I'm new to the Forum, but have lots of years of experience riding a single road bike - currently a 2005 Specialized Roubaix Pro (carbon/Dura Ace). My wife has been riding a road bike (2007 Trek Pilot 5.2 - Carbon/Ultegra). I do a number of centuries very year, including the fun TipleByPass, and do a lot of mountain pass climbing (live in Colorado). She has done a few events but not a century (did up to 80 miles). We are both in our 50s and would be a 300+lb team. When we ride together it's the usual challenge - I go ahead and keeping looking back and she struggle trying to catch up. So, we decided to explore a tandem! I've also being lurking around the Tandem forum and gathering all the great wisdom.
We are lucky to live near Denver and their is a local tandem specialist store - Tandem Cycle Works of Colorado. They sell KHS, Co-Motion and Calfee. Last week, they let us have a KHS (a bit of a tractor with no clips) to go tandem training and play in a local park for several hours. We quickly got "trained" and enjoyed testing out our tandem skills - only about 25-30 miles, but did lots of start/stops, emergency stops, etc. (what a lot of shifting). My wife loved it - we even passed a single Pinarello (briefly)!
Now for the challenge. Next we want to go test drive 2-3 bikes. My wife is worried about the price BUT also only wants to do this once (yeh, right). She went through the experience of buying four bikes before she settled on the Trek - liked the geometry, carbon feel and handling. Expensive experience.
So, what do we want to do with the tandem:
1. She wants to do a century together - suggested the TripleByPass (120 miles 10,500 ft @ up to 12,000ft).
2. Would like to do some multi-day tours of Colorado (Ride the Rockies, Bicycle Tour of Colorado, etc.)
3. Long-term would like to go touring in North America and Europe.
Criteria we are considering (more advice welcome)
1. Couplers for travel (don't have a large vehicle and it's seems to be the best way to travel).
2. Comfort - (it will be the steel vs. carbon debate) + a stoker seat-post (I read all the comments)
3. Performance - shifting (Dura Ace versus Ultegra debate), handling and climbing (Colorado).
4. Brakes (more debate, but I've being pushed toward disk, at least in the rear). I've had a blow-out on Hooser Pass (steep winding decent). Rear only? Both? What brand
5. Sizing. I ride a 54cm and my wife virtual 47cm WSD (43cm actual). These tandem sizes are a bit confusing. 21x18, 22x19, etc.
6. Price. I know I paid a lot less for my first car! Do they negotiate price? We do want to get it right (right bike first, then we worry about price).
The bikes we are looking at testing:
1. Co-motion Speedster Co-Pilot (couplers)
2. Co-motion Supremo Co-Pilot
3. Calfee Tetra S&S (maybe, don't know if they have the S&S version, but want to try the carbon).
What say you oh wise-ones? Opinions on these bikes? Features I should have (at least now)?