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  1. #1
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    Stoker comfort - drop bars vs bull horns

    The wife and I rode our new tandem for the first time last night (bought it used, inexpensive) and the stoker was hitting her knees when she stood up to pedal. I pushed the stem length in as far as it would go and it gave some relief. My question is, would replacing the drop bars in favor of the bullhorns provide more comfort (and room) for the stoker? She is 5.7" with narrow shoulder width.

  2. #2
    Year-round cyclist
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    If the cockpit is too short, it might bring more comfort when sitting, because her hands would be ahead of the stem clamp. IOW, it's like if you were shortening the stem by an extra 20 mm.

    However, I think most bullhorn bars are rather wide, so her hands are _outside_ your hips, rather than through them. Because of that, she might feel like she is doing a split.

    As for comfort when standing, I don't know. If she was hitting her knees on the drops, it would help, but if she was hitting the horizontal straight part, then it wouldn't change a thing.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supercourse
    would replacing the drop bars in favor of the bullhorns provide more comfort (and room) for the stoker? She is 5.7" with narrow shoulder width.
    No, unless she's hitting her knees on the ends of the drops.. in which case it would help.

    If it's the flat section of the bar that she's hitting then both the drop and bull horn bars will have the same interference problem.

    As for giving her more room, i.e., extending her reach, it has been suggested by one builder that bull horn bars provide an additional 1" of reach for the stokers. However, that extra 1" of reach puts the stoker 1" closer to the captain's backside which, depending on your point of view, may or may not be a source of more comfort.

    In closing, it's hard to make any strong recommendations at this point given the limited number of data points to work with. For example, you could certainly position her to be more upright using a "stem riser" to eliminate the knee interference, but sitting upright can easily prove to be a greater source of discomfort for seasoned riders vs. "spooning" the backside of their captain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Another possible solution: move her saddle all the way back; should give her a bit more knee space.

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay

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