Originally Posted by markm109
I have never seen a tandem on single track mtb trails. If you going to go on rail trails or gravel roads, look at the road tandem, it is much faster and more versitile. [snip] Really think about what a tandem could be used for - it is very long - not good for going around sharp corners or over steep hills.
You'll forgive me for sticking my nose in the tent on this, but I must disagree with your assessment on the feasibility of off-road tandems. While anyone who has never ridden a tandem designed for off-road use off-road would intuitively think it would be nearly impossible, it's just not the case.
We and many other couples around the world routinely assault single-track on off-road tandems designed specifically for that purpose. It's not necessarily easy and, yes, you do occasionally have to dismount and lift the pig over large obstacles. Also, like all off-road cycling, it carries with it some risk; however, it's really a blast and what I think is the best way for someone who likes to ride single track to enjoy it with a less-accomplished off-road riding partner. As to how popular it is, after getting into off-road tandeming back in '98 with our first off-road tandem -- a C'dale MT3000 with Moto FR fork -- we quickly discovered there were quite a few other off-road tandem enthusiasts... enough to support the start-up of a discussion forum dedicated to the sport. The discussion forum is called Double Forte and there is a companion Web site for the discussion forum at this URL: http://home.att.net/~double_forte
You will find links to the YahooGroups forum on the home page.
For a little more information about off-road tandem riding you can find an article I wrote a few years back for the Tandem Club of America's quarterly publication, "Doubletalk" called "DOUBLING IT IN THE DIRT!! An Off-Road Tandem Primer & Review of the Ventana El Conquistador de Montaņas" at this link: http://home.att.net/~mark.livingood/VentanaReview.html
We've since sold-off the red Ventana discussed in that article. This is a link to information regarding our 2nd Ventana ECdM: http://home.att.net/~mark.livingood/02Ventana.html
Since Aletongue is in the market for an off-road tandem I would be remiss for not mentioning that interest in the sport was even substantial enough that we helped a friend of ours who has been a very active off-road cycling advocate, author, and event promoter to start up an off-road tandem speciality business. Alex has put a lot of couples onto hardtail and full-suspension off-road tandems over the past couple of years, here and abroad: http://www.MTBTandems.com
Finally, I would note that a 26" wheeled tandem is actually a very versitile machine By changing out your 3" wide knobbies for a set of high pressure slicks, you can easily use it on the road and run with the big dogs on all but the fastest pace lines where your somewhat reduced gear range (smaller diameter tire + smaller chainrings) will leave you spinning out a bit sooner than the 700c bikes with their 54t big rings. I would also note that road riding on your tandem will greatly benefit your off-road riding as it allows you to focus more attention on smoothing out your pedal stroke and "intuitive" team skills.
Last edited by livngood; 06-17-04 at 08:51 PM.