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  1. #1
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    Seeking Guidance: First venture into tandems

    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)?
    Last edited by fitzpgb; 08-05-09 at 12:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    There are a lot more people with more miles than us, but I will give you my opinions. Have been at it for 11 years. The first is already done. Sounds like you can coexist on the tandem. For some that both ride singles, that can be a challenge. So you want to do it once......
    Anyway, we tried a few before our first purchase, and ended up on a Cannondale. We now ride a Co Motion. Love the bike, handling is great. It is equipped with all Ultegra. Has been flawless. I need to swap my chain now, (tonight) so shifting is starting to get a tiny bit touchy. Just my opinion, but Dura Ace is light weight, but in general is not as durable for long term wear. The tandem puts more strain on the drivetrain, so I would stick with that. Just my opinion! Couplers. don't have them, so can't give any pros and cons, but make sense for what your intentions are. We went from aluminum to steel, and very happy with the change. We test rode an aluminum Santana, and weren't that thrilled with it. Our steel Co Motion weighed in close to our old Cannondale. I actually think it was less. We have a rear disc brake. Again going from the first one with just rim brakes, I wanted more. Once it seats and brakes in, it has worked well. We do not have the terrain that you have, but I would recommend that, or a drum. At least you can give the stoker something to do if she controls the drag brake. (Disc looks cool and high tech!) Keep up with maintainence, and adjustments, and you should have a blast. Tell her whats coming, or your back or butt will pay. (Smack or pinch from the stoker. depending on the severity of the infraction.) Enjoy and good luck.

    Paul

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    1. Couplers - Down side is cost; they bump-up the cost of a tandem by anywhere from 25% for something like a Periscope that only uses four to 30% on a Speedster. A Calfee goes from $4,773 (frame & fork) to $6,768 (frame & fork). Also, bear in mind that this only covers the cost of adding the couplers to the frame and does not include the cases which are the realm of $700 - $900 for two. Don't get me wrong, couplers are a wonderful convenience item so you just need to do your own cost-benefit analysis with respect to how fast you'll amortize the added cost. Finding a second-hand tandem with couplers and cases is definitely something to investigate.

    2. Comfort - Carbon is plush, but steel can be made to ride plush through careful selection of wheels and tires. However, if cost is no object then you owe it to yourself to test ride a Calfee... and, well, that'll likely be an eye & checkbook opening experience if you've ridden a few other tandems before hand.

    3. Performance - Components are a personal thing, so you'll need to wrestle with that one. As for handling, Co-Motion and Calfee are on the same page in the geometry / handling department. Having a stocking dealer near by will allow you to sample the different brands and that will resolve any other questions about handling: each brand tends to build all of their tandems to handle the same when comparing apples to apples.

    4. Brakes - Rim brakes with the option of installing a rear disc and/or drum remains a default recommendation. If you're a heavy team that will do loaded touring the drum may be a better choice. If you're just looking for belt & suspenders for the occasional epic ride with a challenging descent the disc provides that. I've not found anything that works better than a box-stock Avid BB7 Road w/203mm G2 Clean Sweep rotor. Our Calfee has front & rear rim brakes (dual calipers) and can be fitted with a rear disc when we feel like we'll need or want it. We ran it last winter just to get it broken-in but it's been back in the trip-kit since April.

    5. Sizing - Tandems tend to be sized for the Captain and use a middle-ground height for stokers that accommodates +/- size riders of a fairly wide range. Given that you and your wife are proportionally designed the same way most of Co-Motion's and Calfee's tandems are, you should do fine with a stock Small or Medium sized frame dependent on your inseam & reach. In fact, the 28.5mm stoker compartment will probably be adequate as well. I say adequate only because we favor longer rear stoker compartments as Debbie at 5'2" likes to have a little more breathing room while retainng her single bike riding position on the tandem, hence our tandems have stoker compartments that are about 1.5" longer than Co-Motion or Calfee's stock lengths. Again, this is a very personal thing and I'd venture a guess that 97% of the tandems on the road use stock length stoker compartments, even on many of the customs.

