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  1. #1
    Senior Member Smallguy's Avatar
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    Where to Start? links appreciated

    Can someone help me out with getting started in the tandem world?

    My gf soon to be wife and I are both avid cyclists and both race as well

    She has expressed interest in getting a tandem and more time on bikes is great by me.

    We both have higher end road and mountain bikes and enjoy the performance of quality components.

    I saw some prices on a khs tandem for under 2k and it looks decent and possibility entry level ?

    We met a couple with a cannondale that looked very nice and I believe they are about double.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Good for you and your gf, soon to be wife! Links will be forthcoming in numbers from those who keep track of such things, but if you're both avid cyclists I'd start looking for a used tandem. Might take a while to find something in your size, but at the KHS price point you have a good shot of finding a higher-end tandem.

    I'm sure you've already figured out that when you and SO are riding the tandem you will be a very popular addition to many pacelines.
    Rick T
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    daVinci Joint Venture

  4. #4
    mje
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    I second the suggestion of buying a used tandem. I recently bought a low-mileage, 12 year old Cannondale road tandem with high end (Ultegra/XTR) components for hundreds less than the MSRP of a new KHS Milano (tiagra/deore).

  5. #5
    Junior Member ponti33609's Avatar
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    Another Thumbs Up for the Used Route. We have had our used Co-Motion for nearly a year.....retail back in the day was ~$5K and we got it delivered used and like new for ~$2K. We feel we could ride it for a few years, sell for near the same price and upgrade to an even better Tandem in the future.

    Best of Luck!
    Bob
    Bob
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    If you can part with $15, Tandem Club of America ( www.tandemclub.org ) is a good information clearinghouse. Besides the normal tandem stories, TCA's Double Talk magazine has club listings as well as events hosted by various clubs. There are usually a few bikes for sale, too. As to purchasing a bike, it's helpful if you and your future wife/stoker do some test rides. Some folks make the mistake of buying a tandem and end up selling it quickly. Some new stokers find that they can't deal with a loss of control: brakes, shifting, & direction are all in the captain's hands. Being a stoker is more than just a leap of faith. It's trust as well. As for pricing in general, figure on 2.5-3 times the price of a single bike with an equivalent frame material and gruppo. Hope this helps.
    Jeff

    Learn from other people's mistakes. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    2004 Co-Motion Speedster
    2010 (Specialized) Carmel comfort (my neighborhood bike)
    2008 Raleigh comfort (wife's neighborhood bike)

  7. #7
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    Welcome!

    Assuming you'll be the captain, read this first to get your tandem experience off on the right foot: http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/propmethod.html

    For bikes...as others have said, used is the way to go if you can find what you want. Santana, Co-Motion, Cannondale, Trek are all brands that appear with some regularity on craigslist in our area (SF Bay, not sure where you are at). The challenge is waiting for something that works for you. If you can stay ~1999 or newer you should get a decent bike that doesn't need too much in upgrades. You didn't mention if you are looking for road or mtb, but there are choices for both.

    The KHS is the cheapest of the "serious" tandems. Reviews I've read have been fairly positive -- the main knocks being that they aren't as comfortable on longer rides, and the component package is lower end. Cannondale is roundly considered to be the best bang-for-the-buck. If you end up enjoying the tandem life you could outgrow the KHS pretty quickly, while the Cannondale has the potential to be the last tandem you need for a long time. And it has a frame worthy of upgrading components on. There is another thread right now discussing the availability of new Cannondale tandems. You might want to give that a read.

    Santana and Co-Motion are the big names in performance tandems and they have a wide range of models. There are numerous other smaller manufacturers (Rodriguez/R&E, DaVinci, Calfee, etc), and www.tandemseast.com has a house brand (Hokitika) with a made-in-USA chromoly frame that looks like a great deal, although I haven't heard much about them.

    Anyway, go take a look at craigslist. When we decided to take the tandem plunge (last November) I found the bike we ended up buying the first day I looked. Sometimes you just get lucky!

