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Are tandem bikes better than solo rider bikes?

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Are tandem bikes better than solo rider bikes?

Old 01-01-19, 05:02 PM
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Sohaib
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Are tandem bikes better than solo rider bikes?

I've been lately thinking about buying a tandem bike for riding together with my younger brother but he thinks solo bikes are the best. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-01-19, 05:31 PM
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Best for what?
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Old 01-01-19, 10:46 PM
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If you want to ride a bike with another person (the same bike), I'd recommend a tandem.

If you want to ride separate bikes, I'd recommend single bikes for each.

With that out of the way, before you even consider buying a tandem to ride with your brother, you should spend some time talking about who will be in the front (controlling steering, shifting and braking, and with a full view of the world) and who will be in the back (pedaling and staring at the captain's back). I cannot imagine a tandem team working unless they are both enthusiastic about the idea, and they both are fully on board with their respective roles.

Also, many of us ride our tandem with our mates, often because we found it impractical to ride single bikes together (the man generally being much larger and stronger than the woman, so they naturally ride at different speeds). A tandem is brilliant at allowing each to work at different levels, while keeping together. If you and your brother ride single bikes at pretty close to the same speed, keeping with single bikes probably makes more sense than riding a tandem.

If, after serious discussion, you both believe you want to try a tandem, rent one a few times, before you buy.

Mark
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Old 01-02-19, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
If you want to ride a bike with another person (the same bike), I'd recommend a tandem.

If you want to ride separate bikes, I'd recommend single bikes for each.

With that out of the way, before you even consider buying a tandem to ride with your brother, you should spend some time talking about who will be in the front (controlling steering, shifting and braking, and with a full view of the world) and who will be in the back (pedaling and staring at the captain's back). I cannot imagine a tandem team working unless they are both enthusiastic about the idea, and they both are fully on board with their respective roles.

Also, many of us ride our tandem with our mates, often because we found it impractical to ride single bikes together (the man generally being much larger and stronger than the woman, so they naturally ride at different speeds). A tandem is brilliant at allowing each to work at different levels, while keeping together. If you and your brother ride single bikes at pretty close to the same speed, keeping with single bikes probably makes more sense than riding a tandem.

If, after serious discussion, you both believe you want to try a tandem, rent one a few times, before you buy.

Mark
Agreed. Over many years of cycling, I have found that riding with another person who is even slightly different in ability isn't much fun for either the faster or the slower person.

However, whomever you plan to be the stoker must really be OK being a stoker. It is a much different experience than riding a bike on your own.
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Old 01-02-19, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
Agreed. Over many years of cycling, I have found that riding with another person who is even slightly different in ability isn't much fun for either the faster or the slower person.

However, whomever you plan to be the stoker must really be OK being a stoker. It is a much different experience than riding a bike on your own.
To the contrary, all the successful tandem teams I know have riders with great variation in ability. That's why they ride a tandem. Otherwise they couldn't ride together. If their abilities are similar, they always ride singles.

A tandem team must have team morality. It's perfect communist enterprise: "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs."
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Old 01-02-19, 10:46 AM
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Are you both similar in size? If so, how big? Most tandems provide more room for the captain versus the stoker. Of course, one can have a custom frame made to accommodate more room for the stoker. If you are both similar in size, then you can trade off being the captain and the stoker.
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Old 01-02-19, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
To the contrary, all the successful tandem teams I know have riders with great variation in ability. That's why they ride a tandem. Otherwise they couldn't ride together. If their abilities are similar, they always ride singles.
I think that I didn't make myself clear. If one is riding SINGLE bikes with another rider of different ability, it isn't much fun for either. A tandem eliminates that difference.
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Old 01-02-19, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
To the contrary, all the successful tandem teams I know have riders with great variation in ability. That's why they ride a tandem. Otherwise they couldn't ride together. If their abilities are similar, they always ride singles.
That's actually what he was saying--he was agreeing with my statement that riding single bikes with someone of different ability isn't fun for either, while riding a tandem with someone of different ability can be great fun.

Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
A tandem team must have team morality. It's perfect communist enterprise: "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs."
Agreed. Well, until you hit that long 14% grade and the entire communist enterprise grinds to a halt!
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Old 01-02-19, 12:45 PM
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Cheers for tandems! We have friends who don't tandem, but ride singles, but although they ride "together", they are never at the same place at the same time. Judy and I enjoy being "together", so yes, we have to compromise, but we do have a SUCCESSFUL endeavor.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:56 AM
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as a completely unqualified enthusiast who is inching towards getting a tandem spring I wanted to say that (I've heard at the Holiday Inn Express) going uphill is slightly harder on a tandem than on a single but going downhill and on straightaways the going is slightly faster than with a single.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
as a completely unqualified enthusiast who is inching towards getting a tandem spring I wanted to say that (I've heard at the Holiday Inn Express) going uphill is slightly harder on a tandem than on a single but going downhill and on straightaways the going is slightly faster than with a single.
The term "slightly" applies well to downhill and flats, but not so much for climbing - more like "way slower". I'm sure this depends on the team's power output to weight ratio, but for me, I avoid hills on the tandem.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:19 PM
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This has been discussed on this forum extensively.

A tandem has an advantage over a single bike on flats & downhill. This is an aerodynamic advantage. Basically, anything over about 15 mph a tandem has less wind resistance than a pair of singles. Some strong teams are very fast on the flats and courageous teams can hit over 50 mph downhill.

Going uphill at speeds below 10 mph, the advantage disappears. It then becomes a power-to-weight ratio. A couple on a tandem can climb a hill at about the average of the speed they can each do it on a single.
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Old 01-03-19, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
...

A tandem team must have team morality. It's perfect communist enterprise: "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs."
Got my 1st tandem/aka dating tool in my teens. I find they work best under a dictator model. I've had stronger rider than me stoke. The art is the stoker learning to follow the captain's lead. After some time, both learn how hard to work, when to stand etc. It does take a bit more time than you might think. One partner and I got our bunny hop down. I'd have to go first and take the front wheel over, he'd kick up his heals and take the rear over. I don't really know how he did it, but we'd jump tracks etc. Ironically (or not) I found one gender of stokers much more OK at taking orders - just saying.

Tandems still have lots of area for improvement.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:05 PM
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Beloved stoker and I rode together for a number of years before buying our first tandem. I've always been the stronger rider, but she drafted nicely on flat or rolling terrain. When climbing I'd pace myself off her. One of our first dates was me serving as a tow-truck for her first century.

As the years have passed we've come to rely solely on the tandem for riding together except for the occasional easy "recovery" ride.

YMMV.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
Got my 1st tandem/aka dating tool in my teens. I find they work best under a dictator model. I've had stronger rider than me stoke. The art is the stoker learning to follow the captain's lead. After some time, both learn how hard to work, when to stand etc. It does take a bit more time than you might think. One partner and I got our bunny hop down. I'd have to go first and take the front wheel over, he'd kick up his heals and take the rear over. I don't really know how he did it, but we'd jump tracks etc. Ironically (or not) I found one gender of stokers much more OK at taking orders - just saying.

Tandems still have lots of area for improvement.
"taking orders" . . . I've ridden with stronger stokers also. It was fun to whup some butt on group rides. My wife has been my best stoker, even if she only has half my power/weight. She's really good back there. Unless there's some event ride I want to do solo or Stoker is out of commission for some reason, I only ride the tandem now. It's the most fun, even if we do lag way behind the group sometimes. We'd rather ride by ourselves anyway.

It is true that many women want to assert their independence so much that they're uncomfortable in the stoker position. I totally understand that, but it's too bad because there's so much good to be found in partnering on a tandem.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
A tandem team must have team morality. It's perfect communist enterprise: "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs."
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Old 01-03-19, 08:39 PM
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I've posted parts of this picture several times. The stoker is Mike. Mike could wind up 2,000W. Mike was a national champion. I was strong too. Mike did exactly what I told him too. We did fondos of 10,000 riders and finished 5-10 min in front. We did hill climbs and dropped all the singles (in a fondo). I could have never done that without Mike. He could have never done that without my tandem.
Things worked well.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
I've posted parts of this picture several times. The stoker is Mike. Mike could wind up 2,000W. Mike was a national champion. I was strong too. Mike did exactly what I told him too. We did fondos of 10,000 riders and finished 5-10 min in front. We did hill climbs and dropped all the singles (in a fondo). I could have never done that without Mike. He could have never done that without my tandem.
Things worked well.
Interesting idea of a "team." Not my idea of a "team," and my stoker would have jumped off long ago if that were my idea of a "team." But I suppose it takes all types.
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Old 01-03-19, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
Interesting idea of a "team." Not my idea of a "team," and my stoker would have jumped off long ago if that were my idea of a "team." But I suppose it takes all
Communists and Dictators. Both are teams. I never forced anyone to ride on the back. Although I fear running for office due to the possible #forcedToStokToo backlash after 30 years.
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Old 01-04-19, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
"taking orders" . . . I've ridden with stronger stokers also. It was fun to whup some butt on group rides. My wife has been my best stoker, even if she only has half my power/weight. She's really good back there. Unless there's some event ride I want to do solo or Stoker is out of commission for some reason, I only ride the tandem now. It's the most fun, even if we do lag way behind the group sometimes. We'd rather ride by ourselves anyway.

It is true that many women want to assert their independence so much that they're uncomfortable in the stoker position. I totally understand that, but it's too bad because there's so much good to be found in partnering on a tandem.
I wonder how many guys would be comfortable in the stoker position if the captain was a woman.
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Old 01-04-19, 12:47 AM
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Our structure is more like a British Monarchy. I bow and kiss her hand before she gets on the tandem.
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Old 01-04-19, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Our structure is more like a British Monarchy. I bow and kiss her hand before she gets on the tandem.
Exactly!

Being stoker is, to me, an unattractive role, and I am immensely grateful that my wife is happy to perform that role. But for it to work, she has to absolutely trust me, which includes that she knows that her wishes are paramount (which includes that I don't give her "orders").
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Old 01-05-19, 06:38 AM
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agreed

Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
Exactly!

Being stoker is, to me, an unattractive role, and I am immensely grateful that my wife is happy to perform that role. But for it to work, she has to absolutely trust me, which includes that she knows that her wishes are paramount (which includes that I don't give her "orders").
It certainly is.
I think its more about understanding each other than passing orders now and then.
I read somewhere that tandem is a best way to boost communication between two person's.
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Old 01-05-19, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sohaib View Post
I read somewhere that tandem is a best way to boost communication between two person's.
I think it's more "whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there faster." If you're not good at communicating in a productive way, or if you're not good at resolving issues amicably, a tandem isn't going be a happy experience.

But when you are, it's really a wonderful experience!
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Old 01-05-19, 03:48 PM
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the money thing..

Originally Posted by Sohaib View Post
I've been lately thinking about buying a tandem bike for riding together with my younger brother but he thinks solo bikes are the best. Any suggestions?
He going to pay for half of it?
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