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What to do with the old tandem?

Old 07-23-19, 12:14 PM
  #1  
dstke
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What to do with the old tandem?

The intention: Sell the old tandem and buy a new one


The dilemma: I would be lucky to get a tenth of what we paid, so why bother?


The situation: We just got back from a tour on our 15 year old Co-Motion Speedster. During the tour I found that the rim brakes, along with a drum brake, simply aren't strong enough hold us back on steep descents (300# team but we love climbing). On one long steep descent in particular I had to grip and brake so hard for so long that I got a pinched nerve in my shoulder - this with two stops to let the rims cool and to warm ourselves up. Once I started to think about a new tandem then all the other minor problems became amplified: The broken FD shifter, how hard it is to get to fit into our travel cases, etc, etc.


Drawn by others descriptions of their dammed near perfect tandem bikes, I convinced my wife that it's time we treated ourselves to a better bike.


The seemly logical way to proceed is to spend a little to fix up the old bike, sell it for a reasonable amount, then buy the new bike. So I had the bike re-painted, bought a new front brifter, and added a few new shiny stainless steel bolts. The drivetrain is in reasonable condition so I didn't bother with new chainrings, chain, and cassette.


The problem is that when I look on Craigslist there are two other Co-Motion Speedsters in as good or better condition for reasonable prices that haven't been sold for weeks. (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik...935842544.html https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik...930013712.html)


So, what to do with the old tandem? Keep and find a place for it? Just bite the bullet and sell it for whatever you can get?


Thanks for any suggestions





Our steed
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Old 07-23-19, 12:33 PM
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Call co mo and see if they can add you a disk tab in place of the drum brake tab. I recall there’s a disk adapter for the drum brake threads
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Old 07-23-19, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dstke View Post
The intention: Sell the old tandem and buy a new one
...During the tour I found that the rim brakes, along with a drum brake, simply aren't strong enough hold us back on steep descents (300# team but we love climbing).
...
1) Why do you think the braking, adequate during the first 15 years, is now suddenly inadequate?
2) What will you disclose to prospective buyers about the braking issue, given that your cosmetic improvements did nothing to correct it and which was the main reason you no longer like the bike?
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Old 07-23-19, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dstke View Post
The intention: Sell the old tandem and buy a new one

I found that the rim brakes, along with a drum brake, simply aren't strong enough hold us back on steep descents (300# team but we love climbing).
I thought switching to discs would provide significantly better braking. It didn't.

As for buying a new tandem. We had 3 tandems that were purchased used. We sold them (bikefriday, burley, cannondale) and went to one coupled bilenky thinking it would to it all. I regret selling the cannondale.

I think we are going to get a second tandem and have the coupled bilenky as our travel bike and then get a bike without couplers for our daily rider. Maybe go that route and keep what you have for travel?
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Old 07-24-19, 04:26 AM
  #5  
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If you have family you regularly visit, consider stationing it there so you have a bike to ride when you visit, or make a few changes to make it one you don’t mind getting wet or gritty and use it for those occasions.
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Old 07-24-19, 05:43 AM
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A few scattered thoughts:
Brakes. “Upgrade” to Tektro RX6 for more stopping power.
Resale value. Tandems with couplers and travel cases typically sell for at least $1000 more than similar non-coupled tandems. Coupled bikes can also attract remote buyers because shipping costs are reasonable.
Tax writeoff. Consider donating the tandem to a local organization that supports blind stokers. Examples include Achilles, Catapult, Bicycling Blind, Blind Stokers Club, Para Guide. Donating to a vision impaired youth could have an enormous impact on their lives, too (but it wouldn’t be a tax writeoff).
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Old 07-24-19, 06:34 AM
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It is quite possible to improve your brakes on this tandem. Send a picture of your brakes and the make and model. Are you running compression less cable housing or not. If so make sure it is the Yokozuma Reaction housing it is the only one that is really compression less. You can find rolls of it on ebay.
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Old 07-24-19, 06:42 AM
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A fresh set of Kool Stop “Salmon” brake pads can make a huge difference. I’ve experienced this twice in the last year or so on a Santana tandem with a V-brake up front (10” Gen 4 disc rear) and on my touring bike with V’s front/rear. Way more grab with less effort at the lever. It’s a cheap experiment to try ...
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Old 07-24-19, 07:06 AM
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We have a similar old Co-Pilot with direct-pull "V" brakes. If the brakes are adjusted well, the brake pads are fairly new and the rims are clean, I have never had an instance where I couldn't lock up the brakes if needed (not a good idea). It isn't clear what type of brakes you have on your bike. Effective braking is a combination of good technique and well adjusted brakes. Also, our bike has bar-end shifters and Dia-Compe 287V brake levers that were designed to pull the correct amount of cable for V brakes.

