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  1. #1
    Senior Member ScottNotBombs's Avatar
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    Tandem for 6'7" male and 5'7" female?

    Hi,
    I've been looking into getting a tandem for touring and I've been looking around, but I don't know if they exist in the size I need..
    I'm 6'7" and my girlfriend is 5'7". She rides a 19"/48cm frame and I ride a 25"/64cm frame. Is there anything that we could possibly make work?
    Thanks,
    Scott
    I'm just a kid who gets in trouble sometimes

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    We purchased a Co-motion periscope torpedo for the flexibility it gave us in the stoker position. What I love about it is that it can fit my kids OR my wife with a simple seat adjustment. These tandems are not for everyone, but it's been a great purchase for our family as it's one the whole family has been able to enjoy.

    http://www.co-motion.com/index.php/t...els/periscopes

  3. #3
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Tandem frame sizing is slightly different than solo. Generally, the captain will have a slightly smaller than solo size - and use a longer stem for the handle bars. The stoker's handle bar attachment is one of the factors driving this. For the stoker, the inclusion of a suspension seat post or not ends up affecting the size by a couple of inches. If no suspension seat post, the stoker position is often a bit larger than on a solo bike, because the stoker does not take thier feet off the pedals except to get on/off or in emergencies, so crotch clearance, and reaching the ground from the saddle are non-issues.
    Nigel
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  4. #4
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    Cannondale size X/S. Call Mel at Tandems East.

  5. #5
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    One problem faced by tall riders on a single that is avoided on a tandem is weight distribution. A single that is too small requires a long stem and often too much weight on the front wheel. Likewise short chainstays can leave a tall riders saddle over the rear axle rather than between the axles. Both these problems are greatly reduced buy the tandem's length and the weight of the stoker. As a result if you can put a long enough seatpost and stem on it then you will be able to ride it. Another benefit is that the stoker is not required to stand and straddle the top tube. If she can get the seat low enough to reach the pedals then she can ride it. The captain can support the bike while she climbs on and off.

    At your height you will still need a pretty large tandem but I would think you might find one that works or have one made if you budget allows for that.

    Wayne

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottNotBombs View Post
    I'm 6'7" and my girlfriend is 5'7". She rides a 19"/48cm frame and I ride a 25"/64cm frame. Is there anything that we could possibly make work?
    48 sounds small for 5'7"? Largest Calfee frame is a 62/54, that might work? If you get married maybe spring for a custom :-) We are 6'4" and 5'4", and have a 64/52 custom Calfee.

  7. #7
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    One option for a custom tandem is R+E Cycles in Seattle (http://www.rodcycle.com). I don't have any personal experience with them, but it looks like they will build you a custom tandem for less than the big names.

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    I've sent you a private message

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottNotBombs View Post
    Hi,
    I've been looking into getting a tandem for touring and I've been looking around, but I don't know if they exist in the size I need..
    I'm 6'7" and my girlfriend is 5'7". She rides a 19"/48cm frame and I ride a 25"/64cm frame. Is there anything that we could possibly make work?
    Thanks,
    Scott
    I've sent you a private message. Clicked wrong button first time

  10. #10
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    R&E is very popular here in the Pacific Northwest. Frame builder Dennis Bushnell is one of the best in the country and he will work with any challenge as to custom sizing.
    http://www.rodcycle.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Spohn View Post
    R&E is very popular here in the Pacific Northwest. Frame builder Dennis Bushnell is one of the best in the country and he will work with any challenge as to custom sizing.
    http://www.rodcycle.com/
    They seem like good knowledgeable, experienced people. After they did a great repair on our very old steel tandem, we are going to have them build us a new tandem as soon as we get a few unexpected expenses covered. We run the uncommon female captain (5'6", 130 lb) male stoker (6'2", 195 lb), and our requirements didn't seem to give them much pause. I was amazed at the price they quoted us (under $5000). That's less than we paid for our boat anchor back in 1988 without adjusting for inflation.

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    how do you feel about driving to iowa?

  13. #13
    Cycling since 1978 deanack's Avatar
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    I am 6'5" and my wife is 5'3". We ride a Cannondale 2 Jumbo/Large frame. I ride a 64cm single and it fits me well. My wife has had some ankle issues so we are thinking of selling it. It is a 2008 with disc brakes and white hubs. Send me a message if interested. We are in the Detroit Metro area.

