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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 05-15-05, 06:45 PM   #1
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My wife and I are expecting a child in December. We would like to pick up a bicycle that the whole family could ride on, and in my searches, I have found several tandem trikes. Most of these are "the higher priced spread", meaning over $2000. These have typically been recumbent tadpole style trikes, with a few deltas for good measure.

Recently, I found an American made tandem trike for about half that price, from Workmans Cycles, the Worksman TT3CB Tri-Tandem Trike. Go here for a look, about 3/4's of the way down the page:

It is configured in what I always referred to as a "retirement" trike, albeit a tandem version. While it doesn't have the glamour of a recumbent, it certainly covers our needs. A word about that may be in order.

Our needs are for a stable platform (hence the 3 wheels), adequate cargo area for a child seat (the Tri-Tandem has a platform behind the rear saddle), and enough gearing to putz around town or at a park (it is available in a 3 speed version).

I have owned plenty of expensive bikes (still do, for that matter), but never a tandem nor a trike. Given that my wife has very little experience cycling in urban settings, and that we will be carrying precious cargo, what do you folks think of the idea of such a set-up? Please remember that we do not intend to tour with it, nor do any mountains. It is strictly a 10-20 mile or less fun day ride, with the kid and a picnic.

So, any experiences to relate? Any warnings? Any other bike suggestions? We are not opposed to spending more, but I am fairly certain we would not use a more expensive trike to our best dollar value. Whadda all think?
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Old 05-16-05, 04:37 PM   #2
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No personal experience with the tandem, but we have the single seat versions all over our factory and they are built to withstand industrial use for the long haul... some of ours date back to the 60's. They are heavy duty, I mean really heavy duty.

As for handling, upright trikes are semi-stable when ridden in a straight line on the flats but can be skittish at speeds or when turning; it takes a different riding style. Remember, you steer a trike like a car, not like a bike, and the long wheelbase would most likely exacerbate the tendency for the trike to want to tip over during aggressive or evasive steering manuevers. Not necessarily a big problem if you don't go fast or far, but something to be always mindful of.

Logistics would be a challenge if you didn't have a large storage space on ground level or needed to transport the bike to where you ride; a trailer, cargo van, or pick-up truck would be mandatory.

My suggestion would be to go with an entry level KHS, Raleigh, Schwinn, or similar multispeed 26" tandem and a tow-behind Burley or similar trailer. At a minimum, a conventionally designed tandem will be lighter, easier to manuever, and easier to transport. If you could find both second hand, you could keep your costs in line with the trike you're considering.
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Old 05-16-05, 04:46 PM   #3
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I have had admittedly limited experience with Worksmen's trikes. What little experience I've had has all been bad.
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Old 05-29-05, 03:56 AM   #4
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you could always build your own tandem recumbent trike as i did still pretty costly i spend about 3000 but u can do it a lot cheaper mine has full 27 speed xtr equipment on it and hayes 8 inch disk brakes both could be substituted for cheaper parts
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Old 05-29-05, 05:52 PM   #5
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A 2-wheeled tandem is a stable platform. Unless pilot and stoker both have balance issues and/or seat problems there is no need for a 3-wheeler that more than likely is very heavy, hard to corner with (yes you can do a controlled 2 wheel cornering maneuver, but with precious cargo, that is not an option!)
Suggest a used fat tired mountain bike tandem hauling a Burley trailer for the precious cargo, on that you'll be able to do that 20 miler you're thinking about. The Worksman . . . would not attempt that unless you really want to build up those quads for both pilot and stoker. Also a 3-wheeled conveyance will take lots more room on the road and would probably scare you stoker even more!
For way less than $2,000 you can find a decent used quality tandem and trailer.
Just our opinion after 30+ years of riding 'in tandem.'

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 05-30-05, 11:59 AM   #6
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I was on a call at a textile plant on Friday. The person I was to see picked my up on the very same model tandem trike you are discussing. It was more effort to pedal, even with both of us working, than to walk. It is sturdy, almost to the point of insanity. It also is heavy, clunky, and ill-handling.

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