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Tandem compatible trainers?

Old 05-06-18, 08:20 AM
  #1  
alias5000
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Tandem compatible trainers?

Hi everyone,
spring has sprung and with it the outdoor tandeming season - we have been long waiting for it. It also seems to be a season where quite a few people are thinking of getting rid of their used indoor trainers. For various reasons, we are trying to find out whether an indoor trainer might be the answer to the lack of winter training and related problems arising for a lack of muscle strength in our team.
I have never felt attracted to indoor trainers, so I have extremely limited experience with them. Winter biking is still much better. The only scenario I can imagine it being somewhat nice is to train together on a tandem.

Before we try out anything (used), I was wondering if:
1. all trainers are compatible with a tandem (2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, to be specific) or if there is anything we need to look out for? Are the mounts universal? Is weight, rocking, higher output power levels or frame loading an issue?
2. there are any tandem-specfic aspects with using trainers that we should look out for to have them working well and "fun"?

Thanks a lot in helping me exploring this unfamiliar terrain.
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Old 05-06-18, 09:24 AM
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Alcanbrad
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You did not mention smart vs. dumb trainers. We have used our Tandem on my Kurt Kenetic dumb Trainer with no issues.

The only thing you should pay attention to is the quick release on your wheel. Make sure it is compatible with a Trainer. Most QRís today are not.

I canít speak to smart trainers as I donít own one.

Riding a Trainer is bad enough, we used the Tandem on it twice and that was 1 1/2 times too many 😏. Suggest you borrow one from a friend and see if it is something you will follow through on.
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Old 05-06-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Alcanbrad View Post
You did not mention smart vs. dumb trainers. We have used our Tandem on my Kurt Kenetic dumb Trainer with no issues.

Riding a Trainer is bad enough, we used the Tandem on it twice and that was 1 1/2 times too many ��. Suggest you borrow one from a friend and see if it is something you will follow through on.
A friend is selling a fluid one (CycleOps Fluid Pro), so dumb - progressive resistance. I will contact her to try first for compatibility. (Sold already). Smart trainers seem crazy expensive. Almost so expensive that I could just ride a tandem through winter and replace all rusted through components as we go (aaaargh!).

Last edited by alias5000; 05-06-18 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 05-06-18, 04:07 PM
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Our tandem will work just fine with our smart trainer (Wahoo Kickr), but needs me to swap in a 9-speed cassette.
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Old 05-06-18, 06:40 PM
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I can confirm that the Cycleops Fluid (2, Pro, and some rebranded ones) work with 145mm tandem rear spacing and have sufficient resistance. Iíve had one since the early 2000s, and havenít considered replacing it. Some mag trainers may not have enough resistance for tandem power.
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Old 05-06-18, 06:45 PM
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Unless you have absolutely no space whatsoever I would be using single bikes on a smart trainer. Your individual training requirements would be completely different. It would be nearly impossible to judge how hard you were both working so the benefits would be unequal.
We both use Zwift with an Elite Direto direct drive trainer. You can buy a direct drive trainer from about $500 and they are way more fun to use than a basic dumb trainer.
If you want to improve then each of you doing a plan like this will get you fit. An hour a day should be manageable
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Old 05-06-18, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by geoffs View Post
Unless you have absolutely no space whatsoever I would be using single bikes on a smart trainer. Your individual training requirements would be completely different. It would be nearly impossible to judge how hard you were both working so the benefits would be unequal.
We both use Zwift with an Elite Direto direct drive trainer. You can buy a direct drive trainer from about $500 and they are way more fun to use than a basic dumb trainer.
If you want to improve then each of you doing a plan like this will get you fit. An hour a day should be manageable
I don't disagree with your general message, but I do disagree with it as blanket advice. Generally, we use separate trainers on single bikes. But, to keep our hands in with the tandem, and to keep our communication style going, it's a nice thing, I think, in a climate such as ours (cold and wet most of the year, discouraging outside cycling for months at a time), to be able to hook up the tandem to a trainer. Also, we have individual power meters (Garmin pedals) on the tandem, so we do get individual feedback with our head units connected to our power meters. Using Zwift on a smart trainer, it can be a very useful exercise.

Mark
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Old 05-07-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by geoffs View Post
Unless you have absolutely no space whatsoever I would be using single bikes on a smart trainer. Your individual training requirements would be completely different. It would be nearly impossible to judge how hard you were both working so the benefits would be unequal.
We both use Zwift with an Elite Direto direct drive trainer. You can buy a direct drive trainer from about $500 and they are way more fun to use than a basic dumb trainer.
If you want to improve then each of you doing a plan like this will get you fit. An hour a day should be manageable
This.

Stoker and I have our half-bikes on Elite Qubo smart trainers. I enjoy Zwift quite a bit, my stoker, not so much. One drawback to putting the tandem in a trainer is the stoker can't easily watch TV. Time passes very slowly on the trainer unless you have something to watch. This is where Zwift can be handy since you can do workouts of 30 minutes or so and be absolutely spent at the end of it.
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Old 05-07-18, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for your feedback. Our goals are basically two-fold:
1. (and foremost) to maintain basic muscle strength of the stoker's knee due to an injury (and avoid super competitive environments, because this does not sit well with her). Maintain regular exercise that survives our regularly happening uprooting of basic day-to-day routines (grad students among you might know this) - we have failed at this before. Working out together is a trial run for us to maintain more inertia in this department (currently outdoors! ) - thus the thoughts to use the tandem. Once we have a trainer, swapping for a single bike on there shouldn't be an issue.
2. I generally prefer winter biking over indoor training - but sometimes it's just really hard to get my legs worked out enough before winter issues (cold, snow mess...) kick in. I prefer cycling/touring with friends over cycling/touring alone - and so our tandem has worked out well so far.
None of us have competitive ambitions and spin classes are a no-go for us as a team (I am open to that on a single and have been contemplating it). Geoffs, thank you for the link, this does look interesting.

Our thought so far was to try cycling while watching a series or two (currently we are going through entire Star Trek - why not while sitting on a bike?). I was hoping that we could find a position where we can both watch with a bit of an angle. Is this realistic?
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Old 05-07-18, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Our thought so far was to try cycling while watching a series or two (currently we are going through entire Star Trek - why not while sitting on a bike?). I was hoping that we could find a position where we can both watch with a bit of an angle. Is this realistic?
That is what we do (funny--the first series we did that with was Star Trek TNG). As to whether it's realistic on a tandem, you'll have to try it to see, I suspect.
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Old 05-07-18, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
That is what we do (funny--the first series we did that with was Star Trek TNG). As to whether it's realistic on a tandem, you'll have to try it to see, I suspect.
Haha! We started with the original and are now somewhere in the end of season 2 of TNG, plenty of episodes left. Energize!

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Old 05-10-18, 07:42 PM
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We use an older "giant" trainer, works well enough, beefy enough to handle the tandem.
R&J
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Old 05-13-18, 06:16 PM
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Hey guys,
thank you for all your feedback. Encouraged by the reports that a CycleOps fluid works on a 145mm spaced tandem, I got a used one today. Still need to find a matching skewer to really try things out, but it's looking good so far and I have had my road bike on it already. Now, I have an entire season to figure out the best approaches to make a regular indoor cycling exercise as most fun as it can be - while soaking up the wonderful May sun, outdoors!
There was an older 'smart' trainer for sale within our price range, but things didn't work out and some hacking would have been required to match it up with Zwift & Co. Hence: let's turn to Star Trek. Energize!
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