Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    7,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Sticker Shock

    For many recreational cyclists, just walking into a bicycle specialty shop that stocks high-end road bikes from Trek, Cannondale, Lemond, Klein, Cervelo, Specialized, Colnago, etc can be an eye-popping experience. Trek’s top-end racing bikes once selling for perhaps $2,000 back in the early 90’s, have been replaced by models like the 5900 or Madone that cost upwards of $5,000.

    Similarly, most affordable tandems can often times cause first time tandem buyers to experience a serious case of sticker shock, particularly if their first encounter is with one of the tandem specialty brands, e.g., Santana, Co-Motion, and perhaps even Burley. At the big 3 tandem firms, entry-level tandems are priced anywhere from $1,500 to $2,800 that, to someone who has never spent half that much on a bicycle can seem outrageous. Moreover, prices for these premium brand tandems quickly rise to $4,000 for the mid-level models featuring Ultegra components and alloy frames and the sky’s the limit at the top-end where an all-carbon Calfee Tetra Tandem which 'chi chi' components will set you back about $9,000. However, what some buyers may or may not realize is that these tandem-specialty brands might be better called entry-level for "enthusiasts" as their peers in the 1/2 bike world are machines that cost, interestingly enough, about 1/2 as much. Or, looked at the other way around, a tandem will usually cost about twice as much as a personal bike of similar quality and componentry. Yes, there are $500 tandems on the market, in much the same way that there are very affordable $250 all-terrain or comfort bikes and they serve their intended purpose quite well. However, the target buyer for the $500 tandem is quite different from the buyer that a firm like Co-Motion is targeting with its 29.4 lb $6,550 Robusta aluminum racing tandem.

    What Is Your Objective and What Are Your Constraints

    Therefore, part of the first time buyer’s challenge is to establish:
    1. How much discretionary income are they willing to commit to a first tandem.
    2. What quality and price range would they be shopping for if they were in the market for a new personal road or off-road bike?
    3. Taking into consideration the answer to questions #1 & #2 above, is the amount of money ear marked for the tandem enough to buy two new personal bikes of an acceptable level of quality? If it’s not, then you may have some false expectations for what kind of a new tandem you’ll end up with in terms of the tandem's overall quality, finish, performance and the intangibles (yes, vanity is one of those).

    Speaking as a connoisseur of fine bicycles, my belief is that if you regularly ride a Campy Record-equipped Colnago and are shopping for a tandem, chances are you're not going to be all that happy with a true entry-level tandem or -- for that matter -- one of the entry-level enthusiast tandems. That is, unless you plan to step into a completely different cycling mode to use the tandem, e.g., slowing down to smell the roses with your spouse or introducing a child to the joys of cycling via the back-end of a tandem. Conversely, if you're a pragmatic cyclist who is well-served by a trusty 20 year-old Gios or perhaps a newer $700 sport / racing bike, then many of the entry-level or enthusiast entry-level tandems will most likely meet or exceed your expectations for a first tandem. And, so it goes. The point being, where you're headed with regard to the purchase of a first tandem has a lot to do with your budget, your expectations about bicycles, and what you intend to do on the tandem. There's no shame in wanting to stay "on the cheap" with a first tandem either, regardless of why. However, at the same time, buyers shouldn't kid themselves into believing that they can expect a $1,500 tandem to "turn you on" if they are riding a road bike that cost $2,000… it just ain't gonna happen. Now, you could certainly guard against wanting a better tandem IF you never test rode another, higher-end model as, the more experienced you become on a tandem the more you'll be able to recognize the differences.

    (Devil's Advocate) But, hey, you're still talking about a HUGE chunk of money for these tandems… I mean, these Santana, Co-Motion, Bushnell, Calfee, Seven, Litespeed, and other odd-ball named tandems can REALLY get up there on price. I can't conceive of spending $5,000 for a bicycle, even if it does seat two riders instead of one.