    Dean



    i
    Last edited by deanack; 03-08-12 at 07:37 AM. Reason: wrong year
    Assenmacher - full Campy 27" - '81
    Giant Yukon - 24" - '07
    Cannondale Tandem - Road 2 25x21 - '08
    Trek 2.3 - 64cm - '10

  14. #14
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    I'm 6'7", well 6'6" and 1/4 with a 98cm "cycling inseam." If you are like most taller people you are taller more in the legs than proportionally in the torso. I suspect that your 25" frame size is much much too small.

    I rode 63cm bikes and 25" (63.5cm) touring bikes for years because that was the biggest that I could get. However, because I was having to show so much seatpost to get proper leg extension, I could never get the handlebars to a proper height. Even when using a ridiculous hi-rise Salso frankenstem (Nitto Technomics was way way too flexy to trust) I couldn't get it right. Nothing looks sillier than the bikes I've tried to compromise fit for. The stems make a 63cm or 25" bike look like a Phred, but the funny thing is that the bars are still significantly lower than the saddle. They just look WRONG.

    Our tandem is one such build. The Cannondale tandems were the largest stock size tandems available when I bought ours. You can get the captain's compartment in 25" (63.5cm). If you are anything close to normally proportioned (normal for tall people, anyway) you are going to find the tandem to be a compromised fit. However, it is the best thing you'll get non-custom.

    I think steel tandems are boat anchors and that NO tandem should ever be built of steel. They just make for inefficient, overly flexy, heavy tandems. I'm on the record to that point ad nauseum. However, the best deal going in a custom tandem has to be a custom Curtlo. Last time I checked you could get a custom geometry Curtlo tandem built for around ~$1300. That's a custom for the price of a used 'dale. I picked up a custom big Curtlo for my dad, but it is a full on racing single frame. I'm too heavy to ride it, but it looks amazing. Previous owner replaced it with a DeRosa for the decals as much as anything. He liked how it rode, but you know cycling it is about the pretense of the thing as much as anything.

    I have three 27" (68.5cm) Cannondales that fit darn near perfectly. To tell you how far off I think your 25" (63.5cm) bikes are these 27" touring Cannondales (the old ST series) measure out to 73cm at the seat collar. Most people don't really "ride" their road bikes or tandems and aren't properly sized. If you spend 99% of your time on the hoods and can't comfortably ride 25% of your mileage in the drops, your bike just doesn't fit. However, don't feel bad, almost every bike you'll ever see on the road is 5-6cm too small for the cyclist riding it! The thing that is lost on most people is that you can always get proper seatpost extension when using 400mm seatposts like I do. The problem is that the headtube is not moving up proportionately. Bike fit is defined by two things: Neutral head tube position and top tube length. Seat tube length isn't a factor as you can always get proper extension with a longer seatpost. It is darn near impossible to get handlebars properly raised on a "skyjacked" bike. Besides the handling is completely different than on a purpose built larger frame.

    To me the great tragedy of tandems is that the Cannondale tandem is based off the old Cannondale ST touring bikes, but that Cannondale never made even an handful of the tandems in the 27" size that proved so popular with all the tourists and randonneurs. There is no substitute for being able to get the handlebars properly up. It is hard enough to "build up" a bike when you're tall but darn near impossible to bridge the gap up to near a 70cm from a 63cm. That's like trying to ride a 53cm when you should be on a 58-60cm bike.

    Come to Colorado sometime and I'll let you ride one of my big bikes.

    The real solution is to look into getting a Zinn tandem. Zinn specializes in making bikes for big folks. However, his dirty secret is that he builds small bikes with extended head tubes. I prefer a more traditional geometry, even though Zinn has very good reasons for doing this (eliminates wobble, lighter, stronger etc.). I'll never be able to afford a Zinn custom tandem, but if I could I'd still want a custom that didn't look like it was a compromised skyjacked bike.

    Enjoy and good luck. Oh, biggest thing. Riding a tandem on clown cranks (175mm) is miserable. You can get 200mm cranks from da Vinci, or any length custom cranks from High Sierra Cycles or Zinn. I use 205mm cranks on my single, and 200mm captain's cranks on my tandem. Clown cranks make climbing and finding a comfy cadence on the tandem a miserable experience.
    Last edited by mtnbke; 03-13-12 at 01:00 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I am not a big rider but will chime in to agree with the crank length observation above. I have seen way too many shorter women that have problems with 170mm cranks. The most difficult thing to due for us when riding a tandem is finding a cadence that was comfortable for both of us. Proportional crank lengths helps a lot in that area.