    Joe

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    +1 on Cannondale being a great value, especially used. Another plus is _knowing_ that the frame is stiff enough to be steady at speed so no worries about whippy handling on high speed downhills. If looking used, IMHO, the watershed points are 145mm rear dropout spacing and threadless headsets. A tandem with both of these will be reasonably modern in its componentry, and can be upgraded to any other new components you would wish. Of the two, I'd take a threaded headset before a narrower rear dropout spacing because the spacing impacts the whole drivetrain.

    Also, definitely read the link cajoe posted together with your stoker and talk about it -- communication is key!
    Last edited by WheelsNT; 05-25-12 at 09:03 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Smallguy's Avatar
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    thanks everyone

  10. #10
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Some good beginners links have been provided above. Since you both are strong riders here is a link that might get your juices flowing. Notice the age of the team and see how they finished.

    Go get em.

    http://www.precisiontandems.com/hhh08.htm

  11. #11
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    The tandem forum could use a sticky thread on this perennial topic, and this thread would be a good candidate to be that.

  12. #12
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    The tandem forum could use a sticky thread on this perennial topic, and this thread would be a good candidate to be that.
    Done
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  13. #13
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    As an ex-racer my suggestion is to buy the very best that your budget will permit! You will not be happy with anything else and will end up spending money on upgrades that you could have put into a much better bike.

    Just my opinion based on that great teacher called learning the hard way.

    Wayne

  14. #14
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallguy View Post
    Links appreciated
    Some tandem makers. More to follow.

    Bushnell Design
    Calfee Design
    Cannondale Road Tandem 2
    Co-Motion
    Cyfac
    DaVinci
    Kent Ericksen
    Paketa
    Santana

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallguy View Post
    Can someone help me out with getting started in the tandem world?
    The mailing list, tandem@hobbes, is the oldest electronic source of tandem related information. There is an extensive archive dating from the mid-1990's at http://search.bikelist.org/.

  16. #16
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    Several used tandems are listed on http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

    Be aware that worn out components on a tandem are expensive to replace. It would be best to see a tandem before buying and if you don't know what to look for take an expert. A second option is to take the used tandem to a good shop and pay them evaluate the bike.

    Riding a tandem is fun and great exercise for a couple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajoe View Post
    Welcome!

    Assuming you'll be the captain, read this first to get your tandem experience off on the right foot: http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/propmethod.html

    For bikes...as others have said, used is the way to go if you can find what you want. Santana, Co-Motion, Cannondale, Trek are all brands that appear with some regularity on craigslist in our area (SF Bay, not sure where you are at). The challenge is waiting for something that works for you. If you can stay ~1999 or newer you should get a decent bike that doesn't need too much in upgrades. You didn't mention if you are looking for road or mtb, but there are choices for both.

    The KHS is the cheapest of the "serious" tandems. Reviews I've read have been fairly positive -- the main knocks being that they aren't as comfortable on longer rides, and the component package is lower end. Cannondale is roundly considered to be the best bang-for-the-buck. If you end up enjoying the tandem life you could outgrow the KHS pretty quickly, while the Cannondale has the potential to be the last tandem you need for a long time. And it has a frame worthy of upgrading components on. There is another thread right now discussing the availability of new Cannondale tandems. You might want to give that a read.

    Santana and Co-Motion are the big names in performance tandems and they have a wide range of models. There are numerous other smaller manufacturers (Rodriguez/R&E, DaVinci, Calfee, etc), and www.tandemseast.com has a house brand (Hokitika) with a made-in-USA chromoly frame that looks like a great deal, although I haven't heard much about them.

    Anyway, go take a look at craigslist. When we decided to take the tandem plunge (last November) I found the bike we ended up buying the first day I looked. Sometimes you just get lucky!

    Joe
    The Hokitika is a great bike there are many out there right now and have not heard any complaints the people who have them are verry happy with it there are a few models of the Hokitika so check it out.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallguy View Post
    Can someone help me out with getting started in the tandem world?

