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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 09-14-12, 12:16 PM   #1
Rambetter
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Stoker handlebar question

Went on first big ride on new [old] Santana tandem yesterday.
This is the 1987 model Santana Sovereign that I posted about earlier.

There is an immediate problem that I need to fix before much more riding can be done. The stoker bars are uncomfortable!

The original bike came with "Cinelli/Santana" handlebars both front and rear, and both have "46" stamped on them. (There is actually "Specialized" and "Santana" stamped on the bars, dunno why.) Yes, they are wide!
However, the original owner decided to saw off the stoker bars and flip them upside-down, making them into "bullhorns". Unfortunately these are now uncomfortable.

So I'm wondering about what to do. First off, the bullhorns extend frontwards by 5 inches from the top of the bar where it clamps to the stem. So the "reach" isn't that great (only 5 inches). I measured about 43.5 cm center to center width at the point where they are cut off. The bars barely clear my tush. My main concern about choosing new bars is - will they clear my tush? I'd like to put drop bars on the back like it was originally, plus the original owner gave me the original Dia Compe dummy brake hoods. So my question is - 40cm or 42cm drop bars won't work for the stoker, will they? Should I buy new bars for the captain and put the captain's 46cm bars on the rear?

Do the captain bars need to be wide on a tandem for some reason? I'm thinking about 40cm or 42cm bars for the captain.

Or, are there any recommended bullhorn-style bars for stokers?

This is a 26mm clamp.

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 09-14-12, 02:48 PM   #2
Bent In El Paso
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If you are not too concerned about the weight, the Co-Motion stoker handlebar and adjustable stoker stem are a nice way to dial in the stoker cockpit for maximum comfort.
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Old 09-14-12, 03:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rambetter View Post
Do the captain bars need to be wide on a tandem for some reason? I'm thinking about 40cm or 42cm bars for the captain.

Or, are there any recommended bullhorn-style bars for stokers?
There is a line of thought that tandem handlebars should be wider to give the captain more leverage for turning the big bike. That said, I run 44cm bars on both my singles and the tandem (I like a wide bar and want to keep the respective cockpits as identical as possible). I don't notice any issues with turning the tandem.

Sorry, no wisdom I can pass on for your stoker, mine likes a Cinelli drop bar.

Good luck.
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Old 09-14-12, 09:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rambetter View Post
So my question is - 40cm or 42cm drop bars won't work for the stoker, will they? Should I buy new bars for the captain and put the captain's 46cm bars on the rear?

Do the captain bars need to be wide on a tandem for some reason? I'm thinking about 40cm or 42cm bars for the captain.


Any advice appreciated.
The answer to your question about drop bars for the stoker depends on the location of the bars and the width of your butt/thighs. My stoker is using 40 cm drop bars and they work great for us. They are positioned such that the flats on her bars are directly below the rear edge of my saddle. Tops of flats are about 5 1/2" below the top of the saddle.

Regarding width of captain's bars, my upper body strength is pretty wimpy and I'm very happy with my 42 cm bars.
Brent
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Old 09-14-12, 09:59 PM   #5
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Stoker likes her Air Wing base bar. We use a 42, just wide enough for her hands to clear my hips, as her bar is about even with my saddle. We added gel padding under the bar tape.
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Old 09-14-12, 10:03 PM   #6
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Timely thread. My stoker wants to go to narrower bars and we're thinking drop bars since she doesn't go anywhere near the ends of the bullhorn. The current bars seem to be 48cm center-to-center; my LBS will lend me some 25.4mm crop bars and faux brake hoods so we'll give this a shot.
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Old 09-14-12, 11:08 PM   #7
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Before getting new bars . . .
Remove stoker's bullhorn type bars.
Flip them over with bullhorn part facing stoker and thus forming a semi-type drop bar . . . give that a try. Mount the Diacompe dummy hoods for stoker; gives her another hand position.
Get narrower bars for you (as you would probably have on your single bike). No wider than the width of your shoulders.
Move the 46 cm side bars to stoker'sostions. Unless you have very wide hips/butt they should clear your buns.
An adjustable stoker stem would further enhance stoker bar positioning.
Just our experience/input.
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-15-12, 12:01 AM   #8
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each stoker is different - we must keep our's happy.

