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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 08-05-11, 03:34 PM   #1
rav
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Is this a good deal for a 1989 Cannondale Tandem?

I have a guy selling me a 1989 Cannondale Tandem for $650. I am trying to bargain a bit but the guy does not want to go lower. He says that the bike is in good condition (was rebuilt a couple of years ago) and has less then 600 miles on it. He said that it was used as a rental but did not get used a lot. This would be our first tandem and size wise it is perfect for me and my wife (she has no clue I am looking into this, it will be a surprise for her, I hope a pleasant one). What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Ravi
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Old 08-05-11, 04:17 PM   #2
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As for value, if it's in good shape, I don't see how you could go wrong. Have you two ridden a tandem before? Make sure you understand the captain/stoker roles and rules: Namely, the captain always maintains good communication with the stoker (keep a good lookout, warn, get permission, etc.). Tandem riding can be an absolute blast!
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Old 08-05-11, 04:47 PM   #3
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No we have never ridden a tandem before, this will be our first and the size is what makes this perfect, here is what the guy wrote for specs:

The bike weighs 43.4 pounds.
7 speed rear cluster. Shimano Deore LX rear Derailer.
Shimano Acera X front derailer. Triple chainrings. 34, 44, 54
Suntour xc 9000 rear cantilever brakes, as well as drum brake.
BRS 400 brake levers.
Shimano index bar end shifters.
Sansin sealed hubs with 48 spoke hard anodized Wolber rims. The rims are true and in very good shape.


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Ravi
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Old 08-05-11, 07:03 PM   #4
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If it is in perfect running order, satisfactory condition to you, and fits as well as you believe, then that is the top dollar I would pay. But If you look at it and start thinking.."'well, it is not quite right but if I buy a new one of these, or maybe if I can upgrade this item or that item", then I would pass.
I love the early Cannondales, we have a '90, and a '91 that we have enjoyed for many years. We bought the '90 new and had it custom built which is how Cannondale sold their Tandems in '89 and '90. All those bits and pieces from that time are long ago worn out and replaced on our '90.... When we bought our ""lightly used" '91 last year for a winter fun project we actually found it to be ""lightly...used up!!"". There were more than a few surprises when we got the Bottom Brackets and Headset apart. I was glad I had a large box of old spares and other items from the '90 to pull from.
22 year old technology in good condition can give you plenty of good service if ridden within it's original intended design but if you have to start changing or adding gears because you have hills to deal with, or you need/want to up grade the wheels or shifters, then it can quickly become a money pit...which is ok too you you are in that state of mind.
My only reservation is, if you are a heavy, strong, aggressive riding team that will ride big hills and rough roads regularly, then I would pass on any 20+ year old tandem with a one inch fork which is what the very early Cannondales had.
Aside from that there is no universal right or wrong at $650. They were great tandem for the day, it just comes down to your riding intentions and its condition.
Good luck
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Old 08-05-11, 07:54 PM   #5
Mainframeguy
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I'm not sure I agree with specbill - but then I would say that having paid 550 for a pre-owned cannondale MT1000 (I think) which must be almost equal in vintage to this one.... is that transmission in working order? I paid that price and was budgeting for a new transmission and have not been disappointed with my purchase.

Sounds to me like this owner is holding out knowing the value and having maintained the bike.

Take a test spin - I am fairly sure anything you're unsure about will show itself - you sound informed enough to be able to spot a worn transmission set. One word to the wise - this is likely to carry a 135 wheel set, which is now non standard - I have had a tough job sourcing a rear hub in 135 for a drum and if that's an upgrade you'll be after you may want to take that into account.

But if you are new to tandems and this is in working order then go for it I would say, quite the bargain, at least by my standards (but I am the noob here)....

[edit] see it has a drum fitted! wow - if in running order I am unsurprised at the asking price - and totally jealous - by the time I have gotten ours upgraded with the drum our spend on the cannondale will be about 1,200 which I think still compares favourable with new... this deal for you as newcomers is soooo sweet the way I see it, those upgrades are top quality and mean the bike has the "future proofing" for maintenance that I had to invest in on ours [/edit]