    My gf soon to be wife and I are both avid cyclists and both race as well

    She has expressed interest in getting a tandem and more time on bikes is great by me.

    We both have higher end road and mountain bikes and enjoy the performance of quality components.

    I saw some prices on a khs tandem for under 2k and it looks decent and possibility entry level ?

    We met a couple with a cannondale that looked very nice and I believe they are about double.
    Check out tandemseast.com or call Mel on the phone 856-451-5104 he has a ton of experience with sizing and good priced bikes

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallguy View Post
    Can someone help me out with getting started in the tandem world?

    My gf soon to be wife and I are both avid cyclists and both race as well

    She has expressed interest in getting a tandem and more time on bikes is great by me.

    We both have higher end road and mountain bikes and enjoy the performance of quality components.

    I saw some prices on a khs tandem for under 2k and it looks decent and possibility entry level ?

    We met a couple with a cannondale that looked very nice and I believe they are about double.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    I think you have been given good advice about going used, or going with the KHS....especially due to the cost. Good luck.

    But the primary issue to me is that you are stuck with a tandem....no independent coasting, which while 50% more expensive, was worth the added expense to my wife and I


    I purchased a Davinci Grand Junction tandem in October2011 for $100 less than sticker (they don't dicker much on these).
    The Davinci Grand Junction has independent coasting whichallows the captain to stand and pedal (while the stoker is seated or standing,pedaling or not pedaling). It is also soeasy to start riding, we are completely confident at busy intersections andstoplights (your stoker starts pedaling while captain balances the bike for asecond and then captain begins to pedal)
    I ride my bicycle regularly, my wife does not. On our honeymoon at Wrightsville Beach, NC,in August 2011, my bride surprised me with a tandem bicycle that was rented forthe week. This rented tandem was beatup, ugly, large tires, with huge seats that hurt after the second ride……but wehad a great time riding the island on our first 2 rides (20 miles first ride,10 miles second ride). We also test roada new $995 +/- Trek Tandem from a well-run LBS. We liked this Trek much better than our rental.
    I became passionate about getting a tandem for my wife and meto ride as well as to share with my nephews. I read and reviewed what I could find on the internet, including thisforum.
    We test road and almost bought a Co-Motion tandem(telescoping variety) in Raleigh. Theproblem was, the salesman (a tall Caucasian with, I kid you not, a waxedbandito mustache) almost sold me a tandem that was clearly too large forme. How did I almost make this obvious mistake?
    I was on an unfamiliar bicycle with thinner tires than thetandem we had rented or the Trek we test road. I was enamored with Co-Motions from my internet research, I was focusedon not wrecking this $3,200 bicycle, and worried about my wife’s comfort…becauseshe was not happy riding the Co-Motion.
    As is true in most cases with tandems, if your stoker is nothappy, it is probably the captain’s fault, and it was. My wife was upset because I would alternatebetween peddling and coasting without warning her. This banged up her shins a couple oftimes. We both banged our shins at timestrying to start after we had stopped. This of course happened while riding on theisland, and I had corrected it by warning my wife. However, during the test ride I was notcommunicating well with my wife, who, luckily, became clearly fed up with it.
    Hours after we left the shop my wife and I realized howlucky we were to have avoided buying the Co-Motion (she never did like the Co-Motion). We later test road a Davinci tandem andknew we had found the tandem for us.
    The only issues or regrets we have with our new DavinciGrand Junction involved our choice of the entry level model and the initialbreak in. Don’t get me wrong the GrandJunction is great, and probably will turn out to be the best deal for us. But I wish I would have spent the extra$1,200 and purchased the In-2-ition. Why? The In-2-ition is a little bit lighter, 4cranks instead of 3, and bike made in America by Davinci, not spec’d out toTaiwan.
    During the first 4 or 5 rides, we had difficulty shifting tothe middle of three cranks (common issue noted on the internet…but issue seemsto work its way out). One time adownshift created a loud screech of metal on metal and the chain got stuckbetween the middle and largest crank. However,this did not reoccur. At first roughshifting was corrected by minor adjustment to the derailleur and by planningahead and shifting to the middle crank when there was no load on the chain andthe captain was pedaling and the stoker was not. By the 10th ride, we quit having anyproblems shifting into the middle crank.
    We also have experienced a sticking front brake caliper thatcomes and goes. But I finally realizedthis last weekend on a 30 mile chairy ride and it is going to the LBS tocorrect. But I just had to adjust the disk brakes, which was easy after a successfulGoogle search found a You-Tube video that showed me how.
    Good luck