    6. Price - Dealers who sell tandems for a livelihood and the manufacturers do not typically discount new tandems. You can sometimes find New Old Stock (NOS) tandems or demo bikes being offered up by a diligent search of the internet, but other than a dealer / manufacturer throwing in custom sizing or a paint upgrade gratis when business is slow, you'll be hard pressed to get a deal unless you're a shop owner buying a personal bike and can get a non-stocking dealer wholesale discount from the manufacturer. When I last checked, Co-Motion and Calfee both had healthy backlogs so I don't think anyone's out there trolling for customers and chumming the waters with discounts.

    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).


    Nice list of great tandems. Just recognize the difference in price betweent the Speedster and Supremo is the upgraded / go-fast components; both models use the same heat treated Reynolds 725 tubeset on their coupled models that you find on the Primera, not the air hardened Reynolds 631 tubesets used on the non-coupled Speedster & Supremo. Yes, Calfee offers their Tetra Tandems with couplers ($1,995 option using the Aluminum S&S couplers), but not on the uber-light Dragonfly or their Bamboo frames.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 08-05-09 at 06:55 AM.

  4. #4
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    It sounds like you've already determined your needs and a great short list of long bikes that would answer them, and also got some expert advice here

    My slight addition - I had two tandems - santana visa and a nice classic Orbit - when I lived in uk and the kids were growing up. Lots of memorable rides, parents on front and kids on back from when they were 8 or so to 18 or so - and we used to drive a lot with both of them on the roof on a good roofrack/carrier to get to places throughout UK and Europe. Easy enough, stable at European motorway speeds, and on top of a 'compact' Ford Escort and Renault 'Savanna' wagon (called 'Nevada' when Renault still sold in USA).

    So, I don't feel S&S necessary for road trips. Adds money, weight and complexity. Get a specialist rack, put 'em on the roof. For air travel, again, I'd question the break-even for foreseeable trips' excess baggage charges against additional cost of the couplers. Might be 10 or so transcontinentals before S&S pays its way - and in that case, you might be one of BikeFriday's target customers for one of their very good folder tandems

    Enjoy the options

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=wobblyoldgeezer;9423813] with both of them on the roof

    The tandems, you understand I'm sure. We were kind enough to let the younger generation travel inside the car

    Enjoy the options

  6. #6
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Along with wobblyoldgeezer, I would not get Couplers for traveling with the tandem by car. The amount of work needed to take the bike apart and put it back together is not worth it, for car trip.

    For half the price of couplers, you can buy a great tandem rack for the car.

    Couplers start to make more sense for airline travel. However, you can travel with a tandem by air without couplers. We have a case for a full size tandem and fly with a full size non coupled tandem about once a year.

    Unless you fly alot, you're not going to recover the cost of the couplers, although they make flying more convenient.


    If you decide against Couplers, then that brings other bike possibilities into play, such as a Co-Motion Robusta, (or at your team weight a Macciato). I realize your point about comfort, but there is a lot to be said for oversized Aluminum for a tandem fram where lateral rigidity is really important.

    I think you'll find a Robusta will ride about as close to high end single bike as any tandem out there.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  7. #7
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    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).
    I don't think that most people with coupled tandems routinely break them down just to transport them in their car; that just seems like too much trouble. I have seen fully-assembled tandems carried in all imaginable ways, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    Criteria we are considering (more advice welcome)
    2. Comfort - (it will be the steel vs. carbon debate) + a stoker seat-post (I read all the comments)
    5. Sizing. I ride a 54cm and my wife virtual 47cm WSD (43cm actual). These tandem sizes are a bit confusing. 21x18, 22x19, etc.
    Standover height for the stoker is not as important with a tandem as with a single bike, but if you intend to get a stoker suspension seatpost (Thudbuster or PivotPlus) be sure that the stoker's seattube is short enough to accommodate the suspension mechanism. It would be the pits to purchase a bike that works OK with a regular seatpost and find out later that a suspension post makes it too high.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I would not get Couplers for traveling with the tandem by car. The amount of work needed to take the bike apart and put it back together is not worth it, for car trip.
    Consider how you might use the tandem and car for travel before dicounting the couplers.