    Again, cost is relative. I would agree that it is a bit of a risk to dump a ton of money into something like a $4,000 - $6,000 tandem if you won't have a regular partner to share it with or if you don't think you'll use it that much. Thankfully, there are a lot of really nice premium tandems available as second hand that can cut down your initial acquisition cost. Yes, you may still be looking at $3,000 for a second hand tandem with a few hundred miles of use but, in the big scheme of things, if you're a serious cyclist is $3,000 a lot of money over the long-haul? Moreover, if you decide tandem is not your thing, you can usually re-sell the tandem without taking a large hit on depreciation. However, if you do find you enjoy the sport/activity, you can use the second hand tandem to help figure out what you might change if you decided to upgrade and then, if you do upgrade, re-sell it to help defray the costs of a newer tandem... something of an installment plan if you will.

    The Costs of Serious Cycling

    Let's take a notional look at what the real costs are associated with what I would refer to as "serious cycling" by the folks who spend some evenings, most weekends, 1/2 their holidays, and a lot of their vacation with their partner on a tandem. In fact, the real hardcore teams can usually be found heading off with a few other couples for week-long self-guided tours, spending 3-day weekends at tandem rallies with 50 - 500 other couples or families, or perhaps taking at least one week or two week long tandem tour each year.

    Disclaimer: The dollars for each item noted is intended to be a mid-range. Bargain shoppers can most certainly find the items listed for less and I can assure you there are certainly items on the market that cost more than the higher numbers presented below.

    Cycling Gear For the Body – The Basics

    1 pr Shoes............$60 - $200
    1 Helmet...............$60 - $150
    1 pr Shorts/Bibs....$50 - $130
    1 Jersey...............$45 - $89 (Short Sleeve)
    1 pr Eyewear........$35 - $125
    1 pr Socks............$ 8 - $ 8
    ............................$258 - $702 per person
    ............................$516 - $1,404 per couple

    Over time, most teams will end up with multiple pairs of riding shorts/bibs and jerseys and several pair of socks for any number of many reasons, e.g., multiple day events, club kit, event premiums, etc… So, you can easily see how the investment in basic apparel can grow rather quickly.

    Cycling Gear For the Body – The All Season Gear

    Winter/Mud Shoes......….....$60 - $200
    Head Gear / Helmuffs...…...$10 - $15
    Knickers or Knee Warmers..$20 - $30
    Tights or Leg Warmers.…...$35 - $150
    Tights – Heavy Weight..…..$60 - $150
    Long Sleeve Jersey......…....$55 - $89
    Winter Weight Jersey..…....$75 - $115
    Wind Vest or Jacket....….....$55 - $95
    Winter Weight Jacket ….....$95 - $150
    Rain Jacket...............……...$35 - $85
    Shoe Covers.............……....$25 - $40
    Winter Weight Socks……...$10 - $10
    ..................................………$535 - $1,129 per person
    .................................……….$1,170 - $2,258 per couple

    Again, similar to warm weather gear, many teams will end up with multiple pairs of tights, long-sleeve jerseys, and different types of outerwear for different conditions.

    Combined with the Basics, you're talking about having perhaps $1,678 - $3,662 invested in cycling apparel to support a very-active riding habit. So, as you can see, it doesn't take long to find that the investment in "gear you wear" can quickly begin to equal or exceed the cost of the "gear you ride".

    Speaking of the "gear you ride", there's more to the cost of a bike than the bike…


    Cycling Gear For the Bike – The Basics

    Clipless Pedals..........$60 - $140 (two sets for a tandem)
    Frame Pump..............$15 - $30
    Seat pack............…...$15 - $30
    Tools & Spares..........$25 - $45
    Computer.........…......$25 - $45
    Water Bottle Cages...$10 - $36 (2 per person)
    Water Bottles..……....$12 - $24 (2 per person)
    ..........................……..$162 - $350 per person
    ........................……....$244 - $550 per couple


    If you do loaded touring then you can quickly double these numbers for racks and panniers. If you want to race, special wheelsets are often times a prudent investment as are aerobars and other types of "speed" equipment. Of course, if the riders are somewhat serious about improving their levels of fitness a heart rate monitor is just about the most valuable tool you can have. The "really nice" HRMs with bicycle computer functionality that can be downloaded to a computer for post-ride analysis retail for $400+ but can be found on Ebay for about 65% of that amount. If you ride before the sun comes up or after it does down, then a headlight is a must and they range in price from AA battery-powered models @ $18 to the mega run-time, L-Ion HID lights @ $400.

