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Trek T900 Tandem MTB vs Burley Samba Tandem

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Trek T900 Tandem MTB vs Burley Samba Tandem

Old 08-08-19, 02:16 PM
  #1  
NewTandem
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Trek T900 Tandem MTB vs Burley Samba Tandem

Hi All, I'm new on the tandem scene and have been looking some over the last year. Two came across my search for the same price point and was wondering about which would be more favorable for weekly rides on the jogging trails and around town.
  1. Burley Samba Tandem: XT rear derailleur and brakes, along with Magic rims and XTR hubs
  2. Trek T900 Tandem MTB: SRAM shifters, a Deore rear derailleur and an Exange front derailleur
They are each going for around $450, so I'm curious if this is a good price, though I do not have information on the age. Any insight would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:18 PM
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riceowls
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If you want an educated opinion, get more info on the components. My $0.02
-Are the frame sizes the same? If not get the one with better fit and forget about the rest.
-Get the bike with the better be wheels: these are important and would be a pain to have issues with. Hub spacing in the rear is important to see compatibility with current tandem wheelsets for upgrade potential
- Condition of the drivetrain is more important than the number of speeds
-Both are solid manufacturers so the frames will be equal if both fit
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Old 08-09-19, 08:59 AM
  #3  
unikid
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Frame
The T900 has an all-aluminum frame with less tubing.
The Samba is steel with more tubing.
The nod goes to the Trek since it likely weighs a bit less

Sizing
The T900 comes in 1 size only but with sloped top tubes. Giving more flexibility in rider's sizes.
The Samba appears to come in 3 sizes with horizontal top tubes. Hence fit is more important to match the riders.
The nod goes to whichever fits you best

Components
Probably very similar
The nod goes to whichever one rides the best and was better maintained by the prior owner

Company
Trek stopped making the T900 ~3 years ago. Meaning you can likely still get parts like rear rack adapters, disk adapters, etc.
Burley stopped making tandems altogether 10+ years ago? Not sure what you can get.

Conclusion
Either tandem is a good entry point. If you don't plan to make many mods then either one might be okay.
Especially if you can negotiate the price down even more. I would think even more so on the Burley due to vintage, being steel, etc.
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Old 08-09-19, 09:25 AM
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NewTandem
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
Frame
The T900 has an all-aluminum frame with less tubing.
The Samba is steel with more tubing.
The nod goes to the Trek since it likely weighs a bit less

Sizing
The T900 comes in 1 size only but with sloped top tubes. Giving more flexibility in rider's sizes.
The Samba appears to come in 3 sizes with horizontal top tubes. Hence fit is more important to match the riders.
The nod goes to whichever fits you best

Components
Probably very similar
The nod goes to whichever one rides the best and was better maintained by the prior owner

Company
Trek stopped making the T900 ~3 years ago. Meaning you can likely still get parts like rear rack adapters, disk adapters, etc.
Burley stopped making tandems altogether 10+ years ago? Not sure what you can get.

Conclusion
Either tandem is a good entry point. If you don't plan to make many mods then either one might be okay.
Especially if you can negotiate the price down even more. I would think even more so on the Burley due to vintage, being steel, etc.
Excellent, thank you for the insight. Both the Burley and Trek are sized to fit me and my wife fine, which was key in my search. I was leaning toward the Trek due to the weight, as my wife is not an experienced cyclist, but other than that, I had no real preference between the two and they both seemed reasonable for the price. I would post pictures, but I need eight more posts (after this) to do so, so I guess I've got to get to posting on more threads! Thanks again.
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Old 08-09-19, 02:32 PM
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Leisesturm
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We bought a Trek T900 new exactly 3 years ago @ $1K. It is our car. We ride it everyday, for commuting, shopping and errands. It is setup to pull a Bob Yak trailer. This past winter we also bought a 1994 Burley Samba, $600 (delivered to our home) but it was stolen while I was in the process of customizing it. We did, however, get an opportunity to ride it once. There is no comparison. The Trek is a fun, comfortable, easy-going bike. The Burley is a serious road machine able to do ANYTHING one would want a tandem to do. New, the Burley was in the >$2000 price category. That means light (as light as a steel frame, drag brake equipped bike can be) and strong, and fast. Seriously fast. Part of the speed of the Burley is the 1.5" clinchers vs the 2.0" flat-proof Bontrager H2's on the Trek. But part of the speed of the Burley is the weight. Although the Trek is aluminum, the tubes are seriously large diameter. The tires are immense. The Burley is light on its feet by comparison. We wouldn't consider them for the same kind of riding. They are chalk and cheese. If you want to ride around town and have fun, get the Trek (but change the saddles!), if you want a serious road-going touring or all round ride, get the Burley. We were going to have both, but the Universe said otherwise. Maybe because we also have a Raleigh Coupe and a Performer double recumbent tandem. Lesson learned: don't be a hog ...
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Old 08-10-19, 12:05 PM
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Trek T900