    For example: I am planning a 1 way trip from home, San Jose,Ca to Cambria, Ca. Once in Cambria I will be able to easily break the bike into to sections and fit it in most rental cars. An uncoupled bike would require renting a larger vehicle which might not be available in rural locations locations.

  9. #9
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    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.
    We're not quite into our 50s, but close, and just a tad under 300 lb. Less performance riding on our singles than you.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    When we ride together it's the usual challenge - I go ahead and keeping looking back and she struggles 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.
    I think you've already figured this one out, but you can figure 3x the price of your single for a tandem you'll be happy with. Assuming it's new. And couplers are on top of that.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    My wife is worried about the price BUT also only wants to do this once (yeh, right).
    Sounds familiar. We bought a $7000+ custom as our first tandem so as to do it only once. We'll see. At this point we remain optimistic, but it's only been 5 months.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    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.
    Credit card or self-contained (after you buy the bike will you still be able to afford credit card touring? )
    The reason I ask is self-contained and carbon don't go together as well. Your rack (esp. front) choices being further limited than they already are. Specifically, you don't get braze-ons for a front rack, and attaching the rack to the forks with D-bolts is a little scary, since you'd be squeezing on carbon's weakest dimension. You could still pull a Bob, but that's heavier than an equivalent set of panniers (although not as expensive as a high end set - e.g. Arkels).
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    Criteria we are considering (more advice welcome)
    1. Couplers for travel (don't have a large vehicle and its seems to be the best way to travel).
    We have couplers, and I still don't know whether it was the right choice. In addition to the cost, which TG already pointed out, there's the weight - 2 pounds for six on a steel bike with a lateral tube. Proportionately less on a bike without a lateral. And less tubing choices for the frame builder, they say (although Bilenky does retrofits, without apparently asking about the frame). If you go back through the archives here and on Hobbes you'll likely get more heat than light on the topic. We can (barely) get the Bilenky into the back of our Prius, with just the two of us in the car, but ours is much larger than yours will be (I'm 6 1/4 feet tall). We expect to use the couplers mostly for partly breaking the bike down - a full breakdown being needed for flying, but a partial being sufficient for many purposes.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    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).
    I have XT and it works fine. Emphasize durability. The very high end tends to emphasize weight with little or no performance improvement. You will need to learn to both soft-pedal for downshifts on uphills, no matter what your drive train.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    4. Brakes (more debate, but I'm 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
    Easy to generate more heat than light on this one too. No pun intended. The rim vs. disk debate will go on and on. I have cantilevers on the rims and a drum. The drum comes off when not touring (should have gone on for last week's tour [including 1 20% downhill of about a km - with a stop sign at the bottom ], but we made it with no blowouts). The drum adds about 2 lb, but without the drum typical rim brakes are lighter than typical disks.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    5. Sizing. I ride a 54cm and my wife virtual 47cm WSD (43cm actual). These tandem sizes are a bit confusing. 21x18, 22x19, etc.
    The shop should be able to get this right. But if in doubt, look at all the geometry of your single, and see how well the geometry of the tandem matches. Sometimes takes some searching to get full geometry info. Some of it is at http://www.gtgtandems.com/dimensions.html
    For her, you won't get a perfect match, but there is more adjustability. Interference between her bars/hand and your legs may limit adjustability.
    Quote Originally Posted by fitzpgb View Post
    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)?

  10. #10
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chichi View Post
    Consider how you might use the tandem and car for travel before dicounting the couplers.

    For example: I am planning a 1 way trip from home, San Jose,Ca to Cambria, Ca. Once in Cambria I will be able to easily break the bike into to sections and fit it in most rental cars. An uncoupled bike would require renting a larger vehicle which might not be available in rural locations locations.
    I understand if you're going to be travelling with trains, planes, rental cars, couplers are an advantage. (but you still need to consider how frequently you're going to do so.)

