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  1. #1
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    First family tandem/triple

    I am a newbie when it comes to multi person bikes. Last summer I rode with a tagalong bike and two in a trailer attached to the tagalong. This summer one of the trailer riders is ready to pedal so I am looking for something for us all. My kids are 6,4,2. I was looking at the Kidstandem Triple or the Bike Friday Triple. Both were about the same price 3-4 grand. I like the kids in front idea but I like that the BF Bike could be taken apart for transport to State Parks, etc. Money is a factor, it will be tricky to come up with the 3-4 grand but I would really like to try. Are these the best low cost options? I was thinking the 6 and 4 yr olds would pedal and the 2 yr old would be in a bike seat or trailer. It is a lot to spend on a bike (for me) so I want to make the best choice. Any input would be helpful! 99% or the riding would just be around town. No moutain biking or major off road, just some dirt roads. Also is there any way to take a triple on a roof top carrier? I have a minivan so it is pretty long?
    Thanks,
    Kate!

  2. #2
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    Our full-size triple (Santana) fits inside our Honda minivan. Have to fold down the rear seats, then it rolls up between the second-row captain's chairs and the front seats.

    A lower-cost triple action would be a decent used tandem coupled with a Burley Piccolo tag-along (expensive, but the best tagalong out there). You could pull a trailer behind that setup, too.

  3. #3
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    Our two youngest kids ride with us now and again. While we now go with two tandems, when they were younger we started out with a tandem with a tag along bike and a trailer for Mom, Dad and the two boys. (see photo) We then graduated to a tandem with a tandem tag along bike (we happen to still have that if you are interested in buying it - sorry for the shameless advert) so both boys could pedal. This works well until their combined weight is getting close to 110 then it gets a little squirrelly. We now have two tandems for tours and weekend camping trips with one kid stoker for Mom and Dad.

    It might be a little tougher with three kids to control a tandem tag along bike (effectively makes your tandem into a quad), but that will mostly depend upon how stable your kid stoker on the front tandem is. We have found the flexibility of the trailer / tag along bikes to be a real advantage since the amount of time the kids are at the weight/size that a triple or quad makes sense is very short in comparison to the cost of such a bike. Additionally, the ease of transport in a mini van already loaded with kids and their stuff is not bad.

    Have fun.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cay22 View Post
    Money is a factor, it will be tricky to come up with the 3-4 grand but I would really like to try. Are these the best low cost options?
    Are they the best low cost options? Well, that really depends on your personal situation regarding the level of fiscal resources you are able/willing to apply and also the level of performance expectations you have for your riding.

    What type of riding will you be doing with the kids and what level of frame and componentry are you accustomed to riding with? How much do your single bikes cost?.

    I have an uber low cost ($200) entry level imported tandem (Pacific Dualie) that I bought on a whim from Amazon.com that suits my tandem riding purposes well (neighborhood riding with wife and/or kids). I spent way more on accessorizing (e.g. rack, folding baskets, lights, bells, mirrors, computer, water bottle/cage, frame pump, seats, suspension posts, etc...) than the bike itself. But I would have bought the accessories regardless. It performs well and is fun to ride.

    I have four single bikes and a sport motorcycle, but the tandem remains one of my favorite rides. My tandem is currently on extended loan to a neighbor (who rides Trek and Specialized single bikes) to ride together with his wife (a non-cyclist). They are enjoying it immensely and may even decide to eventually purchase a DaVinci tandem from the experience.


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    Last edited by Stray8; 04-29-10 at 05:28 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stray8 View Post
    Are they the best low cost options? Well, that really depends on your personal situation regarding the level of fiscal resources you are able/willing to apply and also the level of performance expectations you have for your riding.

    What type of riding will you be doing with the kids and what level of frame and componentry are you accustomed to riding with? How much do your single bikes cost?.

