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  1. #1
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    2010 Schwinn Voyageur vs. Trek T900 Tandem

    I am considering buying a tandem to ride together with my wife. We have been biking together recreationally on 2 bikes for a while but have a problem with having a big difference in pace. We are hoping that a tandem is a good solution. Our typical ride is no more than 10-20 miles on a bike path or a road, although we might go further if the pace issue is resolved. It is also worth mentioning that we would need to attach a trailer with a child.

    I don't have a particular budget but obviously less expensive is better. I also do not want to overpay for something that would be an overkill for us. On the other hand, I want something reliable, that shifts well and is pleasant to ride.

    That said we started looking at tandem bikes. I found 2 that seem to be direct competitors:

    2010 Schwinn Voyageur
    (http://www.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/P...oyageur-Tandem)

    and

    Trek T900
    (http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...h/tandem/t900/)

    Schwinn Voyageur is new for 2010. It used to be called Sierra and had 26in wheels and a fork with suspension. For 2010 they changed the name, went with 700cc wheels and put in a simple chromoly fork.

    On paper Schwinn looks better than Trek (disk breaks, thumb shifters, 700cc wheels, I like the looks better) but a few forum posts about its predecessor (Sierra - http://www.schwinnbike.com/usa/eng/P...-Sierra-Tandem) suggested that it is mainly for show and that T900 is overall a better bike. I could not find a single review for the Voyager, so I am relying on reviews of its predecessor which is probably not 100% fair. MSRP for both bikes is the same ($1100) but at a LBS I can get Schwinn for $850 vs. $900 for Trek.

    What do you think are the pros and cons of each? Any help is appreciated including suggestions for other tandems. Keep in mind that I am not very knowledgeable bike mechanic which probably makes buying a used one too much of a risk.
    Last edited by ibasin; 10-02-10 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Misspellings

  2. #2
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    First ..welcome to the forum.
    Regarding your question, I suspect you haven't seen many responses because the Schwinn that you are considering is so new that most folks here haven't had much experience with it yet.
    While I can't help with a direct answer to your question, I'll offer a few thoughts that may help. If you are committed to one or the other and since they are both new and nearly the same cost, then here are two things to consider.
    First, which one will motivate you and your stoker to want to ride it...so things like how it fits you, how it shifts, brakes and rides, as well as how appealing is it to look at or be seen on should all play in to the selection.
    And second, which dealer is most likely to give you the best after sales service for fixing whatever needs fixing.
    I don't see a downside to either brand.... both are good bike companies so go with what feels/ looks best to you and with the retail dealer that will give you the best service after the sale.
    Good luck and have fun.

    Bill J.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    I have seen the Trek converted to a double drop bar tandem that looked like a very good bike. It was on a ride that included a trip up Vail pass and over Swan Mountain.
    The Trek appears to be upgradeable, in the event you ever want to do that. The Schwinn is an unknown, but the disc brakes are a plus is you get into hilly terrain.
    Get the one that fits best and inspires both of you to ride. Then find the threads in this forum that point you to beginner's knowledge.

    Also, see

    http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/comfort/companion-11/
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    Homophobia is so gay.

  4. #4
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    Thank you & more questions :)

    I want to thank everybody who responded so quickly. I feel very welcome at this forum.

    Based on the suggestions I have heard so far I have a few more questions for the more experienced bikers:

    1) Specbill, thank you for your suggestion to go with the bike-shop that is more likely to provide better service. In your experience, do you typically get better service from a small bike shop where you talk directly with the owner (who is super nice) or from a large bike shop that might have more resources at their disposal?

    2) I have not checked the TREK frame size that the LBS has in stock, the Schwinn they have in stock is smaller than what we need. The guy at the store says he can order the right frame size and have it here in 2-3 days. I did not ask him but I assume that, if he special orders it, I'd have to buy it, meaning I can't try the bike with the right frame size before I buy. Any suggestions on how to best deal with this?

    3) CHAS, thank you for your comment. I also read on other forums that the TREK is pretty upgradeable but I don't know about the Schwinn. Can some of you, more experience bikers, look at the specifications and comment on Schwinn's likely upgrade-ability.

    4) The Schwinn is pretty new and rare at this point, but, if anybody rides it or knows somebody who does, please, please, please give me your impressions.

    Thanks again to everybody who responded with helpful comments.
    Last edited by ibasin; 09-30-10 at 04:20 PM. Reason: style

  5. #5
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Also, if you are looking tospend $1,000, check out the used tandem market.
    You could easily get a Burley used for that kinda $$.
    Be patient and look around a bit and get to test ride a few tandems if you can.

