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  1. #1
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    New tandem choices at lbs.

    Lbs is going to let me take a tandem home for weekend next friday. My wife is pretty unsure about this tandem thing. (She is not a rider normally). I took her to the only lbs that has a selection of any kind that is any where near us. (35 miles). I need to choose one to demo. Here are my options under my $ limit. I would appreciate what you might think.

    All are brand new.
    04 Burley Tamberello 1800.00
    04 Burley Rumba 1530.00
    03 Cannondale 1800.00
    04 Trek 1000 1800.00
    02 Burley Duet 1680.00

    Duet and Cannondale have 105 shifters, all others use Tiagra shifters
    My wife doesn't like the aluminum bikes because she thinks the tubes are wierd looking because they are to big around. She does like the Duet and Rumba. Do you think the better componants are worth 150.00 more for the Duet? Will it hurt it any that it has been sitting at the dealer for 2 years? Did they change the Duet much from 02 to 04? I may only get my wife to test drive one, I have to make it count.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    If that's the line-up, IMHO the Duet is the best bet given that she has nixed the aluminum frame option.

    The '02 Duet and '04 Rumba frame are the same; no changes since '02. However, it is worthwhile to note that it was in 2002 when Burley updated it's True Temper "Verus" 4130 steel frames with improved geometry (a longer and sloping top tube) as well as a more conventional, non-proprietary eccentric.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-29-04 at 05:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Mark,
    are you saying that the 02 duet has the updated frame or not.

    would your opinion change if I could get her to like the aluminum frames.

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DZOO
    are you saying that the 02 duet has the updated frame or not.
    Yes, the 2002 Burley frames have the updates, and there have not been any additional changes since 2002.


    Quote Originally Posted by DZOO
    would your opinion change if I could get her to like the aluminum frames.
    Under the constraints you have outlined, not unless you were a very large-size team. If you and your stoker had a combined weight of more than 400lbs I would probably suggest the Cannondale. My personal take on the Burley and Trek aluminum frames is that they are a bit lighter and perhaps a bit (but not much) stiffer than the Chromoly Burley frames. The Burley and Trek tandems both have conservative steering geometry which is often times a bit more easy to adjust to than say the Cannondale's which is a bit more sporty.

    Note: All of these are very good frames; no dogs in the bunch. Again, assuming you and yours are in the mid-200's to mid or upper 300's, the Burley Duet would be my pick only because I like the company (small, niche market builder with very personable folks running things and great customer support) and because I think the frame is a bit more refined in terms of its ride characteristics than the Trek or Cannondale. The Burley Tamb. would be my pick if you were predisposed to like aluminum and/or wanted to have a tandem that was a bit lighter than the Duet, as in being more performance oriented in your expected riding endeavors. Otherwise, steel is always a good call for tandems.

    Disclaimer: My real suggestion would be to hang at the LBS for about 1/2 a day and to test ride these bikes back-to-back-to-back for some short rides just to get a flavor for any differences that might be turn-offs or turn-ons to you or your stoker right off the bat. It's easy to end up with a first tandem that's good enough, but it's better to end up with the one that you preferred when compared to at least one if not two others. Again, no dogs in the bunch, but the Trek, Burley, and Cannondale tandems will all "feel" and look a bit different.

  5. #5
    SDS
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    Mark, have you already written a test ride protocol that you can post on this thread? Or post a link to? I was thinking of something that would highlight the differences between the tandems, and preferably minimize variables like tire pressure/size, and saddle / shock absorbing seatpost differences. At least point out what to look for, for people new to tandems.

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDS
    .... what to look for, for people new to tandems.
    Hopefully the tandem dealers are addressing most of what you're suggesting, but that's probably a different thread (e.g., not all dealers who sell tandems are tandem dealers). However, back to your question, I've probably written it a few times over the years and have been meaning to write a buyers guide tailored for this list but haven't gotten around to it. However, to be frank, 99 out of 100 first time tandem buyers probably wouldn't (and perhaps shouldn't) care. A first tandem needs to:

    1. Fit within a budget;
    2. Fit the captain and stoker;
    3. Have a frame and components of sufficient quality to meet the intended use;
    4. Be assembled or serviced by a qualified mechanic; and
    5. Make both riders feel the ride is good enough to meet their needs.