    While some people have the ability to adapt to cranks that are too large or too short, I suggest that you consider getting custom cranks for both you and your stoker. Long for you and if she can't spin at 100 easily on her single then shorter for her.

    Wayne

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
    ...the stoker position is often a bit larger than on a solo bike, because the stoker does not take thier feet off the pedals except to get on/off or in emergencies, so crotch clearance, and reaching the ground from the saddle are non-issues.
    Not to start a whole 'nother fit conversation, but I've always believed that you fit a bike to ride, not to get on/off.

    I think Peter White and Grant at Rivendell maintain this as well. Pay attention and you'll see that almost every road bike on the road is "fit" to the hoods and is 5-6cm too small for the cyclist riding it. Back in the day you'd see guys 5'10" riding 27" (68-69cm) bikes because they were so comfortable (handlebars relatively higher) compared to a smaller frame and showing seatpost. I think bike fit is so much more critical on a tandem than on a single, due to the greater difficulty getting out of the saddle to weight/unweight the perineum area. I think enjoying tandems is half about getting a good fit.

    Quite honestly, if money weren't a factor, we'd all be fools to buy stock sized tandems.

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    Hi, I'm 6f6 and my wife 5f11 and we're (well me basically) looking at a used tandem. Pretty hard to find (like any of my road bikes, 68cm...)
    Any advices?
    Thanks

  18. #18
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Co-Motion built a custom tandem for friends that are 6'7" (pilot) and 5'3" (stoker).
    Utilized custom 220mm crankarms for pilot. They've got over 30,000 miles on it now.

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    I like very much what Co-Motion does, but I don't have the budget for it now.
    I'm already getting a 36er custom made this year...


    edit: any pics of it zonatandem please?
    Last edited by davidfrench; 06-19-12 at 07:46 PM. Reason: pics?

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    davidfrench:
    Sorry no pics . . . it was built for them back around 1992.
    Did fit another tall/small couple on a Periscope; however pilot was only 6'4" and stoker about 5'4". Their unique issue was that pilot and stoker wanted to switch positions and also ride with their kids.
    Challenging! Solution was Periscope with 26" wheels (for lower standover room) so female could captain; had steerer tube uncut + a pilot adjustable stem (yes, there's such a thing!) to accomodate reach for both adults. It resulted in lotsa spacers being stacked on steerer tube to accomodate both adult heights.
    The Periscope's seatpost-within-a-seatpost took care of saddle height for all concerned as did adjustable stoker stem.
    However there usually are not many used tandems that would fit your needs.
    Patience and luck . . ?
    Rudy/zonatandem

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    I'm 6'7", well 6'6" and 1/4 with a 98cm "cycling inseam." If you are like most taller people you are taller more in the legs than proportionally in the torso. I suspect that your 25" frame size is much much too small.

    I rode 63cm bikes and 25" (63.5cm) touring bikes for years because that was the biggest that I could get. However, because I was having to show so much seatpost to get proper leg extension, I could never get the handlebars to a proper height. Even when using a ridiculous hi-rise Salso frankenstem (Nitto Technomics was way way too flexy to trust) I couldn't get it right. Nothing looks sillier than the bikes I've tried to compromise fit for. The stems make a 63cm or 25" bike look like a Phred, but the funny thing is that the bars are still significantly lower than the saddle. They just look WRONG.

    Our tandem is one such build. The Cannondale tandems were the largest stock size tandems available when I bought ours. You can get the captain's compartment in 25" (63.5cm). If you are anything close to normally proportioned (normal for tall people, anyway) you are going to find the tandem to be a compromised fit. However, it is the best thing you'll get non-custom.

    I think steel tandems are boat anchors and that NO tandem should ever be built of steel. They just make for inefficient, overly flexy, heavy tandems. I'm on the record to that point ad nauseum. However, the best deal going in a custom tandem has to be a custom Curtlo. Last time I checked you could get a custom geometry Curtlo tandem built for around ~$1300. That's a custom for the price of a used 'dale. I picked up a custom big Curtlo for my dad, but it is a full on racing single frame. I'm too heavy to ride it, but it looks amazing. Previous owner replaced it with a DeRosa for the decals as much as anything. He liked how it rode, but you know cycling it is about the pretense of the thing as much as anything.

