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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 01-11-14, 01:53 AM   #1
Steve_Boudreaux
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First Post: Looking For A Tandem

Glad to be here, but it's late and I gotta get to bed.

I'm looking for a reasonably-priced tandem, but a better (not Wal-Mart!) bike. Budget is under $500, under $300 would be better. I live in Atlanta.

Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?
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Old 01-11-14, 03:01 AM   #2
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New, A $300 tandem is going to be Wal-Mart quality.

I ordered a Schwinn Tempo from our local bike shop. $500 in 2005 or so. It was maybe one step above Wal-Mart. Heavy but brightly painted red cruiser frame, seven speed rear shifting. All the little bolts and fittings were of the cheapest steel. It was a tank, and couldn't go up hill. Loved it, but it was what it was.

I have a used Burley that I found for your budget, but it was a miracle craigslist find, and the seller actually took a nice hybrid bicycle in trade for it. A hybrid that was probably worth $200.

Most people want $6-800 plus for a quality tandem, even on the used market. I'll take a look on the Atlanta CL for you, though.

Here's a good find for you. Not step through, like you asked for in your CL WTB ad....
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Last edited by Standalone; 01-11-14 at 03:05 AM.
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Old 01-11-14, 04:31 AM   #3
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I believe your price range might be tough! Tandem options are limited to begin with.

Other than craigslist, I googled tandem bike classifieds and found a few additional resources that might be helpful.

Most of the inexpensive bikes I've found are cheap beach cruisers, or Walmart style. Or, they need plenty of upgrades/repairs so you need to be bike smart and extra cash on hand to but supplies.

Good luck, a good tandem is very worth it!
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Old 01-11-14, 11:42 PM   #4
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That's kind of like saying "I'm looking for a good car, and my budget is $800." There are good cars and there are $800 cars and they are not the same ones.

One question to consider is where you're going to ride it, specifically, how flat is it? That'll decide single-speed or full gearing.
For the single-speed, you can find no end of old cruiser tandems of varying quality. Typically, they're of the one-size fits all category, may be rather flexy, etc. If you and the stoker are both average size and all you want to do is ride around the block, that's your ticket.

If you're thinking "I don't want to blow a bunch of money on something I might not like", check around for rentals. One of our larger local bike shops here in Dallas rents tandems, either road or mountain-bike versions, and that'll let you get out and ride for a while and see what you think.
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Old 01-13-14, 07:09 AM   #5
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That IS a tough expectation set! However, if you search and look long enough you might find one in poor condition in that price range, but expect to spend more money or time on it. I found one, but have spent close to an additional $175 and it stripped with no paint. I expect to spend another $100 on it before its ready to ride, but will look like an >$800 bike.
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Old 01-13-14, 10:41 AM   #6
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Maybe a used early 90s Burley will show up in the 500 price range.
Be patient and LUCKY!
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Old 01-13-14, 11:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Maybe a used early 90s Burley will show up in the 500 price range.
Be patient and LUCKY!
Keep in mid that a $350 tandem is like spending $175 on two single bikes......

Also if you are not uncomfortable with buying and selling used items then if you buy a decent used tandem and don't like it you have the option of selling to cut your loss.
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Old 01-13-14, 11:58 AM   #8
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I was able to find a 10 year old Raleigh tandem for $200 locally on craigslist a couple of years ago. I think it sold for $600-700 brand new and is a cruiser style tandem. I spent about $300 turning it into a road-like tandem, including putting smaller tires and saddles on it, drop handlebars, and Shimano Sora shifters, which work great with the existing Shimano Deore drivetrain. The frame is a mix of cromoly and high-tensile steel, so it is very heavy, with the whole bike weighing about 48-49 pounds. It has an eccentric bottom bracket, but relatively cheap cranks. That pretty much characterizes the whole bike: reasonable quality here, barely better than department store quality there. After one season of use (maybe 500 miles) by my wife and 9 year old, who weigh less than 200 pounds combined, the bearings in the rear hub are pitted, so I'll need to replace the rear wheel. I don't regret getting the bike, because it filled a need for us at a good price, but we are now considering an upgrade.
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Old 01-13-14, 05:06 PM   #9
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Maybe a used early 90s Burley will show up in the 500 price range.
Be patient and LUCKY!
Craig's List can be your friend if you know what to look for and are lucky and patient.

