Any thoughts on this e-bay auction or other entry level tandem?.
There are quite a few companies popping up that are essentially distributors for bicycle frame manufacturers in Asia and Indonesia, e.g., FedEx uses one of these Chinese bicycle factories as the back drop for one of it's TV overseas shipping ads -- apparently a come-back to the UPS TV ad where a US and Italian bike shops are doing business with each other.
Anyway, your Ebay ad would appear to be yet another one of these low cost, no brand name tandems. Are they any good? You get what you pay for, which for many buyers, is OK with bikes like these, e.g., hi-ten steel (what your basic Schwinn Typhoon was made out of in the '60s), straight gauge chromoloy steel, straight gauge 6000 series aluminum, and even Titanium tandem frames are available depending on the source. Chucksbikes.com in Southern California has been selling it's "Tsunami" brand of bicycles for several years now and most folks who have purchased tandem frames from Chuck have been quite pleased with the frames given what they paid, whether the name on the downtube was Tsunami, Scott, or Look. http://www.chucksbikes.com/store/indexfr062.htm A gentleman named David Du has set up company in Canada called Aerolite and will sell you a Ti tandem frame for about $1,200. The workmanship is generally fair according to a few people who have purchased frames from him.
Mind you, like many Asian bicycles, the designs, tubing, and fabrication methods are not cutting edge, i.e., they aren't the lightest and stiffest frames in the world and the finish is also not necessarily on par with what you'd even see on a Cannondale; however, for many buyers it's just what they are looking for.
Brands such as DiamondBack/Raleigh, KHS, Schwinn are basically using the same factories to build many of their frames which may yield a better warranty for the same or similar frames. Components are components at these levels; again, you get what you pay for. The finish, weight, and longevity of the components tie into the cost. In many cases you can probably cobble together one of these tandem frames with higher-grade used components, e.g., Shimano 105, etc... for the same net cost as a fully assembled model from Schwinn/Raleigh, etc... if you are a shrewd shopper on Ebay or rec.bicycles.marketplace and do your own wrenching.
Again, so long as you recognize what it is you're buying and recognize that resale value will be proportionately low, you can certainly get started with one of these entry level frames. However, be sure you have a seller who will be there in a week/month/year if you have a problem. That's where the added value of names like Chucks, KHS, Raleigh, etc... come in to play.
Howdy from Duluth!
Just stopped to help some folks who had just shelled out $500+ for a brandnew Schwinn tandem. It sure looked cool! Bright red paint job, retro look cantilevered frame, cool looking springysaddles. Folks said dealer gave 'em a real good deal as the bike was to sell for $650.
They were stopped on the sidewalk fussing with the bike; the stoker's pedal had fallen apart on this their first ride and they were trying to fix it.
Never before have I seen such CHEAP pedals! They looked neat, rubber padded . . . but the rubber had fallen off already and exposed a piece of very cheap metal that clipped into a slot and also fell off, leaving just the spindle attached into the crankarm.
Tried to fix it, but to no avail. Suggested they go back to the dealer and get some other pedals put on. And that was on their first ride!
These products may look good, but beware; they would have been better off with a 70s Follis, Gitane or even Schwinn Twinn!
Moral of the story: anyone can make something it cheaper . . . and it usually is!