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Thinking about a touring tandem - too few choices ?

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Thinking about a touring tandem - too few choices ?

Old 08-16-18, 06:42 AM
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Thinking about a touring tandem - too few choices ?

I'm thinking about a plunge into tandem biking. We do tandem sea kayaking and it this works for us very well despite of everyone warning us that a tandem kayak is called a divorce boat. I think in the same spirit a tandem bicycle warning is in order but based on our overall synergy doing things tandem I think it's worth going into.

One challenge that I'm seeing is what i hope is due to my unfamiliarity with various manufacturers, is that my choice of manufacturer is pretty much reduced to co-motion and no one else. For touring, very few manufacturers show photographs of their finished bikes sporting pannier racks, couplers and fenders.

My basic requirements are:
1.Disc brakes
2.Front and rear Pannier Racks
3.Fenders
4. Couplers and appropriate practical travel luggage to fit the whole bicycle into

My wish requirement would be:
a) Dynamo front hub
b) Rohloff rear hub with chain (no belt)

I understand there are custom builders who will whip one out for $15K and up but a straight vanilla order based on our bike fit measurements with all of the above seems to be only available with Co-Motion.

Please steer me in appropriate direction if you possess better knowledge :-)
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Old 08-16-18, 10:03 AM
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Try sending a note over to Granite Tandem Design. They're in your corner of the country, familiar with touring by tandem, and reasonably priced for what they offer. It's unlikely that any tandem builders or dealers have a bike in stock that matches your requirements and fits well (actually, here's one locally: https://www.wheelworks.com/product/c...ilot-11641.htm). Other options for complete tandems include MTB Tandems Fandango, Rodriguez Cycles, and Calfee.
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Old 08-16-18, 10:33 AM
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Thank You - I sent a quick note to Granite Tandem Design.
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Old 08-16-18, 10:53 AM
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They're in Seattle, so not local, but they apparently make more custom tandems than anyone else--Rodriguez/R&E Cycles. They made ours, and it's wonderful. They'll do whatever you want.
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Old 08-16-18, 10:55 AM
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Granite Tandem Design is in Seattle? - I thought they were in New Hampshire :-) thanks for the heads up.
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Old 08-16-18, 11:58 AM
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their web site and facebook page both say they are located in Epping, New Hampshire.
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Old 08-16-18, 12:06 PM
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R&E/Rodriguez is in Seattle....
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Old 08-16-18, 12:07 PM
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I think Calfee can meet your goals. Mel at Tandems East in New Jersey is a good source of info and an interface to Calfee.
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Old 08-16-18, 12:15 PM
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Another vote for R&E. They make excellent bikes all around. My wife and I now have five of their bikes!
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Old 08-16-18, 12:26 PM
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I would recommend starting out with a used tandem. There should be plenty of 90's vintage touring models out there that would make a great starter bike to see if you like it. I bought a 1992 Santana Fusion a several years ago. We rode it a lot the first season then a little less every season after that. This year we have ridden it zero times. I know I can sell it for about what I paid for it so I don't feel as bad as I would if I had bought a new one.
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Old 08-16-18, 12:47 PM
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I think we will test ride something to get the initial idea...the idea of getting a used one is not bad but it would really mean I'd have to store another bike because it will be hard to sell later.


Originally Posted by kingston
I would recommend starting out with a used tandem. There should be plenty of 90's vintage touring models out there that would make a great starter bike to see if you like it. I bought a 1992 Santana Fusion a several years ago. We rode it a lot the first season then a little less every season after that. This year we have ridden it zero times. I know I can sell it for about what I paid for it so I don't feel as bad as I would if I had bought a new one.
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Old 08-16-18, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston
I would recommend starting out with a used tandem. There should be plenty of 90's vintage touring models out there that would make a great starter bike to see if you like it. I bought a 1992 Santana Fusion a several years ago. We rode it a lot the first season then a little less every season after that. This year we have ridden it zero times. I know I can sell it for about what I paid for it so I don't feel as bad as I would if I had bought a new one.
This is always a wise choice for something as dicey as buying and riding a tandem. Tandems aren't for everyone.