    (Devil's Advocate) Come on, you really don't "need" all of this fancy stuff just to ride a bicycle. Tennis shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt are more than adequate for me.

    Everyone has different levels of "need" which can easily become blurred by "wants". When it comes to cycling apparel, "need" is really defined by where your ride, when you ride, the way your ride, and how far you ride. For cyclists who head out for 30 - 100 non-stop mile rides at a fast clip, long lasting, properly designed, and properly fitted cycling shoes and shorts are necessary, not just nice to have items. For tooling around on the bike path or "fun rides" at moderate speeds with lots of breaks, the benefits to be derived from high-performance cycling gear may not justify the expenses. So, again, it's all about matching up how you decide to spend discretionary income to meet individual needs and expectations.

    Summary

    So, the point of all this is… cost IS relative. For those who have decided that tandem cycling is "their thing" the investment in top-notch gear is something that is done for many reasons, most of them practical and some of them are not. Good cycling shorts will pay for themselves over time, as will just about any of the better quality apparel items. If you ride when it's 40 degrees out and there's a chance of rain, outerwear made for cycling is not just nice, it's just about a necessity if you're pushing your tandem along at 20mph for 3 or 4 hours. The same can be said for the machines. The more miles per year you log and the more demands that are placed on the equipment, the more apparent the differences become in frame design and component selection. Also, at this level cycling becomes a passion for both riders and that's where the intangibles come in to play. The things that makes a fine French wine, a 100 year old single malt scotch, or a Cuban cigar more appealing to those who can appreciate what makes them different and costly are quite similar to the things that make high-end bicycles and tandems appealing to some enthusiasts.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-10-07 at 08:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great thread! Thanks for the helpful information on TCO (total cost of ownership). I am a first time tamdem buyer and long time road rider so I have most of this gear already. My wife however is a different story - she will need to buy buy buy (but that is what she does best anyway <g>).

    One other thing that can also be of sticker shock is:

    Gear for the car (from Thule)

    Foot Kit - $50
    Load bars - $130
    Tandem carrier - $350
    --------------------------------
    Total - $530

    However, Mel from www.tamdemseast.com makes a very nice custom tamdem carrier for around $150 and a swivel one (swings up and down for high cars liks SUVs for $300)
    dave

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    My Bikes
    ariZona carbon fiber tandem & single
    Posts
    9,968
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sticker shock!!!
    Whoa Mark! Didn't realize we had that much of an investment to keep our good health!
    On the positive side, instead of a Hummer, ski-boat, snowmobile, ATV or hang glider we have 'invested' in the tandem lifestyle many years ago. This lifestyle has gotten us better health, travel, loads of new friends and lots of healthy exercise!
    Factoring in the cost of a possible a heart-bypass, overweight/diet problems, etc. our lifestyle is not that expensive and has kept us in pretty decent shape. Now at ages 71/69 we have cut back a bit; we only ride 5 days a week and no longer cover 10,000 miles a year on our 2-seater. But what the heck, at age 60 Rudy was tested at the Univ. of Az and after a 15 minute stress/treadmill test had a max heart rate of 183; 15 minutes later, a relaxed pulse of 54.
    Kay suffered a major health setback 2 years ago, but 10 days after major surgery was back on the tandem. Doctors were 'amazed.' These are some of the hidden benefits of a healtheir lifestyle. And yes, our tandeming helped us achieve that.
    Acquiring all the 'essentials' for tandeming is generally done over a period of time and there is no immediate huge ca$h layout, except for the bike.
    While this lifestyle is not for everybody, it has suited and benefited us.
    Our tandem has been an investment in our good health.
    As you proclaim: cost is relative!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/Zona tandem

