Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Reprobate
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Cary, NC USA
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Can a Tandem Lean?

    Hi Folks,

    My wife and I have been enjoying our Santana Arriva tandem for about three years. We've had our share of communications and control issues, but for the most part we're doing well. Unless we're both tired, or I miss a pothole, or ... Well you know.

    One issue that comes up occasionally is that my wife, who is our stoker, thinks that the bike is leaning. She tells me that the bike is leaning to the left and wants me to stop that.

    Not incidentally, this occurs on a well bermed road where there's a definite slope down to the shoulder (of the road) on the right. When this happens, the orientation of the bike seems fine to me.

    It also tends to occur when we are getting tired on a long ride. I follow the cardinal rule that the stoker is always right. In this situation, however, I'm at a loss. If I try to lean the bike even slightly towards the right the bike starts turning to the right. I've tried it more than once to demonstrate the effect.

    I can't imagine that the bike could be ridden while leaning at all, at least not in a straight line. I'll admit that I don't always ride perfectly straight, but when this occurs I can be riding along on top of the white line on the edge of the road. I've even had my stoker yank on the bars while we are riding, to signal me to "straighten up".

    I'm trying to be open minded about this. Maybe there is something I'm doing to create this situation.

    One possibility I thought of is that if we both moved our center of gravities off center, with me off to the left and her to the right, the bike would still be balanced. It might even be able to ride straight, while giving the impression to either rider that it is leaning.

    I'm not observing that this is happening, but if it occurred slowly over time I might miss it. Does anyone know whether this happens sometimes? How do other tandem couples handle it?

    Thanks for any advice. We've solved several problems so far, but this one has me stumped.

    Scott

  2. #2
    Santana Couple
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I ride an Arriva also but have never tried to lean it while going straight. I can lean my single bike by moving to one side of the saddle. Off the saddle I can ride with an extrem lean. Check your position when she complaines to see if you are centered on the saddle.

  3. #3
    Senior Member embankmentlb's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    North, Ga.
    My Bikes
    Bernard Hinault Look - 1986 tour winner, Guerciotti, Various Klein's & Panasonic's
    Posts
    1,531
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I could see a rim or rims that are not centered on the frame possibly causing a problem. Also if the stoker is leaning to look around the pilot the pilot could be leaning the bike to compensate.

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    7,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter123 View Post
    ...my wife, who is our stoker, thinks that the bike is leaning. She tells me that the bike is leaning to the left and wants me to stop that.

    Not incidentally, this occurs on a well bermed road where there's a definite slope down to the shoulder (of the road) on the right. When this happens, the orientation of the bike seems fine to me.
    Actually, if you're riding on a road with a high center crown that has, say, 2 to 5 degrees of slope then yes... in order to keep your tandem going in a straight line your tandem would be leaning to the left by about the same 2 to 5 degrees and almost unknowingly exherting a slight amount of countersteering towards the shoulder of the road... which is what keeps you going in a straight line. As the one riding at the front of the bike and steering this off-camber orientation of the tandem and road probably isn't as noticeable as it is to your stoker, particularly if they have a habit of trying to see over or around you.

    To fully appreciate what's going on you'd want to look at a bicycle riding slowly around the upper banking of a velodrome... taking note that to stay upright the bike must be at a rather sharp angle to the track surface. Because tracks are ridden counterclockwise the 'lean' is to the right instead of the left that you would experience on a high-crown road in the US.



    When you're up on the banking like this for the first time you can get spooked because the only way to ride down and away from the upper edge of the track is to steer towards it... which seems very much at odds with logic.

    We had the distinct pleasure of experiencing the 24* banking of the Lowes Motor Speedway on our tandem during STR 2004 when rally participants were invited to ride on the track by Humpy Wheeler... a reknown cycling enthusiast and one-time bike shop owner.



