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  1. #1
    Zin
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    We are finally getting our first tandem

    Hi all,

    Well, we put our first tandem on lay-away at Walmart last night. (Kent cheapo)
    (Please, keep your Walmart bashing to yourself!)

    We know the bike is not top quality. DUH!

    We figured we would be able to tell if tandeming is for us on this cheapo bike. If we don't like riding tandem, the no big loss. If it turns out we enjoy the tandem, then we will look into upgrading this frame, or a better quality bike.

    We'll be picking it up in mid-April. My wife is really excited about this.

  2. #2
    Member Co-Mo's Avatar
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    Good on you, hope you guys enjoy it! I just hope it a solid enough bike to give a nice enough ride as to where you can draw a conclusion of tandeming. I agree with you that you dont need a >2,000.00 rig to do that.

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Stealing a phrase from the motorcyclist in me, "It's not WHAT you ride that's important, it's THAT you ride that matters the most."

    There are a lot of really nice tandems sitting in garages and basements collecting dust. None of them are worth a hoot if they don't get used. Therefore, if you define the value of your tandem in terms of the enjoyment you derive from it and the value of the time spent with a loved one you may find your tandem is priceless.

    Just remember to start out with short, fun rides and build up saddle time gradually... a lot of those dust covered tandems belonged to folks who tried too hard too soon, and where's the fun in that.

    Tandems are meant to be fun, first and foremost. Once you can enjoy yourselves on a tandem, you can then shift your attention to going further and faster.
    Last edited by livngood; 02-25-04 at 11:09 AM.

  4. #4
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    Stealing a phrase from the motorcyclist in me, "It's not WHAT you ride that's important, it's THAT you ride that matters the most."

    There are a lot of really nice tandems sitting in garages and basements collecting dust. None of them are worth a hoot if they don't get used. Therefore, if you define the value of your tandem in terms of the enjoyment you derive from it and the value of the time spent with a loved one you may find your tandem is priceless.

    Just remember to start out with short, fun rides and build up saddle time gradually... a lot of those dust covered tandems belonged to folks who tried too hard too soon, and where's the fun in that.

    Tandems are meant to be fun, first and foremost. Once you can enjoy yourselves on a tandem, you can then shift your attention to going further and faster.
    Yeah, exactly what he says! We love ours, and will be back on it as soon as the sun starts to warm things up around these parts.
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

    Naked Carbon Weave Aegis Aro Svelte, Purpleen Cannondale RT3000 Tandem, Orange Santana Triplet, Surly Long Haul Trucker

    So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides, 4th Century B.C.E.



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  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Kent tandem in Ohio!

    Congrats on ordering a tandem! Just don't try and do TOSRV on it this year . . . save that for next year!
    The first tandem is always a learning experience and we can go on from there.
    If you are not happy with the Kent, hit Wallmart up for a refund!
    Be safe, have fun and ride TWOgether!
    Rudy & Kay, Tucson, AZ

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    From a member of T.W.I.T.S. (The Walmart International Tandeming Society), we welcome you. We bought one of the Kents (ours is blue -- I'm guessing they all are) last summer because we were dumbfounded that we could buy a new tandem for under $250. We can't find used Schwinn Twinns for under $300.

    We bought it for our kids. They absolutely love it. The little ones enjoy being able to go on longer rides (and keep up) and being the object of so much attention is always a big sell. They love the waves. When I was a kid my dad won a Daisy (Kent? Huffy?) at work. It was a wobbly piece of junk, but boy did we have a blast on that thing! Rode it all over town and had a blast. I'm sure that planted the tandeming bug in me.

    I think as long as you understand the thing's limits, you'll do just fine. The frame seems well built, but I'd take it easy on the components (shift gently, don't take it off-road, etc.). Ruth and I can ride it, but together we push 350lbs, and while it's solid, I'm not sure how long it could handle us (my wife and I have our own tandem -- a Trek T200).