No in Atlanta but an example of what looks like a very serviceable tandem. (I have no relation to bike or owner).

http://ventura.craigslist.org/bik/4282848946.html
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Old 01-14-14, 08:35 AM   #10
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I would consider that a good deal!
http://ventura.craigslist.org/bik/4282848946.html
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Old 01-14-14, 10:57 PM   #11
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We purchased an Amazon special...I think $300 or so bucks. Right off the bat...new tires and tubes. Had to true the wheels, much brake adjustment. Just a few years later, new shifters, freewheel, front and rear derailers, new rear wheel, all new cables and replaced the tires again. What else did I miss? I figured I have close to $1000.00 in it now. Bought a used Trek for $800.00 this past fall. New tires.......that's all. Well, the dirty little secret is that in the three years we had the Amazon bike, we rode about 1000 miles. We rode just under 1000 miles on the new bike with only a pair of tires replaced. The previous owner had put only 1300 miles on it. So.......2300 miles with no major component replacements $800 or major fixes and upgrades with 100 miles for $1000. Point is, you can certainly spend a lot of money even on a new cheap bike trying to just get it to keep going, or get a quality used bike and probably spend less. By the way, our used Trek came from a bike shop owner. It was in his personal collection, so it was well maintained. We truly hit the jackpot! Hope you find a great deal. It's just so darn fun to ride twogether!
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Old 01-15-14, 09:50 PM   #12
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I got lucky and picked my tandem up from craigslist for $150. It's super clean. Be patient.
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Old 01-16-14, 11:00 AM   #13
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Search Tempest lets you search all Craig's Lists at once. There are quite a few good deals out there. You can set a serch parameter of how many miles from your zipcode.

http://www.searchtempest.com/
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Old 01-16-14, 02:39 PM   #14
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Craigslist. We got our Santana for $500.00. Had to put ~$100.00 more into it and wanted to put another ~$100.00 because we wanted a Brooks for the stoker. There are deals on our CL about every six weeks.

If you were in So Cal and a Francophile, there has been a decent Gitane tandem with an ever dropping price on CL for a couple of months. Its down to $199.00 now...
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Old 01-28-14, 07:02 PM   #15
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Well, winding up the search. To all the naysayers here, all I can say is conventional wisdom is, well, bunk- I have found at least FOUR used tandems that are within my budget, and not a junker in the bunch. TWO late 80's vintage Schwinns, at $300 and a whoppin $150 (first one is local, I am still eyeing it, second turned out to be too tall for us- Darn!,) and two Univegas at $500 (asking) and $185. From all appearances, they all seem to be good, solid bikes, and it appears at least three of them will need almost nothing along the lines of "$200 to get them ridable" sort of stuff. Sorry, people, I am not trying to get in your face, but really, conventional wisdom on the subject (which exist far beyond this forum- I lost count of all the "Any tandem under $1,000 is junk" posts, blogs and webpages I found) is just not born out by the facts.

Now, I know none of those are going to compare to a $12,000 Santana. But I am no noob to cycling or tandems, having cycled virtually my entire life, bought and sold maybe 100 bikes (no kidding) including a vintage Columbia Cruser-type tandem, yada, yada, yada. I also owned an 80's vintage Schwinn Duo-Sport. While my then-GF and I owned it, we traveled often and often rented a tandem- did that in San Antonio, Seattle, Santa Fe (singles- couldn't find a tandem,) and at least one other town who's name escapes me but is notable because the tandem we rented there was a Burley Zydeco. Good name, right? Well, it was an open frame, no lateral tube at all. We rode that thing for about a mile, and on the first right-hand turn at an intersection, the frame flexed so much we ended up on the SHOULDER of the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. When we caught our breath (literally) we CAREFULLY rode that POS wet noodle of a bike back to the rental shop and turned it in. That was the only time a bike ever tried to kill me! I see that now, Burley does not make an open frame. Well, it took 'em long enough!

I am not here today to rag on anyone, but well, I found what I was looking for. I'll buy one next week (Diane is out of town, and I want her to ride them with me before we buy) and I do appreciate the help, really, I do. I'd love an under-30-pound Titanium or Carbon Fiber Santana, and maybe I will have one, one day- but for now, something a lot less grand will do us just fine!
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Old 01-28-14, 10:01 PM   #16
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Hope you enjoy!
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Old 01-29-14, 07:24 AM   #17
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Awesome, have fun with that it sounds like the perfect bike to cruise around town on.
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Old 01-29-14, 10:58 AM   #18
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We got our T50 on CL for $400- 3 years ago, including a pet trailer, which we immediately sold for $75-. It was a fine bike as is; but we wanted some minor changes, which ran about $300-; to better suit us. A few thousand miles later when the rear Matrix rim cracked, and the Suntour cassette was showing a bit of wear; I changed it to 3x9, with new hubs, spokes and rims. Altogether, we have maybe $1K into including normal consumables.

Last fall we bought a very early Ibis for $100- off CL, and flipped it. The picture in the ad was awful, description non-existent, and the seller did not know what they had. That flip basically paid for all the changes to the T50 we have made over the years.

Morals: patiently search and you will find. Poor CL ads often reveal true gems.
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