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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 04-14-05, 09:50 PM   #1
rlong
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Cannondales too stiff?

I'm looking at a used Cannondale RT1000 tandem for my wife and I, but I'm concerned that it might be so stiff as to be uncomfortable. I ride Softrides if that tells you anything. I have been looking a Burleys which have all been steel. Opinions?
Thanks
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Old 04-14-05, 10:03 PM   #2
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If you've been riding Softrides (had a single and have ridden several tandems with 'the beam') you will certainly notice quite a bit of difference in the stoker position between that and a C'dale, even if it has a suspension seatpost.
Burley quit making tandems with softride beams in 2004, but there are some on the used tandem market.
A good production beamer tandem out there is Co-Motion, but several custom builders will also build beamers.
But the proof in the pudding is in a long test ride, including up and downhills and rough roads.
Hope this helps.

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
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Old 04-14-05, 10:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
If you've been riding Softrides (had a single and have ridden several tandems with 'the beam') you will certainly notice quite a bit of difference in the stoker position between that and a C'dale, even if it has a suspension seatpost.
Burley quit making tandems with softride beams in 2004, but there are some on the used tandem market.
A good production beamer tandem out there is Co-Motion, but several custom builders will also build beamers.
But the proof in the pudding is in a long test ride, including up and downhills and rough roads.
Hope this helps.

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
I would be the Captain, so I'm in even more trouble ( no suspension at all), I assumed my wife would like the beam because everyone who rides my softride loves it. When I first started riding Softrides, I sold my other bikes after about a month and wouldn't go back. Well, maybe some of the new carbon frames would be ok, but on a tandem, carbon frames are wayyy out of my price range for a first bike.
Thanks for your comments
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Old 04-14-05, 10:31 PM   #4
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You being the captain, will not have as rough a ride as the stoker.
The stoker sits over the rear wheel and will feel most of the roughness; as the captain sits in the middle of the frame he does not get near as much roadshock transmitted.
If you've checked out tandems and tandem riders, it is the stoker who gets a suspension seatpost, not the captain.
And, yes, a few custom builders have built tandems with front and rear beams, but they are a rarity.
We own a carbon fiber tandem and the ride is definitely 'less harsh' than steel, alu or titanium . . . but at a price ($$)!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
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Old 04-15-05, 04:40 AM   #5
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We ride a Cannondale MT800. We've tried several things to improve ride comfort and the best we've come up with is Brooks sprung saddles. The captain, me, and the stoker, my wife, both found a big improvement in ride comfort. when we did this.

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Old 04-15-05, 06:28 AM   #6
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I don't want to sound like a hardarse.....

But riding a bike is not supposed to be the same as sitting in a Lazyboy. It's more akin to riding a horse. Some bumping, thumping, standing and general major-muscle-group activities are involved. And that is part of the reason it is fun! Moreover, there is an aclimation process for those who are new to the activity, just like any other activity. Once one aclimates, a lot of the stuff that was at one time 'uncomfortable' is no longer an issue. I am willing to bet that most teams that last a year on the tandem ditch the stoker's sprung seatpost.

I would think the Cannondale with the standard sprung post and/or sprung saddle would suffice.

However, If you and/or your stoker absolutely can't stand to sit on a bike seat attached to a semi-ridged frame, you may want to consider a recumbent tandem.
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Old 04-15-05, 02:57 PM   #7
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The only thing that will stop you from using a shock-absorbing seatpost on the front of a tandem, if you want to do so, is an insufficient amount of round seatpost showing to stack the stoker stem clamp and the telescoping portion of the seatpost.

You will have to test-ride and make your own decision. Ride characteristics vary according to the size and strength of the riders, and the perfect frameset for even just any single set of conditions and riders probably does not exist at any price: all the tubes would have to be custom, regardless of the material. The exception might be Craig Calfee's frames, custom-wound into tubes from carbon fiber, but again, the best you could do would be to match one set of conditions and riders.

The Cannondale frameset shines under at least two operating regimes: it doesn't flex as much and goes really straight in full-power sprints, and it doesn't chatter as much over undulations while cornering. The longer wheelbase of a tandem is a little more susceptible to vertical bowing according to load, and oscillations while cornering can interfere with holding a line.

I own two aluminum tandems, a 6061-T6 pre-'98 Cannondale J/L, and a 7000-series Meridian. I have been out on the Cannondale the last few weekends, because it is set up for smaller stokers, and the Meridian is set up for larger stokers. The Cannondale is certainly not intolerably stiff, and Cannondale's continuous history of tandem manufacturer since sometime in the late '80's (?) suggests that the marketplace has not found them to be too stiff.