    The only thing I would say is, don't confuse the Kent's limitations with tandeming's limitations. Our tandem is a blast around town, but that tractor seat, balloon tires, and less-than-optimal rider position would probably be a real drag on a long road trip. But to be together, to talk while you exercise, to enjoy the extended range, build your marriage, build your family, etc., these are perks I'd hate for you to miss because you blamed the "shortcomings" of a Kent on tandems in general.

    Anyway, have a ball on it. We certainly enjoy ours.

    Paul

  7. #7
    Zin
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhetoric
    From a member of T.W.I.T.S. (The Walmart International Tandeming Society), we welcome you. We bought one of the Kents (ours is blue -- I'm guessing they all are) last summer because we were dumbfounded that we could buy a new tandem for under $250. We can't find used Schwinn Twinns for under $300.

    We bought it for our kids. They absolutely love it. The little ones enjoy being able to go on longer rides (and keep up) and being the object of so much attention is always a big sell. They love the waves. When I was a kid my dad won a Daisy (Kent? Huffy?) at work. It was a wobbly piece of junk, but boy did we have a blast on that thing! Rode it all over town and had a blast. I'm sure that planted the tandeming bug in me.

    I think as long as you understand the thing's limits, you'll do just fine. The frame seems well built, but I'd take it easy on the components (shift gently, don't take it off-road, etc.). Ruth and I can ride it, but together we push 350lbs, and while it's solid, I'm not sure how long it could handle us (my wife and I have our own tandem -- a Trek T200).

    The only thing I would say is, don't confuse the Kent's limitations with tandeming's limitations. Our tandem is a blast around town, but that tractor seat, balloon tires, and less-than-optimal rider position would probably be a real drag on a long road trip. But to be together, to talk while you exercise, to enjoy the extended range, build your marriage, build your family, etc., these are perks I'd hate for you to miss because you blamed the "shortcomings" of a Kent on tandems in general.

    Anyway, have a ball on it. We certainly enjoy ours.

    Paul

    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the encouragement. We are very exited to try it. We have a very open mind toward the experience. We are well aware of the limitations of the department store bike. We will take it easy. I plan to have our LBS do a tune up on it prior to any "real" outings. Our bike is silver and white. Quite a catching color combination. They even put wide white walls on for tires.

    The bike will mainly be for doing the local bike trail with the kids for now. If we really get into it, we'll look into a better quality one. We'd also have to decide the type we want. I really like the thought of self supported touring. We have not had such conversations as yet, but will when the time is right.

    We'll be sure to post on forums our impressions and experience with it.

    Regards,
    Bob & Coleen

  8. #8
    World Relay Tour Member TwinTraveller's Avatar
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    You don't need a fancy tandem to get hooked!

    The first tandem my girlfriend and I every rode was an extremely wobbly no-brand brand tandem on Mackinac Island, MI.

    It was probably the most fun we've ever had! (Not that we don't enjoy our Koga Miyata TwinTraveller)

  9. #9
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    I live in ohio also looked at wallmart online couple days ago didn't see any tandems. I also am looking for a $200 tandem to see if we like. I am 250# and she is $200# we recently bought a treadmill and are now wanting a bike. Just don't want an expensive coat rack yet. What Wallmart stores have you seen these in?

    Thanks Chuck

  10. #10
    Member VINCENT228's Avatar
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    Consider yourselves very lucky!
    I have been searching for the walmart tandem for some time now and they are all out. when i ask them if and when theyll get more they say "i dunno" (and i guess the blank look on their face was an added bonus).
    I live in connecticut and cant get one, so dont knock it, some people are envious of what you have.
    Enjoy and let me know how it is so i know to keep searching or not.

  11. #11
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    Well we got out tandem tonight from Walmart. It is in box not assembled. $258.00 Kent I believe 21 speed. After I got it home I noticed on bottom of box it said both riders sould have minimim 32 1/2 legs. What dose that mean. I am 5' 11" and she is 5' 5". Hate to put it together and find out its too big. Do these kents come in different sizes.