    I have three 27" (68.5cm) Cannondales that fit darn near perfectly. To tell you how far off I think your 25" (63.5cm) bikes are these 27" touring Cannondales (the old ST series) measure out to 73cm at the seat collar. Most people don't really "ride" their road bikes or tandems and aren't properly sized. If you spend 99% of your time on the hoods and can't comfortably ride 25% of your mileage in the drops, your bike just doesn't fit. However, don't feel bad, almost every bike you'll ever see on the road is 5-6cm too small for the cyclist riding it! The thing that is lost on most people is that you can always get proper seatpost extension when using 400mm seatposts like I do. The problem is that the headtube is not moving up proportionately. Bike fit is defined by two things: Neutral head tube position and top tube length. Seat tube length isn't a factor as you can always get proper extension with a longer seatpost. It is darn near impossible to get handlebars properly raised on a "skyjacked" bike. Besides the handling is completely different than on a purpose built larger frame.

    To me the great tragedy of tandems is that the Cannondale tandem is based off the old Cannondale ST touring bikes, but that Cannondale never made even an handful of the tandems in the 27" size that proved so popular with all the tourists and randonneurs. There is no substitute for being able to get the handlebars properly up. It is hard enough to "build up" a bike when you're tall but darn near impossible to bridge the gap up to near a 70cm from a 63cm. That's like trying to ride a 53cm when you should be on a 58-60cm bike.

    Come to Colorado sometime and I'll let you ride one of my big bikes.

    The real solution is to look into getting a Zinn tandem. Zinn specializes in making bikes for big folks. However, his dirty secret is that he builds small bikes with extended head tubes. I prefer a more traditional geometry, even though Zinn has very good reasons for doing this (eliminates wobble, lighter, stronger etc.). I'll never be able to afford a Zinn custom tandem, but if I could I'd still want a custom that didn't look like it was a compromised skyjacked bike.

    Enjoy and good luck. Oh, biggest thing. Riding a tandem on clown cranks (175mm) is miserable. You can get 200mm cranks from da Vinci, or any length custom cranks from High Sierra Cycles or Zinn. I use 205mm cranks on my single, and 200mm captain's cranks on my tandem. Clown cranks make climbing and finding a comfy cadence on the tandem a miserable experience.
    The above description could be stated differently. I don't think it's a 'dirty secret' at all. It's a different design concept.
    Lennard Zinn's bikes' main triangle looks smaller (lower, sloping top tube, shorter seat tube) but they are not simply small bikes with extended head tubes. All of the geometry is designed to fit the rider for comfort and efficiency. I'm only 6'4", so my Zinn cranks are only 195mm. But they weren't just stuck on a small frame -- the bottom bracket is designed so I don't dig a pedal in a corner, and the handlebar stem isn't ridiculously long because the whole frame is harmoniously designed.
    I've ridden "traditional" frames in the 63-64cm range with longer stems to accommodate my long arms, including my old Raleigh Competition GS. Nothing came close to the comfort, responsiveness, and efficiency of my Zinn. It's the silver lining of the dark cloud... Of being run over by a pickup truck.
    I can only imagine what a Zinn tandem would feel like. Alas, our "off the rack" tandems are good enough for our budget.
    B. Gross
    SoCal

    '96 Cannondale MT1000 "Los Dos" Tandem
    '84 Santana Arriva Tandem
    '87 Specialized Rockhopper
    '10 Lennard Zinn Stelvio Road Bike

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    davidfrench:
    However there usually are not many used tandems that would fit your needs.
    Patience and luck . . ?
    Rudy/zonatandem
    Fanx!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottNotBombs View Post
    Hi,
    I've been looking into getting a tandem for touring and I've been looking around, but I don't know if they exist in the size I need..
    I'm 6'7" and my girlfriend is 5'7". She rides a 19"/48cm frame and I ride a 25"/64cm frame. Is there anything that we could possibly make work?
    Thanks,
    Scott
    Your 25"/64cm single is most likely several inches too small for you... for a tandem, it would be about right. Your stoked at 5'7'' fits right into the sizing of most off the shelf tandems. A L/M or XL/M Santana or other brand of choice would very like be acceptable. If you want a used one, check Craigs and ebay as I see good Santana's on there all the time, often available under a 1,000(USD). Just make sure it is tuned well and that the tires are like new condition before starting to ride it or tune/retire first. Big caution is to get some miles on it before starting to replace things no matter how much advice you might get on blog sites... most bikes were pretty well outfitted originally and your bodies will adjust cheaper if you just give it a bit of time.

