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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 06-01-10, 11:53 AM   #1
wobblyoldgeezer
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You know how it is, when there's no rational reason?

We've had a lot of fun on a 1995 or so Santana Visa.

We were thinking of a Cannondale RT2 as a modern upgrade.

We tried one. Yes, lighter, faster, peppier and the gears and brake improvement were a whole generation better

We tried that one in UK on our last leave there in August 09. I was just about to ask the shop to send it to us - but then I went and hurt my leg.

Now I'm about ready to tandem again, and spouse is about ready to trust me again!

But, here's the thing -

The shop (Northern UK) that let us try the cannondale and to whom I'd like to give the purchase, has an ex-demo Santana Beyond with S&S couplers. Not new, but as good as.

It's 3x the cannondale price, and I know there's a diminishing return on bike expenditure and we probably can't use the Cannondale to its full extent

But.... eh?
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Old 06-01-10, 11:59 AM   #2
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Can you ride it first? A lot of money to spend on something you haven't ridden. Also between the cost of a Beyond and the Cdale, have you considered a Co-Motion? Or a Calfee?
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Old 06-01-10, 12:53 PM   #3
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But.... eh?
Exactly.

Money is not the most scarce resource; time is: you can't really save it, you can't earn it, and you'll never know how much of it you'll have until it's too late.

Seriously, though. This is a personal economics issue. A $10k tandem is not 3x better than a $3.3k tandem, just different in ways that may or may not be meaningful or provide anyone with a true return on investment. If you 'want' something like a $10k tandem, have the resources and have covered all of your other financial obligations, then what the hey I always say.

Trying to rationalize it or justify it is a waste of time because if you have to agonize over it, then you probably haven't covered all of your other financial obligations... or you're just damn tight, and that ain't all that bad either.
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Old 06-01-10, 01:23 PM   #4
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We were thinking of a Cannondale RT2 as a modern upgrade.

The shop...has an ex-demo Santana Beyond with S&S couplers.

It's 3x the cannondale price, and I know there's a diminishing return on bike expenditure and we probably can't use the Cannondale to its full extent.
It is a big jump you are making on the performance/price curve. The Cannondale is the value leader (aluminum frame, decent components for about $3K), and the Beyond not so much.

A big part of the expense of this Beyond is in the S&S couplers, these also add weight, so as to somewhat diminish any performance differential between the Beyond and the Cannondale (the Beyond would be a lot more comfortable, however).

The first question is whether you want/need couplers. If you don't especially want/need them, the coupled Beyond could hardly be recommended.
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Old 06-01-10, 02:43 PM   #5
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The first question is whether you want/need couplers. If you don't especially want/need them, the coupled Beyond could hardly be recommended.
Not necessarily. Couplers, when found on a second-hand or demo tandem, are a gift as much of their 'cost' has typically been depreciated along the the original cost of the bike. Moreover, if and when you decide to sell a tandem it will be that much easier to sell given the amount of consumer demand that exists for second-hand travel tandems.

As for the weight, the 2-3lbs they add to a frame not used for elite-level racing are hardly noticed by mere mortals... ourselves included.

Perhaps when the day comes that we have a team car following us so we can eschew a seat pack with tools, spare tubes, a pump or C02 carts and throw our water bottles off at the bottom of a steep climb with the knowledge that a soigneur will hand us fresh bottles at the top I'll rethink my position. Until then, for us and like minded sport/recreational cyclists of modest abilities I believe high-end tandems are more about comfort, fit, handling qualities and perhaps even pride of ownership. Bragging rights for lowest weigh is kinda fun, but of all the characteristics you'll find in a high-end tandem, it's the one you'll notice the least once the initial euphoria wears off.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-01-10 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 06-01-10, 04:01 PM   #6
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Not necessarily. Couplers, when found on a second-hand or demo tandem, are a gift as much of their 'cost' has typically been depreciated along the the original cost of the bike.
The OP doesn't relate the exact price, and we don't know whether the bike shop will 'eat' the cost of the couplers. Typically, a demo will sell for a percentage off MRSP.

The OP states that the Beyond is 3x the price of the Cannondale. The MRSP on a Cannondale RT2 is $3199, thus the price on the Beyond reckons at $9600.

The list for a built Beyond is $11,395, and couplers adds $2800, for an MSRP of $14,195. If this demo is selling for $9600, that would be 32% off list.

If it didn't have couplers, the $9600 would be only 16% off, which sounds like a modest amount for a (previous year?) demo.

So, the couplers may be depreciated, along with the rest of the bike, but their cost (the MSRP nearly that of the Cannondale) still seems to be incorporated into the price he is being quoted.
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Old 06-01-10, 04:33 PM   #7
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The OP states that the Beyond is 3x the price of the Cannondale. The MRSP on a Cannondale RT2 is $3199, thus the price on the Beyond reckons at $9600.
I don't know what a Cdale should cost in the UK but I would not be surprised if it is higher than MSRP.
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Old 06-01-10, 04:48 PM   #8
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So, the couplers may be depreciated, along with the rest of the bike, but their cost (the MSRP nearly that of the Cannondale) still seems to be incorporated into the price he is being quoted.
Well duh. Which is why if you can buy a coupled (fill in the blank) tandem that's been used as a demo (or a slightly used one) for about the same $$ as a brand new version of the same tandem without couplers and with a factory warranty to boot (typical with a demo), you've effectively taken a lot of the sting out of the upcharge for the couplers. And, unless the tandem was abused or crashed, a few hundred or even a thousand miles on a tandem that will see 20k miles or more over it's life (assuming someone rides the thing a moderate amount of distance for a decade) isn't a big deal.

Heck, our Calfee already has over 7k miles on the clock, or there abouts (noting we lost 4 months of our cycling season when I broke my ankle last year, and another 4 months due to bad weather this winter) and you'd be hard pressed to know it by looking at the thing when it's cleaned-up. Given that graphite and hybrid graphite/titanium frames will experience very little fatigue wear, a few accident-free miles is truly meaningless.

All of that said, and back to Wobbly's vicarious tandem fantasy, you'd really want to make sure they sent you some close-up photos of the welds to make sure that demo didn't have any of those gawd-awful bubble-gum welds that 'Smooth' -- one of our Beyond-owner friends -- alerted us to a while back....

Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-01-10 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 06-01-10, 10:57 PM   #9
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Well you'd likely have the only C'dale or Beyond tandem in Bahrain . . .
Bear in mind that the 'tana has some less than standard things on it: headset, 160mm rear dropout spacing, etc and is not all that darn light compared to other tandems in that price range like Co-Motion, Calfee or a custom twicer.
If you need/want couplers and they throw in the carrying case and it's your size, etc . . .
Hey, it's your $$ . . .
Doubt it if you'd ever 'wear out' either tandem frame, just some of the components.

Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 06-02-10, 06:51 AM   #10
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Bear in mind that the 'tana has some less than standard things on it: headset, 160mm rear dropout spacing, etc .
Yo, Rudy....

Re-read the OP's post: they currently own a '95 Visa (or is it an Arriva?) that has all of of those Santana-specific 'features'.
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