    Thanks Chuck

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    Heavens, I hope not! We're both pretty tall (6'2 and 5'10) with inseams of 33 and 34 (yes, her legs are longer. why do you think I married her?). But we crank the seats all the way up and it's still a bit small -- especially on the back. My 5ft kids captain and stoke so I'm sure you'll be fine. I suppose there is an outside chance that Wal-mart has started selling them in different sizes, but I highly doubt it. Wal-mart is not an LBS. Oh, and our top tube is a "girls" (step through) so you'll be just fine.

    Ours came assembled.

    Welcome to TWITS.

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    Hey, chuck, do you suppose it's centimeters?

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    rhetoric
    no its inchs and ours is not a girls (Step through)

  15. #15
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    Put the bike together today looks nice seems sturdy. Had to readjust wheel bearings and fork bearings. I think the crank bearings need adjusted but I don't have a tool for it looks likea special tool. Was gonna ride today was 67 degrees and nice but started raining afte I got it put together.

    Chuck

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    Ok here it is my walmart tandem (elcheapo) $258

    Chuck

  17. #17
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    it must have meant 32 1/2 legs because in the piolots seat mens crossbar when I stan flat footed on ground bar is in crotch with a little pressure.

    Chuck


    Quote Originally Posted by rhetoric
    Heavens, I hope not! We're both pretty tall (6'2 and 5'10) with inseams of 33 and 34 (yes, her legs are longer. why do you think I married her?). But we crank the seats all the way up and it's still a bit small -- especially on the back. My 5ft kids captain and stoke so I'm sure you'll be fine. I suppose there is an outside chance that Wal-mart has started selling them in different sizes, but I highly doubt it. Wal-mart is not an LBS. Oh, and our top tube is a "girls" (step through) so you'll be just fine.

    Ours came assembled.

    Welcome to TWITS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckhill2
    it must have meant 32 1/2 legs because in the piolots seat mens crossbar when I stan flat footed on ground bar is in crotch with a little pressure.

    Chuck
    Nope -- that's the same bike we have except ours is flaming neon blue. I guess I wasn't remembering the higher front bar -- the step through is for the stoker. One reminder -- the kickstand will tear up the paint on your rear wheel stays. I'd either remove it, or cut some rubber gaskets (old inner tube or some such) to place between the kickstand and the bare metal. Everytime you kick the stand you'll scratch the paint. Have fun!

  19. #19
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    Took it out for first ride today. I took it the 1st 3/4 mile by myself, it was a breeze, didn't seem like 21 speeds was enough, 21st gear was peddeling easy and not going that fast really. Then put her on it went maybe 1 1/2 miles it about killed me even with 2 stops to adjust seat heights it was like i was peddeling for both of us my 250# and her 200#. She claims she was peddeling. I will keep you posted.

    Chuck

  20. #20
    Zin
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckhill2
    Took it out for first ride today. I took it the 1st 3/4 mile by myself, it was a breeze, didn't seem like 21 speeds was enough, 21st gear was peddeling easy and not going that fast really. Then put her on it went maybe 1 1/2 miles it about killed me even with 2 stops to adjust seat heights it was like i was peddeling for both of us my 250# and her 200#. She claims she was peddeling. I will keep you posted.

    Chuck
    Hey Chuck, thanks for the report! I am very interested in your results. I do have a couple of questions.

    1. When you both were on the bike, what gear were you in that was so hard?
    2. How were you communicating with each other? Did you say, "left, right, left" to get in sync with each others efforts? I realize the 2 positions are linked together, but perhaps some communication could have helped make the effort more effecient. (just thinking out loud here.)
    3. What was your tire pressure at?


    Thanks for being our guinea pig.

    Bob & Coleen

  21. #21
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    2nd ride was much better I think she actually pedddeled this time. No not much comunication excepet when i would tell her i was going to coast. about 45 psi. tires real hard max is 50psi just dosent seem to go very fast though when in 21 st and peddeling pretty fast.

    Thanks Chuck

  22. #22
    Zin
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckhill2
    2nd ride was much better I think she actually pedddeled this time. No not much comunication excepet when i would tell her i was going to coast. about 45 psi. tires real hard max is 50psi just dosent seem to go very fast though when in 21 st and peddeling pretty fast.

