27.7lb Robusta on Co-Motion's website doesn't actually weigh 27.7lbs?

I'm going to be a little ticked if ours, one size up from the smallest, with 2 sets of Speedplays, (about 3/4ths of a pound) doesn't come in at or under 30lbs
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Old 05-03-08, 06:41 PM   #11
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I would have enjoyed reading more about the R&E tandem such as dimensions, frame style and component choices than the anecdotal story. Therefore, if you have any links to more information on the S3 tandem, please post.
This frame was built as a one-off to demonstrate what they could do. The frame was hanging in the shop back in August of last year when we went in to order our tandem. I held the frame and it was light indeed, but I'm not going to venture a guess as to its' exact weight. They built the bike up the week before the show in order to have a tandem on display. If you go their website, www.rodcycle.com, and download their '08 catalog, you will see a photo of the frame on page 22.

I think that Dan wrote this story because has frustrations with the marketing side of his business. He believes that he has lost sales either due to misleading claims by other manufacturers or that the customer thinks he can get a better price somewhere else. Not everyone attempts to validate salesmen's claims. There are no Santana, Co-Motion, or DaVinci dealers in Washington state; they are all in Oregon where there is no sales tax (the tax rate in Seattle is 9%.) Dan has to convince potential customers that they won't save as much as they think by going to Portland (it's about a 3-hour drive away) and that the customer service advantage of buying from a local shop matters as much as the price.
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Old 09-05-08, 08:14 AM   #12
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I would have enjoyed reading more about the R&E tandem such as dimensions, frame style and component choices than the anecdotal story. Therefore, if you have any links to more information on the S3 tandem, please post.
The latest R+E newsletter provides a better description of this tandem: http://www.rodbikes.com/archives/10_08_news.pdf
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