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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 02-21-09, 07:34 PM   #1
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Car Top Tandem Carriers

I just came from the Thule website to discover that the roof top tandem system they offer costs about $700 ($299 for bar and feet, $399 for Tandem attachment). We have always used our vans to transport the tandem but with the downsizing of a van to a car I thought that I'd check out the options for moving the tandem on the car. My first tandem was less than the price of the Thule system so this is hard for me to swallow. Are there other options out there or do I need to stop whining and deal with it?
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Old 02-21-09, 08:01 PM   #2
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The Thule rack system is great for lots more than transporting your bike. i did find the tandem attachment on ebay or craigslist, which saved some money. does your car have a hitch? that can open up a lot of possibilities, too.
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Old 02-21-09, 08:07 PM   #3
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If car is a hatchback, tandem shoud fit inside with 1 or 2 wheels removed.
Trunk racks are cheaper and work as well as roofrack.
Photo of a tandem loaded inside a micro-car, the Honda Fit . . . yup, it fits!
Have carried out tandem(s) inside a VW Hatchback, Honda Hatchback and Honda Station Wagon.
Where there's a will there's a way!
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 02-21-09, 08:14 PM   #4
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Some previous postings / threads that may be of value:

There are others but the bottom line is, there are a lot of options. If roof-top is essential, just buy the components second hand and/or do a combination of a used sports rack system with a new RockyMounts tandem mount. If you know someone who's handy with a welder, have them fabricate a tandem mount that can be attached to the second-hand sports rack.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 02-22-09 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 02-22-09, 08:00 PM   #5
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+1 on the Rocky Mount. Best bang for the buck in Tandem carriers.
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Old 02-22-09, 08:47 PM   #6
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+ another on the Rocky Mount tandem carrier.
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Old 02-23-09, 05:08 AM   #7
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I have a roof mount Yakima system and I made the tandem carrier. I have pictures on webshots.

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Old 02-23-09, 02:52 PM   #8
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We have a Pendle Designs tandem carrier (fork mount). Very robust, main challenge is lifting the tandem after long rides in the hills.
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Old 02-23-09, 03:30 PM   #9
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I like my draftmaster tandem rack attached to a hitch on a Ford Focus. You do not have to reach very high, like on a roof mount and the fuel mileage was not cut back much at all with most of the bike riding behind the car.

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Old 02-27-09, 07:22 AM   #10
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+ here, here on the Rocky Mt, got mine with my used 07' KHS, both for 1k......ken
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Old 02-27-09, 01:13 PM   #11
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I have a Thule and sidewinder on my little old honda civic works great, picked up the sidewinder on ebay new for $189 and picked up the rest at my local bike shop.
It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
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Old 03-27-09, 09:56 AM   #12
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I LOVE my rocky mount. 2 years without any hitches, cheaper than Yakima and Thule.
But the biggest thing is that it is can carry my regular bike and is 'normal' looking on the top of the car. (great for hatchbacks because it allows you to get the hatch open when it's collapsed)

good luck.
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Old 03-27-09, 10:01 AM   #13
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PM me if you are interested. I may be able to hook you up. My daughter, who is moving, has a variety of unneeded Thule roof rack stuff which may include the old, super stable tandem mount with the "V" to hold the rear axle.
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Old 03-28-09, 07:13 PM   #14
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I've got a Yak Sidewinder mounted on Thule bars. However, you can put a tandem on a cheap Allen trunk mount carrier. All you have to do is take off the wheels and bungee it down. Cheap and functional. The only problem is that you can't lock it to the car.
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Old 04-02-09, 06:18 PM   #15
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We use the Sidewinder, but reverse it so the forks are at the rear so we can open the hatch on our Volvo wagon.
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Old 04-03-09, 01:29 PM   #16
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My brother in law tried the tandem thing and it didn't go over very well. They sold the tandem, but his mount is sitting in the basement. Probably used 3-4 times. It's a Thule. PM if you want more info. Hope I don't get in trouble for this post!
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Old 04-10-09, 04:28 PM   #17
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One old non pivoting Rocky Mounts, works great. Have to lift the bike up to the top of a minivan, just have to open the sliding door and step up (OK, a little more work than that description sounds.).

