When we got our new Burley Rivazza a month ago, TandemGeek asked us to compare it to other tandems we've ridden, once we'd had a chance to put some miles on it. Well, we've got over 600 miles on it now, including the Solvang Double Century last Saturday, and here's what we think:
Our previous tandem experience consisted of two borrowed Trek T2000s (that we rode for over 1200 miles) and a single short ride on a CoMo Speedster. We liked the Treks fine, except that the stock brakes were inadequate for hard descending and the steering was so relaxed that we sometimes felt like we were trying to turn the Queen Mary. The CoMo, on the other hand, steered like a dream. We can't comment on the brakes, since we didn't do any real descending.
The Burley (which we got with the "race" package; i.e. carbon fork, carbon cranks, rear disc brake, etc.) seems to fall somewhere between the Trek and the CoMo in terms of steering. The handling isn't as light and nimble as the CoMo, but it is very precise and confidence inspiring and we never get that Mack Truck feeling. What we really cannot say enough good about, though, is the disc brake. It works so smoothly that shaving off just the right amount of speed when approaching a corner seems almost to happen by itself. When I think of the battles I went through trying to evenly apply the brakes on the Treks (not to mention the ear splitting screaching of the pads), I feel like I've arrived in tandem heaven.
Just as on a single, the carbon fork (as well as being lighter) dampens road vibration and makes the front end less jittery. We haven't noticed any problems with the fork flexing, but then again, we're a sub-300 lb. team.
When it comes to comfort, we are both very picky about the saddles we use, but Mireya found that she actually likes the Sella Italia stoker's saddle that comes with the Burley. I have to admit I didn't even try the included captain's saddle, but I'm sure it would have been more comfortable than the Bontrager torture seats that (at least used to) come with the Trek. Overall, the bike is much more comfortable, but that is doubtless because (seeing as it belongs to us) we have put a lot more energy into getting it set up so as to be as close to our positions on our single bikes as possible. In any case, we survived ten hours in the saddle on Saturday without any major discomfort and that's doing pretty well on any bike!
So far, we are extremely happy with the Rivazza. And, considering the components it's spec'd with, the price is awfully hard to beat. We'll let you know how it goes as the miles add up ....
We are still happy with our '04 Tosa. I wish we were able to put a rear disc on ours. The aftermarket Burley TT AQ fork looks nice, but it is steep in price, still undecided on it. Thanks for the report.
I just bought a Rivazza and I absolutely love it. It is my first Tandem and I am happy to read here in this forum that it was a good tandem to buy. I did not get the race package but I am perfectly happy with the stock setup, except seats. Thanks for your informative comparison.