  4. #4
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Towson, MD
    My Bikes
    2001 Look KG 241, 1989 Specialized Stump Jumper Comp, 1986 Gatane Performanc
    Posts
    4,020
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Mark must own a tandem shop. I always get the feeling he is selling. I am willing to bet that the only people who would even consider a tandem are:

    1. Couples that both already ride
    2. Couples in which on person (usually the male) is a seasoned cyclist who wants to involve his mate
    3. A single male cyclist hoping to attract a mate who is a cyclist or turn a prospective mate into a cyclist

    Every once in a while some nutcase who just wants to have a tandem in the garage so he/she can say they have one might cough up the bucks.

    Considering that almost all new tandems sport a suspension seat post for the stoker, I am also willing to bet that most manufacturers are betting on #2 or #3 above.

    That being said, at least half of the gear Mark refers to will have already been purchase. I have loads of shorts and jerseys and all the winter gear I need. I use my winter cycling gloves for skiing also, so I may only get 2 seasons out of a set of heavy gloves. The only cycling clothing I have purchased in 2004 is one set of fingerless gloves.

    However I still disagree with the assertion that expensive stuff in necessarily all that much better. Some is, some is not. The biggest spread in quality is from the bottom to the middle, then things may be marginally better between the middle and the top of the range, but you are buying name and status mostly at the high end. I buy Performance shorts. I can get bib shorts on sale for $35. They last for about 3 - 4 years and I wear them in the winter under my tights. My friend buys Assos clothing. I can get 3 pairs of bib shorts to his one pair. I have never tried Assos and do not intend to. I am sure they are high-quality shorts, but at over $100 a pair, I am just not going to buy them and I am sure I will get more use out of my 3 pairs of cheap short than my friend will out of his one pair of expensive shorts.

    Most clothing is made overseas in some no-name factory. Then, some company puts a label on it and charges what they can get away with. You could take a pair of Performance or Nashbar shorts, and a pair of Pearl Izumi shorts and cut them in half through the pad and I bet nobody could tell which was which. Once your bum has acclimated to hours in the saddle it does not make that much difference.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Mark must own a tandem shop. I always get the feeling he is selling. I am willing to bet that the only people who would even consider a tandem are:

    1. Couples that both already ride
    2. Couples in which on person (usually the male) is a seasoned cyclist who wants to involve his mate
    3. A single male cyclist hoping to attract a mate who is a cyclist or turn a prospective mate into a cyclist
    I think that another large group would be the casual rider(s) in which one or both partners only has very little gear. For example, I for one have been riding with a accumulated experience of about 15 years but only 5 years on road and not regulaly. I always wanted to get back into it regularly (more than just as exercise) but since I wife does not ride it was hard among our other activities. Now that she on onboard with the idea, we are looking into getting our first tandem and all the wonderful accessories that come with it. BTW, the most expensive accessory at least for us was the damn car rack since I just can't stick it into the truck like my single.

    Around my area (Phila), I see more casual riders than regular riders on the paths. You can also spot the regulars with their wild jerseys and outfits. I think that if more casual couple riders knew about tandems this would be a huge group. For example, most of our couple friends (about 10 couples and all are active) are very interested in our tandem purchase...in fact the majority of them are even considering it for themselves after we told them of our pending purchase. So this article if very helpful if not considered essential reading for the "first-timers."



    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Every once in a while some nutcase who just wants to have a tandem in the garage so he/she can say they have one might cough up the bucks.

    I would add that this is even more true about single bikes...given that its much more in the lime-light.

    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    That being said, at least half of the gear Mark refers to will have already been purchase. I have loads of shorts and jerseys and all the winter gear I need. I use my winter cycling gloves for skiing also, so I may only get 2 seasons out of a set of heavy gloves. The only cycling clothing I have purchased in 2004 is one set of fingerless gloves.
    Again, I do not have 75% of the stuff listed...I only have one riding outfit.

