I am trying to figure out if my wife and I would benefit from a custom tandem. We currently have a 2001 M/S RT 1000. I am 5' 4.5" 135-140 with a 28" inseam, she is 5'5" 125. I can not get the tandem to fit like my single. I ride a 2003 48cm Specialized Allez with 100mm stem (the stem is set to -16 degrees, so it is level with the ground). First, the top tube felt too long, so I was originally riding with a 70-80mm stem to make the reach right, but it still didn't feel great because the steering axis was too far out in front of me. I ideally would have a TT length of 52cm, not 54.5. In addition to the feeling too long, because of the long head tube and the tandem length fork (longer axle to fork crown) the front of the bike felt very tall (riding on the drops was still higher than ride on the brake hoods on my single). My solution to this was to purchase a nashbar 40 degree rise stem and flip it upside down. This looks very weird and makes things a little bit better, but still not great.
As far as the stoker compartment goes, Kayla says that she is comfortable on the back half of the tandem. She does not ride a single, except for on the trainer in the winter for exercise. I think that she could probably be more comfortable on the bike (her usual complaints when we were able to ride outside were related to arm/shoulder tiredness/soreness). Moving the handlebars up may help with this, but we are limited by the height of my seat (her handlebars are level or a little bit lower than her seat height).
I can provide a picture of the setup when I get home.
We don't plan on doing any kind of loaded touring (Kayla says that vacations all come with a bed, hot and cold running water and preferably a restaurant dinner). Our ideal ride length is 40-100 miles and all that we carry is water and food. My big question is, staying with a 700C tandem, is there a non-custom tandem that would fit right? I have only ridden the cdale and wonder if there are tandems that really do fell like a single (nimble, quick line adjustments in a corner). This is probably opening up a can of worms, but if we do need to go custom to get something that really fits right, what company would you recommend. We live in Essex Jct VT.