    Trust me, you don't want to make a mistake or forget how countersteering works as it could be a long-slide down those very steep banks.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    88
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Don't know if this is relevant but for the first month of riding the tandem my wife complained of the bike leaning all the time. Oddly enough I never could get the bike to feel like it was upright. Come to find out she was leaning around me to see what was ahead. This cause the bike to lean. Not comfortable at all, worse on her than me. YMMV

    Jack

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    7,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by just me View Post
    Don't know if this is relevant but for the first month of riding the tandem my wife complained of the bike leaning all the time. Oddly enough I never could get the bike to feel like it was upright. Come to find out she was leaning around me to see what was ahead. This cause the bike to lean. Not comfortable at all, worse on her than me.
    It's not all that unusual... and if you ride with other tandems at rallies you can sometimes see this playing out in front of you if you find yourself behind a tandem with a stoker that looks around their captain.

  7. #7
    Certifiable Bike "Expert"
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    5,587
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter123 View Post
    I follow the cardinal rule that the stoker is always right.
    "The stoker makes no mistakes" doesn't mean the stoker is always right.

    I ride with a kid stoker, and sometimes a baby in a baby seat. Frequently, the kids are goofing around leaning all over the place. If you are traveling in a straight line on a bike, the bike must be balanced over the wheel. So if you have a tot leaning over one way, you either have to lean something off the other side to counterbalance, or you have to let the bike lean itself over to keep the center of gravity over the tire patch. If you stay relaxed, the bike will lean itself to keep it stable. Tell your stoker, "Make no mistake - if you sit up straight, the bike wouldn't be leaning!"
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  8. #8
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Union County, NC
    My Bikes
    Pedal Force RS x 2 (DA, Red), Pedal Force MTB, Pedal Force Aeroblade, Steel SS/FG, Coming soon Rue Tandem
    Posts
    4,167
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My stoker complains about the same thing. But I also do it on my single bikes, too. I have a slight lean to the right. It is very slight, even so when we first started riding she would complain about the lean, but that is because I think she leans to the opposite direction that I do. Now after the first 100 or so miles we don't think anything of it. I am not sure that anyone actually rides a bike perfectly straight up and down.

    She has also been known to turn almost completely around, talk on her cell phone, take pictures while leaning left or right. I simply ignore most of her steering input and handle the bike accordingly. So even though she still interprets the mistake rule as she is always right, I still do what I want, and we are ok with this.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson
    The Incidental Cyclist - Cycling in and around Union County

  9. #9
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Just outside Kitchener, Ontario
    My Bikes
    Nishiki Continental, Bilenky custom travel tinker, home built winter bike based on Nashbar cross frrame
    Posts
    622
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by WheresWaldo View Post
    I am not sure that anyone actually rides a bike perfectly straight up and down.
    A few decades ago I had a leather (not Brook$) saddle (on a single). After a couple of years of use it became abundantly clear from the way it broke in that I wasn't riding (on average) symmetrically.

  10. #10
    Live Everyday
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Tehachapi Mtns, Calif.
    My Bikes
    '10 C'Dale Tandem RT2. '07 Trek Tandem T2000, '10 Epic Marathon MTB, '12 Rocky Mountain Element 950 MTB, '95 C'dale R900, "04 Giant DS 2 '07 Kona Jake the Snake, '95 Nishiki Backroads
    Posts
    737
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Would not hurt to insure that neither one of her seat rails are bent and that both of your seats are level across where your sit-bones contact them when the outboard side of your seat tube is 90 degrees to the ground.

    Bill J.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    (BOS + PVD)/2
    Posts
    283
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Get an inclinometer, mount it to the bike, and see. Ride alone, and with stoker. Correct guilty party.

    I recently took my 16-year-old son on our tandem for the first time. There was so much "english" induced on the bike by his rather ragged pedaling and upper body movement that it made me appreciate my wife's lack thereof. And leaning was one of the things he was doing, trying to look around me.

  12. #12
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Tandem and/or Road Bike Leaning

    I have experienced leaning to one side on our tandem which occurs due to a weakness in the lower back. For the most part it happens on a longer ride such as over 60 miles. It can be prevented by stretching occasionally. I also have this problem of leaning when on my road bike on double century rides when I have not stretched at check points. Here it can occur at 170 miles, sometimes sooner. Finally, I have been working out for one hour three days per week emphasizing strengthening of the core muscles. Between this and the stretching on rides, the lean has been for the most part eliminated.

  13. #13
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    My Bikes
    ariZona carbon fiber tandem & single
    Posts
    9,940
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Things can look/feel differently from stoker's perspective.
    If possible, have you spouse pilot the tandem and you do the stoking. Both of you will then appreciate each other's viewpoints/issues a bit more!