    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    However I still disagree with the assertion that expensive stuff in necessarily all that much better. Some is, some is not. The biggest spread in quality is from the bottom to the middle, then things may be marginally better between the middle and the top of the range, but you are buying name and status mostly at the high end. I buy Performance shorts. I can get bib shorts on sale for $35. They last for about 3 - 4 years and I wear them in the winter under my tights. My friend buys Assos clothing. I can get 3 pairs of bib shorts to his one pair. I have never tried Assos and do not intend to. I am sure they are high-quality shorts, but at over $100 a pair, I am just not going to buy them and I am sure I will get more use out of my 3 pairs of cheap short than my friend will out of his one pair of expensive shorts.

    Most clothing is made overseas in some no-name factory. Then, some company puts a label on it and charges what they can get away with. You could take a pair of Performance or Nashbar shorts, and a pair of Pearl Izumi shorts and cut them in half through the pad and I bet nobody could tell which was which. Once your bum has acclimated to hours in the saddle it does not make that much difference.
    No comment here...my wife likes to buy $500+ handbags and I am also an audiophile)
    dave

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    7,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Mark must own a tandem shop.
    Nope. Maybe someday, but at present no commercial affiliations.


    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I always get the feeling he is selling.
    Yes, well to be more acurate promoting... tandeming as an activity. It's my way of countering all the misinformation that is spread around about tandems and tandeming by folks who failed to do their homework and had unsatisfactory first time tandem experiences or others with no experience who pass along stories and/or make incorrect assumptions about tandems and tandeming based on those horror stories.


    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I am willing to bet that the only people who would even consider a tandem are...
    Your first suggestion is usually the exception, not the rule. Most accomplished cyclists have no interest in giving up control so there are probably fewer teams where both riders would have characterized themselves as "enthusiasts" as compared to teams with stoker converts. As for #2, that could also be used to describe why a lot of single bikes are purchased.. and never used. As for #3, it is a variation on #2 which does occur but most often with less than long-term success. Very few hard-core cyclists (male or female) are predisposed to enjoy riding a tandem as a stoker and "trolling for stokers" can go either way: Bill McCready -- the founder and president of Santana -- met his wife Jan doing just that.

    However, you did leave out several other tandem team candidates that are also quite prevalent:

    5. Married couples who, after becoming empty nesters or upon retirement, mutually decided to take up cycling as a form of recreation (many times, having been something they did before kids or while they were young) and did so on a tandem either initially or after being introduced to tandems by other couples who own and ride tandems.
    6. Single bike riders who lost their sight, hearing, or who aren't able to ride a bicycle by themselves due to some other condition but who still want to enjoy cycling and, in many cases, competitive racing.
    7. Parents who want to share the cycling experience with their children.
    8. Any couple who happens to rent a tandem "for fun" while on vacation and becomes smitten with what they thought was just a novelty sport.
    9. Amateur and professional cyclists who enjoy all forms of racing and who like to participate in the tandem class at the US National Masters or perhaps any one of several other Crit & Ominium races held around the US, to include the Co-Motion Classic: a tandems-only stage race previously known as the Burley Classic.
    10. Alternative lifestylers for the same reasons you listed for male/female couples or singles looking for a riding partner.
    11. Adult-age sons and daughters who like to take their parents cycling or take out friends and other family members.
    12. Others that I haven't taken time to recall....

    However, the one thing that is common to all successful tandem teams is mutual respect, an appreciation for teamwork, and the desire to enjoy the company of the person with whom they share their bicycle riding experiences. Sure, captains will quietly gumble that "they" are doing all the work from time to time but, then again, the stokers often times do too and the truth of the matter is, sometime they're both right. However, despite those human shortcomings, they see the bigger picture, keep their negative thoughts to themselves, and continue to appreciate how thankful they are that they have someone with whom they can share the riding experience.