We have never ridden a Burley, but I will note one thing about the Trek T900, which is our backup tandem. You mention that your wife does not have much cycling experience. Due to the low tube on the T900, it is super easy for the stoker to get on and off. That may increase the confidence in your stoker as she adjusts to being on a tandem (assuming she will be the stoker).

The T900 was our second tandem. Our first was a Trailmate cruiser and we ride a daVinci Grand Junction every day.
I think my stoker would have had a harder time enjoying riding on a tandem if we had started out on the Grand Junction.
I had cycled as a primary means of transportation for years. But, she had not cycled much. She eventually made her peace as a stoker on the Trailmate and adjusted okay to the T900, in part because she knew she could hop off with that low tube. She didn't need to hop off, but she found it comforting to know she could. By the time we got the daVinci, she had been riding for many years and was mostly confident from the get go. She still makes some noise when we are on a city street and a city bus or a large truck passes us

So, my point is, if you think your stoker, as an inexperienced cyclist, may have anxiety, that factor would weigh in favor of the Trek.
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Old 08-13-19, 01:57 PM
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NewTandem
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Thank you all for the helpful information. The Trek T900 that I was eyeing has been sold, but I continue to keep tabs on the Samba, while I continue to monitor the market, including a Cannondale RT3000 that just hit the market. There's obviously a lot to consider, from sizing, model, price, upgrades, etc., so my head is spinning. I certainly want to make sure my wife, so picking a stoker size is is key, she being 5'2", I'm assuming 19" size should suffice, though a test drive should confirm that. As I said, a lot to take in, in addition to the market options that I'm eyeing are between 60-100 minutes away, so it'll be a day trip to drive up and trial the options, with no guarantee of a purchase. I'm trying to ensure I make an informed decision and with all the insightful feedback from this board, I'm gaining a bit more knowledge with each response, thank you again.
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Old 08-14-19, 06:43 AM
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I've been following this thread NewTandem and have been rooting for the Burley over the TREK but if this Cannondale would fit that is a very good bike and one you could ride for years and very up-gradable. If the price and fit are right that would be a good buy for you. The typical thought on Stoker seat tube is that as long as the stoker can get the right seating position it doesn't matter if they can straddle the top tube. I don't thing this is good logic for a first time stoker as it gives comfort that they can get off the sat and stand on the ground without hitting the top tube. Good luck on your adventure and I hope you can find the right bike and as many of us are representative of many years of riding together.
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Old 08-16-19, 11:54 PM
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If you think of these bikes like their single counterparts, the Cannondale is a road bike, the Samba is a touring bike or a really nice hybrid, the Trek is a comfort bike. So, the Trek is a big step down from the others. But itís also much more friendly. The Burley might be a $4000 bike today, thatís what a similar Co Motion would cost. The Cannondale north of there, and the Trek around $1200.

We have a Samba which I shopped hard for. I got it for a good price and itís a solid bike made of solid parts. But itís obvious to me now a bike like the Trek would have been as good or better for how I use it. Pay attention to size, of course. Ours is a L/M and we really could have used a M/S

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Old 08-17-19, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
If you think of these bikes like their single counterparts, the Cannondale is a road bike, the Samba is a touring bike or a really nice hybrid, the Trek is a comfort bike. So, the Trek is a big step down from the others. But it’s also much more friendly. The Burley might be a $4000 bike today, that’s what a similar Co Motion would cost. The Cannondale north of there, and the Trek around $1200.