    I have an uber low cost ($200) entry level imported tandem (Pacific Dualie) that I bought on a whim from Amazon.com that suits my tandem riding purposes well (neighborhood riding with wife and/or kids). I spent way more on accessorizing (e.g. rack, folding baskets, lights, bells, mirrors, computer, water bottle/cage, frame pump, seats, suspension posts, etc...) than the bike itself. But I would have bought the accessories regardless. It performs well and is fun to ride.

    I have four single bikes and a sport motorcycle, but the tandem remains one of my favorite rides. My tandem is currently on extended loan to a neighbor (who rides Trek and Specialized single bikes) to ride together with his wife (a non-cyclist). They are enjoying it immensely and may even decide to eventually purchase a DaVinci tandem from the experience.


    .
    We will be doing "around town" light riding. Nothing more than an 30 min or so one way, maybe once in a while and hour ride. I currently ride a stock schwinn. A little better than a "Walmart bike" but no upgrades. I did purchase it from a bike shop but that was 12 yrs ago! When I bought it it was around $250.
    Do you think this would be a decent "cheap" tandem "Kent Dual Drive Tandem Comfort Bike"
    http://www.amazon.com/Kent-Dual-Driv...2544684&sr=8-1
    Looks like the back seat is a lot lower so my 6yr old might fit? I like the idea of the tandem + something.

  6. #6
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    Don't know if it's the "best" low-cost option, but a used Bike Friday would be a very good one. Our daughter fit on the middle of a BF triple when she was 3 1/2-years-old. We were able to carry it on a roof rack and, when we replaced the wagon with a van, were able to fit the bike inside. The bike and three kids might be a tight fit in a typical minivan, however. Depending on your particular vehicle, you could have better luck with a roof- rack. Lift carefully, though: A steel-frame triple will weigh 60 lbs or more and -- because of its length -- can be quite a handful.

    I wouldn't worry too much about how long you will be able to use a triple. We have only one child and rode our Bike Friday for six seasons before replacing it with a Co-Motion PeriScope. The internet makes it reasonably easy to pass a used triple on to a new family.

  7. #7
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    If you get a good-quality triple, used, and pay a reasonable price, you'll likely be able to sell it without too much of a loss once your kids outgrow it. I'd sooner invest in a used name-brand triple (Santana, Co-Motion, Bike Friday) than a cheapie option. More money up front, but you'll likely recoup more of your money down the road.

    I bought our Santana Cabrio triplet used last year for around $6,000. A lot of money, yes, but a significant discount off the $9,000 new price. Cabrios seem to hold value pretty well, selliing between $4500 and $6500 used, even several years old.

  8. #8
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    We transport out triplet on the roof of my wife's car using an ATOC Topper. Taking it to NH tomorrow. Nice rack, and on the minivan it would be even more stable, as the mounts would be more spread out than on our Impala. Nice too because you can use the same rack for a tandem or single. You will end up with all of them! :-)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cay22 View Post
    We will be doing "around town" light riding. Nothing more than an 30 min or so one way, maybe once in a while and hour ride. I currently ride a stock schwinn. A little better than a "Walmart bike" but no upgrades. I did purchase it from a bike shop but that was 12 yrs ago! When I bought it it was around $250.
    Do you think this would be a decent "cheap" tandem "Kent Dual Drive Tandem Comfort Bike"
    http://www.amazon.com/Kent-Dual-Driv...2544684&sr=8-1
    Looks like the back seat is a lot lower so my 6yr old might fit? I like the idea of the tandem + something.



    Capture..JPG

    The Kent Dual Drive appears to be a decent cruiser type "cheap" tandem to start out on. The rear seat is situated lower than others so it should be an easier reach for kids. Be aware that it (like my Dualie) will have a relatively heavy steel frame and be slow compared to road bikes, but for $255 delivered I think it is a pretty good way to try out tandeming.


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    Last edited by Stray8; 05-01-10 at 10:15 PM.

  10. #10
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    We're currently using a late 90's Cannondale road tandem with a kid stoker setup and a Burley Piccolo. Works great! The entire setup was less than $1000, but I am a careful shopper.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

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