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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 07-16-09, 08:43 AM   #1
Nexus7
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Nobody buys Schwinn Sierra Tandem?

I see that this bike's been made at least since 2007, however there is but 1 posting mentioning it in this forum. We are looking for our first tandem, and there doesn't seem to be much choice out there. The Schwinn Sierra is the only aluminum frame bike, that has a suspension and disk brakes, and until the stimulus money really kicks in, the streets around here (Chicago) demand both. I suppose the penalty is weight, but no manufacturer quotes weight anyhow. Very few LBS have tandems, and the closest ones have only Schwinns.

So, has anyone had any experience with this bike? Also, the top tubes are configured oddly, does this affect stiffness (or other frame attributes)?

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Old 07-16-09, 09:38 AM   #2
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Personally, I'd look at a KHS Tandemania Sport in that price range.

I'd be leary of a suspension fork on a $1,000 tandem. When you start putting lots of bells and whistles, such as suspension, and disc brakes on a relatively inexpensive bike, often times the quality of those bells and whistles may not be too high.
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Old 07-16-09, 09:49 AM   #3
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2009 Sierra Tandem

Quote:
FULL SPECIFICATIONS

Frameset
Frame: Schwinn Custom Drawn 'N Litened Gold Label aluminum with Comfort Tuned tandem. Fork: RST Gila Pro suspension fork with alloy crown and 80mm travel Drivetrain
Bottom Bracket: Trucative semi-cartridge bolt type Derailleurs: SRAM X-4 rear, SR Suntour XCR front Shifters: SRAM X-4 Impulse Triggers Chain: KMC Z-72 Wheels
Rims: DM-17 doulbe wall alloy 36 holes Hubs: Joy Tech Alloy double sealed disc Spokes: 14 gauge stainless steel, 36 per wheel Tires: 26"x1.9" Schwinn Approved city tread Components
Pedals: Resin comfort pedal with steel axle Brake Levers: Tektro forged alloy Handlebar: 50mm rise, 25 degree bend Stem: Alloy 1 1/8" treadless A-head 25deg / alloy stoker Headset: 1 1/8" threaded Grips: Schwinn Comfort-Tuned Dual density Grips Saddle: Comfort Tuned with Schwinn Super Soft foam Seat Post: Alloy suspension with micro adjustment clamp rear, alloy front Extras
Extras: Alloy quick release seat binder
http://www.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/P...-Sierra-Tandem



A very interesting-looking tandem. I think that if the welds are properly done, then the frame should be stiff enough and you'll have a lower stand over. A frame like this on one of those old "gas-pipe" steel tandems would feel flexy and noodle-like. How much is it going for?


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Old 07-16-09, 09:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I'd be leary of a suspension fork on a $1,000 tandem.

Also looking at it, the downtube is steeply angled and the bottom brackets don't appear to have much ground clearance (i.e. for a mountain style frame) so how much could the suspension fork compress anyway before the bottom strikes say...a deep pothole?


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Old 07-16-09, 10:05 AM   #5
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We'll find out the retail price this weekend, the MSRP is $1200. Interestingly, the 2008 models (at MSRP $999) appear to have better components - sealed BB as opposed to semi-sealed, Quando hubs vs Joytech. How much difference there is in the low-end components is debatable of course.

The fork travel is only 80 mm, so I don't think the BB will bottom out.
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Old 07-16-09, 10:06 AM   #6
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Hmmm.. I see there are KHS dealers in my zipcode, so we will visit them this weekend.
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Old 07-16-09, 12:34 PM   #7
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How about this one?
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/1267477352.html

A few observations:
We looked at KHS tandems earlier this spring. I don't believe anyone in Chicago will have them in stock, so you may have to buy them without putting a testride on it. I suggest you call ahead to see who carries what.

Your requirement includes disc brakes due to the nature of Chicago streets I ride City streets in Chicago year round and I don't have one bike (tandem or single) with disc brakes. I never had any problem with stopping. I also think the consensus on this forum is that modern V-brakes or caliper brakes provide plenty of stopping power for an average tandem team on flat roads.

