My wife and I test road 4 tandems yesterday, two traditional and two recumbents. I'll discuss recumbents in that forum. So we rode the 2004 Santana Arriva SE and the 2004 Trek T2000. The Santana felt like we were fishtailing constantly, while the Trek felt smooth and didn't have that issue, therefore we liked the Trek ride better, which was the opposite that the store owner predicted and what I have read on these forums.
So here are my questions. The Trek is made of that new Klien designed ZR9000 aluminum - perhaps it is good stuff? The weight of my wife and I combined is almost 500lbs (it was over 500 until we started biking) and it will be less by the end of summer (it is our goal to get fit and healthy). Perhaps the high weight is causing the aluminum to feel smooth and the cromo to bend excessively?
Another idea I'm considering is we are new to tandems and only I ride a road bike on a regular basis where my wife rides the occasional mtb. The first ride was the Santana and I was riding as I do on my road bike and I have no idea what my wife was doing but we went out and back flopping around. I mentioned the feeling of the bike to the store owner before we took out the Trek and he said you have to work together - give into the feel of the bike all the time unless you booth together crank up a hill, etc. So on the Trek we road together and it was much more pleasant and didn't have any floppyness. So perhaps this is the reason - must learn to ride as a team. If we were both trying to ride as we normally do but not necessarily at the same time doing the same thing, would that cause the wobbles? By wobbles, I felt constantly trying to correct for the weight of the bike being shifted from one side to the other, like the back end was flopping left then right - and we were going straight.
The test rides were only 2 miles and it was our fist time on a tandem this year. We test rode a few last fall. We will test those two bikes again for a longer ride, like 10 miles each and see how it goes, but right now we both liked the Trek. We intend to ride a Cannondale tandem when it shows up as well since it seems to have a decent setup for just over $2k while the Trek and Santana were $3k each.
We looked for used but only found ones that were over 12 and 20 years old - nothing within a few hours drive that was only a few years old.
Any suggestions why we expierienced the floppies on the Santana that should have ridden like a cadilac would be helpful.
Mark & Laura