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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 10-06-09, 08:13 PM   #1
George Handy
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How much does a bike like that cost?

We're frequently asked by non-cyclists how much our 2006 Co-Mo Cappuccino costs. I really don't want to reveal the real cost, nor do I want to say something like 'Two hundred dollars!!' and have them know I'm jerking them around. My answer now is 'As much as my first new car!'. That first new car was a 1979 Honda Civic, and it was about $4600, pretty close to what the bike ran us.
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Old 10-06-09, 08:39 PM   #2
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I really don't want to reveal the real cost...
I guess it always depends on who's asking and why....

If figure if someone is asking a serious question and really wants to know I might as well tell them; it's all a matter of public record for most bikes if someone is willing to look up the prices.

If someone is making small talk I'll ask them something like, "what do you think would be a lot?" If they guess too high, then it's not quite a lot. If they low ball, it's a lot more than a lot.

If it's anyone else in passing I'll simply quote J.P. Morgan who purportedly replied when asked as to the cost of one of his yachts, "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it."

And, no... that's not limited to our bikes. It's applies to just about anything.
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Old 10-06-09, 09:12 PM   #3
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As much as two good single bikes.
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Old 10-06-09, 11:05 PM   #4
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If it just as casual inquiry, ask them to guess.
Have had folks ask that and they guessed way low; told them 'add a couple more zeroes . . .'
However if it's somone that is serious about cycling/tandeming then tell 'em a ball park figure.
Had someone ask me price about tandems today on the phone. Asked them 'what's your budget allow?'
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Old 10-07-09, 06:58 AM   #5
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If its a casual rider/non-rider I usually respond that they can get an inexpensive used tandem on eBay for about $500, if this satisfies their curiosity then I drop it. I've found that the $500 number usually gets a "wow, that much?" reaction and if they continue to ask I say that our bike costs a little more because its a "road bike" and you can't buy them at Walmart. For serious riders they tend to already know the cost of good equipment so the "as much as two singles" answer works well.
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Old 10-07-09, 07:32 AM   #6
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I don't care if someone asks how much it costs, it is what it is. I just tell them that if they bought it in the store at retail it'd be around 15 grand. The silence afterward usually gives me time to escape...
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Old 10-07-09, 07:33 AM   #7
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If its a casual rider/non-rider I usually respond that they can get an inexpensive used tandem on eBay for about $500,
"How much does a tandem cost?" is a completely different question which, I agree, requires a very different answer.

The OP's comment was, "We're frequently asked by non-cyclists how much our 2006 Co-Mo Cappuccino costs", which is a very specific question and as the OP notes, not all that unusual. People tend to want to know what things cost when they simply don't have a point of reference.

Non-cyclists tend to think in terms of a few hundred bucks for a bike, since they never set foot in bike shops and may only have the price tag hanging off a bike at a big-box / department store as a point of reference.

The very idea that a tandem bicycle could cost thousands of dollars, never mind five-figures is mind-blowing even to the average cyclist who may drop $500 - $1000 on a nice bike.
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Old 10-07-09, 07:41 AM   #8
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If it just as casual inquiry, ask them to guess.
Have had folks ask that and they guessed way low; told them 'add a couple more zeroes . . .'
However if it's somone that is serious about cycling/tandeming then tell 'em a ball park figure.
Had someone ask me price about tandems today on the phone. Asked them 'what's your budget allow?'
That's pretty much my approach too.

If it's somebody who is interested in buying a new tandem, that's one thing. If it's somebody who is just curious, I'd prefer not to get into a prolonged discussion on a topic they no nothing and care little about.
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Old 10-07-09, 08:06 AM   #9
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I think that ideally once you determine the nature of the inquiry (e.g. serious: might actually buy one or just being curious...) then you can decide whether you can gut it up and just tell them the truth.

It wouldn't be much different than someone asking you how much that Mercedes, Lexus or Jaguar costs (i.e. when their car is a Hyundai) or that Nikon SLR when they have a disposable camera.

The reason for considering this is that for afficionados of any hobby, be it high-end audio equipment, culinary cookware, photography, guns, archery, motorcycling, etc. there is bound to be a different scale of cost vs. benefit than the general public.

I sometimes get rolled eyeballs when answering how much I spent on certain cameras, compound and recurve archery bows, and motorcycling but I enjoy telling them in conversation as these people just don't know any better.

I know there might be some shocked amazement if people found out how much we spend on our toys, but also many of them would likely just politely whistle and appreciate the honesty (they can always find out later anyway if they didn't like the coyness and then they might think you were a snobby jerk for not telling them).