    My point to the OP was that couplers really aren't a time effective answer for getting the bike around by car to the start of group rides, centuries, etc. because the hassle factor isn't worth it for trips like that.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  11. #11
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Just a few comments from someone with a grand total of 700 miles on our tandem.

    Steel Frame: We test rode a steel Co-motion, steel daVinci and an Aluminum Santana. Regardless of frame material a CF fork made a big difference. The Co-motion was not so equpped and I received a lot of road vibration through the handlebars. That isn't to say that certain roads won't be capable of given the captain a buzz regardless of technology. Our steel frame daVinci provides an extremely good ride for the Captain and the Thudbuster stoker seat post works well. Maybe with a CF frame and depending upon stoker weight you can skip the Thudbuster, but there is no way to alert the stoker in time for every unseen bump. If you're riding with an SO I'd go Thudbuster. I'm sure CF is a fabulous ride, lighter, etc. and if cost is almost no object I'm not sure there is a downside.

    Riding Challenges: Two experienced cyclists (you and your wife) will get the mechanics down pretty quickly, but as captain will still have to deal with the difference in your abilities. Descending and rolling on the flats will be no problem whatsoever; the speed will be gratifying and could easily be made terrifying on a downhill. Climbing is a different story. It is taking me a while to understand my wife's climbing ability and to put us in the right gear. We have four chainrings and if I wait too long or misread a climb the load on the drivetrain makes it almost impossible to shift the FD. There is a natural tendency for the load to shift toward the captain as I try to adjust my climbing expectations downward. You can be lonely in a crowd of singles on a tandem as they pass you on the uphill and you blow by on the downhill and in the flats.

    General Comments: Best money my wife and I have spent in 5 years. We really can ride together. We're using a wireless intercom which greatly improves the experience; things get pretty noisy at tandem speeds and my hearing isn't what it used to be.
    Rick T
    --------
    Volagi - Triple"ized" and Tubeless
    daVinci Joint Venture

  12. #12
    Senior Member CGinOhio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    My point to the OP was that couplers really aren't a time effective answer for getting the bike around by car to the start of group rides, centuries, etc. because the hassle factor isn't worth it for trips like that.
    Not true regarding time and hassle of short trips. It is quite easy and little fuss. The front third on a Co-Mo can be on and off in a couple minutes. We can usually get our Speedster out of our Toyota Matrix and be ready as fast or faster than those on trunk racks with both wheels off.

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGinOhio View Post
    Not true regarding time and hassle of short trips. It is quite easy and little fuss. The front third on a Co-Mo can be on and off in a couple minutes. We can usually get our Speedster out of our Toyota Matrix and be ready as fast or faster than those on trunk racks with both wheels off.
    You have to take apart 3 couplers, and 3 cables. Then when you've got it apart you need secure the 2 ends of the bike in the vehicle in a fashion that they don't scratch each other or something else.

    And if you have a smaller car, you're going to need to further disassemble the bike.

    I'm assuming, but stand to be corrected, that when you reassemble the bike you'd want to check the cable adjustments to make sure the derailleurs are still hitting perfectly.


    Conversely to put a tandem on a draftmaster rack is a matter of taking the front wheel off, about a 10 second job.

    Obviously different people have different preferences and needs. To me, unless you're doing a lot of air travel, I'd rather save the money, 2 pounds of weight, and not have limitations on frame choices.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  14. #14
    I'd rather be riding DKMcK's Avatar
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    I'm going to throw a different thought process at you. We're relatively new to tandeming, having purchased our first tandem about nine months ago, a gently used Cannondale with several performance upgrades (carbon fork, lighter wheels, lighter breaks, better seats). This is a nice ride with much less investment than you're considering. We plan to ride this one a few years to give us a feel for likes and dislikes of the tandem experience, then upgrade to the "dream bike". We anticipate passing the Cannondale on for close to our investment. We were simply not comfortable making the new bike investment without more knowledge. During this learning period we're doing what we can to meet other tandem teams and learn from them. We've joined the local tandem club, participated in a tandem rally (GREAT TIME, and wow, the dream bikes!), and joined as many tandem rides as we can. Other tandem teams are more than eager to share their experiences and opinions. I must admit that what i thought my dream bike would be last year is different that what i would choose today.

