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markm109 05-26-04 10:39 AM

Help - Longbikes Duplex or Rans Screamer?
My wife and I are going to buy our first tandem and have decided to get "bent". :)

There are two bike stores within an hours drive that carry bent tandems - one has in stock a Longbike Duplex '03 model and the other has in stock a Rans Screamer with couplers so they are both about the same price.

I have seen many reviews and good comments on the Rans Screamer but not much on the Longbike. The Rans has the captain with his legs up in the air vs. the Longbike which has the pedals lower. What is the benefit of the Rans layout?

Any help with pros/cons of one over the other would be greatly appreciated - it is a rather large investment.

Oh and for riding, we live near a metro park with a 6+ mile paved loop where most of the riding would take place. I also want to get my son 13, involved and thought the oddness (sorry) of a bent would entice him to try it with us. Down the road, longer trips and events would be what we would like to do, and maybe even a cc tour.


mtessmer 05-26-04 02:18 PM

They are both good bikes, but have very different personalities. The Long bike lives up to its name... it's very very long, and it's not as fast or nimble as the Rans, but it's very comfortable. Keep in mind the storing and transporting of it. Try them both for a minumum of an hour apiece, allot will have to do with your X-seam and learning curve. You can do pretty much anything with either one, including touring accross the country.

bentbaggerlen 05-26-04 04:07 PM

Both are very good bikes, Both can be used for touring but if you want a faster bike go for the Screamer

markm109 05-26-04 08:01 PM

Why is the Rans fasters? Is it lighter or does it have to do with the feet being higher?

Are we doing the right thing going with a bent tandem rather than a regular tandem to begin our tandem rides? I ride a road bike 4/5 times a week and my hands, legs and but hurt so I need a day off, and I'm tired of always looking at the ground. Are these the right reasons to go bent?


mtessmer 05-27-04 07:57 AM


Originally Posted by markm109
Why is the Rans fasters? Is it lighter or does it have to do with the feet being higher?

Are we doing the right thing going with a bent tandem rather than a regular tandem to begin our tandem rides? I ride a road bike 4/5 times a week and my hands, legs and but hurt so I need a day off, and I'm tired of always looking at the ground. Are these the right reasons to go bent?


My wife and I have been riding tandems since 1983, we went from a traditional tandem to a recumbent tandem three years ago, we've got a Double Vision and we love it. The thing is, and I tell this to everyone interested in a tandem, is that a tandem will make or break a relationship. A tandem is not for everybody, I highly recommend you and your wife take some serious riding time on a tandem before you purchase one (either kind). There is a big difference between riding solo and double. I've seen an almost even split over the years of people who love them and people who hate them. Key thing when riding one, "communication". Good luck and keep us posted on what you do.

mtessmer 05-27-04 08:01 AM

Oh, and to answer your other question, the reasons it's quicker are many, it's lighter, more efficiently designed, more nimble handling, your in a more efficient riding position. The seats are higher off the ground so if you have short legs you may want to go with the Long bike. The choice is yours, ride them both.

markm109 05-30-04 07:31 AM

Test rode both bents yesterday. The Screamer first then the Duplex, both 2003 models new in showroom condition.

The Screamer has better seats - more comfortable. The Duplex I would slide down and had to shifing myself back into the seat several times on a two mile ride. My wife didn't like the Duplex seats because the metal bars of the seat dug into the sides of her legs. We we test ride it again, I am going to bring some pipe insulation from Home Depot (cost me $1) and slide it over the bars on the seat bottom to see if that helps.

I found the steering of the Screamer very touchy and having my arms up in the air was not all that comfortable. The Duplex under the seat steering was more forgiving and easy to use. I am also not a big fan of the clicking rotating handle bars for shifting like the Screamer has. I much more prefer the bar ends of the Duplex.

Component wise, the Duplex seemed to be setup better, with Ultegra derailures and disc brakes. The Screamer was SRAM 9.0 everywhere and a supplemental drum brake. I am familure with Shimamo quality but unfamiliar with SRAM, so that may be causing some bias here. Any my only use of those rotating handle bar shifters was on an early 90's Diamondback Wildwood my wife owned - she didn't like them.

The positioning of the captain was more comfortable for me on the Duplex with my feet lower, very similar to an exercise bike I own and use in the winter. The Screamer had my feet up higher, level with the frame of the bike. I flet crunched - pehaps my belly got in the way. An employee at the second store where we tested the Duplex was familiar with Rans, they sell them also - just don't have a tandem in stock) said the setup for the captain could have been wrong if the seat was in too much upright position, that would cause the crunch position I was feeling. Also, where we test rode the Screamer was very hilly in a subdivision, up and down, up and down, many short hills about a block long and many curves. The Duplex was tested on a long straight slight inclining road, out and back. So if I had tested both on the same conditions, it may have affected my judgement.

The overall quality and feel of both bikes felt very good and both have S/S couplers. The Duplex is marked down several hunderd below the Screamer because the owner wants to get the newer style in. The shifting on both were smooth and precise and braking was not an issue. The second store employee also suggested putting a handle bar on the Rans where the handles extended past your legs and then down, leaving your hands in a much lower position, which would eliminate the hanging arms feeling I had. He owns a Rans single bent and loves it, been riding bents for 10 years and is partial to their products.

Since the Screamer is 1.5 hours away and the Duplex is only 40min, I may go back to the closer shop and test ride a single Rans bike, seeing if I can get the seat adjusted so I don't feel crunched and how much converting the handle bars would cost.

Any thoughts on our test rides would be appreciated. Thanks,


bentbaggerlen 05-30-04 08:16 AM

I like the Duplex, and have been hoping to find one used for sale. There is one on e-bay right now. BUt I just bought a Troika Trike so I've spent all my free bike cash... I have had the screamer for about 8 years and for the most part it has been a very good bike, but I do find that I like under seat steering more then the above seat. I may even build a underseat steering for the screamer.

But... could you give me the contact for the duplex owner? Like Ive said I always wanted a Duplex

The "supplemental drum brake" is for use on long downhills. If you use your rim brakes to control your downhill speed the heat built up in the rims will cause the tires to fail (melt) Any tandem used for touring should be equiped with a drum brake. The drum brake keeps the heat away from the tires. how much heat? I ve set the grease on fire in the hub on the Screamer riding down route 2 into Greenfield Ma. So if your planing on any loaded tours the drum brake is a real plus. Disk brakes are nice but not up to the heat that is built up using them as a drag brake, Ive cooked most of the disk brakes out there

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