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  1. #1
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    Tandem with trailer?

    We've pretty much decided to hire a tandem for a week long spin around the southwest of France. I can't see us fitting two people's worth of clothes, tent, sleeping mats etc, in two medium sized rear panniers, so hiring a Bob to go with it would seem obvious. Should all be on sealed road I think.

    Just checking that this isn't a dumb idea - anyone tried this? Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    I've been looking into tandem touring recently. It appears that towing a Bob is pretty common. This is just my observation, but it seems like 50% of the rigs (+/-) are configured that way. For two people with only two panniers, a trailer seems like the way to go.

    Have you ridden a tandem before? I'm given to understand that it is not just hop on the bike and ride. You may want to check-in with the tandem sub-forum. Lots of advice and I expect that more than a few of them are tourers as well.
    Last edited by foamy; 03-11-10 at 06:23 AM.
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  3. #3
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    We've pretty much decided to hire a tandem for a week long spin around the southwest of France. I can't see us fitting two people's worth of clothes, tent, sleeping mats etc, in two medium sized rear panniers, so hiring a Bob to go with it would seem obvious. Should all be on sealed road I think.

    Just checking that this isn't a dumb idea - anyone tried this? Thoughts?
    Tandems and trailers have worked well for us for decades although I have not tried a Bob with our tandem. There is a learning curve for handling and turning such a long vehicle but you will grasp the concept quickly. Sounds like a fun trip. Enjoy!

  4. #4
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by foamy View Post
    I've been looking into tandem touring recently. It appears that towing a Bob is pretty common. This is just my observation, but it seems like 50% of the rigs (+/-) are configured that way. For two people with only two panniers, a trailer seems like the way to go.

    Have you ridden a tandem before? I'm given to understand that it is not just hop on the bike and ride. You may want to check-in with the tandem sub-forum. Lots of advice and I expect that more than a few of them are tourers as well.
    There are definitely tandem tourers in the Tandem forum. We are looking to do our first overnight tour on our Tandem this summer, and just 2 panniers for 2 people is an issue, so we're going to credit card tour for our first trip. As foamy said in their post you don't just hop on and ride, and adding a BOB to the beast is even more to consider. Tandems are long to begin with, about 8 feet (2.4 meters?), with a BOB attached the rig will be even longer so turning, stopping and parking all require more care and coordination with your stoker. I wouldn't let this stop you from pulling a BOB but you should try to have some twogather experience first on a tandem without a trailer.

  5. #5
    Senior Member CGinOhio's Avatar
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    Ideally you should try both with and without. Probably not an option for you. Judging from the disparate comments I have heard and read, some tandems handle well with a trailer, others not. Our tandem with BOB trailer was great for moderate loads (almost unnoticeable), but I didn't like the handling with full touring loads. I also found it very cumbersome to maneuver when we were off the bike and harder to find a parking spot. Sight seeing was chore. Tandems are long enough, but with a trailer they are a real train. It was tough to get all our stuff in four panniers and heaped on the rack, but it was just as well because it prevented us from over-packing.
    I know many others have the opposite opinion and prefer tandem touring with a trailer. I believe a trailer will have some aerodynamic advantages over panniers, but probably not as much of an issue on a tandem as on a single bike (disclaimer: thats an opinion I don't have backing data for). Though if you are doing the TransAm across the windy plains states maybe aerodynamics is an important consideration.
    If its helpful, our experimenting can be found here...
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/CGtour2009

  6. #6
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    We have toured with a tandem/trailer setup all over the world, including really steep mountain passes with a 90 lb trailer. So it's not a dumb idea. However, you really should have some tandem experience beforehand, because it handles a lot differently than a single bike. You need to be aware that it's much heavier and you need more braking time. My partner (the male) usually captains (rides in front), but I (the female)have captained (not with the trailer--would not attempt it) and the length isn't too much of a problem, but you will be surprised at the weight, and difference in steering. With a trailer, the tandem is pretty long, but we haven't had trouble with it. It's the extra weight, and the braking, that I think is the biggest difference. Especially if going down a long steep hill or mountain, your hands can take quite a beating while braking, not to mention the brakes themselves.

  7. #7
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    Hmm! Interesting thoughts. I'm a bit concerned because my partner has poor balance and if the thing is hard to control, the whole thing could quickly become unpleasant.

    Might be a good time for a CC tour. Not much chance of practicing before hand (unless we just do a day ride before heading off on the tour).

    Will read up some more.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member SteveA's Avatar
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    Tandeming with Bob ...

    We bought a Bob - because it did seem like just too much to fit all of the normal clothing, tools, and spare parts associated with credit-card touring - plus all of the required camping items (tent, bags, pads, stove, cookware and food). into the rear panniers.

    We have only done one five-day tour with this setup. The bike and trailer rode/tracked/handled great at cruising speed. We have since purchased front panniers and the next time we tour with the trailer we will shift some of the load to the front panniers. At low speeds (manuvering in a parking lot, getting started, walking the rig) all of the weight in the rear panniers and the trailer were somewhat difficult. We feel that balancing the load more toward the front a bit would improve things.

    One consideration for a trailer on a tandem is also that, although tandem components are beefed-up, it is asking a lot of the wheels and tires to support the load of two people, credit-card-touring items and camping gear. Part of our reason for purchasing the trailer is that we only have one set of wheels that we use for unloaded sport-touring through camping-loaded-touring. We felt that we would have need larger tires than our rims would comfortably handle - for camping-loaded touring. We did use avocet 32 tires with the trailer (as we do with c.c. touring) and we have no complaints.
    Last edited by SteveA; 03-12-10 at 07:48 PM. Reason: Add more information.
    Steve A.

  9. #9
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    The tandem-trailer combination is a time tested idea dating back to at least to the 1930's. Bicycle Quarterly had an article on single wheel trailers with photos of tandems with trailers from the 30's in France. From my experience with a BOB and one of my bikes(not a tandem) the trailer makes the front a little light, so low riders and weight in front might be a good idea.

  10. #10
    pel
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    We've pretty much decided to hire a tandem for a week long spin around the southwest of France. I can't see us fitting two people's worth of clothes, tent, sleeping mats etc, in two medium sized rear panniers, so hiring a Bob to go with it would seem obvious. Should all be on sealed road I think.

    Just checking that this isn't a dumb idea - anyone tried this? Thoughts?
    The Bob works like a dream in fact it sits behind you like a shadow - you do not notice it. We found it stabilised our Cannondale Mountain tandem 6500km tour through Europe and we had all of 5 mins experience on a tandem with (never mind the Bob) before embarking. One tip do not make your rear bike carrier top heavy with a fat bag on top of everthing else. Put it on the Bob. We initially had about 40kg on the Bob. Overloaded but not a problem.
    Bob's are great - do not hesitate. Good luck

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