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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 02-22-12, 12:20 PM   #1
jtexfisher
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New Trek or used Raleigh??

Ok, I'm a moderate rider, 50 mi/week. Wife isn't. So, a while back she brought up the subject of a tandem. We've rented the Kent for a bit and so far it's nothing but fun . After of course reading post upon post upon post on how to get along, many thanks to the forum. We've been able to mount the bike, start, stop, coast, shift, slow and speed up together pretty well. GREAT advice to be found here. Of course I yell out BUMP just a bit too late and she enjoys the excuse to whack me one.

I'm 5'9" and fit a 52cm (21") road bike and an 18" mountain bike pretty well. Wife is short at 5'2" and my youngest wants to ride too, she's just shy of 5'. I see this as two completely different styles of cycling, tandem will be more for fun and fitness vs my go out and get a good sweaty workout rides. I'll be switching between my road bike and the tandem quite a bit.

I've been looking and have it down to a couple of candidates.

Used Raleigh, 2004/2005ish.
New T900.

Here's my pro/con on the two.

Gearing: T900 has more bailout with a 28/32 combo vs 30/27 low on the Raleigh. There are plenty of hills in the area that are just no fun. 28/32 is tempting. Of course a 9 speed 12/32 cassette can widen the range of the Raleigh quite a bit too.

Bars: T900 has much more adjustment, but I see no reason the Raleigh can't be made to fit us. Perhaps using extenders/adjustable stem for captain who really doesn't like a way down posture. Use an adjustable stem for the stoker so it can fit wife / kid as need be.

Tires: T900 has fatter tires. We live in a rural area, ride mtn bikes on back roads that are oil dirt, loose gravel, some washboard. We also ride the local roads / state highways. Raleigh has 700s. I like 700s. But I'm afraid that the 700/25 will be ill suited for the back roads. Maybe suggestions for 700s better suited for both types of running?

Overall quality: Tend to believe the Raleigh is the better bike from the get go.

Goodies: T900 has a suspension seat post for the stoker. Not sure if that stock one is any good or if maybe a thudbuster is a better choice?

Price: About $200 more for the T900, not including taxes etc.

decisions decisions...

Thanks for looking.

Last edited by jtexfisher; 02-22-12 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Title changed
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Old 02-22-12, 03:06 PM   #2
Midlake Crisis
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Also, FWIW the T900 has an aluminum frame, the Raleigh Companion (?) is steel.
Which Kent model did you rent? How was it??
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Old 02-22-12, 04:56 PM   #3
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The Kent was the Dual Drive. Fits the short stokers pretty well, but I didn't get it adjusted for me too well. Front shifter was goobered but the rear worked fine. Mostly it just seemed fragile. Reminded me of an Academy bike we bought for my wife a few years back. It lasted a few months then most everything started falling apart. Mind you my singles are no where near top of the line (Trek 4300, Jamis Satellite) but it seems that the step from the Kent to the Trek or Raleigh is a big one. Thinking I won't get frustrated if I spend the money and buy something better than the least.
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Old 02-23-12, 02:39 AM   #4
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A big question: how much tire clearance is there on the Raleigh? Both width and radial. There may not be much room for a wider tire.....

Our T50 currently has 37-622 (700cx37) tires on it. When we purchased it last year, it was wearing 23-700c - one of the first things I changed. It was originally equipped with 38-622 tires. The T50 might have room for 40-622 tires.

Take a look at the many tire options from Amazon.
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Old 02-23-12, 11:00 AM   #5
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I can't comment much on the bikes, but concerning the tires, we've been using 700c x 28 tires on bad Pittsburgh roads and occasional gravel roads/paths for a couple of seasons now without any problems.
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Old 02-23-12, 01:42 PM   #6
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Well... a new used (is that really a phrase??) bike has arrived at the LBS. KHS Tandemaina Comp. We're going to go look at it this afternoon.
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Old 02-23-12, 07:31 PM   #7
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The comp was last made in 2004. In making your choice remember that saddles, tires, components can be swapped out to dial in performance and comfort, but you are stuck with the frame. If at all possible you and your two stokers should try to ride the three bikes you are looking at before deciding. All things aside I would opt for a new bike over a used one so would go with the Trek--if it fit properly. For rough and unpaved roads it is hard to beat the Schwalbe Marathon family.
http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/B...Comp&Type=bike
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Old 02-23-12, 11:39 PM   #8
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The KHS would be a great choice, if it fits.
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Old 02-24-12, 10:01 AM   #9
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Well, the T900 and the KHS both felt good...and the KHS was way less than 1/2 the $$, so we dragged it home. Rode about an hour last nite, me and the kiddo had a blast. I'll be doing some riser bars, adjustable stem etc like I did to my Trek 4300 "comfort conversion", and playing with the parts bin for stoker bars. Not much else to do for the short term. I see a rack and trunk bag in the future too. Love the way you can chat and share the ride. I think that's what I look forward to more than anything.

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Old 02-24-12, 10:03 AM   #10
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Nice! Enjoy!!!
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Old 02-24-12, 05:42 PM   #11
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Congrats! Looks like a nice bike! And you are right, the tandem can't be beat for conversations. Probably my favorite "date" these days.
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