    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Considering that almost all new tandems sport a suspension seat post...
    Yes, many of them do. And, yes, it is for the benefit of the stoker. However, to appreciate why a stoker might want or need a suspension seatpost you'd have to spend time riding tandems as a captain and as a stoker. Not all tandem captains are good about steering around or calling out bumps and standing even for a brief moment on a tandem takes a lot more effort -- individually and as a team -- than it does on a single bike. Thus, for many stokers -- but certainly not all (none of the people we ride with uses one) -- a shock-post is a very nice option to find on a tandem. In fact, it helps with the transition process for all stokers, regardless of how much cycling experience they have under their belts, or butts as the case might be.



    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    At least half of the gear Mark refers to will have already been purchased.
    As you have in previous replies to my comments, you are reading-in things I didn't write or drawing conclusions that are inconsistent with what I have written. No where in my article did I include the element of timing associated with the acquisition of cycling apparel or accessories, aside from suggesting that over time multiple shorts, jerseys, and socks would likely be added. The point of the article was to discuss how to put the cost of tandems into context with regard to single bicycles and to also look at the cost of a bicycle or tandem in relation to the other costs that come with being a serious cyclist.

    Whether or not the investment in cycling apparel occurs at the time a bicycle is purchased or is something that happens over time may or may not be of consequence. The primary message was, cyclists who become serious cyclists will most likely end up investing quite a bit of money on apparel and other accessories during the first year of ownership. For those like yourself who have been cycling a long time, the amount of money invested in apparel and accessories -- never mind tires, tubes, chains and other maintenance items or replacement parts -- is often times taken for granted and not looked at in total since it was something you did a long time ago and built-on over time. Thus, if you are one of those cyclists who buys a tandem as a way of introducing someone to the sport of cycling, the cost of purchasing a complete kit (shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, helmet, gloves, eyewear) for that new rider -- assuming they don't already have the proper gear -- can be big chunk of change thay you may or may not have thought about. Again, it's the total amount of investment that is of relevance to this article, timing of the purchase may or may not be of consequence. Moreover, it also helps to put perspective on why to some teams spending $5,000 or more on a tandem may not seem to be outrageous, particularly when some of those teams will drop $8,000 - $10,000 each year for a two-week long cycling vacation in Europe -- yet another not often appreciated expense that many cyclists who have ventured to France to watch the TdF as part of a tour package have just recently discovered.



    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I still disagree with the assertion that expensive stuff in necessarily all that much better.
    Please do the me the favor of reading what I write instead of looking for things about which to disagree or to vent on your pet peaves... I would challenge you to re-read my article and tell me where I made an assertion that expensive cycling apparel was better or more durable than less expensive apparel. What I wrote was...

    Everyone has different levels of "need" which can easily become blurred by "wants". When it comes to cycling apparel, "need" is really defined by where your ride, when you ride, the way your ride, and how far you ride. For cyclists who head out for 30 - 100 non-stop mile rides at a fast clip, long lasting, properly designed, and properly fitted cycling shoes and shorts are necessary, not just nice to have items. For tooling around on the bike path or "fun rides" at moderate speeds with lots of breaks, the benefits to be derived from high-performance cycling gear may not justify the expenses. So, again, it's all about matching up how you decide to spend discretionary income to meet individual needs and expectations.

    Summary

    So, the point of all this is… cost IS relative. For those who have decided that tandem cycling is "their thing" the investment in top-notch gear is something that is done for many reasons, most of them practical and some of them are not. Good cycling shorts will pay for themselves over time, as will just about any of the better quality apparel items. If you ride when it's 40 degrees out and there's a chance of rain, outerwear made for cycling is not just nice, it's just about a necessity if you're pushing your tandem along at 20mph for 3 or 4 hours.


