we are new to tandems started out with t-100 trek this year upgraded to t-200 after sister wanted old one now we are enjoying the tandem ride enough to go up again but our lbs only carries a low end the 200 is fine except we can not stop on long hills also stoker complains about rough ride ,without breaking the bank what do we need to look for we ride roads and rails to trails what exactly are the differences we have done a lot of looking online but are getting more confused for instance we now have a 21 spd but never use lower gears any help appreciated
Sekine (commuter), Lemond Victoire, Cannondale T1000, Frankenbike (ask!), Harry Perry (fixie, now)
I have a suspension seat post for the stoker on our Cannondale RT-1000. The Cannondale is a real tooth rattler (extremely rigid aluminum frame), and she believes that this has made all the difference in the comfort of her ride.
As opposed to many single road bikes, tandem's differ significantly from one brand to another in several ways. In terms of a comfortable ride, you probably want to consider a shock absorbing seat post as a simple and effective stoker solution. If you find the Cannondale jarring to the captain, you need to look at a steel (less expensive) or carbon fiber frame (costly, but lighter and more shock absorbing) frame. It's hard to describe the ride qualities of various manufacturers' products. However, among the two largest, Santana is often described as "stable" (less twitchy, less responsive), while CoMotion bikes are quicker responding, more like a single bike. From my recent experience, the CoMotion's do require more attention, but are also more fun (we just bought one). The least costly of these are in the $2000-3000 range, not much more than a Cannondale or a Trek. IMHO, considering how long you are likely to keep the bike, the difference in cost is well worth it. I have no experience riding a carbon bike, but these are generally much more eexcpensive (3X as expensive).