If you are set on selling the bike, I'd guess that Craigslist is not the best venue. There used to be a website: tandemmagazine or something similar that had a classified section. I can't find it anymore. I think the signal-to-noise ratio on Craigslist is too low. Is there a classified ad section on this bikeforums website?

An earlier poster is right: A coupled bike will bring more money if you advertise that fact.

Good luck.
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Old 07-24-19, 07:21 AM
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In order to sell, you can place it in the “Tandem Bikes and Gear Marketplace” on this forum. While tandemmag.com classifieds are gone, try using tandemclassifieds.com or the classified ad section of tandemclub.org (TCA’s site). Also, since a coupled tandem is so shippable, eBay is a viable option too.

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Old 07-24-19, 08:21 AM
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Back in 2017 I posted about the process for replacing our 1999 Speedster.

See: New Tandem Report: 2017 Co-Motion Macchiato (Long Post)

I opted to keep the Speedster for several months after receipt of the Macchiato in case we needed to transfer dimensions for cockpit setup. Once we were confident of the fit on the Macchiato, I cleaned up the Speedster for resale. I was tempted to keep it as a spare, but tandems are just too large to collect at our house!

Being in a rural area, the opportunities for it finding a new home locally seemed slim. However, the dealer from whom we purchased both tandems is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and handles consignment sales. We agreed on a reasonable price and delivered the bike to him. He handled eBay and Craig's List listings and performed his own inspection.

The bike was sold within several weeks.

YMMV.
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Old 07-24-19, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by diabloridr View Post
Back in 2017 I posted about the process for replacing our 1999 Speedster.

See: New Tandem Report: 2017 Co-Motion Macchiato (Long Post)

I opted to keep the Speedster for several months after receipt of the Macchiato in case we needed to transfer dimensions for cockpit setup. Once we were confident of the fit on the Macchiato, I cleaned up the Speedster for resale. I was tempted to keep it as a spare, but tandems are just too large to collect at our house!

Being in a rural area, the opportunities for it finding a new home locally seemed slim. However, the dealer from whom we purchased both tandems is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and handles consignment sales. We agreed on a reasonable price and delivered the bike to him. He handled eBay and Craig's List listings and performed his own inspection.

The bike was sold within several weeks.

YMMV.
I hadn't thought about eBay. Since it is a coupled bike, shipping isn't a big concern. EBay tends to be the truest marketplace for items with a small local demand.
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Old 07-24-19, 11:27 AM
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I know your problem

Originally Posted by dstke View Post
The intention: Sell the old tandem and buy a new one


The dilemma: I would be lucky to get a tenth of what we paid, so why bother?


The situation: We just got back from a tour on our 15 year old Co-Motion Speedster. During the tour I found that the rim brakes, along with a drum brake, simply aren't strong enough hold us back on steep descents (300# team but we love climbing). On one long steep descent in particular I had to grip and brake so hard for so long that I got a pinched nerve in my shoulder - this with two stops to let the rims cool and to warm ourselves up. Once I started to think about a new tandem then all the other minor problems became amplified: The broken FD shifter, how hard it is to get to fit into our travel cases, etc, etc.


Drawn by others descriptions of their dammed near perfect tandem bikes, I convinced my wife that it's time we treated ourselves to a better bike.


The seemly logical way to proceed is to spend a little to fix up the old bike, sell it for a reasonable amount, then buy the new bike. So I had the bike re-painted, bought a new front brifter, and added a few new shiny stainless steel bolts. The drivetrain is in reasonable condition so I didn't bother with new chainrings, chain, and cassette.


The problem is that when I look on Craigslist there are two other Co-Motion Speedsters in as good or better condition for reasonable prices that haven't been sold for weeks. (https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik...935842544.html https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik...930013712.html)


So, what to do with the old tandem? Keep and find a place for it? Just bite the bullet and sell it for whatever you can get?


Thanks for any suggestions





Our steed
We are one step further along on your decision.

