I posted a couple of times asking for advice on the tandem. The problem I had was that local used tandems are pretty rare, and many found on ebay cost a fortune to ship to where I live or require local pick up.
I had resigned myself to buy a Trek T900 new since it was within my hoped-for price point of $1,000 USD. In fact, I had actually gone to a local shop to buy one and he told me it was no longer available and it would be a while before he got one in.
Two days later I found a used T900 locally for $500, exactly what I was looking for. This is a typical example of a used bike: pristine, with maybe 100 miles use if the cassette, etc. are any indication. No noticeable wear and tear.
My plan now is to run it for a while just exactly as it is, (except using my own seat instead of the pillow seat on there now - stoker will probably do the same) but I have my eye on:
changing out the tires for something in the range of a pure road tire in 26X1.3 or so (something like 1.95 wide are on it now),
seeing what I can do about the front bars. They are too upright w/ twist shifters. I will at the very minimum go with a straight bar and bar ends, but maybe even look at replacing the bars with shallow drop road bars and Sora brifters. It depends on how much we use it and how long the rides are. Flat bar/bar end combo will be OK for 10-15 mile rides a couple times a week, but if we do it more, the road bars are going to go on there.
I'm going to have my wife experiment with her position, but she definitely prefers the "hybrid" type of bike position, fairly upright and with riser-type bars. But we'll see.
My goal is to keep it at maximum security comfort until it's clear we can change something.
Next year at this time, I might be looking at something more, but the frame on this bike looks pretty good for our purposes (both of us are pretty small, she's VERY small), and frankly, with new tires, saddles, and maybe bars, I think it will be pretty functional.
Thanks again. I'll report back when we take a couple of rides. Waiting for Mother's day so the kids can get in the act.