my stoker likes a more upright seating position - on a tandem there is minimal if any aero drag penalty for the stoker being more upright - comfort is the most important, and that varies from person to person.
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Old 09-15-12, 04:55 AM   #9
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My procedure:

As the OP stated, limiting factor is your hip width.
Use measuring device to determine minimum with bar.
After that get bar that stoker likes and chooses. It is her position.
Go ride lots.
If necessary repeat process.
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Old 02-11-13, 06:23 PM   #10
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Greetings,

Tandeming is an acquired taste, it is hard to arrive at the optimum setting for your beloved stoker without considerable hours of experimentation. My experience is, initially the more upright the better. Turning the handlebars slightly upwards after flipping them over and moving the stoker stem as high as it will go to start with is no sin either.

I have a Chrome Santana Triplet the same year as your tandem. It has two of the Cinelli Santana Handlebars at the stoker and middle positions but sadly arrived with a broken front set. If you are no longer using your front pair that matches other two I would love to hear from you.
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Old 02-12-13, 12:25 PM   #11
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I ride the same width on all my bikes. Be aware that for some bars the width at the top is not the same as the drops. Our older tandem and my single has 42 cm FSA K-Wing bars while our newer tandem has 44 cm FSA K-Force Compact. These bars are the same width at the top because the drops on the compact bars flare out and the K-Wings don't.
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Old 02-12-13, 02:16 PM   #12
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OP; You talking with us here isn't going to get you that far besides our wise ponderings.

You need to have your stoker stand over the bike and put their hands where they think will be comfortable. Put tape on the bars and mark it. Then sketch and measure and record. Then take off the tape and go for a short ride. Ask stoker to keep hands on the best feeling spot as you stop, measure and sketch and record again. Wait a day and do this all over again. Continue to repeat until you get several of the same answers in a row or until you go out and notice the rear bar is missing....so in that case, very carefully and quickly put on your helmet and then and only then begin to look around for the stoker.[ Frankly if you only have to buy two or three stoker bars you will have done better than most. Just be sure to keep the old ones you take off each time as tastes change. When in doubt the stoker is right. Listen to your stoker!!
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Old 02-16-13, 04:22 PM   #13
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IMO the necessity of having wide bars for the pilot is overrated. Once I got used to the feel of the bike, I found steering needed no more "muscle" than my single.
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Old 02-18-13, 07:57 PM   #14
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When I'm riding my tandem, I can move just a tad to either side and touch the stoker bars, and it feels like I'm right there. Only, turns out, what I'm touching is the tips of the bullhorns, which my stoker doesn't use, so it doesn't matter. Moral there is let your stoker figure out how much hand room is needed back there, it's hard for the captain to tell what's going on.

My first stoker tends to be very low and aero on her single bike, even without being in the drops, but there wasn't much point in sitting like that when she's riding behind me. ("Wow, drafting Stephen is like riding behind a school bus!"- one of my friends). And the current stoker tends to sit more upright anyway. So neither one had much use for drop bars, so I've just kept the bullhorns on it that came on it. I think the friend that made the "school bus" comment has drop stoker bars on his tandem, but I don't think they get used often- the drops on the captain's bars are a different story.

My single bike came with wider bars, so that's what I'm used to, and that's the main reason I see for using them on a tandem.
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Old 02-18-13, 09:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
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IMO the necessity of having wide bars for the pilot is overrated. Once I got used to the feel of the bike, I found steering needed no more "muscle" than my single.
Agreed. I like to ride bares that fit and not try to muscle the bike width
The handlebars. Same with as my single is best for me.
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