Why should anybody cower in silent embarrassment over what they spent (or can afford to spend) for a piece of equipment for a sport that you truly enjoy? You already made that decision (i.e. that it was worth it to you) when you bought it. Stand up and be proud dammit!

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I really don't want to reveal the real cost, nor do I want to say something like 'Two hundred dollars!!'
That being said, for me personally I actually can truthfully tell them "$200 delivered." And then more than that amount for a Blackburn EX rack, dual Wald folding baskets, rack bag, panniers, suspension seat posts, riser handlebars, Glowspek pedals, LED lights, seats, computer, water bottle cages, etc. since I am into accessorizing at this point. But that is my personal cost/benefit/resource/need calculation at this point.

Don't fret. I also tell them mine is an low-end entry-level steel tandem suited for neighborhood/off-road riding and that new high-end tandems made with more exotic frames and sophisticated componentry could range up all the way to $10k or more. I think that even for non-riders their average expectation was about $2,000-$3,000 so that speaks to some anecdotal knowledge of potential cost. Also I don't ever poo-poo the idea of anyone spending more.


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Old 10-07-09, 08:06 AM   #10
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I don't care if someone asks how much it costs, it is what it is.
This is pretty much my feelings. Usually we will hem and haw at first, then they will ask "Is it over a thousand?" at which point we will tell them "about 6 thousand' after which we proceed to explain that it was custom-built just for us. This usually satisfies people.

This is the most common question that we get from people - I have no idea why that's the first thing they want to know. The second most common question is "Is it hard to ride?". The best one I've heard was "What's the matter, couldn't you afford to buy TWO bikes?"
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Old 10-07-09, 09:06 AM   #11
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If it's anyone else in passing I'll simply quote J.P. Morgan who purportedly replied when asked as to the cost of one of his yachts, "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it."

And, no... that's not limited to our bikes. It's applies to just about anything.
I run into plenty of people who own cars, homes, planes, motorcycles, cameras, scuba gear, boats etc. that I could never afford who ask me what my bicycle cost. I think people often ask that question when they realize that something they are looking at is a high end example of the product but have no way other than dollar value to relate to what they are looking at. i.e. I recently looked at a friends new Nikon lens and recognized it was a nice piece of equipment, but when told it was over $5000.00 I decided to take a few extra minutes to appreciate the finer points because it is unlikely I will ever be buying a lens of that quality even though I can afford it.

Very few people can afford JP Morgan class yachts, most people can afford 5to 10K bikes but choose to spend their money in other ways.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:39 AM   #12
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Interesting how owners can swell with pride when onlookers nod sagely at the innate wisdom when told how much was spent on a Lexus/Porsche/Nikon type product, but feel absolutely naked when waiting a response on an expensive purchase for a quality item of something less universally understood.

Some Tandem owners seem to have developed a reactive insecurity complex due to fear of encountering the "What a wacko!" reaction (e.g. as if they just told people they were into shaving cats or something perversely weird instead of enjoying tandeming).

If someone showed me a gold plated unicycle worth $15k, I'd be impressed. If I were the owner of said unicycle, I really wouldn't care if others might think that I was a nut. That might actually be a part of the appeal. Besides, what do they know anyway?


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Old 10-07-09, 09:55 AM   #13
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I run into plenty of people who own cars, homes, planes, motorcycles, cameras, scuba gear, boats etc. that I could never afford who ask me what my bicycle cost. I think people often ask that question when they realize that something they are looking at is a high end example of the product but have no way other than dollar value to relate to what they are looking at.
Absolutely, and they'd likely fall in to Category #1, perhaps #2.... The J.P. Morgan one is reserved for the rest. Anyone in Category #3 or #2 can easily move into Category #1 simply by saying something like "No, seriously..." at which point you're now having a conversation.

Again, context matters.


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I guess it always depends on who's asking and why....

If figure if someone is asking a serious question and really wants to know I might as well tell them; it's all a matter of public record for most bikes if someone is willing to look up the prices.

If someone is making small talk I'll ask them something like, "what do you think would be a lot?" If they guess too high, then it's not quite a lot. If they low ball, it's a lot more than a lot.

If it's anyone else in passing I'll simply quote J.P. Morgan who purportedly replied when asked as to the cost of one of his yachts, "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it."