We have a Samba which I shopped hard for. I got it for a good price and it’s a solid bike made of solid parts. But it’s obvious to me now a bike like the Trek would have been as good or better for how I use it. Pay attention to size, of course. Ours is a L/M and we really could have used a M/S
If you are looking for a re-do on the T900 here is a nearly new one at a very good price if you are willing to drive a bit: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik/d/mountain-view-trek-tandem-t900-bike/6958684224.html

The T900's popularity seems to bring out the creativity in folks. I've seen a few that were heavily modified. This might be one of the most unique examples I've seen: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik...959033684.html
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Old 08-26-19, 12:35 AM
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Don't know if it is out of line to post this, but I have a really nice Burly Bossa Nova for sale. OP , pm me for details.
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Old 10-14-19, 11:41 AM
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Recently bought a Burley Samba and am really pleased with it. Don't want to offend anyone, but the notion that steel is inferior to aluminum (as frame material) is laughable. While aluminum is lighter by mass, middle/high end steel frames are comparable in weight to much aluminum and have IMHO better ride characteristics. Steel is more resilient and forgiving than aluminum. Aluminum frames are much more likely to fail and virtually impossible to repair (I'd never tour or travel with anything other than a steel frame bike... maybe titanium...). If not really well designed, aluminum frames can be overly stiff, prone to transmitting shock and vibration to the rider. When I have a choice, I ride steel. Lots of great steel frame makers out there.




https://gearpatrol.com/2018/12/21/be...l-bike-makers/











As you can see, while butted aluminum is a bit lighter than butted steel, unbutted aluminum (which many makers use) is heavier.

Enjoy the ride!
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Old 10-22-19, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikeman58 View Post
Don't want to offend anyone, but the notion that steel is inferior to aluminum (as frame material) is laughable.
Don't know if this was directed at me. I was the only one mentioning the fact that the Samba is steel. I did it simply as a point of information. If I thought steel was in any way inferior to aluminum I would not have bought the Samba. Still, I am not about to go out of my way and avoid aluminum. In the year we bought the Trek, a new steel anything would have been a budget buster.
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Old 10-24-19, 04:32 PM
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Have a 1998 steel Burly Duet (roadie). Excellent bike. Very durable and 20 years later, other cyclists around mistake it for a new bike.

Not one single issue with the frame.
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Old 10-27-19, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Don't know if this was directed at me. I was the only one mentioning the fact that the Samba is steel. I did it simply as a point of information. If I thought steel was in any way inferior to aluminum I would not have bought the Samba. Still, I am not about to go out of my way and avoid aluminum. In the year we bought the Trek, a new steel anything would have been a budget buster.
Actually was poster prior to you who suggested that not only was aluminum lighter, but you could negotiate lower price on a steel bike because of the steel factor. As someone who goes out of their way to buy good older steel bikes, I was simply refuting the misinformation. I have aluminum bikes, but prefer steel, and would probably never buy an older aluminum frame bike. I was a bike mechanic, and have had over 100 bikes, and the only frames I've ever seen have spontaneous failure were aluminum. Not to say that is common or that there are not great aluminum bikes out there... but a high quality steel frame will last a lifetime and is much easier to repair (should it ever come to that).

Happy riding to all!
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Old 10-28-19, 10:30 PM
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I'd say go with the Burley.
You really can't go wrong with a cromoly steel frame. Yeah, aluminum might be might be lighter, but when it comes to using a tandem, you don't really feel the weight of the bike as you do the pedal stroke of the captain and stoker, plus steel is stronger ane you can modify it as much as you'd like.

I have a Burley Duet from the early 90s in baby blue. It turned heads everywhere we went with it and it was fast as heck. Just make sure you have darn good brakes, perferably V-brakes if possible.

Happy riding!
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