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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 04-02-13, 08:36 PM   #1
Tlz
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Suggestions afforable tandem with child on back

I have always enjoyed biking recreationally and I would love to share this with my kids 4,3,1 including biking to school in the Fall. I've been looking for a tandem I can put my 3 foot 9 inch oldest son on the back of. Using a child stoker kit seems to be the best option. I've contacted the bike shops in my area (Buffalo) but so far they don't seem to know about tandems and this child stoker kit and don't seem interested in putting one on so I guess I will be on my own adding it on. Is there any reason I can't get a tandem for $300 or so off of Amazon and put the child stoker kit on it? These are the models I have been looking at. I'd imagine the first 2 wouldn't work well with the kit. Am I right about that?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fito-FZ-2-Al...item5d3b6998b2

or

http://www.amazon.com/Kent-Dual-Driv...ds=tandem+bike

or

http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Dualie...4956348&sr=1-3

I'm only 5'2" so I'm a little concerned about getting something too big but I want to make sure I have room on the back tube to install the higher pedals. Any insight would be helpful. I had figured I could pay a shop to help with this but so far they have said they don't do anything custom and I guess they consider this custom.

It would be soooo neat if I could get the tandem with my oldest on the backseat so then I could carry my younger children in a trailer behind and we could have a Summer of enjoying our bike rides together.
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Old 04-03-13, 02:05 AM   #2
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What bike shops did you try? We purchased our tandem from a couple from the Buffalo area, and we were told it was purchased and maintained at Toms Pro Bike. You might want to try there.
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Old 04-03-13, 03:25 AM   #3
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Your main issue is going to be with cables.

I notice that the Kent only interferes with the brake cable, which only needs the guide as a place holder. It could be replaced with a cable tie easily. You could even remove the guide if necessary.

The Pacific might give interference with the front derailler cable and that stop is required (unless you get involved with rerouting the cable and replacing the front derailler. This would likely require some modifications and is not for the faint-hearted.

Here is a photo of my setup if that is any guide. I bought a second hand tandem for $350 and have done a bit of work to it.

http://s1253.photobucket.com/user/ir...ae63e.jpg.html

My stoker has been riding this since he was two and a half, he climbs on and off using the rear triangle as a ladder. My daughter has been riding the attachment since she was four. Prior to this we towed a trailer behind a single bike, then my daughter was stoker with my son in the trailer and as soon as he was able to ride properly, we got the attachment. The next arrangement will be when my son is big enough for the attachment so my daughter can be stoker with the crankset in a lower position. BTW foot retention is important for child stokers.

St John's Street Cycles have an affordable extra crank mounting,http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/kiddy-cra...ack-prod18903/ but you need to be sure of the diameter of the tubing. Steel tubing (vintage) is usually 28.6mm, aluminium can be much fatter but is often 31.8mm. A digital calliper is useful at times like this.

At times like this you need friends who know a bit about bikes in general, and hopefully tandems as well. There are lots of knowledgeable folk around here.

Cheers,

Cameron
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Old 04-03-13, 12:37 PM   #4
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Generally speaking, for a stoker kit (aka Stokid Kit) you need a good bit of open real estate on the seat tube. Of the three tandems you listed, the Pacific has the best setup as far as that goes. But, as mentioned above, you might run into some problems with the top-pull front derailleur cable. You also need enough tube there so you can get the child adapter up high enough that the upper cranks don't hit the lower cranks.

One thing to be aware of with lower-end tandems is to make sure the stoker non-drive side crank has removable chainrings, as you'll need to add a second chainring back there to provide the chain interface with the child kit (i.e., you'll have two chainrings on the rear non-drive side).

At 5'2", I imagine you'll have some challenges finding a tandem that will fit you in the front and your child in the back with the stoker kit. If you are willing to spend more $$, a Co-Motion Periscope will solve most of your problems and you won't have to use an adapter kit, either. You might keep you eyes open for a used one, although it will still be in the $1500+ range.

Don't overlook a Burley Piccolo tag-along ("instant tandem") bike, too. I wouldn't touch most tag-alongs, the Burley is in a class by itself due to it's excellent design. We had one for a while and really liked it. Price is not much more than buying a child stoker kit on it's own, and even better if you find a used one in the $150-200 range.
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Old 04-04-13, 07:33 PM   #5
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Thank you very much for the help.I will have to keep looking at used tandems, either the periscope (I doubt I will find one used in my price range. Didn't see any below 2400) or the Bike Friday. I saw a Bike Friday used for 750 and got all excited until I saw the model was the one that requires a 5'8" or taller captain. Or maybe this would work with the Kent if the child stoker kit I'm bidding on at ebay works out.

Having a train of my bike, then a trailer bike, then a trailer makes me nervous. I don't like having so many degrees of freedom and points for failure between me and my littlest ones. I just ordered our trailer/stroller and I have a second hand schwinn trailer bike so maybe if I try those seperately, I'll get a better idea of what will work. I saw pictures of the piccolo with a trailer on the back but I'm not sure how that would work turning with the length behind the pivot being so great.
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Old 04-04-13, 07:38 PM   #6
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I've ridden with many little kids on the Pacific Dualie. I've found that we really didn't need a stoker kit as A) they can't really add much input when they're small and B) they grow up faster than you anticipate and then you'd be stuck with a stoker kit you really don't need anymore. When really small, they can just put their feet up on the crossbar or let them hang off loosely off the pedals (can't reach them anyway). They really enjoy the ride!
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Old 04-26-13, 08:16 AM   #7
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The cheap chinese cruiser bikes are great for kids.





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Old 05-02-13, 10:49 PM   #8
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Look for a USED Bike Friday tandem. No issues with standover room for short pilot and kids.
Bike Friday tandems feature 20-inch wheels and made in Eugene, OR.
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Old 07-28-13, 11:52 AM   #9
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I ended up getting a new Bike Friday after looking for awhile for a used one. I couldn't find one used that was a cheaper then what I could get new and which would work for me (I needed a small sized frame for my height). Really enjoying it!

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Old 07-29-13, 07:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tlz View Post
I ended up getting a new Bike Friday after looking for awhile for a used one. I couldn't find one used that was a cheaper then what I could get new and which would work for me (I needed a small sized frame for my height). Really enjoying it!

Bike Fridays tend to hold their value exceptionally well. We sold our bike friday after 5 years of fairly heavy use for the same amount we paid for it. (throwing in the travel case though.

Five years use for the price of the case, wasn't a bad deal.
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