    While many of your points made rebutting what you thought you read are quite valid, I made no such assertion. My premise was made in the "Devil's Advocate" statement which was and is, serious cycling demands cycling-specific apparel; tennis shoes, unpadded shorts, and cotten t-shirts won't cut it. I too have bought Performance and Nashbar cycling shorts, bibs and tights as well as some of the more expensive brands and will note only that they have their own strong and weak points and they have been discussed ad-nauseum in the other forums so I have no interest in rehashing that subject here on the tandem forum.
    Last edited by livngood; 07-30-04 at 05:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member johno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    KY
    My Bikes
    Trek Y-Foil, Falcon San Remo 76
    Posts
    116
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    That's fine and well, but sticker shock still scares off most people. Yes, eventually a dedicated rider will end up with top gear, but they must first have the confidence that they will actually use all of that expensive equipment. Tandems look weird to people who have never ridden one, even experienced cyclists. So the question is not - how much does a top rate setup cost? It is - how inexpensively can one get into tandem riding, without buying a piece of junk? One can talk all day about casual test rides, but it isn't until you've ridden for several day long trips that you find out if you really like this, and will really get a good return on the investment.

    I faced the same situation - been riding for some time, had already spent a sinful amount building up my own road bike. My wife had fizzled out quickly the couple of times we were on the road together, just didnt' seem to have much enthusiasm for it. I thought a tandem might be better, but checked the cost, and whoa! No way I'm going to spend over $2k on something she might not stick with. And let's face it, a tandem without a stoker might be a great workout, but it ain't no fun.

    So I decided to follow good bicycle mechanic theory - the frame and wheelset determine the quality of ride and handling, so get as good a frame as possible on a used bike, and upgrade the components as needed. Plus, if she didn't like the tandem, I wouldn't take a huge hit on resale value.

    We got an early 90's Cannondale, about as good a frame as you can find without taking out a loan to buy the bike. The Suntour components were not exactly state of the art, but worked fine after some cleaning and adjustment. The twisty bar end shifters are weird... Replaced the tires , saddles, and chain (broke it trying to pull a steep hill), and rode it all of last summer. I did pirate the SPD pedals off of my MTB, as it's gathering dust these days and they're so much quicker to get into than the old clipped pedals. As it turns out, the tandem was the perfect solution for my wife and I. I don't have to wait for her, and she isn't stressing herself to keep up with me. We average 20mph on the tandem, which is about all I can do on my road bike. And I've seen over 40 on the downhills.

    The rest of the gear? That's simple salesmanship. Let them find out why they need the stuff. You can ride in casual clothes. After a long day's ride and you're sore and soaking wet, a $50 jersey and $50 pants seem like a good investment. Computer? Our 'Dale came with an old Cateye that gave speed, cadence and distance. No point in replacing that. HRM? I spent $120 for a Polar 150, and don't use half the features it has. Shoes? Same story - you can ride in street shoes, dedicated shoes are more comfy after a long day. I went to clipless on the front because you can get into them quicker. Let the captain fumble a few times for a clipped pedal, and clipless start looking better.

    Going this route, and reusing some gear I already had, we got a solid, top rate tandem that's very light and handles like a dream, plus associated gear, for a little under $1300. Not cheap, but not $3k+. And if it hadn't worked out, I could have sold the bike for about what I paid for it. In fact, I'm mulling over selling the 'Dale and getting a newer one, not that our present one is bad, but it's a Medium in the front and I need a Large. But only after a year of riding can I think about spending over $2k, knowing that we'll get a lot of use out of it. And if it weren't for the size, I wouldn't think about selling that Cannondale.

    Oh, and digitalWok - I can fit the Dale into my dinky little Ranger pickup, though I have to leave the gate down because the rear wheel sticks out the back. I, too, was shocked by the price of a rack.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    43
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No comment here...my wife likes to buy $500+ handbags and I am also an audiophile)
    As a fellow Audiophile/Home Theater buff, I can attest that cycling is my inexpensive hobby (relatively speaking).

