We have owned our "visa" since around 1996. It has been pretty much bulletproof with no repairs required other than tire replacement and normal maintenance. I don't believe that we have ever even broken a spoke even though at some times we have been north of 400 pounds – probably around 375 right now.
Over the past two years we have been cycling more and more with our local group here in Alabama, (look up Etowah roadies on Facebook). Here is the problem:
I am retired and my wife still works so I have made more progress than she has had time to achieve. We often have group rides that will average 18 to 20 mi./h and this is beyond her capability. I should say that she enjoys riding single so we have not been doing much tandem lately but it seems that it's almost mandatory that we get back into the tandem if we want to be able to do these faster rides and stick together. So the real question is:
Buy a new tandem or upgrade the one we have? The visa was a quality machine with steelframe and 3 x 9 gears. It's a bit heavy and we have made that a little worse with things like luggage rack, kickstand, plush seats, etc. The frame still looks good and with these obvious potentials for weight savings I believe I could get it down into the low 30s from the mid to high 30s where it sits right now. Other possibilities exist like carbon forks and bars, and most particularly a lighter wheelset. These wheels have been essentially bulletproof I've never broken a spoke but I suspect significant weight savings could be achieved here. I'm going to post an addendum to this question with the exact weights of the wheels and the total bicycle.
There are a lot of bicycles available on craigslist or eBay but I suspect that this item would be salable and the real question is – spend money to upgrade it or sell it and buy new. Complicating this decision is the possibility that my wife who is a bit of a control freak might still prefer to ride solo. This tends to skew me toward the upgrade scenario as it would undoubtedly be less expensive.
Well, I know that I have spoken a book here, (I use voice recognition software so if there is something that looks stupid blame the Dragon). Still, I wanted to give a full background as it is a rather complicated question that I am asking. Thank you very much in advance for any wise input.