That said, we went right to a custom tandem from Rodriguez, never having ridden a tandem before. We were quite sure that we were going to like it, and, having been happily married for over 40 years, we weren't too concerned with the demands on the relationship that a tandem brings. But we also had looked for a long time for a used one that would fit us (I'm tall; she's short), and nothing came close.

We're loving it, but we do know that it's not for every couple.

Mark
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Old 08-16-18, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus
....a straight vanilla order based on our bike fit measurements with all of the above seems to be only available with Co-Motion.

Please steer me in appropriate direction if you possess better knowledge :-)
There are several of these Co-Motion/Rolhoff/belt-drive bikes in the tandem club I ride with. The owners rave about the bike and they all travel (fly) to exotic locales such as Asia/Europe/Oz. If I wanted a bike with all the features you listed it would be a Co-Motion. They have the recipe down and many built, on-the-road. Why take a chance going to a boutique and hope they know what they're doing?
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Old 08-19-18, 07:50 AM
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We own a Hase Pino that we tour on. Sometimes referred to as a semi-recumbent or Hi-Lo. Similar models include the Bilenky Viewpoint (built to order), Circe Morpheus (few US dealers). Front seat (stoker) is recumbent. Rear is upright. Stoker can choose to pedal or not pedal (independent freewheeling) though if stoker pedals, captain has to pedal.


Has disk brakes, comes with rear rack, fenders, dynamo hub, rohloff option available, front (actually mid) pannier rack available, coupled for transport (thought not as compact as S&S coupled bikes). Basic model is about $5500 and goes up from there. We bought ours from Mt. Airy Cycles in Maryland as the owner, Larry Black, let us try his personal Pino for a couple of weekend rides.


Meets all your stated requirements. Several accounts of long distance touring on the Pino can be found on the interwebs.


For us, the Pino is superior to a conventional tandem in that it puts us closer together rather than having the stoker in back with forward view blocked by the captain. It isn't perfect. Not that we're a fast team but we're definitely slower on the Pino. The Captains position is rather upright and while I like it, if you prefer a roadie position, you may get frustrated.


(oh, I'll take tandem cycling anyday over tandem kayaking. That said, we had a nice day of tandem kayaking last summer in Alaska but the pace was easy and the distance moderate)
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Old 08-23-18, 09:05 AM
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Expensive, but really well done.

https://www.sevencycles.com/bikes/bi...l=axiom-sl-007
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Old 08-24-18, 06:53 AM
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Yeah, Seven or Firefly (don't know if they make a tandem) would be a really cool ride. The costs are slightly breathtaking. I have to control my emotions ;-) but there will be a tandem in our possession for next season :-)
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Old 08-24-18, 07:29 AM
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We bought an R+E tandem this summer with specifications close to yours. We have toured/camped for many years on our 1992 Santana tandem. We wanted a durable touring tandem that could break apart, a Rohloff, and more space for the stoker than most tandem makers provide (very important to make stoker happy!). R+E has much experience and our new biked was great during our tour this summer in the Pacific northwest (we are from PA). We also considered Thorn (England, significantly lower price), but their frame sizes were too small for us and when broken does not fit into S/S cases. Other makers did not make the cut for a variety of reasons too long to list.

I question disc brakes on a fully loaded tandem for road travel, they will not be good in mountains. We have rim brakes front/rear and a 3rd rear disk brake (because you can't get a drum brake anymore).

