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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 03-14-13, 08:10 PM   #1
redeyedtreefr0g
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Looking to buy an inexpensive Tandem

I've been thinking long and hard, and I think the first bike I should buy is a tandem. My other option would be a Super Sport to replace Zoomie (my Schwinn Gateway from Target). But, since Zoomie is technically working fine, the tandem seems like the better purchase.

My mom and dad are both getting very excited about the bike trip we have planned- my first tour, from my house to theirs- roughly 120 miles I think. They want to come with me, and we figure a tandem would the ideal vehicle for that (and individual bikes for everyone else of course). Plus, I've just always wanted a bicycle built for two- I am a twin myself after all!

So far as I know, Schwinn only offers the Twinn for a tandem, or a Paramount version that I'm not going to hold my breath for. They came in single speed, 5-speed (Deluxe) and 10-speed (Sport), I think. (Non-Schwinn tandems are ok too I guess, if the price is right, but of course Schwinn has earned a special place in my heart.)

I want one! I'm pretty sure I'd prefer a Deluxe or Sport version with gears.
I want one that is rideable, or nearly so. It shouldn't take a mint for me to be able to hop on it and go. It does not have to be prefect. I repeat, it does NOT have to be perfect. I don't even care if it's all original.

My leg inseam, and my husband's, is 28 inches.

As for price, it has to be low. At this moment, I have $30 in the bike fund, plus a simple diamond ring. I'll have another $100 at the end of the month.
I missed a chance to trade the ring for a single-speed tandem where the guy was asking $200. I would guess the ring would be worth $150 if you were to try and purchase one similar (I searched Amazon to compare).

To further complicate matters- I cannot travel! I can perhaps arrange for my parents to pick up a bike, but that may take a while and depends on their schedules. I live 2 hours from them- I am in Longmont, CO and they are in Colorado Springs.

If you have a tandem, or find one for sale within my means, please let me know! I'm also scouring craigslist in my area, but I admit I wear glasses for a reason and its easy for me to miss something.
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Old 03-14-13, 08:44 PM   #2
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I'm not sure I'm fully understanding your post there.

Anywho...my opinion- for the trip as described, just stick to individual bikes, work on the tandem idea at your leisure.

Modern tandems are great. And expensive. $4,500 will get you a good set-up tho.
Old high-class tandems might be okay. But they're not so common. That would be the Paramount you mention there, in addition to others.
Old cruiser tandems are a diferent matter. They're quite common, typically in the $100 to $200 range. In your case, it would help if you could travel to Denver and surrounding areas to pick one up, it'd give you more options.
Some drawbacks, though. The old cruiser tandems are either single-speed (90% of 'em) or have more limited gear ratios than newer bikes. Longmont's pretty flat, if you're just crusising around there, no problem. However, if you start off on a 120 mile ride, I suspect you're going to hit some major hills somewhere between Longmont and Colorado Springs. In that case, you may find yourself out of gears and/or out of brakes on the downhill. A potentially bad situation. The frames may be flexier than a higher end bike, too.
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Old 03-15-13, 09:36 AM   #3
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Hi, I have a schwinn paramount tandem that if you are interested in it we could work out something, It was my wifes and my first tandem. 1972 and in great shape. A great starter tandem with a ladyback(mixte). PM me for more details. I'm in Beulah Co and so could meet without a lot of hassle.
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Old 03-15-13, 09:58 AM   #4
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You should be able to find a great used tandem for under $1000, but you may have to go outside your area and pay for shipping. Lots of folks buy tandems and don't use them. Maybe they age out or maybe the two riders never quite got it together. So plenty of good tandems make to the used market. Look for an older Co-Motion , Sanatana or Cannondale.
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Old 03-15-13, 11:38 AM   #5
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flypaca, PM sent!

Thanks for all the advice so far.
I expect a tandem to get a bunch of use (or at least above average) with me. My husband dislikes riding to his work with me only because I tend to be slower than him- I guess he's a sprinter- (he even started pulling the super-heavy trailer full of groceries at full tilt before he slowed to normal speed. He ended up needing a break eventually, but at least it wasn't ME hauling the groceries )
Plus, any time my parents visit they'll want to play on it, and my twin definitely would prefer being a stoker to having a separate bike- I highly enjoy rides with them.
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Old 03-15-13, 11:50 AM   #6
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I bought a 20 year old trek T100 for about $500 a year ago (actually turned out to be another BF member I bought it from) . It turned out to be too tall for my wife, so we are now selling it and bought a 2002 Diamondback Wildwood for $150 at a swap meet. It's entry level quality, not nearly as nice as the Trek, but it fits her and is much safer to ride. You may be able to find something similar to one of these bikes.
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Old 03-15-13, 04:57 PM   #7
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REtf,
Send me your e-mail and I can send you photos. It doesn't want to post them via pM.. Thanks. You realize that on a tandem you still have to match cadence.looking forward to hearing from you. We could always arrange for a trial ride.

Last edited by flypaca; 03-15-13 at 04:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-15-13, 05:17 PM   #8
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Post a CL add too, either WTB and/or even renting a tandem. I would not recommend a single speed for a 120 mile ride. tandem deals are out there, but it takes diligence to find them. I got a really great deal on this Motobecane a year ago. But i also waffled and lost on some project Santana's at $400 each.

