Riding Heaven's Highwayson the grand tour
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tehachapi Mtns, Calif.
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
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Scarabeoguy…Your question is a pretty popular one and it gets discussed in various degrees here on the tandem forum every so often. A little play with the search function will get you a lot of different thoughts to consider. In general though, a lot depends on what your goals are for your tandem riding and just how much time, mechanical skills, patience or money you want to put towards your goal and in what percentages respectively.
I went the upgrade route on our '90 C'dale and would do it again in a heart beat... BUT...it is not the best route for everyone.
In our case... we love our old C’dale frame because it is stiff, has solid confidence inspiring handling, fits us very well and we like how it looks. We owned it since Nov of 1990 and have cared for it meticulously over the years.
Early last year, when we started riding a lot again, I got restless and wanted a newer, lighter tandem with today’s higher end components. So I looked hard at new Tandems and found that the minimum acceptable new bike would be over $6000 and then I still had to hope that it would fit and ride at least as well as what I already had, plus I probably would still end up upgrading or changing a few pieces on that bike
Since I prefer to do most of my own work on our bikes and enjoy putting in whatever effort it takes to insure everything works right, I decided to study the upgrade route. I found that the costs savings for me was huge. Additionally, I did have the time and patience to chase the new parts and to wait to buy them only when the price and quality was right. The whole upgrade process was simply a fun project for me.
I ended up upgrading most everything imaginable on the old C’dale, (except the fork) and now have a bike with modern higher end components that is perfectly tailored for the type of riding we do. We enjoy it more than ever and I did it for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Granted our upgraded older bike is still a few pounds heavier than the latest and greatest but for $4000 +/- in savings, I can live with that….some folks can’t and that is certainly understandable.
Lastly…IF I find myself restless once again, I can always go out and just buy a new frame for $2 or $3k, transfer most of my components to it and have the latest and greatest but then any of the original savings will be gone (plus a bit more most likely), so… one might then ask…what the heck was I thinking from the start??? For me the answer is …it was fun and I enjoyed it! BUT.. as I said up top, “It is not the best route for everyone”.
Good luck and have fun no matter what way you go…let us know what you ultimately do.