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Thread: Trek T200?

  1. #1
    Tut
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    I am considering purchasing a road tandem for my wife and myself. We will be riding on a local paved trail first, and then hopefully increase our mileage on road trips.

    Today, I spent some time online becoming acquainted with some of the major brands, such as Santana, Burley, Co-Motion, Raleigh, etc., along with some primarily single bike manufacturers, like Cannondale and Trek. Burley seems to have some of the more attractively priced road tandems.

    I was very interested to discover that Trek makes three tandem models, because I am blown away by the performance and value of my new Trek 5200 carbon fiber single bike with Ultegra and Bontrager components. I am interested in the T1000 ($2200 MSRP) and the T2000 ($3300 MSRP). The T2000 has similar components to my single Trek, so I feel that at least part of the bike is a "known." A few things concern me, however. The possible harshness of the aluminum frame, whether Trek has enough experience in the tandem field to produce a great bike, and the mushy brake problem mentioned in another thread in this forum.

    Are there those of you who ride T1000's or 2000's who could speak to these concerns?
    Perhaps others can suggest other brands/models that compare favorably for around $2500?

    Thanks!

    Tim M
    Last edited by Tut; 04-30-04 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Forgot to put name in, and corrected model #'s

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    Hi

    Trek is distributed in South Africa by Cycology Holdings. "Mighty Mouse" Andrew Mclean sells them at the Cycle Lab. He races the Trek in our local cycle races. Trek has a South African background as the "Trek" refers to in the Afrikaans language when our forefathers "trekked" form the Cape Colony to the wilderness... Now Gauteng (Johannesburg), still a wilderness with rampant crime and social problems!!!!!!! The Trek logo in their founding years was two crossed frontloader muskets. Andrew races the Trek very sucessfully in a very competative tandem racing field. We have a Kinesis aluminium framed tandem and although I have never used a steel framed tandem I cannot say our tandem is harsh. Hope this helps.

    On buying a tandem and riding with your wife the following. Tandem riding leaves no compromise.... you either cycle straight into a new honeymoon or you cycle straight into the divorce court !!!!!!! There is nothing inbetween. See if you can rent or loan a tnadem somwhere to see wether you will be compatible.

    Keep those wheels spinning!!!!

    Big H
    The Big H rides:
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    el rapido road tandem
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    Trek 7200 Hybrid
    Gary Fisher Tassajara

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tut
    I am considering purchasing a road tandem for my wife and myself. We will be riding on a local paved trail first, and then hopefully increase our mileage on road trips.

    A few things concern me, however. The possible harshness of the aluminum frame, whether Trek has enough experience in the tandem field to produce a great bike, and the mushy brake problem mentioned in another thread in this forum.

    Are there those of you who ride T1000's or 2000's who could speak to these concerns?
    Perhaps others can suggest other brands/models that compare favorably for around $2500?

    Thanks!

    Tim M
    I ride a cannondale MT2000, aluminium frame and Suspension post for the stoker. Aluminium frames are not a problem, but the suspension post is a bonus. The pilot can see the potholes but the stoker can't. In the Uk there are so many road Tandem manufacturers, covering all the grades of bike, but Trek is not a well known producer. Perhaps they don't push their models hard enough. Look at the Canondale range if you have yet, as this is the most popular manufacturer here for the quality bikes.

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    SDS
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    I have a stock Cannondale pre-'98 J/L made from 6061-T6 aluminum, and a custom Meridian made from 7005 T7 (?) aluminum. Aluminum is not necessarily harsh. It depends on the thickness of the material and the shapes of the tubes and how it is used. So the Cannondale with it's thick walls and round bottom tube has a pretty stiff ride, and the Meridian with it's very long wheelbase and ovalized bottom tube and thinwall tubing has a marvelous magic carpet ride.

    The ZR-9000 aluminum tubeset used by Trek has a weight close to 7005 straight-gauge aluminum tubing, and my recollection is that the bottom tube is ovalized. I would expect a comfortable ride.

    Trek has been building tandems for nearly twenty years. Some of the twenty-year-old steel T200's are still seeing regular use. Trek has enough experience to produce a great bike. Don't be concerned about a few pounds of extra weight if it has them. Believe me, it's the motors.

    Have you ever known anybody who couldn't understand how something worked and therefore couldn't fix it? If you find on test ride that the tandem you are riding has firm and non-spongy lever feel and lots of lever travel left after the pads contact the rim, I wouldn't worry about the brakes.

    Standard tandem sizing warning:

    Beware of short stoker compartments. You first have to know your stoker's horizontal single bike fit (center of seatpost to center of handlebars, parallel to the ground), and then set it on the tandem. Anything less than six inches of horizontal space between the center of the handlebars and the center of the captain's seatpost is a badly compromised fit, and your stoker MAY NOT BE HAPPY.