    Good luck!

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    In Colorado

    From what you've described, sounds like you will enjoy a tandem. Our situation is quite similar and the tandem has been the equalizer for us. We love it.

    As a fellow Coloradoan, be mindful of the climbing and descending. You have outlined some big rides for a tandem. As you are probably aware, a tandem can go very fast downhill and slow up long climbs. Does your stoker mind going fast downhill on her single? We have a Supremo with rim brakes (sometimes wish we had disc brakes) and it took a few thousand miles or so to get more used to the speed on some downhills. Maybe a drum brake depending on your comforts with speed?

    Also, FWIW, we briefly rode a friends coupled Supremo and we couldn't believe how much smoother the ride is than ours (their is 2006 and ours is 2001). We swapped their 32 spoked wheels (I think) with our Rolf's to see how much difference the wheels were for our bike and it was significantly smoother. For comfort, you may consider more traditional spoked wheelsets.

    Good luck.

  16. #16
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    We're in Colorado as well. We have an older (1998) steel Co-Motion w/couplers. We got a drum brake on the advice of some experts but rarely use it (it sits in box in the garage). The brakes are "V" brakes. We've never done the Triple Bypass but have done Ride the Rockies 3 times. You might need a hub (disc or drum) brake if one of you doesn't like speed. Otherwise rim brakes are fine for most applications. The last time we used it was descending Mt. Evans (I was glad to have it then).

    The couplers make airline travel easier but not easy. It is still a trade-off. However if you are both avid cyclists and dream of cycling vacations together, I think they are worth it.

    If your stoker likes being a stoker, you've won 90% of the battle. The rest is just details. The secret to successful tandeming is a happy stoker.

    I seem to remember a someone in Vail selling a Calfee (on craigslist, I think) for a pretty good deal though the captain's position was pretty small.

    Welcome & good luck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    PS - though some do, we never take the bike apart for local auto transport. We got a Tandem Topper roof rack that works quite well.

  18. #18
    Tandem Mountain Climber
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    Quote Originally Posted by chichi View Post
    Consider how you might use the tandem and car for travel before dicounting the couplers.

    For example: I am planning a 1 way trip from home, San Jose,Ca to Cambria, Ca. Once in Cambria I will be able to easily break the bike into to sections and fit it in most rental cars. An uncoupled bike would require renting a larger vehicle which might not be available in rural locations locations.
    You'd be surprised what you can fit an uncoupled tandem into.

    We fit both our Santana and the Calfee into our 98 Civic 4dr, with both front seats in their normal positions, back seats folded down.

    Only had to:
    - take off both wheels
    - loosen stoker stem

    I have a pic I can post later.

    We usually used a trunk rack with the front wheel removed, and the bars turned for the Santana, but we would put it in the car for road trips.

    We have decided it's easy enough to load the bike inside, that we will not be using the rack on the Calfee (it will always be inside).

  19. #19
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebsterBikeMan View Post
    ...I think you've already figured this one out, but you can figure 3x the price of your single for a tandem you'll be happy with. Assuming it's new. And couplers are on top of that.

    The new tandem will be 3X the cost of your single???? I think that will depend on what you are riding. I have a Calfee which isn't the cheapest of tandems and it was maybe 20-30% more expensive than my single bike...
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  20. #20
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    Lot's of good advice here.