    If I can make yet another analogy to wine... Most folks who drink wine are concerned with what it costs and how it tastes; sweet, dry, or full-bodied and pleasing to their palate. If that first taste is good, then pour the bottle and lets enjoy. A wine connoisseur, on the other hand, will swish the wine around under the nose, swish it around in the light, and swish it around in their mouth to extract every detail about what went into it in an effort to "understand the wine" before spitting it out, cleansing their palate and going on to critique the next one. None of this makes a wine any more enjoyable to drink to someone who simply likes the way it tastes and thought it was a good value. It has been my experience that first time tandem buyers are basically looking for a tandem at a reasonable price point relative to their budget that's comfortable enough to be enjoyable and safe to ride (and maybe a certain color).

    So, with that theme in mind, we turn our attention back to tandems as a product. Part of marketing tandems is specifying the colors that they think buyers will like (or offering their customers a choice of colors) as well as the components right down to the tires such that the tandem "as delivered" by the manufacturer represents what the builder intended in terms of the ride quality. So, parsing out the differences in tires, air pressure, wheel construction, fork rake, tubing specs. would only serve to complicate the buying process for a first time buyer and alter what the builder intended customers to find appealing about their tandems.

    Case in point: I believe you have had the opportunity to speak with "Mr. Bill", aka. founder and president of Santana Bill McCready. Bill will tell you without one iota of hesitation that every aspect of a Santana tandem exactly as it should be, right down to the Continental Gatorskins. If he didn't believe in his designs and wanted to go after the Co-Motion buyers, all he would need to do is to offer an alternative fork with 45mm of rake to replicate the steering geometry used by Co-Motion. But, he won't do that because he truly believes a 55mm fork is "the best" for use on tandems. To his credit, Burley, Trek and a few other builders have pretty much followed Mr. Bill's lead and spec their tandems with the same geometry and for the same reason: most first time tandem buyers find it preferrable during their initial test rides. Same thing goes for tires, etc... Now, if you go and talk to Dwan or Dan at Co-Motion, they'll tell with you with just as much conviction that the 45mm rake and their super-robust forks (both chromo and carbon) help to create "the best handling" tandem for their buyers. And like Bill, I suspect that Co-Motion would not look favorably upon a dealer who was substituting the Co-Motion spec. forks for ones that would replicate the steering geometry of the Santana or Burley in order to help bolster sales to first time buyers. After all, Co-Motion's position is that once you have that first 100 miles under your belt you'll finally understand and appreciate why their steering geometry makes Co-Motion the best handling production tandem you can buy, right down to the tires that they specify for each model.

    So, for the first time buyer, IMHO it's the composite impression that matters the most. Or, more simply put, finding a tandem that just suits their tastes (and their budgets).
    Last edited by livngood; 01-04-05 at 09:04 PM.

  7. #7
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    Mark,
    Somewhere in these boards I read someone thank you for links for beginning tamdem teams. This Friday is when I bring home the Burley Duet to test drive. If we struggle so bad that it is no fun for my wife, she will not be in favor of making the investment. I love to ride my single. I have a Merlin Extralight that I built myself this winter and a Giant TCR 2 that I have had for a few years. I would really like to get my wife to see the fun in cycling. So if you remember those links for newbies I would appreciate it. Or any tips you have to make this Saturday enjoyable.

  8. #8
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    You can start here...
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/LearningCenter.html

    Or you can start here...
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/L...l#anchor356041

    Just peruse the articles that catch your eye. Some of the information is redundant, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as in many cases the articles by different authors reinforce the same basic principles.

    I've also written a few posts here at 'Bike Forums' that are in the Archives which may be of interest to you and yours:

    Tips for First Time Tandem Ride... (Contains some of the same links from above)
    First Time on a Tandem

    Starting & Stopping, etc...
    Proper Technique

    Communication & Mutual Respect...
    Scared

    Although written for off-road newbie tandem teams, there are still some of the same basic skills and habits covered in here:
    What are your commands (if any)?

    If you read through some or even all of these you'll find a couple common themes:
    1. Take it one step at a time.
    2. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
    3. Remember, you're both in this together; "where you go, I go" applies to both riders.
    4. Remember to have fun, after all, that's at least 50% of the rationale behind a choosing to ride a tandem.

    Keep us posted on the maiden voyage.

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