We currently own a Burley Samba which we're trying to sell. It's a beautiful bike, no doubt about that, but we didn't put enough research into buying it. It just plain doesn't fit us. No amount of adjustment and changing out seats and handlebars can change the fact that it's just too big for the 5'5" captain (me) and too small for the 5'10" stoker (him). It's just painful to ride for both of us for anything other than short trips around town.
I know it's the usual thing for the taller of two people to be captain, but we have numerous good reasons for me to be captain (among other things, i outweigh him...) We've tried him as captain, me as stoker and it just works better the other way.
Only, since deciding to sell the tandem, we haven't ridden it at all and gosh darn it, I miss tandeming. Of course, I don't miss the pain in my wrists and crotch. Assuming we can sell the burley, I want to get another tandem ASAP.
My stoker thinks a recumbent tandem is the way to go. I'm not sure what I think about this. We both have single Burley swb recumbents and though it's 'bent heresy to say this, I prefer my wedgie. I'm finding it hard to see that all of the issues I have with my 'bent (lower to the ground making me feel like I'm less visible to cars, more complex drivetrain, other things) wouldn't be more than doubly compounded in a 'bent tandem.
I see us on something upright, possibly even skirting into comfort bike/cruiser type geometry. We're never going to do long rides on the tandem, nor are we particularly concerned about going fast. The sort of ride I see us doing most often on the tandem is twenty miles rt into the city on the weekend. We're talking more recreational riding than anything, just for the joy of riding together (it's really much more fun than riding single, even when in pain).
But my main concern is that we don't get another very expensive mistake.
Does anyone know of a bike shop in the Chicago metro area that actually stocks tandems so we could test ride before we buy? Failing that, are there any tandem makers that don't automatically assume that the captain is tons taller than the stoker?