    Thanks Chuck
    Have you installed a cycling computer/speedometer? Of course I guess speed isn't everything on a tandem. The gear ratio may be maximized for moving weight easily instead of speed.?.? I wonder if any of the more experienced folks here can address that?

  23. #23
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Howdy from Tucson!
    Thanx for posting the photo of the Wally tandem! Had never seen or ridden one, and we've ridden over 30+ brands/models of tandems in our 29+ years of riding as a duo!
    Rather nifty retro design especially the modified tri-lateral set up on the rear triangle (the three pair of tubes that join from rear seat tube to rear wheel dropout).
    Suggest you learn the following communication skills when riding: Pilot informs stoker, out loud and in advance, what he is going to do. Example: shifting, braking, coasting, stopping, pedaling; that way stoker knows what's coming up and there are no whoops or surprises. Also, pilot MUST call out all the bumps, as stoker cannot see them coming up; that way with a second or so of advance warning she can put less weight on the saddle and more on hands/feet to avoid butt/back impact.
    Also tell stoker, out loud, when you intend to turn left, right, stop or slow down; she gives the appropriate hand signal for that, therefore leaving the captains hands on the bars. She is more visible from the rear to car drivers than pilot is.
    When starting the tandem the usual procedure is as follow:
    Pilot mounts the bike, holds both brakes and stands flat-footed on the ground with feet spread a bit apart and butt NOT on the saddle but sorta resting on the top tube. Then stoker gets on the tandem, sits down and puts feet on the pedals. If pilot desires left or right pedal up, she will slowly pedal backwards 'til that pedal is in the correct push-off position for the pilot (don't get 'whacked' by the pedal when she pedals backward to position your correct pedal up; that's why you stand flat-footed with feet spread far enough apart!)
    Count down from three to one . . . and push off! Wheeee!
    On stopping the tandem: again pilot puts both feet flat on the ground and holds the brakes. Stoker dismounts, WALKS away from the tandem and says: "off". Then pilot can dismount; if you dismount throwing your leg over your seat (watchout for her handlebar!) you'll avoid giving her a karate kick if she stands near the tandem. Some pilot dismount throwing leg over the front handlebar, depending on your agility level.Simple?
    When stopping at a traffic light, pilot can put one, or both feet down, while holding the brakes. Stoker can remain seated.
    Wear bright clothes, make eye contact with drivers who are stopped or turning, wave and smile and DO NOT give one-finger saltues, even if you are mad . . . them cars and pick 'em ups are bigger than you!
    Hope this helps; always glad to see someone else getting in on a healthy exercise as a duo! Enjoy!
    Rudy & Kay, Zona tandem

  24. #24
    Cat 6 Steve Katzman's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice from Zonatandem!

    Now that you have the bike and have ridden it, may I suggest the most cost effective method of making the bike ride faster and with less effort? If you are so inclined, look for some higher pressure tires - preferrably road type slick or semi-slick that have a recommended max pressure of 85 to 100 psi. I see that Performance (www.performancebike.com) has their own brand "Slick City" (85 psi) on sale for $9.99 ea or upgrade to the Ritchey "Tom Slick" (100 psi) on sale for $16.99 ea. Pump them up to the max pressure on the tire. You will be amazed at the difference in performance from the stock tires.

  25. #25
    Zin
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    Well, we picked up our tandem today! YAHOO! The youngest boy (10) and I took it for a quick spin. Was kind of like driving a stretch lemo.

    We brought it into the house to make our adjustments. You can tell a real moron had assembled it right off the bat as the refelectors for front and rear were reversed. So, we wanted to give it the "critical eye" prior to any real ride. So now we have the preleminary inspection and adjustments complete. Tomorrow evening we'll try the maden voyage with the Mrs. (if the rain holds off)

    Coleen and I are very excited to give it a whirl. We have both been reading this forum over and have learned tons! We are so greatful for such a giving group of people.

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