Last March we replaced the tandem we rode for 41 years. Our reasoning was much like yours. We enjoy hill climbing but did not like the marginal stopping power of two rim brakes and a rear drum. Our new tandem (a Ritchey Brake Away) has disks on both wheels. Contrary to the reply by one of your posters, these brakes are a significant improvement. We use mechanical TRP calipers with 255 mm Hope rotors. This gives us stopping power that is comparable to what I expect on a single. We regularly make 2000' descents, here in the coastal hills of Northern California, and have no problems with heat. Apparently hydraulic calipers work even better; however, I would be uncomfortable with a braking system that could not be repaired on the road.



In our case, the new bike also comes with a greatly improved drive train. Our old tandem, with two chainrings and a 7-speed freewheel, was limited to nine unique combinations. The low-to-high range was 40 to 119 inches. The new bike has 29 unique combinations and a low-to-high range of 24 to 129 inches. Our older knees greatly appreciate those lower gears. I also enjoy integrated shift levers, as opposed to the down-tube shifters on the old bike.

So a new bike could be a significant improvement, especially for hill climbers like you. However, I don't know what to say about your old tandem, except to agree that the resell value will be a fraction of what it cost new. Recently we sold a Comotion triple for less than half of its purchase price. In our case, we plan to keep our old tandem, mostly for sentimental reasons. We bought it from Tom Ritchey in 1977, back when he was still brazing frames in his Mom's garage. It was the first tandem Tom sold. We have had a lot of fun on that bike. Our plan is to use it for a backup when the new tandem has a problem - which it will.


Last edited by MikeAndJean; 07-24-19 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 07-24-19, 11:43 AM
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Forgive my ignorance. Is that aluminum or steel?
If steel, I'd ship the rear portion out to a bike builder and get some disk caliper mounts brazed onto it. Heck, if that was available before I ordered our new custom tandem, I might have been interested in it especially since it has couplers.
If you you sell it on E-Bay, ship with bikeflights and give it a flat rate shipping.
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Old 07-24-19, 12:29 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, I especially enjoyed MikeandJean's post - inspirational!

In answer to some of the questions. I have an Avid single digit 7 with travel assist on the rear and Paul Mini Moto on the front (I replaced the other Avid SD7 in the hope of getting better braking power. In my opinion, not much difference). The pads, Kool Stop MTB, are pretty new and I usually readjust every couple of rides. I replaced DT Swiss hubs a couple of years back with Phil Woods hubs and at that time had the Arai drum brake re-installed. I understand that it can be tricky to get the mounting just right and there might have been some braking loss as a result. I inquired with Co-Motion years ago about retrofitting the bike with disk brakes and it was a significant amount of money ($3K?). Here in Santa Cruz there are several custom builders so it might be possible to have someone weld on a disk brake mount.

I planned to offer the travel cases and frame covers as part of the sale. Thanks for the suggestions of eBay, TandemClassifieds.com and Bikeflights.

We're looking at buying a Calfee Adventure Tandem, inspired by AKExpress' posts, and would like the ability to do gravel as well as road.

Thanks again, I'm leaning towards selling and if that doesn't work out keeping it. BTW we also have a Cannondale MTB tandem.

ps - I would disclose to prospective buyers my perceived deficiencies of rim brakes
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Old 07-24-19, 07:49 PM
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Apologies to the OP, but I am only here to say that Ritchey is amazing. No way would I ever sell such a bike.
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Old 07-24-19, 09:51 PM
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It is the best tandem frame we have ever ridden

Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Apologies to the OP, but I am only here to say that Ritchey is amazing. No way would I ever sell such a bike.
Were it not for the problem with brakes and the drive train, we would still be riding that frame.
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Old 07-27-20, 12:33 PM
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Scanning the old posts on Ritchey tandems given my recent purchase, I asked about your early Ritchey earlier this morning, then I found this picture..."T. Ritchey" frame decal...wow. Still like to know what components you have, in particular the crankset. Glad to read you were keeping. We rode a lot of Norcal tandem club rides in the late 80s/early 90s and there was a couple who rode a red burgundy red Ritchey...you two perhaps?
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Old 07-27-20, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by act0fgod View Post
I thought switching to discs would provide significantly better braking. It didn't.

I think we are going to get a second tandem and have the coupled bilenky as our travel bike and then get a bike without couplers for our daily rider. Maybe go that route and keep what you have for travel?
This is exactly what we did. We bought a new Co-Mo Carrera last year without couplers to use as our daily rider while keeping our 10-year-old Bob Brown tandem for our travel bike. The idea worked great until the Covid thing arrived, but hopefully better days are ahead.