    The only thing that I would point out is that you can descend thousands of feet in elevation without ever touching the brakes on roads that are designed for speeds of 50mph or more. On these roads there is no need for a disk or drum brake unless you are a heavy team or are loaded for touring. On the other hand, if you get on a road with steep descents and hairpin turns where you are running from 40-50 mph to 10-20 mph to make it around the corner with short distances in between a disk or drum is really nice to have around. Especially if it is hot out. Consequently some riders will never see the reason for having a disk or drum brake while others will see it as being mandatory equipment - depending upon where they ride. People on this forum come from all over and there is a wide range of experiences. I think that it is important to keep this in mind when viewing the drag vs no drag brake debate - opt for the experience that most closely matches your own.

    We are in California and view a drag brake as being mandatory equipment. The disk is much lighter and I find has more stopping power than a drum. On our tandem the captain controls the rim brakes while the stoker controls the rear disk brake. This setup was recommended by our bike builder and another couple that rides brevets like we do. While it takes some getting use to, we have grown to like it for the steep technical stuff. (A typical training ride of ours goes down a very steep hill that has been used by the Tour of California many times for example.)

    Have fun on the tandem.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    The new tandem will be 3X the cost of your single???? I think that will depend on what you are riding. I have a Calfee which isn't the cheapest of tandems and it was maybe 20-30% more expensive than my single bike...
    Is that because you were on a RAAM tandem team sponsored by Calfee or because your long distance Colnago single costs so much

  22. #22
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    The Tandem Cycle Works folks know their tandem stuff. There will be no bickering on price but maybe a free rear rack or some bottlecages? Or a deal on last years model or a demo that fits properly.
    Get to test ride as many models/brands as you are interested in.
    S&S is an expen$ive, and perhaps unnecessary, expenditure unless you will take a multitude of airplane trips. Even today folks have been charged for S&S tandems packed in suitcases . . .
    A carbon forks will be a plus; a full carbon tandem would be even nicer.
    Suspension seatpost may not be needed on steel or c/f bike; however on aluminum it almost becomes a necessity
    Would not suggest to do the Triple Bypass as a first time century as tandem newbies.
    Have ridden 325 miles in 3 days with 22,000+ feet of climbing, finishing at 103 degrees in our younger days (were in our late 50s then). Stoker did not wish to repeat that event the next year (it snowed anyway), although she has over one hundred centuries to her credit.
    As for equipment . . . Ultegra is pretty well D/A from a couple seasons ago.
    Brakes? Would go with V-brakes with *option* for either drum or disc, in rear only.
    In our 225,000+ miles of tandeming, we have ridden down some long twisty mountains with only canti brakes; with V-brakes; with caliper on front and V brake in rear. All worked fine.
    Heck, for a first tandem you could be better off buying a good used one; after a year of riding you'll be a lot more knowledgeable and know what you like/dislike.
    Buying a tandem 'just once' is like saying: have sex . . . 'but just once'!
    You control the purse, you decide!
    Good luck.
    Pedal on TYWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  23. #23
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reversegear View Post
    Is that because you were on a RAAM tandem team sponsored by Calfee or because your long distance Colnago single costs so much
    Probably a little of both I guess...

    Speaking of brakes, one of my stokers once pointed out that most all tandems have a stoker emergency brake. Whether they have actual control with a brake lever or not. The brake cable runs along the top tub...maybe I should keep my mouth shut...
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  24. #24
    Cyclist- Bike 'n a half
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I'm assuming, but stand to be corrected, that when you reassemble the bike you'd want to check the cable adjustments to make sure the derailleurs are still hitting perfectly.
    When you reassemble the bike you definitely want to check everything, including the cables.

    So far, in the half dozen or so re-assemblies we've made, when we did check, no cable adjustments were needed.

    Key to this, is too make sure the bike is properly serviced and adjusted before you take it apart and careful packing to make sure that adjustment sensitive components are well protected.

    The only issue/panic I've ever had was with a stuck seatpost when I went to pack the bike two days before a trip. Now I check, disassemble and re-grease seatposts, crank arms and similar items a week or two before departure to avoid any last minute surprises.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regomatic View Post
    Now I check, disassemble and re-grease seatposts,

    Just a word of caution. If you own a carbon bike do not grease the seatpost or you will be really bummed when you next sit on the bike!
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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