  6. #6
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibasin View Post
    1) Specbill, thank you for your suggestion to go with the bike-shop that is more likely to provide better service. In your experience, do you typically get better service from a small bike shop where you talk directly with the owner (who is super nice) or from a large bike shop that might have more resources at their disposal?
    It all depends. Some small shops have one or two very good mechanics. Some large ones have none. But there are no guarantees.
    Quote Originally Posted by ibasin View Post
    2) I have not checked the TREK frame size that the LBS has in stock, the Schwinn they have in stock is smaller than what we need. The guy at the store says he can order the right frame size and have it here in 2-3 days. I did not ask him but I assume that, if he special orders it, I'd have to buy it, meaning I can't try the bike with the right frame size before I buy. Any suggestions on how to best deal with this?
    If the Schwinn web site is to be believed, there is only one size. So special ordering a Schwinn isn't going to change the size. But then this is the same web site with one rim in the spec and another in the picture...
    Quote Originally Posted by ibasin View Post
    3) CHAS, thank you for your comment. I also read on other forums that the TREK is pretty upgradeable but I don't know about the Schwinn. Can some of you, more experience bikers, look at the specifications and comment on Schwinn's likely upgrade-ability.
    They're really pretty similar in that regard. I didn't see any red flags looking at either frame, and that's the key show-stopper. In either case, you're looking at an aluminum frame with space for an 8 speed cassette, since that's what they come with.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    The Schwinn has disc brakes, which makes it my favorite.
    Pivot 5.7
    Rawland Drakkar 650B love it with 38mm Soma tires
    2009 Specialized Roubaix Ultegra
    Santana Fusion Tandem
    2010 Specialized TriCross
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    Homophobia is so gay.

  8. #8
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    The Schwinn frame does come in several sizes. Their website is wrong about it.

  9. #9
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    Regarding your question about where one would be beterr off service-wise...the shop owner or the shop mechanic.
    If you can have a solid relationship with a trustworthy owner, then that is a big plus in my book...there is nothing like looking the 'final decision maker' in the eye and making a deal you know he/she will honor. That is not to say a shop employee can't be just as reliable, but the owner has a more vested interest in your long term happiness than anyone else.

    Having said that...I do 100% of my own mechanical work (except wheeel-building) because over many, many years of cycling I have found very few shops that I trust, or that I have the patience with, to work on my stuff the way I want things done. In the big shops, the faces change too often to build a relationship of trust and in the serious boutique shops the age gap is a bit too wide for me to want to bridge given my short tempered social skills. My personal shot comings aside, it is all about relationships, so if you'll need a shop to rely on, then put a little more weight on that piece in the buying process this time.

    On last thought on your poduct decision fwiw...we have an '07 Trek Tandem (not a T900) that I consider a great value for the money and we have an upgraded 20 year old C'dale tandem that we love almost as much...we keep them both very well maintained/tuned-up. We ride them equally as often because they perform nearly the same and give us the same amount of enjoyment.

    Good luck with your decision...have fun.
    Bill J.

  10. #10
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    Thanks to everybody who posted thoughts on the subject.

    Looks like Trek might be out of the running since it only comes in one frame size (18.5" for the captain) and that is too small for me (I am 6'2").

  11. #11
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    I'd say stay away from the Schwinn with the Cho-mo fork and the Winnmen wheels. Trek makes pretty good bikes. But also, Zona make a pretty good point. You can probably get a very good used one in your price range.

  12. #12
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    Why would you stay away from Schwinn with chro-mo fork and Winnmen wheels? Can you substantiate, please.

    Thank you.

  13. #13
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  14. #14
    k8t
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    We ride a Trek T900 and like it very much. The farthest we've taken it is 40 miles and it performed well. Most of our casual rides average around 15 to 20 miles and the bike is great. We have added fenders and lower flat bars for the stoker to extend the already generous cockpit. We have found the components just fine and the frame stiffness just fine. Captain is 6'2 and stoker is 5'4. Our first tandem was a used Kuwahara from the mid 80s and we don't like it because the frame has so much flex and the cockpit is absolutely tiny even though the standover is quite high. One thing we do consider is upgrading to a 700 wheel touring set up. But we have no regrets or complaints about the Trek T900. It's a great bike! Oh, and the stoker loves the suspension seat post! Riding on broken up country roads is fine.

  15. #15
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    Being 6'2", isn't the frame too small for you?

  16. #16
    k8t
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    The frame is a little small for the 6'2" captain, but bar ends on the front handle bars helped that. Most of his height is through his torso so the seat post is fine. The bar ends give him a little more room to stretch out, as well as additional places for his hands. We live in an area where the closest tandems to test-ride are 5 hours away. The only shop owner that would bring one in for us to test ride with no obligation to buy was a Trek dealer from a neighboring town. We immediately liked it when we test road it and the shop owner worked with us to accommodate both captain and stoker comfort. Flat bars for stoker and different seats for both of us.Bar ends came later after riding a bit more. We couldn't beat the price for such a great package. The bike has served as a great entry into comfortable tandem riding and will serve us quite well until we decide if we will upgrade to something more serious. When we first started loking around, we were looking at a Cannondale, but could not find one to test ride. We like the 26 inch wheels for the versatility on our local roads (we switched the tires out to smooth road tires).

  17. #17
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    I like the looks of the Trek. How could a brake for mountain descents be added? I live in the Rockies.

    How do the KHS tandems with the aluminum frames ride?
    Pivot 5.7
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    2009 Specialized Roubaix Ultegra
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    One knee scoped so far.

    Homophobia is so gay.

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