  14. #14
    Ride it like you stole it WheresWaldo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Union County, NC
    My Bikes
    Pedal Force RS x 2 (DA, Red), Pedal Force MTB, Pedal Force Aeroblade, Steel SS/FG, Coming soon Rue Tandem
    Posts
    4,167
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Things can look/feel differently from stoker's perspective.
    If possible, have you spouse pilot the tandem and you do the stoking. Both of you will then appreciate each other's viewpoints/issues a bit more!
    +1

    I would venture a guess that most everyone that thinks they are upright really are just kidding themselves and have made some adaptation since humans are not symmetrical creatures.
    "Never use your face as a brake pad" - Jake Watson
    The Incidental Cyclist - Cycling in and around Union County

  15. #15
    Reprobate
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Cary, NC USA
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Things can look/feel differently from stoker's perspective.
    If possible, have you spouse pilot the tandem and you do the stoking. Both of you will then appreciate each other's viewpoints/issues a bit more!
    Believe me, if this were possible we'd have done it long ago. We are incompatible leg and torso lengths, we'd need a different bike. In addition my wife does not have the strength to control the tandem with me aboard and knows it. And before y'all pile on, I am a quite reasonable 170 lbs - mostly gristle.

    Wifey grabs the tivo remote, and she also drives from both front seats in our cars. So the tandem has been a wee scoche of a challenge. But hey, we pulled off a 50 miler last weekend pretty well, and a 40 two days earlier. So there's hope.

    Thanks for the good advice everyone. We will be bringing a spirit level and plumb bob on our next ride, will have any (possibly mythical) riders slow enough to ride behind us report on our skew, and if she looks around me, I'll tell her to watch out for that tree branch!



    Scott C.

  16. #16
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
    My Bikes
    Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
    Posts
    2,044
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
    "The stoker makes no mistakes" doesn't mean the stoker is always right.
    Thank you!

    I think that when McCready made up Rule #1, he didn't anticipate that ALL stokers would misinterpret "The stoker makes no mistakes" to "The stoker is always right."

    The gist of what he was trying to convey would be "The pilot is completely responsible for anything that happens." This allows the stoker to make all sorts of mistakes, but the onus is on the pilot to react to or mitigate their effects.

    L.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Victoria BC
    Posts
    40
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Have you considered that maybe the (loaded) bike, itself, is out of balance and is naturally leaning to the right? You would then have to lean the bike to the left to compensate.

    Check your panniers, front and back separately, to ensure balanced loading.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    474
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    We got a used Arriva and my wife was telling me the bike was leaning left on the first ride. I went over it and found out the stoker bars were off center by about 2cm to the right.

    The deal was, they were on center as far as where marking grooves went into the stem, but the markings were not centered on the bars. So I actually centered the bar ends onto the center of the pilot's seat and it was much better on the next ride.

    We're probably going to change over to drop bars soon anyway, but at least it's right for now.

  19. #19
    Senior Member duppie's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    516
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
    We got a used Arriva and my wife was telling me the bike was leaning left on the first ride. I went over it and found out the stoker bars were off center by about 2cm to the right.

    The deal was, they were on center as far as where marking grooves went into the stem, but the markings were not centered on the bars. So I actually centered the bar ends onto the center of the pilot's seat and it was much better on the next ride.

    We're probably going to change over to drop bars soon anyway, but at least it's right for now.
    Same here. We have a Co-Motion Speedster with a Co-Motion stoker bar. When we bought it (used) I noticed that the markers where off center, so I centered them. On our first ride, Mrs Duppie, -the stoker- had a feeling that her upper body was turned left. That and the right hand side of the bar poked in my rear end.
    Back at home I measured the distances and it turns out that the markers are off by about 1 cm.
    Duppie

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    My Bikes
    ariZona carbon fiber tandem & single
    Posts
    9,940
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Have never agreed that stoker is never wrong . . . that just verbiage.
    While captain is responsible for lot of stuff, so is the stoker. We both do our share and things go great! Tandeming is a team effort.
    Lean, perceived or real, can be caused by either party, road conditions and/or equipment. Have seen tandems lean into very heavy crosswind. Hey, as long as you are staying upright things are OK!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •