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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 09-08-15, 10:18 AM   #1
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Getting Started


Writing for a bit of advice. My wife and I are considering purchasing a tandem and are in the initial stages of the process. Iíve bounced through the internet all weekend and keep going back to the Cannondale Road 1 Tandem. Finding high end tandems in local bike shops seems all but impossible. Theyíll order it for you but you canít see it or ride it before you purchase it. I understand the problem they face, itís not like this things are flying out the door but I would like to look at a few before buying one.

Iíve been buying and racing bikes for 40 years so I can look at a website and spec sheet and know what I want. I like nice bikes and donít want to start with a used one and then buy a dream bike. Part of our decision process is if weíre going to do this weíre really going to do this.

With this in mind, how would you tell me to buy a tandem? Is it as simple as finding a Cannondale dealer and ordering the bike? (meaning I do the research on fitting myself).
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Old 09-08-15, 10:58 AM   #2
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I think the Cannondale tandems are good. After all, my wife and I own and have thousands of miles on the predecessor to the Cannondale Road 1 Tandem you are considering.

Some couples love tandems and some don't. Since this apparently would be your first tandem, I suggest that you consider a used bike. It's relatively easy to find a used Cannondale RT1 or RT2 or even an older Cannondale RT1000. Search Craigslist in your area and even areas not too far frome your home. Check the Double Talk TCA website and the websites. We bought our RT1000 on eBay, and we were happy with the purchase. (Disclaimer: I run the website.)

With some patience and careful shopping, you'll be able to find a good used bike. If you ride it for a while and love it, you can sell it for almost what you bought it, and buy a new bike that you want, guided by your experience with your first tandem.

Good luck!

Last edited by mwandaw; 09-08-15 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 09-08-15, 11:35 AM   #3
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REI is a Cannondale dealer, and they can order it to one of their stores for as good a price as you'll get anywhere.

I agree that used tandems can be a great way to test the waters, but it's a lot easier if you are of average size and live in a big city. Neither is true for me, so I've had to make do with what I can find. There are usually good options on eBay, but there also tend to be a lot of sellers who don't want to ship. (There have been 3 Cannondale frames listed for a while by a seller in West Virginia who is insistent on not shipping--I'm not sure who the intended audience for that is).
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Old 09-08-15, 01:36 PM   #4
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Here's another option that I would personally choose if I were in your shoes: find a dealer that carries an inventory of tandems somewhere that you would like to visit for a long weekend vacation. Arrange ahead of time to get some advice and take test rides for most of a day. That would allow you to not only test bikes but also whether tandeming is something that is going to work for you as a couple.
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Old 09-08-15, 01:59 PM   #5
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Chicago Area Tandem Society Why not check out the "local" scene? I betcha you'll have more fun and make some valuable contacts than endless on-line searching!

For what it's worth, you really do need to ride some bikes to find out how they handle and whether your rear admiral is happy.

Tandemming has been a boon to me and to my wife, and should be for you too (two) so taking some time to try out bikes and meet other teams will make your early experiences more worthwhile, and you'll most likely find a better bike as well.
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Old 09-10-15, 01:32 PM   #6
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I concur with the others that recommend either renting (or borrowing) a tandem for a weekend, or if need be, buying a used one first, just in case. If your stoker turns out not to enjoy riding a tandem, that can be an expensive experiment.
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Old 09-10-15, 02:25 PM   #7
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I'd second both xlbs's & Tony's comments. Tandems can be a panacea. Or not. Meeting up with some members of the local club (especially a larger group like CATS) will do a few things for you and your potential stoker. First, you may be able to try out a few different manufacturers and at the same time, be able to ask questions not in front of a salesman/saleswoman. Sometimes, a team might be willing to sell if they're planning on moving upmarket. It would also be a chance to see if your wife will be truly comfortable or not. Being a stoker is all about communication and trust (she'll have no control over shifting, braking, or direction). We've seen essentially brand new tandems for sale with less than 50 miles on the bikes. Those are usually folks that didn't really test ride a tandem before buying, and some stokers end up being control (or lack thereof) freaks. It's cheaper way of buying a tandem.

We were fortunate in that we were able to test ride a couple of bikes (Co-Motion & Santana) before we made our decision. Of course, we also had to drive 3 hours to the C-M dealer, and then another 3 hours from there to the Santana dealer. Also Tandem Club of America usually has a few bikes listed in their classified section.

Learn from other people's mistakes. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

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Old 09-10-15, 03:35 PM   #8
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You just missed Mel of Tandems East who was just at the MTR in Rockford. I would give him a call and try to make a connection. His number is 856-451-5104. He is a dealer for many tandems and can give you good advice suggestions. Check him out on the web. Tandems East - Tandem Bicycles, Tours, Custom Wheels and More

If you are ever down near Champaign let me know and we can show you our Calfee.

We bought a used Santana around 5 years ago and rode it a few months and then decided to buy a new bike. I have gone through 4 sets of wheels and 2 cranksets before finalizing on our current setup. My suggestion is to do much research up front.

The market is changing almost everyday. Do you want mechanical shifting or electronic, 10 speed or 11 speed. Are you after speed or comfort and the list can go on. You have to look at the weight of the bike, do you want something in the 25-30 pound range or 30-35, you get the drift. Carbon, titanium, steel, aluminum????
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Old 09-10-15, 04:42 PM   #9
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As far as fitting goes it is just the same for the captain as for a single bike.
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Old 09-10-15, 07:13 PM   #10
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I wouldn't have a dealer order one until you've tried it out. You can either start calling Cannondale dealers until you find one in stock in your size or find someone in a club that has one. If you go the club route be sure to find out how their tandem differs from a stock tandem.
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