I hesitate to say anything bad about the other materials, because we know from previous experience that the ensuing argument would produce more heat than light, but I will say that I believe that for me there is a convergence of price and value in aluminum.
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Old 04-15-05, 09:56 PM   #8
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We go back a ways on tandems.
In early 80s we test rode a C'dale prototype (of 2 built) for 3 months; that was 2 years before production started.
It was a bit radical idea then: humongous (for that time) tubes made from heat treated aluminum.
That was before shock absorbing seatpost came back in vogue, and stoker found the ride a bit on the harsh side.
If ride is too harsh on whatever you are riding, either sprung saddles or shock absorbing seatpost or c/f or ti beam will alleviate the probem.
However, having said that, stoker Kay has never had shock absorbing anything on our personal tandems. Tough little lady!
Have ridden steel, alu, ti ( 'Tana, Serotta) and carbon fiber tandems (Calfee and ariZonaTandems).
Our money (and our butts!) bet on carbon fiber!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
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Old 04-15-05, 11:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
We go back a ways on tandems.
In early 80s we test rode a C'dale prototype (of 2 built) for 3 months; that was 2 years before production started.
It was a bit radical idea then: humongous (for that time) tubes made from heat treated aluminum.
That was before shock absorbing seatpost came back in vogue, and stoker found the ride a bit on the harsh side.
If ride is too harsh on whatever you are riding, either sprung saddles or shock absorbing seatpost or c/f or ti beam will alleviate the probem.
However, having said that, stoker Kay has never had shock absorbing anything on our personal tandems. Tough little lady!
Have ridden steel, alu, ti ( 'Tana, Serotta) and carbon fiber tandems (Calfee and ariZonaTandems).
Our money (and our butts!) bet on carbon fiber!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
Thanks to everyone for your coments and suggestions. As always I suppose we just have to get out there and ride a few before we will be able to make decision. I assumed that the comparison between ride characteristics of single alum and tandem alum might be different, that was the reason for my question. Then there is the fact that different alum tube designs (wall thickness and dia.)produce different rides as well. All the major builders (Santana, Burley,Trek, Cannondale) use their own brand of aluminum tubing, so it must be appealing enough to buyers.
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Old 04-16-05, 02:48 AM   #10
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All the materials used in bike manufacture have some advantages, or disadvantages over each other. Aluminium has several advantages, one of which is lighter weight than steel, providing it is manufactured by a quality producer, and the other main one is its stiffness. Stiff frames do not lose power as all the pedalling effort will be transmitted to the wheel. A more flexible frame will have some of that pedal effort lost in Frame flex.
The big disadvantage to some is that stiffness though.It can give a very harsh ride and the stoker does need some protection from the shocks transmitted. I ride off road, and use a cheap 2" suspension seat post, and find this adequate for comfort. On the road though I find that the frame shock is bearable, and
wonder if the choice of material will really affect the ride quality that you may be expecting.
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Old 04-16-05, 07:58 PM   #11
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We have a tandem RT1000 and ride it all the time. We had a MTB bike but found that most of the group rides tend to need a faster bike. It fits and works for our needs. We ride on bike paths for most of our rides (20-35 Miles). Our organized rides we do the 50 to 65 miles without issues. Our average speed is around 17 mph alone; however, it jumps to around 19+ with group rides. (Flat roads). We got it new in 2001. No problems yet.
You need to test ride any bike. Our LBS let us use one for 2-days for 50 miles (25 a day) full weekend.
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Old 04-17-05, 09:56 PM   #12
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We have a tandem RT1000 and ride it all the time. We had a MTB bike but found that most of the group rides tend to need a faster bike. It fits and works for our needs. We ride on bike paths for most of our rides (20-35 Miles). Our organized rides we do the 50 to 65 miles without issues. Our average speed is around 17 mph alone; however, it jumps to around 19+ with group rides. (Flat roads). We got it new in 2001. No problems yet.
You need to test ride any bike. Our LBS let us use one for 2-days for 50 miles (25 a day) full weekend.
Just to follow up. I did go out and ride a new Cannondale yesterday and found it to be very comfortable. I can't speak for the stoker position obviously, but it has a suspended seatpost. The twin disk brakes seemed to be just fine and the three color fade (purple to light blue) is beautiful. $2350.00 is the new bike price. Decisions, decisions.
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Old 04-18-05, 08:47 AM   #13
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We have recently acquired an older model Cannondale. (references and pics on other posts if you want to search). With huge bottom tubes. I am the captain and i don't find the ride all that harsh. I also own single steel bikes. Granted - it is not as forgiving as my steel Colnago but believe it or not there is a little bit of flex when we ride our tandem. (Well at least i think it is frame flex - as it certainly feels like it). I wouldn't have thought that there would have been any flex at all. We are not a very heavy team either. My wife does not complain about the "harshness" on the back. But having said that she is not an experienced cyclist & this is the first tandem we have owned. So she probably doesn't even know the difference between a forgiving frame and one that isn't.
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Old 04-20-05, 10:35 PM   #14
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Thanks again to everyone for your comments and help. I just bought a Burley Rock'n Roll. I will put 1" Ritchey Tom Slicks and a suspension seatpost on it when I pick it up tomorrow! I'll report back on our progress R Long
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Old 05-10-05, 09:19 PM   #15
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Well things are looking up after a few rides. I put Specialized Fat Boy tires on (1.25 slicks) and they're pretty good. Got an inexpensive suspension seatpost from Nashbar I believe, and it works fine for now. I bought my wife a new Brooks B17 "S." But I have to break it in for her, Ha I greased it up for a few days and it felt great on the first ride. So far our longest ride is about 30 miles. That was ride #3. We really love it and can't wait for the weekend.
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Old 05-10-05, 09:30 PM   #16
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Allright! Enjoy the R&R!!!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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