Last edited by Mainframeguy; 08-05-11 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 08-05-11, 08:08 PM   #6
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ooh errr - one thing I have noticed now - really should read more, is the "surprise" aspect, which implies no test ride with stoker in place.... Hmmmm not sure this is a good start.... stokers comfort levels are as important as your own and more difficult to accomodate if the start point does not suit.... I have never ridden stoker and am not sure I would be able, but pretty sure my partner would say the premise of buying as a surprise untested is flawed, so I wish you luck on that score and you can expect to budget for new bars, saddle, and quite possibly a thudbuster seatpost to make sure the stoker is a happy one! At least this has been my experience.... Bridegrider was right to notice this side of things. I am certain specbill speaks from good experience, but my instinct is the seller is holding out from knowledge, with a little patience he will place it and need not sell to you, and our bike shop were impressed with our purchase at 550 and said we had picked up a nice ride at a very real price FWIW
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Old 08-05-11, 08:39 PM   #7
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How do you know it will fit you if you don't test ride?
How do you know it will fit your wife if she is not fitted?
Suggest you both try out the bike for fit and for performance: shifting, braking, etc.
Does it have a shock seatpost for stoker? C'dales are notoriously stiff and harsh/bouncy in the stoker position.
. . . and ex-rentals can have a very harsh/abuse past!
If it still meets all your requirements and you've got the $$, then go for it.
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Old 08-06-11, 06:32 AM   #8
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Thanks a lot for all the replies, the fitment is based on our height and inseam measurements. I have quite a few handle bars from my other bikes to please the wife. I do not want to buy a new tandem as i am not sure whether the wife will be into it and I can recoup my investment in this bike if she does not like it. I guess i will check it out and then decide. As far as the rental aspect goes, the guy said it rarely got rented but was always well maintained and recently overhauled.
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Old 08-06-11, 09:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rav View Post
Thanks a lot for all the replies, the fitment is based on our height and inseam measurements. I have quite a few handle bars from my other bikes to please the wife. I do not want to buy a new tandem as i am not sure whether the wife will be into it and I can recoup my investment in this bike if she does not like it. I guess i will check it out and then decide. As far as the rental aspect goes, the guy said it rarely got rented but was always well maintained and recently overhauled.
Being on old dude, this brings to mind the old used-car salesman line: "It was owned by a little old lady from Pasadena who only used it to drive to church on Sunday."

True or not, take it for a spin (with or without stoker), shift it through the gears, do some hills, check out the brakes, etc. If it seems to be in the good condition that it's been represented, grab it.
If you and your stoker discover that you really enjoy it (as many of us have discovered) and find yourselves riding it a lot, you got a great deal. If you find that it needs a little tweaking, welcome to reality. Brake pads, cables, etc., won't break the bank.

It's a good idea to start small and 'cheap'. Then, if you find that it's a passion that you share, buy something new(er) to meet your needs. If you don't enjoy the tandem lifestyle and you sell it for $500, you only spend a couple hundred dollars to find out.
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Old 08-06-11, 07:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgross View Post
Being on old dude, this brings to mind the old used-car salesman line: "It was owned by a little old lady from Pasadena who only used it to drive to church on Sunday."

True or not, take it for a spin (with or without stoker), shift it through the gears, do some hills, check out the brakes, etc. If it seems to be in the good condition that it's been represented, grab it.
If you and your stoker discover that you really enjoy it (as many of us have discovered) and find yourselves riding it a lot, you got a great deal. If you find that it needs a little tweaking, welcome to reality. Brake pads, cables, etc., won't break the bank.

It's a good idea to start small and 'cheap'. Then, if you find that it's a passion that you share, buy something new(er) to meet your needs. If you don't enjoy the tandem lifestyle and you sell it for $500, you only spend a couple hundred dollars to find out.
+1

Worse came to worst; you could part it out for the asking price. The drum brake is worth $100 - $200 depending on condition, because they are no longer made.

The reviews of the early Cannodales said that they had a cramped stoker compartment. I found that when reading a review of the early Treks before we bought our T50 earlier this year. We paid $400- and the guy threw in a never been used Burley pet trailer (now $379- on Amazon). Since then we have spent a couple of hundred on minor things to make the bike more suitable for us.

Definitely plan on new saddles - which will be different from your solo saddles. My wife went through four different saddles before finding one that works for her. Surprisingly to me, she like toes clips - the hold her feet on the pedals, her feet were slipping off, which was very disconcerting for us. We also changed to wide flat bars, V-brakes, added fenders, chain guards - greasy socks did not make her happy.

As purchased:
http://s211.photobucket.com/albums/b...t=IMG_0436.jpg

Now:
http://s211.photobucket.com/albums/b...t=IMG_0694.jpg
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Old 08-08-11, 08:21 AM   #11
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Sounds like a good choice for a first tandem, IMO... Make sure everything's in good working order though.

It's hard to find a decent tandem that fits for under $1000.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:25 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot for all the replies guys, I bought it for $575. I will pick it up at the end of this month. I will post some pics when i get it.
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Old 08-08-11, 08:24 PM   #13
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+1
The drum brake is worth $100 - $200 depending on condition, because they are no longer made....
The reviews of the early Cannodales said that they had a cramped stoker compartment. ...

Definitely plan on new saddles - which will be different from your solo saddles. My wife went through four different saddles before finding one that works for her. Surprisingly to me, she like toes clips ...
We would have been one of the possible buyers for the rear wheel/drum... Having just had to part with 100 for the (135mm) hub alone towards a wheel build I can tell you I would have paid well over $100 for that wheel!

We have found our Cannondale roomy rather than cramped for the stoker, but we are only comparing with a
very early model "steel wheels" and a rental or two beforehand.

And can absolutely second the advices for stokers kit - would add to that to budget another $100 or so for a Cane Creek thudbuster - my stoker swears by it! Essentially bear in mind stoking is a totally different ride - and you as Captain are a big part of that, it was my stoker who taught me NOT TO lean like you do on a solo!

GL with it - enjoy and I look forward to hearing how your wife finds it
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