  9. #9
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    7,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by johno
    So the question is not - how much does a top rate setup cost? It is - how inexpensively can one get into tandem riding, without buying a piece of junk?
    Your points are all excellent and address the other end of the spectrum that I did not touch on in any detail. Perhaps if no one else steps up to the plate and I find myself not sleeping again I'll write that article, adding in the pitfalls of taking too many shortcuts...

    Anyway, the "buy used" approach is also one that I strongly endorse and included in a "tips" article I wrote back in 1998: http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/u...l#anchor948986 I believe many first time tandem buyers have successfully applied that approach and, like yourself, been very satisfied with the results. Of course, there have also been quite a few teams who ended up with the wrong tandem for their needs, one that wasn't assembled and adjusted correctly, or a good tandem in need of attention that didn't receive it (for a variety of reasons) and the initial riding experiences were awful; similar to the stoker who ends up so chaffed and sore from riding in unpadded shorts that there is little incentive for a second try. These can be just as much of dead-end consequences for a first time tandem team as the super-captain -- an avid and strong cyclist in their own right -- who takes his new partner out and rips their legs off... either because they fail to realize they need to over-compensate and compromise their riding form (high cadence in most cases) or thought they'd impress their stoker with just how fast they could make that tandem go. Add any of these factors into a relationship that has a few too many weak spots and a failed attempt at tandeming can sometimes be a watershed event for a relationship and yet another cyclist with a horror story regarding their tandem experience. Case in point, an aquaintance and his wife who live and ride in Colorado (very accomplished cyclist, e.g., former Pro and Cat 2 masters) had an interesting encounter out on a scouting trip last year and the following is their account of the event:

    While [we] were riding yesterday, scouting a route for our upcoming tandem club picnic ride, we came across a quartet of riders making their way through the hogback hills just west of Denver, Colorado. We had been circling a vantage point overlooking a couple potential roadways, when the riders approached from behind. Then a voice said loudly "OH LOOK, A DIVORCE MACHINE".

    Anyway, we chuckled and looked at them as they rode by. The faces didn't register as any local riders I knew, then one guy at the back pointed to the front and said to me "that's Lance Armstrong". "Lance" is wearing an inconspicuous navy jersey and solid black shorts without a logo to be seen. However, he is riding what appears to be a Trek 5900, so we accelerate and come alongside for a better view. Egad, IT IS LANCE! From the local news coverage on TV last night, we heard that Lance was in town to participate in a Cancer Society forum.


    So, yes, there is a mid-point out there when you can get in "on the cheap" and succeed. However, many teams who go it alone, don't do their homework, or who act on bad information have been doomed before they ever started... hence, all the horror stories and some of the reasons that Tandems get a bad rap, even from "the man" who, as it happens, did own a tandem (a Cannondale RT) that he rode a few times with former wife Kristen as well as a Litespeed Taliani that he would occasionally use during his cancer treatments with his Oncologist as stoker.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-01-04 at 04:33 PM.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    43
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    Cycling Gear For the Body – The Basics

    1 pr Shoes............$60 - $200
    1 Helmet...............$60 - $150
    1 pr Shorts/Bibs....$50 - $130
    1 Jersey...............$45 - $89 (Short Sleeve)
    1 pr Eyewear........$35 - $125
    1 pr Socks............$ 8 - $ 8
    ............................$258 - $702 per person
    ............................$516 - $1,404 per couple
    Bombing the Downhills @ 50MPH...............PRICELESS

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    St Peters, Missouri
    My Bikes
    Rans Enduro Sport, Hase Kettweisel Tandem, Merin Bear Valley beater bike
    Posts
    23,742
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My son-in-law's avocation is fishing. That's what he does for fun insted of bicycling. Equipment costs, like a bass boat and trailer not to mention a bigger truck to haul it make bicycling equipment costs seem paultry by comparison.

    The worst thing that I can imagine would be all of my kids standing around my coffin and discussing how "sensible" dad was. Sorry, kids. The last check out of my checking account is going to pay the undertaker and it's going to bounce!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •