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!

Need recommendations!

Old 01-07-19, 07:56 AM
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Sohaib
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Need recommendations!

As i mentioned earlier in a thread that i've been looking for an intro tandem.
Today, i saw a web post mentioning some of the tandem bikes that are good for beginners. The comparison was made generally on the basis of cost, frame material etc. That article included some Kent and Sachwinn Twinn tandem bikes for sale.
Can you guys recommend any other bike apart from these. Also any other cost effective options would be appreciated.
I don't want to throw in a lot of many without knowing much about tandem experiences.
Also i am posting the link here. Do check it out and tell me if i should go for any of those bikes or should i go for any other tandem.
Link: Tandem bikes for sale
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Old 01-07-19, 09:26 AM
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It would help to know a few things about you:
how large is each rider?
what part of the world are you in?
what type of surface and terrain will you ride on?

The link provided is a list of the absolute cheapest production tandems available. They’re the equivalent of department store Huffy or Magna bikes. The Schwinn looks best among the list. Some folks have had good luck with the Giordano. A big step up from those bikes would be a used higher end bike - Cannondale, Co-Motion, Santana, Burley, Trek, Ibis. You might also consider other entry level tandems - KHS, Raleigh Coupe, Trek T900.
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Old 01-07-19, 10:32 AM
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Our thought is that a "cost effective" tandem is an oxymoron, we would advise used if you can, find something used that sort of "fits" . Then ride it.
We purchased two different tandems before we decided to jump in and get what we wanted, but it took two years of riding before we knew what that was.
R&J
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Old 01-08-19, 07:46 AM
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Rent or borrow a good tandem and try it out. If that's fun, get a good quality used one as said before, it is worth it.
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Old 01-08-19, 07:52 AM
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Paul J
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
You might also consider other entry level tandems - KHS, Raleigh Coupe, Trek T900.
If you are looking to really ride the bike beyond just puttering about. This is a good way to jump in fairly quickly at the lowest cost for a quality bike. I don't think the Trek T900 is still in production but they are still available out there. We did the used bike route going through 2 before we landed on our first long-term bike. I'm pretty well versed in cycling which help me, if you are not, the used tandem market can have potholes to watch for. Some of the lowest prices on used bikes are for very old and outdated tandems which to upgrade will cost a lot. But with that said they still might be better then most of the bikes on your link.

We've loved riding our tandem and hope you can get an opportunity to try it out! One of the other posts asked where you are located. If you could let us know that we might be able to direct you to some local resources to help you.

Good luck!
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Old 01-08-19, 10:28 AM
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Sohaib
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
It would help to know a few things about you:
how large is each rider?
what part of the world are you in?
what type of surface and terrain will you ride on?

The link provided is a list of the absolute cheapest production tandems available. They’re the equivalent of department store Huffy or Magna bikes. The Schwinn looks best among the list. Some folks have had good luck with the Giordano. A big step up from those bikes would be a used higher end bike - Cannondale, Co-Motion, Santana, Burley, Trek, Ibis. You might also consider other entry level tandems - KHS, Raleigh Coupe, Trek T900.
I am 5,11" while the other rider is 5,7"
The terrain is same ground level. I don't live in a hilly area.
And thanks for your recommendations. I myself was thinking about sachwinn but will surely check out all of these suggested models.
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Old 01-08-19, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Rent or borrow a good tandem and try it out. If that's fun, get a good quality used one as said before, it is worth it.
I tried, but was unable to find one for rent.
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Old 01-08-19, 11:58 AM
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Most of the tandem focused dealers usually have a bike or 2 they will rent, however, you have to be lucky enough to live close enough to make it worth while. A simple google search will help you locate them.

I completely agree that borrowing or renting a bike to try is the best first step. Trying the wrong bike could result in a bad experience and steer you away from a lifetime of enjoyment. Here are a couple of suggestions: Reach out to your local bike clubs and asking if there are any tandem enthusiasts. Many of us serious tandem riders have more than one bike and are usually happy to help a first time team try the experience. Also, they are a wealth of knowledge for both captain and stoker.