And, no... that's not limited to our bikes. It's applies to just about anything.
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Old 10-07-09, 09:59 AM   #14
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It's interesting that, unless one races at a high level, if a person has a single bike costing $7000 the person is often criticised as a poseur while a $14,000 tandem doesn't bring the same result.
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Old 10-07-09, 10:44 AM   #15
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I just tell them that it is "our dream ride" and it was expensive. I generally don't get questioned beyond that point.
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Old 10-07-09, 10:49 AM   #16
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It's interesting that, unless one races at a high level, if a person has a single bike costing $7000 the person is often criticised as a poseur while a $14,000 tandem doesn't bring the same result.
That's because to most of the riders who call-out poseurs, folks who ride tandems are in a sub-category all of their own.... even the ones they call their friends who kick-butt on their tandems.

Of course, there are a lot of butt-kicking tandem teams out there that ride second hand or basic level Santana, Co-Motion and Cannondale tandems.

Yeah, sadly to the elite cyclists the folks who ride tandems are in a class all by themselves.
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Old 10-07-09, 12:39 PM   #17
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A motorcycle performs the essential functions of a tandem, in that it provides fun outdoors transportation for two, the big difference is the motorcycle is still enjoyable even if the riders (as is so often the case) have a morbidly high BMI and low VO2. These are usually more expensive than tandems, but for some reason tandemists, but not motorcyclists, have to be all sheepish and defensive about the cost of their bikes.



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Old 10-07-09, 12:54 PM   #18
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True. I think it has more to do with the perceived "social acceptability" of the product. I think people are more "accepting" of a motorcycle as a luxury expense for a "riding lifestyle" item than a tandem bike simply because of their unique novelty (i.e. one sees far more motorcycles than tandems on the average day...). Up around here nobody much gives me or my pillion a second glance while we're riding on the motorcycle, but practically everyone stares and grins when they see us riding the tandem bike.


For the non-riding public, tandem bikes probably conjure up images of circuses and unicycles. I imagine they wouldn't be overly surprised to see tandem riders wearing clown faces with big red rubber noses...





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A motorcycle performs the essential functions of a tandem, in that it provides fun outdoors transportation for two, the big difference is the motorcycle is still enjoyable even if the riders (as is so often the case) have a morbidly high BMI
Hey! I resemble that remark!!!







.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg nude_clowns.jpg (59.5 KB, 173 views)

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Old 10-07-09, 01:26 PM   #19
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To the non-riding public tandem bikes conjure up images of unicycles and circuses. I imagine they wouldn't be overly surprised to see tandem riders wearing clown faces with big red rubber noses...
I think they might be surprised if they were, as in the photograph you've posted, nude.

I think you've snagged a pic from Seattle's Fremont Summer Solstice Parade, featuring nude cyclists.
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Old 10-08-09, 09:29 AM   #20
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Interesting responses.

A couple of weeks ago I presented a program on cycling to our local Rotary Club. I told them my goal is to have a bike that's worth more than my primary vehicle. I'm not there yet.

One redneck I know (and I know a bunch because I am one) recently said to me "$5000 for a BICYCLE ???!!!!". When I asked him how much he paid for that new boat that was going into storage for 7 months he sort of got quiet.
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Old 10-08-09, 09:51 AM   #21
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A couple of weeks ago I presented a program on cycling to our local Rotary Club. I told them my goal is to have a bike that's worth more than my primary vehicle. I'm not there yet.
An even better goal would be to have a bike that IS your primary vehicle. Or, one step further, have ALL your vehicles be bikes (our stable currently includes a tandem, six single bikes, and nothing else - the Swiss public transport system suffices for all other needs).
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Old 10-08-09, 11:28 AM   #22
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I think they might be surprised if they were, as in the photograph you've posted, nude.

I think you've snagged a pic from Seattle's Fremont Summer Solstice Parade, featuring nude cyclists.





Ooops. Didn't notice. I did Google Images search for Clowns on a tandem...



This didn't seem as interesting.


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Old 10-08-09, 11:49 AM   #23
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Feel free to edit your previous post, as there is more there than we need to see.

Now if you can find one with that lady in the leopard spots as a stoker, that wouldn't be so objectionable.
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Old 10-08-09, 11:55 AM   #24
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Now if you can find one with that lady in the leopard spots as a stoker, that wouldn't be so objectionable.
NSFW, at least in the up tight US of A
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Old 10-08-09, 12:03 PM   #25
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haha... good thing the tandem forum is not heavily moderated.

If this was in the road forum, it would:
1) Be locked within a few hours after the first nude pic.
2) still make it to around 20 pages long, with 99% BS posts, before the lock.

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