    Tandem fit is comprised of the captain's and stoker's single bike fits, and the space in between. The "space in between" is the great "black hole" of tandem fit. Nobody who sells tandems really wants to talk about it (lots of them don't know enough to think about it, and that is even worse), because there is not much variation in production tandems. Little can be done without ordering a custom dimension tandem (the custom dimension upgrade may be your best-spent money ever).

    Space in between is best defined as, with exact stoker single bike fit set, the horizontal stoker stem dimension, with that defined as the horizontal distance between the center of the stoker handlebars and the center of the captain's seatpost.

    So the one thing you have to take with you when you go tandem shopping is transferable measurements. You need the aforementioned horizontal single bike fit dimension, and the measurement between the center of the bottom bracket spindle, parallel to the seat tube, to the top of the saddle, for both riders. You also need some kind of handlebar height dimension, which you can get off the ground plane if the bottom bracket heights are the same. Santana BB heights were a little bit lower.

    The "space in between" is a variable requirement depending on stoker size and use preferences. Six inches is getting close to the minimum for a stoker of 5'2-3". If she wants to go low without interference from your butt being in the way, or risking taking a butt in the top of the helmet if you back up on the saddle, or if she wants to stand up and move forward, she's going to need more. If she wants aerobars, she's going to want WAY more. "Sit up and beg," with your nose pasted into the captain's jersey, is a very limiting position for a stoker.

    My advice is to raise these issues with your wife so she will think about them, and if she believes she can be comfortable with the space provided, either short or long term, go ahead and buy the bike with the shared idea that sometime in the future you might order a custom and upgrade the fit, and consider the money very well spent. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to load out your "clunker" tandem (after you get the custom) and introduce other couples to tandeming. A loaner or a spare is a great thing to have.

    Best way to measure a stoker compartment length (some manufacturers are so sensitive about this that they won't even release frame dimensions)? With identical bottom bracket heights so the line is parallel to the ground, measure between the bottom bracket spindle centers, though of course with a front bottom bracket eccentric shell, you are better off measuring to the center of the shell. That keeps you away from that hard-to-measure sloping rear top tube. You have to get horizontal measurements.

    My recollection is that the average female height in this country is 5'4". Tolerable fit would require a horizontal rear top tube measurement in the neighborhood of 29". This may sound okay at first if your primary stoker is 5'2", but by placing the maximum fit so close to the minimum for the population as a whole, you are essentially rejecting 75% of your potential stoker population. You would never buy a car so small everywhere except the driver's seat that everyone over 5'2" could only come if they were tied to the roof.....

    Witness for the defense: I've talked to Bill McCready (Santana CEO) about this. He's sold tens of thousands of tandems and he knows all of the issues. He does not agree with me. He says longer tandems are less aerodynamically efficient, and he sees higher heart rates at the same speed on longer tandems. He says his stoker compartments are made longer with those "cowhorn" time trial bars that put the stoker's hands alongside the captain's hips, and that very little extra drag results from having the stoker's hands out in the slipstream, and that the extra handlebar width required by the captain's hips is not a fit issue for the stoker, because mountain bike handlebars are that wide anyway. And the extra length degrades the handling.

    I didn't agree with any of that. I thing a long-wheelbase tandem with aerobars is more efficient on average, and that is the way custom tandems intended to win national time trial championships are built, and guess what, they win. Cowhorn handlebars do not make tandem stoker compartments longer if your requirement is for more space along the centerline for the stoker's head and room to stand up. Georgena Terry fits female stokers with her products for living, and SHE thinks handlebar width matters, and she makes narrow handlebars, which of course you couldn't use on a short-wheelbase tandem because they wouldn't provide stoker single bike fit and clear the captain's hips....and tandems that won't move because the stoker won't get on it because there isn't room for her to be comfortable in back have VERY bad handling.

    Hopefully Mark Livingood will get by Mon/Tue and fix any mistakes I've made and add his own opinions. Right now he's probably wishing he had pontoon outriggers at the tandem rally in New Braunfels.....

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lost Coyote's Avatar
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    I recommend the T2000! My wife and Iíve been riding a T2000 since last August and have been very happy with the ride. My personal bike is an aluminum frame Bianchi Reparto Coarse Team and it has a much harsher ride than our T2000.

    The Ultregra groupo with the XTR rear D is top notch and all youíll ever need (unless youíve got the big bucks budget).

    You may have seen posts and treads Iíve started regarding ďmushyĒ brakes and poor brake performance. Please take those whinny posts with a grain of salt, as I tend to be a malcontent when it comes to component performance and I tend to be hard to satisfy. I also tend to tinker with, and add gadgetry to my equipment. After talking with other tandem owners in addition to watching this forum, Iím fairly sure that the Avid brakes which come standard on the T2000 are no worse that what is available on other bikes.