A used older "better" bike is preferable over a new cheap heavy one.. Spending some time on eBay and Craigslist and you will quickly see what is selling and for what (always check the already sold listings in eBay). You can always ask on this board about a specific bike. If you have never tried it, google "search tempest" which will allow to easily set up a Craigslist (and eBay) searches for anything you are looking for that covers a large geographic area.

Here are 2 tandem specific online classified sites:

Tandems east: Tandem Bicycles For Sale, Tandem Bike Components For Sale

A used older "be Tandem club of america: https://tandemclub.org/classifieds/browse-ads/

Don't let the prices scare you. Tandems can be expensive but with some knowledge and a bit ot time, excellent values can be found.
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Old 01-08-19, 01:13 PM
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A low-end tandem is a perfectly fine entry-point into trying out tandeming. If you and your riding partner love it, then you'll probably want a better tandem down the road, but you would know a lot more about what you want in a tandem by then.

I don't think buying used is a good idea if you're inexperienced and can't get significant test riding time. It can also be a bit of a cost sink if you need major maintenance -- tandem-specific parts are more expensive and harder to source. I knew nothing about bike mechanics until I got my cheap Kent tandem 2 summers ago. I upgraded some of the worst parts piecemeal, getting good practice in the process, as well as over 500 miles of riding with my wife, who is not very into cycling. You can absolutely get by with a Kent or equivalent tier tandem, especially if you ride on mostly flat terrain. We've taken that Kent on some major group rides where we pass plenty of people on single road bikes on climbs. The Kent's held up on 20% grades -- the only time I didn't have confidence in it was one ride where the driveway up to the rest stop went over 24% and I bailed at 22% because I thought I might crack the handlebar.

Of course, I reached the point where it didn't make sense to upgrade the Kent any further (it is near the lowest of the low-end, after all). After scanning Craigslist for months, I landed a deal on a used Santana. It was in great shape but still needed maintenance and parts. I scrounged around various online retailers and eBay to source the parts, then spent some time in the garage working on it. It's still not quite done, so we've yet to ride it. If I didn't have the experience from my Kent to know that the Santana was an appropriate next tandem, who knows how much bad money I might have spent after good? I mean, it's still possible that the Santana won't work out for us, and with no return policy, I'll have to figure out how to recoup the money and time I've spent on it.
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Old 01-08-19, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
A big step up from those bikes would be a used higher end bike - Cannondale, Co-Motion, Santana, Burley, Trek, Ibis. You might also consider other entry level tandems - KHS, Raleigh Coupe, Trek T900.

THIS. Don't mess with department store brands. Too many headaches and low resale value if you change your mind.


Look for any of the above brands on Craigslist. Chances are you can find something decent out there. If you prefer a hybrid bike, then go with 26 inch wheel offerings. These will likely also be cheaper than the pure road bikes with 700c wheels.

Whatever you do, be sure to test ride it carefully with you AND your stoker present. If the stoker isn't happy there is no point getting the bike.


Make sure the bike fits correctly. Note: the captain needs more standover clearance in front than on a regular bike. Make sure to take that into account. Make sure the reach is adequate (or can be easily corrected).

The stoker sizing is less critical. As long as the seat can be adjusted up and down enough to accommodate. Be sure there is also enough clearance to add a suspension seat post in back (unless it already comes with one).


Make sure the shifting is smooth and the brakes work well. If it feels good, then buy it. If not, then move on. No point in buying something that needs work to get it functional.

If after buying it, you decide you don't like riding tandem together, put it right back on Craigslist. Somebody else will likely snatch it up again. Consider it an extended rental.
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Old 03-10-19, 08:39 AM
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There simply are no good cheap tandems. If you buy a cheap one you will have a terrible experience. Buy a good used one like a co-motion. It will hold its value and as long as you take care of it you should be able to sell it again for near what you paid for it. We own a shop in Pittsburgh and happen to have two used co-motion tandems for sale. One is coupled and one is regular. Both of these would fit you guys. We can rent one to you if you are interested in trying one out. Our regular one is a Cappuccino and is in great shape. We are asking $1600 for it and that is a bit below market rate.