If you are a little flexible in the suspension and disc brake requirements you may find that have more choices.

Lastly Village Cycle sport in Elk Grove Village is the only bike shop in Chicagoland that specializes in tandems. Maybe you can give them a call and see whether they carry anything in your price range?
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Old 07-16-09, 01:55 PM   #8
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Re: duppie's posting, the Tandemania does look interesting.

About buying KHS sight unseen - I've done so in the past (Downtube, Dekra) when the bikes have looked interesting and locally unavailable. However this being a bike for 2 people, and being that there are several unknowns (a lot fewer thanks to the BF archives), this is going to have to be a local purchase.

And as for the streets of Chicago, I think a suspension would be a great help. As you've said, disk brakes might not be necessary.

Thanks.
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Old 07-17-09, 09:37 AM   #9
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And as for the streets of Chicago, I think a suspension would be a great help. As you've said, disk brakes might not be necessary.

Thanks.
I don't believe any of the major manufacturers put suspension forks on their road tandems.

To me, a front suspension fork for road riding is a bit of a gimmick. Also at the price point of the bike, money going into a good suspension fork is money that can't be used elsewhere. And a cheap suspension fork would likely be worse than no suspension fork at all.

Also the bike has very wide tires. Big tires run with a little bit lower pressure offer all the suspension you need, even for riding on rough roads.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:35 PM   #10
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Wide tires, proper fit, good gloves and padded cycling shorts and/or spring saddle eliminate most of the issues of riding on rough roads.
Chicago is by no means the only place in the US with bad pavement!
Agree that suspesnion fork on a $1,200 tandem will not be the greatest.
A good tandem specific suspension fork will set you back a thousand bucks . . .
The Scwinn tandem frame looks sturdy enough and the odd tube arrangement makes for easy step-through mounting (great for shorter folks).
Give KHS a seious look!
Just our input.
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Old 07-24-09, 05:03 AM   #11
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Schwinn

In that price range take a look at the Trek T900, we own one and it's been solid on road and even off road.
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Old 08-03-09, 05:39 PM   #12
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Anyone actually bought a Schwinn Sierra Tandem?

I appreciate the analysis and comments here from many knowledgeable tandem bikers. They are very helpful. But so far, nobody here has actually bought one. I think it will be more helpful to get some reviews from people after they have used it for awhile. Anyone actually bought a Schwinn Sierra Tandem?
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Old 08-04-09, 08:00 AM   #13
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^ I think the absence of any first hand experience being posted also tells you something.

It's probably not a bad bike for recreational use. However, it appears Schwinn has put their money in this bike into gimmicks. Thus it appears you could get a cheaper cruiser, or alternatively a more capable road tandem for $1200.

My bet is that most folks have reached a similar conclusion and that's why there haven't been many sold (and therefore not a large pool of potential posters.)
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Old 08-04-09, 08:32 AM   #14
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^ I think the absence of any first hand experience being posted also tells you something.

It's probably not a bad bike for recreational use. However, it appears Schwinn has put their money in this bike into gimmicks. Thus it appears you could get a cheaper cruiser, or alternatively a more capable road tandem for $1200.

My bet is that most folks have reached a similar conclusion and that's why there haven't been many sold (and therefore not a large pool of potential posters.)
I would guess that this forum is a biased sample for how many have been sold. There appear to be two categories of posters here, with the (relatively rare) exceptions. In the first category are the hard-core tandemists. The vast majority of these folks ride what many would call mid-range or high-end tandems. For the most part they've ridden for some time, and many have ridden more than one tandem. Whether they ride recreationally, competitively, or tour, folks in this category rarely own a tandem with a three-digit price tag. For one reason or another, they tend to have long term posting histories. Or should I say those with long term posting histories tend to fall into this group.