Regarding the disc brakes on our Carrera vs the sidepulls on our Bob Brown bike, the disc brakes have been far superior. Then again, I would suppose that sidepulls aren't the greatest for a tandem if you're riding in hilly terrain.
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Old 07-27-20, 04:56 PM
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We are slowly upgrading our 2004 Cannondale RT1000. We have kept all the parts that came with the bike. In the next couple of years we'll get a new carbon or Ti tandem (frame, fork and wheels) and move the etap, cranks, and upgraded bits over to the new frame. We'll then turn the C-dale into a gravel/inclement weather bike with 650B wheels and fenders that stay on and use it for rails to trails rides, or when the weather is iffy.
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Old 07-27-20, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Joint Venture View Post
A fresh set of Kool Stop “Salmon” brake pads can make a huge difference. I’ve experienced this twice in the last year or so on a Santana tandem with a V-brake up front (10” Gen 4 disc rear) and on my touring bike with V’s front/rear. Way more grab with less effort at the lever. It’s a cheap experiment to try ...
+1 on this. The salmons were recommended to me on this forum. I had similar braking issues (albeit on much smaller climbs) and the salmons are incredible.

Our arai drum brake is mostly useless though.
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Old 07-27-20, 06:09 PM
  #22  
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Sell it to friends. We’ve now sold 4 tandems. 3 of them went to friends who are now new tandem enthusiasts.

You’ll never get a significant portion of what you paid originally, but it’s a win win. You get some cash toward the new bike; the bike continues to get used, and you have new friends to ride tandems with.
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Old 07-28-20, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dstke View Post
During the tour I found that the rim brakes, along with a drum brake, simply aren't strong enough hold us back on steep descents (300# team but we love climbing). On one long steep descent in particular I had to grip and brake so hard for so long that I got a pinched nerve in my shoulder - this with two stops to let the rims cool and to warm ourselves up.
Aaaaaaargh!! Fricking marketing. Our 1992 Santana has been ridden +150,000 miles over many mountain passes fully loaded with camping gear, we are tall so overall heavy. The drag brake was always dependable, cantilevers dependable. We bought a new breakdown tandem to fly with. Disc (200 mm) is prone to over heating so we must stop during descents to let cool. If you are light or riding off road, discs are great, but otherwise discs, especially on a tandem, are no match for a drum brake and bad on steep descents. Fricking marketing.
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Old 07-28-20, 07:44 AM
  #24  
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^ Having owned tandems with 1) cantilevers and a Aria drum, 2) rim calipers, and 3) disc brakes. I have to largely disagree.

To your point about heat buildup, if you need a drag brake, that’s the forte of a drum, and has it’s place.

However, for stopping power, there is just no debate that hydraulic discs have dramatically better stopping ability.

With the cantilever, drum setup, the drum gives some speed control, but doesn’t add much stopping power. On that bike you needed to plan your braking because downhill, you didn’t have the ability to stop the bike right here right now if you needed to.

With hydraulic discs, even a large team can lock both wheels on even the steepest descents, and more importantly modulate just short of that.

The superior stopping power also allows you to ride differently. Given that you know you can stop quickly you can ride faster, only hitting the brakes once before the entry of a turn. By only braking once per turn, and letting the bike run on the straights, you dissipate heat.

With the cantilever/drum setup, and the comparative lack of stopping power, there’s more need to slow the bike on the straights, because you can’t count on stopping quickly from speed. So the drag brake setup ends up creating the need for a drag brake.

So, I’ll grant you if you want or need a drag brake, disc brakes are not made to drag, and a drum is your answer. But for many people, the capabilities of disc brakes obviate the need for a drag brake.
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Old 07-28-20, 08:02 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by dstke View Post

I inquired with Co-Motion years ago about retrofitting the bike with disk brakes and it was a significant amount of money ($3K?). Here in Santa Cruz there are several custom builders so it might be possible to have someone weld on a disk brake mount.




We're looking at buying a Calfee Adventure Tandem, inspired by AKExpress' posts, and would like the ability to do gravel as well as road.

You could go to front disc brake for $700 or so. New fork, new hub, trp/spyre hybrid hydraulic work well and would not require different shifters. And since most braking comes from the front wheel, it would give you significantly better braking.

The Calfee adventure tandem on the other hand is a bit spendy. We have a Tetra, modified to take both road 700 wheels, and off-road 650b’s on order. I spec’d the bike with Jason at Calfee, with the goal of keeping the price down in comparison to our Dragonfly. Stepping down to the Tetra, Ultegra, instead of Dura Ace, house brand components and rims versus the Enve’s on the Dragonfly, and the total is still going to be north of $18,000 with both sets of wheels. And that’s without couplers.
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