Originally Posted by Co-Mo
I know a lot of you folks have more than one pony in your stable. What was the biggest reason to add multi tandems(other than wanting a road bike and a mtb)? Is it usually a case of wanting to upgrade but, not being able to part with the old standby after doing so type thing?
Short answer: On new tandems, if you turn them over every one or two years you don't lose too much beyond the initial depreciation so you can pretty much recoup a lot of your intial cost. However, on custom tandems or tandems that you hold on to for four or more years, given the relatively lower amount of money that you can expect to recoup on resale, you may find that holding on to a tandem can make it an inexpensive "spare". The extra tandem can often times be used as a source of spare parts to ensure you're always ready to roll and/or have set-up differently to support different riding needs. This leads into the other reasons for having miltiple tandems. For example, there are teams who race which often times means having a time-trial tandem in the livery. There are other teams who need a "mud tandem" with fenders (aka, mud guards) and panniers for transportation or touring but who prefer to have something more spirited and light for weekend club rides. Thus, there are as many reasons to have more than one tandem as there are reasons to have more than one personal bike.
Long Answer: Bikes are bikes; sometimes it makes sense to use the "one in / one out" approach, sometimes it makes good sense to hold on to a particular bike, and other times it's purely an emotional attachment that makes it hard to let go. I can recall having 11, fully assembled and rideable bicycles in the garage at one point in my life and I could tell you with certainty why each of them earned its keep. Today that number is 8 -- on the way to 7 (anyone need a 48cm Schwinn Peloton?) -- and includes 3 tandems, each of them a bit different but clearly with some duplication on the road tandems.
Interestingly enough, none of the 8 bikes in the garage is more than 6 years old which, considering I've been riding on a regular basis since '74, tells you that most of those 11 bicycles were 'late 70's through early 90's road bikes with a few mountain bikes mixed-in. In retrospect, I wish I'd have kept them all but -- given the constraints of storage space and the time consumed keeping them from deteriorating -- it was more practical to let them go. Thus, today I have a very nice mountain bike, a very nice road bike, and a very nice mud/training bike. Debbie has a new road bike that replaced the Peloton. And then we have the 3 tandems.
So, to your question, as much as we enjoyed our '96 Santana Arriva, we decided to commision Glenn Erickson to design and fabricate a tandem that would be a better fit for both of us and something that handled more to my liking. Therefore, it was pretty clear that there wasn't a practical reason to keep the Santana and, given it was still somewhat new (1.2yrs '@ 4,500 mi), we could mitigate about 1/2 of the cost of the new tandem by selling it and did just that. No regrets; the new tandem's fit and performance were just so much better that it overwhelmed any emotional attachment to the Santana.
So, there we are with our Erickson tandem -- a perfect machine in every respect with regard to our needs/wants/tastes. Well, perfect except for one thing that we failed to anticipate; air travel to distant places. You see, when we commissioned the Erickson we did not have the travel bug. However, within two years after taking possession we began to realize that there would be many opportunities to travel in the future and, while we could certainly take our full-size tandem on trips, the probability that it might be damaged became something of a concern. After all, if it was seriously damaged or lost we'd have to order a new one which would mean being without a "properly fitted" tandem for several months while a new one was fabricated. Well, that also assumed that our builder would not retire and would still be building tandems. So, I had two thoughts on how to go about mitigating this risk.
Plan A: Have a spare, identical frame fabricated and keep it in storage "just in case".
Plan B: Have an S&S coupler-equipped "travel tandem frame" fabricated and switch over the components before each trip, thereby keeping the rigid frame safe at home where it was less likely to fall victim to a careless bag handler or be misrouted into luggage heaven. Well, once I decided to have a travel frame built it didn't take much effort to justify adding the components needed to make it whole (thus, Plan C was born).
As we waited for the new tandem I was able to rationalize having the two tandems for a multitude of reasons:
1. As already noted, we'd have a spare if something bad happened to one of the two tandems.
2. Since travel was when the bike would see the most wear and tear, as well as where something bad was most likely to happen, we opted to skip the "Signature" finish on the travel tandem thus making it somewhat different from our '98 fillet-brazed, oval-tubed beauty.
3. Well, since this was a travel tandem it really was technically a different kind of tandem so it's really not like having two of the same thing.
4. We could have this one packed in the suitcase and ready to go at a moments notice should we ever find ourselves in a position to become jet-setters.
5. We could ship our travel tandem ahead of us via FedEx on trips where we didn't want to fiddle with the cases but we could still ride our other tandem up and to the time we left and immediately upon return whilst the other tandem was in transit.
6. The 2nd tandem was a ready parts source for the other tandem and visa versa since they are equipped with the same components.
7. We could experiment with different riding positions and compare different tires, wheels, etc... in back-to-back test rides by leaving one tandem as the benchmark and making all the other changes to the other.
8. If any other couples came to visit who were our size and knew how to ride a tandem, we could all go for a ride.
9. One will be used as our go-fast tandem and the other will be for more leisurely rides.
There were others, but you get the idea. Once the new tandem arrived we discovered that we were quite pleased with the fit which, although there were design differences, allowed us to replicate our riding positions on the older tandem. We also found that it was within 1lb of the other tandem, noting that the carbon fork off-set the weight gain from the S&S couplers. However, most interesting was the stiffer frame -- primarily due to the addition of the couplers. Thus, we were very happy with the bike.
So, I actually re-looked at my list of "why two tandems" with a fiscally responsible eye and decided that perhaps we could get by with just the one road tandem. With that in mind, I put out the "For Sale" sign on the older tandem with a price that was far too high to attract looky-loos, but not so low that you couldn't give up the 10-15% that most buyers are looking for on premium used bikes. We had a few "hits" and some serious buyers but, in the end, somehow it just seemed foolish to sell a perfectly good tandem that was custom built for our needs for several thousand dollars less than what it would cost to replace. Moreover, it would actually have made more financial sense to "break it up" and sell off the parts which collectively were worth more than the assembled bicycle.
Thus, we ultimately decided it was both imprudent and emotionally difficult to part with the 2nd tandem. Since then, we have not regretted our decision to keep it as we have cannibalized both tandems when parts issues arose (forks, wheels, derailleurs, cranks). We have had the travel bike sitting in the case before and after trips while we rode the other tandem, and we have done a variety of different back-to-back comparisons of parts and riding positions. Ultimately, it has proven to be quite convenient to have two road tandems.
Is there an emotional attachment underlying this? Not really. Real love requires that the object of your affection love you back. I like my bikes, I derrive great pleasure from cycling, and I love my wife. There's no confusion between the different emotions and I the most happy when I'm on a bike I like sharing the ride with my wife. That's quality time like none other... well, with caveats.
More than you wanted to know....
P.S. Aren't you glad I spared you the story of why we bought and sold our two previous off-road tandems?