Hi there. Been lurking for a bit, but not posting...so here goes...
My wife and I are interested in getting a tandem, but I know nothing about tandem frames other than we rented a Cannondale recently in Hawaii and loved it. To me, it felt a little flexy, but...we had a lot of fun which is what really matters. Wheels were comfy, 36 spoke alu rims with 28c Conti's on 'em, I guessed and put the pressure at 100psi. Seemed to work fine. The disc brakes were pretty impressive, definitely stopped fast if needed with very little fade. Shifting was fine (it had an Ultegra kit), not super crisp (and it occasionally jumped gears) but good enough for the most part, since as a rental bike I'm sure it gets worked over pretty hard. Presume that's a function of tinkering/adjusting, and on one's personal tandem everything works just as it should, no? Do regular shifters work just fine even though cable lengths are much longer?
I'm an experienced road rider, with some tandem experience many years ago (as stoker) and can captain the thing with confidence for how we ride. It's a very different sensation, especially knowing you're directly responsible for another person's life (!), but that's half the fun--getting to know how the dynamics work. I enjoyed it a lot, and by day 2 we were spinning out on some downwhill stretches (I might have had too much faith in the disc brakes...) and carving some good turns. We both had a terrific time, and my wife, who doesn't ride at all but is in good shape, was having a grand ol' time.
Anyway, what's the consensus on defining "comfort" vs. "stiffness" in a tandem frame? Can something that big really be stiff? And can a stiff, efficient frame be reasonably offset by smart wheel/tire pressure combos? From what I've looked at so far, I'm assuming whatever we get will be in the 30 pound range, which seems fine for us.
I'm somewhat indifferent for frame material, but for cost/weight considerations, it's looking like we'll probably get something in aluminum.
Thanks for any additional tips.
p.s. here's a pic of our adventure!