    BTW, my analysis of the mushy brakes revealed that cable stretch was the major cause of what I was dissatisfied with, and the fix was really quite simple.
    Gravity kills.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tut
    Perhaps others can suggest other brands/models that compare favorably for around $2500?
    Here is a link to a recent reply to someone who was shopping around in the same spec./price category and who had their eye on the Cannondale RT1000: cannondale tandems

    Other comments on the Trek:

    Experience: Trek had enough forethought to engage some folks who actually have a lot of experience riding tandems so any gaps in their experience from the T100/T200 steel tandem days up and to the introduction of the T1000/T2000 ZR9000 aluminum have been filled-in.

    Aluminum: Just as they do in personal bikes, steel, aluminum, carbon, and Ti frame materials all put their own "signature" on how a bike feels, some of which can be quantified and some that can't: some folks just prefer the way certain materials "feel". Tandems are even more sensitive to the subjectivity of "feel" because a tandem puts more demands on the material, i.e., tube lengths, team weights, and the nuances of having two people riding on the same bike. Therefore, you really need to test ride a steel and aluminum tandem back-to-back several times before forming any opinion on which you prefer. For a first tandem, it is quite possible that a year down the road you may find the types of riding you enjoy might be better suited for a different material from the one you initially chose; if so, you sell what you own and by another based on what you learned during your first year of ownership.

    Trek's Aluminum Tandems: They chose Aluminum for two reasons: 1) Trek virtually eliminated steel frames from its performance bike line-up, leaving that material for use by it's Lemond-branded frames; 2) Aluminum had become the "hot" frame material for go-fast production tandems in the late 90's. As for the frame's design, they pretty much "jumped on the band-wagon" with tried-and-true geometry that is very much the same as what you'll find on Santana and Burley tandems relative to steering geometry (1.9") and the size of the stoker compartments. As for comparing it to the two other major brands, Cannondale uses similarly-sized stoker compartments but more aggressive steering geometry (Note: The small size Trek tandem has the same 2.0" steering trail as a Cannondale). Co-Motion has perhaps a few more mm of room in the stoker compartment vs. the other brands and the most aggressive steering geometry of any stock tandem builder: it can truly be described as being the most like a personal road racing bike with regard to handling.

    Components: They're all pretty good. Given the how they outfitted the rest of the bike many of us who pay attention to tandem trends and technology remain puzzled why they didn't fit the T2000 with brake arches instead of cantilever brakes: the brakes remain the weakest feature on the Trek tandems. However, on the bright side, they're no worse than the cantilever brakes that come fitted on most of the other production tandems, notwithstanding some of the more high-end go-fast tandem models. The Bontrager wheels seem to be holding up pretty well, which is to say I haven't heard of any systemic problems and most folks who bought T2000's still ride on the RaceLite Tandem wheels. It's worthwhile to note that any low-spoke count wheel like the RaceLite fitted with a high-pressure racing tire will exacerbate any concerns you have regarding the harsh ride characteristics of Aluminum. So, if you're looking for a very stiff and responsive ride, they're spot on. However, if you want a little more give, conventional spoked wheels with more spokes laced with more cross-overs and 28mm or 32mm tires will do wonders to re-tune the feel of an aluminum tandem.

    Other than that, again, test ride, test ride, test ride...... if at all possible. I believe the Cannondale RT1000 is still the best-bang-for-the-buck but not everyone like's Cannondale's products. Trek's tandems are first class. The weakest link in most Trek tandems is the lack of mechanics with experience riding or working on tandems and that can be a real source of frustration. Of course, that's not unique to Trek; few non-tandem speciality bike shops that sell tandems of any brand suffer from this malady.
    Last edited by livngood; 05-03-04 at 10:46 AM.

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    My husband & I bought a Trek T2000 for ourselves for Christmas 2002. We rode it 1400 miles last summer and loved it! We test rode a Cannondale (it was a rental & not in great shape, but a bike shop let us try it for free instead of paying the rental charge) and while we didn't like that particular model, it was enough for us to know that we'd enjoying tandeming. We looked at the T1000 & the T2000 and decided on the T2000 because we figured if we got the T1000 & really like tandeming (like we expected we would), then we'd be wanting to upgrade soon, so just spend the extra money and get a better bike from the beginning (it'll be cheaper in the long run). We love this bike. We've had many rides where we just do our standard ride (about 22 miles, no stops), we've also taken longer rides where we stop & have lunch, etc. and have a great time out. The tandem is the only way we can ride together. On separate bikes we ride at different speeds & are too far apart for a ride to lunch, etc. Separate bikes are fine for just the standard ride when we don't need to stay together (my husband just got a new Trek 5200 & I just got a 1200). We aren't on the same page when it comes to biking abilities. My husband is a much better rider than I am. He's a great captain & I'm happy being the stoker (when riding my new bike for the 1st time Saturday I realized just how spoiled I've become as the stoker).

    Our LBS also customized our T2000 for us. We both prefer a more upright riding position, so they exchanged the drop bars for upright bars, which also meant changing the shifters & brakes.

    We couldn't wait for our 1st ride this year. We're in Maine & had an unusually warm day in April & took the bike out for a fairly short 15 mile ride, stopped & had lunch, stopped again for ice cream, then back home. It was a beautiful day!

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