Regarding going to a tandem, we both toured/camped long distance on single bikes prior to the tandem. We both knew that we enjoyed that kind a recreation before the tandem. Funny, we both whitewater kayak but would not do that in a tandem kayak, but a sea kayak might be different.
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Old 08-24-18, 08:27 AM
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I'm not that flexible going to caliper brakes but it would sure make finding a great deal on a tandem easier as there are many great tandems without disc brakes to be had on ebay and locally for a quarter price of a new disc brake model. ... maybe ... ;-)

I just watched co-motion video of packing their tandem into the S&S travel cases - sheesh ... they removed cranks, brake discs from the wheels, seat stems ... too much for my taste. I'm almost more inclined in the Tri All case that Calfee uses ... it seems that the disassembly and assembly in this hardshell box is much faster and simpler.
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Old 08-24-18, 08:29 AM
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I do not know if you want to do credit card touring or full loaded touring, but if you want to do full loaded touring, there is a good chance that with two racks and four panniers, that you will come up short on space. I have done full loaded touring on a tandem and had to use a trailer. I am from Ravello bikes. I build take apart aluminum travel tandems (patented design). Take a look at my website and contact me if you wish to dialog.
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Old 08-24-18, 08:32 AM
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I want to do fully loaded touring - I think that using the Tri All 3 case would allow me to even keep the fenders attached ... no ?
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Old 08-24-18, 11:02 AM
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fenders

Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus
I want to do fully loaded touring - I think that using the Tri All 3 case would allow me to even keep the fenders attached ... no ?
I do not know if you have herd of clip on fenders? They just slide on/ off a little bracket under the fork/ seat stay bridge. They are super easy to slide on/ slide off.
The advantage of a take apart tandem is that it makes it possible to put the tandem in two 26" suitcases that are under the size limit for airline "oversized" luggage.
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Old 08-24-18, 11:32 AM
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yeah I heard about clip on fenders but never witnessed it in action. Will definitely put those on the tandem.

Originally Posted by Brian25
I do not know if you have herd of clip on fenders? They just slide on/ off a little bracket under the fork/ seat stay bridge. They are super easy to slide on/ slide off.
The advantage of a take apart tandem is that it makes it possible to put the tandem in two 26" suitcases that are under the size limit for airline "oversized" luggage.
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Old 08-27-18, 12:46 AM
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We have a Seven Ti that exactly fits your description....except for the front rack and front disk. We spec'd a Woundup carbon with canti studs and fenders. I can run two sets of V brakes and have a rear disk also. Our interest is credit card touring. I run 40mm tires with fenders when we tour alone overseas.
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Old 08-27-18, 06:22 AM
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nice. Yeah we definitely want to have the ability to have front and rear panniers but Seven must be a sweet ride. Must have run over 10k huh? Would you trust beefy carbon wheels on this rig...wait oh I guess for carbon wheels you'd have to have disc brakes...?

Originally Posted by Monoborracho
We have a Seven Ti that exactly fits your description....except for the front rack and front disk. We spec'd a Woundup carbon with canti studs and fenders. I can run two sets of V brakes and have a rear disk also. Our interest is credit card touring. I run 40mm tires with fenders when we tour alone overseas.

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Old 08-27-18, 07:24 PM
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We've toured on our Co-Motion Speedster, a 2003 steel frame with lateral tube, carbon fork, and V-brakes. We only use rear panniers, a rack-top bag, a frame bag, and a bar bag. Our team weight is 285 and touring load added to bare-bones bike is ~44 lbs. total for comfortable all-weather camping and cooking, though minimal on the civvies. We got the bike in '07. when drums were still available on ebay. I built a new touring rear with a drum. I would not tour in unknown terrain with only the V-brakes. We used the drum a lot in steep terrain. You can't use a disc as a drag brake like we do our drum, but it would be an effective stopper added to rim brakes. However you probably couldn't find a frame with mounts for both rim and disc.

We paid a lot of attention to going light on our gear. Most of it is our backpacking gear, already light. We make a lot of use of compression sacks for everything made of cloth. Volume is as big an enemy as weight.

I have friends who went cross-country on a disc-braked Speedster with almost no bike load and everything in a Bob trailer. Worked great for them.
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