In the other category are folks new to tandeming, who can't justify the four digit price tag that many of us find ourselves living with. Many of them are in the "recreational" category, which, of course, is very broad. Some of them ride/will ride a maximum of 10-15 miles at a time, and primarily on quiet streets/paths or parks. They come seeking a little information they've had trouble finding elsewhere, they get the information, and shortly after they buy a bike we don't hear from them again. This could be for various reasons. One (unfortunately) being that they wind up hating the bike and conclude tandeming is not for them. But the opposite reason being they wind up with just what they need, and have no further need for the forum.

I guess my point is those who are happy with such a bike as the Schwinn or similar bikes tend not to be on the forum. But they may or may not exist.

That said, a shop that knows what they are doing and can stand behind it if various trivial parts fail (like the famous pedal falling apart) is an important consideration.
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Old 08-04-09, 10:00 AM   #15
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I'd be leary of a suspension fork on a $1,000 tandem. When you start putting lots of bells and whistles, such as suspension, and disc brakes on a relatively inexpensive bike, often times the quality of those bells and whistles may not be too high.
That's what I think too. When you have a limited budget I'd rather spend that budget on quality than on bells and whistles.
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Old 08-04-09, 10:01 AM   #16
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^^That's a valid point. But usually when we're talking about moderately priced tandems, there are some people with experience that chime in on lower priced Burleys, KHS's, entry priced Treks, even the Lamborghini.

I would take no first hand experience with the Schwinn from anybody on here, as one data point, albeit potentially skewed, to be considered.
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Old 08-04-09, 10:37 AM   #17
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.,.. lower priced ... KHS's, ...
Speaking of which, and totally off topic, last week while we were on tour, my son and I did a side trip to a grocery store in Penn Yan (NY), where we saw a bike or two locked up when we parked our tandem. As we came out of the store another couple came out - one of the many varieties of Conservative or Old Order Mennonite/Amish, looked to be in their late 60s or early seventies, he with the straw hat, she in a cape dress (or the like). Only after they got on their KHS Tandemania did I realise they had a tandem - I commented "Hey, it's a tandem", and they replied that they're loving it. (This was the second tandem and last tandem we saw (other than our own) in seven days' touring; the first was a Santana Sovereign, totally unloaded, which we rode with for perhaps 10 miles, until our age (that is mine and my wife/stoker's) and 60 pounds of gear got the best of us).
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Old 08-04-09, 02:12 PM   #18
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And I won't be able to comment on the Schwinn either (at least for a while) since we've put the idea off. We went and rode a Trek T900 at the store in Elk Grove village, and a few yards down the parking lot, my fiancee (as stoker) got totally disoriented and uneasy. She didn't enjoy the captain position either, since it felt very different than the single she rides (a lot). So that's that for some time!

Thanks for all the input in this thread.
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Old 08-05-09, 05:03 PM   #19
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I like to ride bike but I am not a bicyclist. I just want an inexpensive tandem so I can ride with my 10 year old daughter to do some short (15 to 30 miles) local trail ride together. No serious riding is planned.

I have tried the Trek T900 tandem at a local bike shop also. The frame was a little high for us (Im only 5 5 and the 10 year old stoker 4 6). The stoker complained that she could feel every bump on the road.

The standard size Schwinn Sierra tandem was lower than the Trek T900. The Schwinn sierra tandem even has a smaller frame 2 inches lower than the standard size. But the bike shop did not have the smaller frame available for us to try. The Schwinn Sierra tandem we tried was much more comfortable than the Trek T900. I believe the suspension fork, the suspension stoker seatpost, and the soft seats did soften the ride. The stoker did not complain about the bumps on the road.
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Old 08-07-09, 09:06 AM   #20
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Busy,

So... did you buy it?
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Old 08-07-09, 03:04 PM   #21
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Nexus7,

No, I have not bought it yet. I want to see comments from any previous owners to see if they have encountered any major problems with it.

I would recommend you to try a few more tandems to see if your fiancee would like it better. Every tandem I have tried feel quite different. The other tandem I have tried was a Raleigh Companion. It feels sturdy with decent components but was quite heavy. It did not absorb bumps as well as the Schwinn Sierra. I like its shifter much better than the Schwinn. Its finger-triggered shifter was able to shift much more positively than the grip shift on the Schwinn.
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