Gear Combo Guru
Join Date: May 2007
Bikes: Spec' Tarmac (road), Ridley Fenix (commuter & fast tourer), Salsa Mamasita (MTB), CoMo Speedster (tandem), Surly Big Dummy (cargo), Airnimal (folder)
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We seriously considered buying a Hase Pino semi-recumbent tandem when getting our tandem a few years ago. The thing that really bothered me was how upright the rear position was. We're both used to riding standard road bikes, and just couldn't imagine one of us sitting that upright for very long - it would probably lead to more butt pain on longer rides even though it would be comfortable for short jaunts. I'm not sure if the Bilenky version is very different in this respect.
We also ride over a lot of mountain passes (the Swiss and French Alps are on our doorstep), and I know climbing is not something that standard recumbents do very well, possibly due to not being able to put body weight into the pedal stroke very easily, although I don't really know. I assumed that the same would be the case for the recumbent position on the tandem, but I'd be happy for someone with more info to correct me on this.
We ended up going with a traditional style tandem (Co-Motion Speedster) and have not once regretted our decision. We got it with couplers so that it can go inside airline-sized suitcases, and have used this feature several times already. I know the Hase Pino only splits in the middle, so does not become very small, again I'm not sure if this is different with the Bilenky, and it may not be an important factor for you.
We're similar heights and sizes, so stoker vision was not a big factor for us, but I can see that in your situation a semi-recumbent might make a lot of sense.