If you want the best chance of having a great experience, do not try one of the cheapie new tandems, they rarely work out well.
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Old 03-10-19, 02:38 PM
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I would recommend the Trek T900, My wife and I got one a few years back and put around 1000 miles a year on it.

It is not a top of the line bike but has worked really well for us. It was a Craigs List find for a really good price and has needed nothing other than regular maintenance.

Good luck in your search.

Don,
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Old 03-10-19, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by DT Tandem View Post
I would recommend the Trek T900, My wife and I got one a few years back and put around 1000 miles a year on it.

It is not a top of the line bike but has worked really well for us. It was a Craigs List find for a really good price and has needed nothing other than regular maintenance.

Good luck in your search.

Don,
We bought a Trek T900 new four years ago. We do mileage similar to you and yours and we are still on the original tires. We also have a Raleigh Coupe for tandem club rides and it holds its own agains Co-Motions, Santana's and Burley's. Our first tandem was a Kent. We uprgraded it extensively and gave it away when we moved cross country and promptly bought another. They are fine entry level tandems and their resale value is not an issue. They don't have any! And? No matter what you have you are going to take a beating IF you decide you don't want it anymore. You are NOT going to sell your Cannondale or Co-Motion for more than you paid for it. Or even what you paid for it. Tandems do not appreciate in value. Personally I think a T900 is a little too nice for a begginer tandem for a couple just testing the waters. The Kent is just the ticket. Then if the bug bites you can go two ways: a T900 if your riding tends to cruising around in the suburbs or in town running errands or knocking about OR a used Burley if you want something that can do it all. Sadly Raleigh Coupes the way they were made before 2005 no longer exist. Those were 700C flat-bar road rockets with Shimano 105 Gruppo and Avid BB7 discs. We converted ours to drop bar (with downtube shifting!) and there isn't anything that can touch it that isn't 3x the price.
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Old 03-10-19, 07:06 PM
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Well, FWiW there are many old French tandems from Gitane, Motobécane, Peugeot, and The like. Given that they are French (horrors!) and old, they can frequently be found for dirt cheap. I have a 1971 Gitane tandem that I am rebuilding now. I plan to use it only on flat, uncrowded roads so it will be fine. But something similar could give you a taste for what tandeming could be.
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Old 03-11-19, 07:14 AM
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I picked up a Giordanno a few years back and we have more than a few thousand miles on it. We bought it full well knowing that it would have a lot of junk components.
When we got ours, the BBs were junk and replaced with cartridge BBs.
We wanted a better crank so we put on a new Davinci crankset.
The wheels weren't terrible but I got a good deal on a 40 spoke wheelset that has been rock solid.
I do all of my own bike work so I didn't have any problem nickel and dimeing it into good ride able condition.

If you can do your own maintenance, it is not too bad of a way to go. If not, a lot of headaches can be avoided by picking up a used tandem. There are many available out there.

As for the Giordano, we have a custom frame in the works and will be pulling some of the components over to the new frame. When that happens, I will have a frame with Davinci cranks and new cartridge BBs available cheap.
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Old 03-13-19, 08:11 PM
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We borrowed a couple older tandems from friends and rode them enough to see that we liked it. Maybe 100 miles or so total. We are short folks with definite ideas about bikes so it took us a couple years of haunting the ads before we found our perfect used bike. You folks are more normal sized, so it'll be easier for you. Definitely look for the better bikes. Cannondales and CoMotions are pretty common. Finding folks with tandems is a really good idea. Other than borrowing/renting, getting the other team to take one of you at a time for a ride is a really good idea. It's tough for both people to start out, never having been on a tandem. Good way to have an unpleasant experience.

Looking at today's Seattle Craigslist, just because that's where I am, there are 7 nice tandems, from $750 to $4300, CoMo, Rodriguez, Santana. I didn't check the sizes. There are also a pile of not-so nice tandems. There are a couple Rodriguez tandems, a local quality custom builder. I wouldn't buy any of those in your link. Our steel CoMotion Speedster weighs 36 lbs. We paid about half of its price new for a 4 y.o. bike in perfect condition, maybe 1000 miles on it. That was in "07. We have over 15,000 miles on it now.
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