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Old 03-15-13, 05:41 PM   #9
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An older/used tandem, that fits, could be the way to go.
Try to stay away from department store tandems and single speeds.
You wil need gears for climbing. While a hill does not look too bad driving in the car, pedal power is w-a-y different!
The1972 Paramount tandem with mixte rear sounds like an excellent prospect, IF it fits and you can agree on a price.
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Old 03-22-13, 11:31 AM   #10
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To get started with search, recommend look at this one on www.amazon.com

Priced at $331 with free shipping:

http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Dualie-Bicycle-26-Inch-18-Inch/dp/B00AWNI232/ref=sr_1_4?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1363972245&sr=1-4&keywords=tandem+bike


Then look on ebay for about the same bike, but with the aluminum frame at about the same price (2 or 3 brandnames). The AL framed one is a better bike. They have a buy it now price so you don't have to mess with bidding.

Now it would be consider heresy to suggest such a low end bike here in this forum (am I have all higher end ones myself).

However I accidently ordered one of the aluminum ones (mistakenly left it in my cart and well it happened). When it arrived in 3 days by UPS to my suprise, I could not resist giving it a try. After a tune-up check I rode it for about 10 miles and all around the subdivision. I was actually impressed with it. The frame was quite good, the grearing (3x7) was indexed and shifted well. I did feel that the wheels could use a visit to the bike shop for a proper tensioning (but they weren't as bad as many walmart bikes). The fit and finish was actually excellent. No question it is a much better bike all around than any of the many of the Schwins I have owned/ridden and almost as good as a Motobecane classic ones (I own two now and have had at least 4-5 other Moto tandems over the years). Generally the Moto's have better wheels (if you find a good Moto for the price, it would be a good choice ... but they trend toward $600 used).

However the 2bikes on ebay I am referring to above are not a Santana or a Cannondale or any the other top brands. Even used the top brands are way out of there price wise... so ride the $300 one for a few years and save for later if your needs and continued interest dictate a new top brand bike at that time. If it isn't for you they will fetch their original price on Craigs list pretty easy to recoup your investment.

Since your total riding weight will be rather low you are unlikely to expose the ultimate strength differences, etc., that define the top brand bikes, so recommend you give one of these a shot.

Post or PM if you have furhter questions.

/K


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Old 03-23-13, 09:29 PM   #11
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I bought this Pacific Dualie when it sold on Amazon for $200 delivered. It's heavy, but fun to ride with kids. Low gearing.
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Old 03-25-13, 04:10 AM   #12
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You think a tandem like the Pacific one would hold up under my husband and I? Sure, my mom and sister might not weigh as much (or maybe they do, both are rather larger than I'm used to seeing them?) as my husband and I. He is 290ish at 6'2" and I am 120lbs a foot shorter.
He just got a 29"-wheeled bike (Mongoose Stat) that fits him much better, but he was extremely hard on the regular 26" wheel big-box bike. Bent the pedals, scraped them on the ground constantly, and a previous bike with a slightly untrue wheel became a bike with an unusable tacoed wheel. That was kind of funny when it happened, actually.
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Old 03-25-13, 06:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
I'm not sure I'm fully understanding your post there.

Anywho...my opinion- for the trip as described, just stick to individual bikes, work on the tandem idea at your leisure.
I tend to agree with this, for the tour part at least. Just like tandem riding is different from single riding so is tandem touring, you have half the rack/pannier space you would with two bikes, plus even more weight on the bike, the demands of the quality, strength and reliability of the bike will go up for touring, along with the cost.
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Old 03-25-13, 09:17 AM   #14
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First of all, are you sure your husband is 6'2", (in your last post), and only has a 28" inseam, (in your first post)? That would be extremely rare.

But regardless, the Pacific Dualie won't fit your husband correctly. I was given one, (because the owner was too tall for it), I'm 6', and it doesn't fit me. The frame's too small, and all the big box store bikes are generally "one size fits all". For comparison, here's a link to a "tandem sizing" page from a top name manufacturer. Scrolling down you'll see sizing matrix's for their various models. Note that they make 3 or 4 standard frame sizes, all built on the same wheel size, and they also build "to order" frames for those whose size requirements are outside of the "standard" paradigm.

Secondly, on a barely used bike, I had to rebuild every bearing set, (they were rough and had almost no grease), true and tension both wheels, and completely readjust all brakes and derailleurs. To do all this maintenance in a bike shop would cost roughly what you paid for the bike.

Bottom line: Big box bikes, once they are completely rebuilt, are OK to piddle around the neighborhood, if they happen to fit you. My wife at 5'4" and my daughter at 5' piddle around on ours and enjoy it. But when any of us want to go somewhere, we get on a real bike, i.e., myself and either my wife or daughter on our Trek, or my wife and daughter on their Burley.

Take the previous advice of finding a used, quality bike that fits on CraigsList or elsewhere.
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Old 03-26-13, 04:23 AM   #15
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First of all, are you sure your husband is 6'2", (in your last post), and only has a 28" inseam, (in your first post)? That would be extremely rare.

Yup! He is extremely long in the torso, even some 2XLT shirts are too short. Although, he is losing weight again so I should retake my sewing measurements soon, thanks for reminding me!

After seeing how the smaller big-box bike held up to mild commuting, I'm definitely inclined to steer clear of them, though my mom was wondering why I'd want an old bike if I could pay the same for a new one.
I'm still working with flypaca to meet and see his Paramount. Looks like it will be at the Lakewood bike swap April 6th.
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Old 03-26-13, 08:29 AM   #16
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... though my mom was wondering why I'd want an old bike if I could pay the same for a new one.
Ask her if she would prefer a new Yugo or a well-maintained used Mercedes.
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