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    Hey ScottNotBombs, I finally found on CL a Trek T100 in the largest size avail at that time I guess. At 6f6 it's almost fine for me.
    Keep looking on CL or any other web search engine, you'll find one, they were pretty accessible at the time they sold new.

  25. #25
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    I'll just reiterate something I believe since a lot of tall folks are commenting on finding bikes that work for them. I think proper bike fit is one of the most misunderstood things for tall cyclists.

    When I read that a 6'6" or 6'7" man found a bike that works for him, I roll my eyes. Most tall cyclists have absolutely no frame of reference for bike fit, and bike fit is a train wreck for most people in the 57-61cm common sizes range. Tall cyclists find that that XL bikes are really skyjacked 57cm bikes with compact geometry.

    However, these bikes shimmy and shake, the seat tube angle is just borrowed from a small frame and creates a much too long top tube, especially when these bikes are built up frankenbike fashion with long seat posts for us tall folks.

    What I posted about Zinn earlier wasn't meant to be a harsh criticism. It is a reality of frame building. Listen, Leonard Zinn knows more about bicycle technology, frame design, and the "harmony of the spheres" of bike design than most of us will ever forget. There are very very good reasons for the way he designs his frames. There are reasons they look like that, and everything in a Zinn frame is completely well thought out for the tall cyclist. My default answer for anyone over 6'3" is that whatever they are riding on may have bling, but they would ride faster and more comfortably if they rode on a Zinn instead.

    There is no stock tandem that can be made to reasonably fit anyone 6'6" and over. I know I'm a bit taller than that, and I've got the largest stock tandem made: Cannondale 25" captain's compartment which measures out to 63.5cm. While my fleet of Cannondales includes an M2000 26" mountain bike, and three single road bikes (27" or 68.5cm ST touring series bikes), I can't say I love Cannondale tandems for tall people, simply because nothing is made for us and everything is a complete compromise. The stiffness is ideal for long legs, especially if you are going to be looking into appropriate proportional sized cranks. I have Zinn 200mm tandem cranks and love them. The lateral stiffness in the Cannondale tandem is second to none, in my book. I don't think anyone stresses a tandem laterally more than I do. Cannondale tandems are the best bang for the buck in tandems, period. However, where is the value for a tall cyclist? If the shoes are three sizes too small does it matter if they are on sale?

    If I could get a Cannondale tandem made in the 27" captain's compartment size like my Cannondale ST touring series bikes I'd call it done. However, I've never been able to get that pulled off.

    I think anyone tall who is considering a custom tandem should strongly consider a Zinn tandem. Quite frankly, no one knows how to build a tall bike well but Zinn. You always see complaints from people with high zoot tall Serotta, Seven, Rivendell, etc. The bikes are all notoriously too flexy, the geometry was normalized between the custom fit and the build, or it just isn't fast and doesn't climb well (flexy and weak tube choices by a builder that can't fathom the watts a big cyclist can put out).

    The average tall bicycle is a train wreck. If you can't find a tall single that doesn't have speed death wobble, isn't overly flexy, and doesn't strain your hands, neck, shoulders and wrists why believe you can compromise the fit on a way too small tandem?

    If the budget allows no tall cyclist should look beyond a Zinn custom, even if you are only having Zinn build you the geometry and specs for a build being done elsewhere. Literally, any other builder just won't have a clue about the challenges of a tall bike.

    As a parting thought, if you can't ride in the drops of your tandem 50% of the time, your tandem just plain doesn't fit. If you're tall you already knew that. We are just doing the best we can trying to ride bikes that are 5-7cm too small. My 25" or 63.5cm Cannondale captains' compartment is like someone who rides a 54cm being asked to ride a 49cm, to put it into perspective. The funny thing is the tall cyclist doesn't know any better. If the biggest bikes you've ever seen are all 63cm or around about, how do you KNOW that they don't fit?

    Maybe we all need to put in a group bulk order (captain's that are all 6'6"-6'8"),eh?
    Last edited by mtnbke; 10-22-12 at 02:46 AM.

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