Got a Yakima Sidewinder (free) with the purchase of a used tandem and love it. Works best with the nylon strap to hold the front wheel straight (wish there was a cheap way to get another strap for the Rocky Mounts bike). I have even started to use two old tubes to hold the front fork straight on the tandem I put up on the Rocky Mounts. One less thing to think about.
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Old 04-11-09, 02:36 PM   #18
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Old 04-11-09, 03:43 PM   #19
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We have a sportworks tandem rack. It works with thule and or Yakima. I think Thule acquired Sportworks. The great feature about the rack is that I do not have to take off either wheels. The downside is it is a bit heavy. I think I paid about $250 for the rack 5 years ago.
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Old 04-11-09, 05:18 PM   #20
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If price is an issue (and frankly it is as low volume tandem racks seem extremely expensive for what they are) it's not difficult to make your own. I thought about various designs as I wanted a fork mounted tandem rack. I considered extending an existing single bike rack, but instead made my own from wood as a temporary fix. So far it has held fast in all weathers over many miles on the roof of our RS4 and I haven't felt the need to replace it with anything better. Cost was about 30.

Parts list:
1 length of 5cm x 5cm high quality pine, roughly 3m in total (local timber yard 5ish)
2 lengths 5x2.5cm high quality pine, 0.3m lenght
1 Saris Trap fork holder (wiggle 15)
4x trailer axle u-bolts, fixing plates and nyloc nuts (caravan / trailer specialist online 10)
1x 3 meter tie down strap with pull fastening
Lots of long screws (the shed)
Wood glue
Black paint

To make it:
1. Cut off a piece of the 5x5 wood to go under the Saris trap.
2. Cut the remaining 5x5 to the length of the tandem wheelbase plus a bit
3. Drill holes in the Saris trap so it can be screwed onto the piece made in 1. This gives more for the Trap to bite on than if it were screwed directly to the 5x5.
4. Glue and screw the trap and wood mount onto the end of the 5x5. Make sure long screws go through all 3 parts for safety.
5. Position 5x2.5cm wood as 'feet' under 5x5 to sit on existing rack bars at the correct spacing.
6. Glue and screw the feet onto the main mount.
7. Glue 'triangles' made from offcuts into inner corners of any joints
8. Dry run bolting it to your rack.
9. Paint it.

I have the rack in the middle of the car, which makes placing the tandem more difficult than running it to one side, but quite easy with practice. The advantage is that the tie down strap can then run from the car roof bar up to the stoker seat post and down again. If the angles aren't equal it pulls the bike to one side. I can also run a single bike on either side.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:27 PM   #21
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You say you're downsizing from a van to a car. How about a 2wd Honda Element? We bought one just for of the awesome tandem transporting ability. Flip the rear seats up, roll the tandem in backwards with the rear wheel between the front seats, turn the front wheel sideways, close the tailgate and off you go! No more removing the front wheel to mount the tandem to a rack. No more fear of driving through a low drive-thru or into the garage with a very expensive bike on the roof! The pleasant surprise with the Element was that we get about 25 mpg City/ up to 29 mpg on the highway. Those are pretty reasonable gas mileage numbers, unless you're planning to downgrade to a compact or smaller.
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Old 04-12-09, 07:26 AM   #22
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We use a Saris Bones rack on the back of our Toyota Highlander. It holds our Trek T900 securely. We have about 6 inches of overhang on each side of the vehicle, but as long as your aware of it it's no problem. The three bike Bones rack is $150.00.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:00 AM   #23
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I'm using a Bones on my 4runner. There's overhang but it barely goes beyond the mirrors. The front wheel is turned so the handlebar sticks out instead. Just make sure the pedal isn't touching the car/truck. It also sticks up a few inches above the truck but is still low and narrow enough to drive into the garage.
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Old 04-14-09, 06:25 AM   #24
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Hi Everyone,

Here is a picture of our Tandem on a Draftmaster on a Focus. It rides well and it does not lower the mileage much. Maybe 1 or 2 miles per gal. It is alot easier to put on than a roof rack.

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