I called Mel at Tandems East to discuss recommendations for my wife and I for our first tandem. She is 6'1" and I'm 5'10", and Mel suggested the Hokitika 2-be-one tandem (their house brand), because it offers a much longer toptube for the stoker than any production bike. I'm intrigued--the bike looks like a great value and Mel will customize the components how we want them. I'm nowhere near NJ, though, so I'd need to have the bike shipped.
Has anyone seen one of these bikes in person? I'd appreciate any comments about the workmanship or the ride.
We saw and rode one of Mel's Hokitika's two years ago during his Tandem Expo (which is this weekend I believe). The bike looked and felt good, although we ended up buying one of his few remaining Burleys that he had built into a hybrid.
Yes, they seem to be nice frames. I saw a few at the Tandem Expo a year or so ago. Nice offering in the lower-price market, and filling a niche left when Burley stopped making tandems. Santana has a new entry level tandem out, too, which might be worth looking at.
I'm just guessing about the Hokitika frame, but I have my suspicions that it is actually made by Stephen Bilenky's shop. Tandems East says it's made in the USA, and there aren't that many builders out there with the jigs and experience to make such a frame. Couple that with the fact that Mel has sold Bilenky tandems for a long time, and that Bilenky is "just over the bridge" in Pennsylvania, and it makes the case more compelling.