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprout97 View Post
    If you can part with $15, Tandem Club of America ( www.tandemclub.org ) is a good information clearinghouse. Besides the normal tandem stories, TCA's Double Talk magazine has club listings as well as events hosted by various clubs. There are usually a few bikes for sale, too.
    I forgot to add that Recumbent & Tandem Rider magazine is another publication serving the tandem community and offers stories, bikes for sale & product reviews. www.rtrmag.com .
    Jeff

    Learn from other people's mistakes. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    2004 Co-Motion Speedster
    2010 (Specialized) Carmel comfort (my neighborhood bike)
    2008 Raleigh comfort (wife's neighborhood bike)

  21. #21
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smallguy View Post
    My gf soon to be wife and I are both avid cyclists and both race as well
    Not to turn this into a Davinci bashing thread, but as 2 avid cyclists who both race singles, Davinci's independent pedaling system likely is not what you're looking for.


    and to keep in the spirit of the links thread, here's a link to a Davinci thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=davinci
    Last edited by merlinextraligh; 06-11-12 at 02:42 PM.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  22. #22
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I will venture a comment on daVinci tandems. We strongly considered buying one for our first tandem but decided against it for the very reason some love it. The design's goal is to allow some break in connection when coasting between the two team members. While this can be a great feature for some we were interested in the team aspect of tandems and have found the benefits of a direct connection well worth the challenges. I think of tandem riding as truly dancing with a partner on the pedals. While it would be easier to dance if one partner could pause every once in a while it still would not be the same as dancing until the music stops. Purely a subjective feeling.

    Objectively the costs are some small amount of weight and complexity and some loss in drive efficiency. Even at 98-99% chain efficiency the added drive chain will cost you 1-2% of your team's power. That may not sound like much but if you are interested in speed think about losing those watts. Of course some don't care about a loss in power or a little weight and would much rather have the ability to coast any time they want.

    All that being said, I have purchased cranks and other items from daVinci and must say they are a great bunch that have great products.

  23. #23
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    When I see this ICS, I see

    • Weight
    • Complexity
    • Cost
    • No belt option
    • Drivetrain friction
    • More to go wrong.
    • Captain-Stoker communication (through the sync chain) disconnected.
    • Proprietary parts, not universally available
    • More stoker leg chain oil tattoo's (more chain exposure in front of crank).


    The benefit is that the stoker and captain can have different cadence. Yay! However, with training together the stoker and captain could probably come to a mutually beneficial cadence.


    I guess I just don't get it, and like jazz, if you have to explain you'll never know.



  24. #24
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
    When I see this ICS, I see


    ....The benefit is that the stoker and captain can have different cadence. Yay! However, with training together the stoker and captain could probably come to a mutually beneficial cadence.


    I guess I just don't get it, and like jazz, if you have to explain you'll never know.

    Actually the stoker and captain must still have the same cadence. The system only allows each rider to coast independently. This is very useful when off road because it allows each rider to orient the cranks to avoid rocks and other obstructions. I do know of a team locally that rides one in rando events. Both are strong riders but they feel it is worth it when in the saddle for 600K. For us we will keep it simple and use a single sync chain.

    I do think the design shows a lot of creativity and accomplishes what it was design to do.

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