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Tandem for a 6 ft tall stoker

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Tandem for a 6 ft tall stoker

Old 08-07-20, 08:54 AM
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adamsdp
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Tandem for a 6 ft tall stoker

I have an autistic son who is 6 ft tall and looking to get a Tandem. I found 2 locally but from the photos, it looks the rear riding position is setup for someone shorter.
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...0950878818918/
https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...15674989004725

The person who is selling the second listing measured the rear position frame size as 48cm. Is it difficult to find a tandem that is sized for a large rear rider? What size frame should I be looking for? I am also 6 ft tall and will be riding in the front position. Any thoughts about the above listing or other options will be greatly appreciated!

Dave
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Old 08-07-20, 11:04 AM
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Riding style

A lot depends on the style of riding you are interested in doing with your son. Finding a typical tandem set-up for fast road riding with a stoker compartment long enough for your son is going to be nearly impossible.

Typical road tandems are available in different sizes, but the size difference almost exclusively affects the captain position. Yeah, the stoker seat tube will be longer on a 'large' tandem than on a 'small.' But the dimension that really matters for a taller stoker is the distance between the front and rear seat tubes (or the distance between bottom brackets). A longer seat post can pretty much fix the short seat tube. Pretty much every tandem offered by major tandem builders has a 72.5 cm boom tube across all their sizes. I've only found that Cannondale in Jumbo has a slightly longer boom tube.

So unless you go custom, or are lucky enough to find a used custom tandem with a longer stoker compartment, make sure the captain position fits you well, as you will have control. And it's a lot more work to balance nearly 200 lbs. of bike and rider at a stoplight than it is to just balance 35 lbs. of bike.

You could set up the stoker to ride more upright with a wider seat and flat handlebars. Or you could look at the various recumbent tandems, which could offer more room for the stoker.
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Old 08-07-20, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by joeruge View Post
A lot depends on the style of riding you are interested in doing with your son. Finding a typical tandem set-up for fast road riding with a stoker compartment long enough for your son is going to be nearly impossible.

Typical road tandems are available in different sizes, but the size difference almost exclusively affects the captain position. Yeah, the stoker seat tube will be longer on a 'large' tandem than on a 'small.' But the dimension that really matters for a taller stoker is the distance between the front and rear seat tubes (or the distance between bottom brackets). A longer seat post can pretty much fix the short seat tube. Pretty much every tandem offered by major tandem builders has a 72.5 cm boom tube across all their sizes. I've only found that Cannondale in Jumbo has a slightly longer boom tube.

So unless you go custom, or are lucky enough to find a used custom tandem with a longer stoker compartment, make sure the captain position fits you well, as you will have control. And it's a lot more work to balance nearly 200 lbs. of bike and rider at a stoplight than it is to just balance 35 lbs. of bike.

You could set up the stoker to ride more upright with a wider seat and flat handlebars. Or you could look at the various recumbent tandems, which could offer more room for the stoker.
Thanks for the reply and we are going ride leisurely around the neighborhood. I appreciate the details about the tandem frame and will focus on finding a bike that fits me will in the captains position. I will also take a look at the recumbents. Any opinion on the bikes in the links?
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Old 08-07-20, 03:13 PM
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Both of us are 5'9" - 5'-10", most tandems aren't built for an equal height team, but we have had good luck with a Bike Friday Tandem Two'sday. Since the bike can be disassembled there is some wiggle room for the seat tube to seat tube dimension and we were able to expand it by ~ 1inch to save precious knee space for the stoker.

Of the two bikes it looks like the T100 "Double Track" has a larger stoker cockpit with a lot more height on the seat post to use. Like Joeruge said you can set the stoker up for upright riding and then the height is the only important factor. In my opinion as long as you and your son are both able to pedal fully you will probably be okay for casual rides. It's great to just get out and ride and have fun together!
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Old 08-07-20, 05:20 PM
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I saw a really large used Cannondale on CraigsList a few months ago. This would probably be the best bet for you. Remember, any really large steel bike may end up feeling like a wet noodle under two big riders, especially a six foot stoker. My five foot stoker with me at 5'9" made a quality steel Stantana feel pretty sub-optimal flex-wise. I didn't realize how good we had it on a Cannondale. The advantage you have is that most tandem teams are looking for medium to smaller frames in back. So the large ones don't sell very fast. But there are fewer out there for sale. Good luck searching.
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Old 08-07-20, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by amilianadvtrs View Post
Both of us are 5'9" - 5'-10", most tandems aren't built for an equal height team, but we have had good luck with a Bike Friday Tandem Two'sday. Since the bike can be disassembled there is some wiggle room for the seat tube to seat tube dimension and we were able to expand it by ~ 1inch to save precious knee space for the stoker.

Of the two bikes it looks like the T100 "Double Track" has a larger stoker cockpit with a lot more height on the seat post to use. Like Joeruge said you can set the stoker up for upright riding and then the height is the only important factor. In my opinion as long as you and your son are both able to pedal fully you will probably be okay for casual rides. It's great to just get out and ride and have fun together!
Not to be antagonistic here, but I'll add one more thing. I met the seller of a Co-Motion Periscope. It was a medium/small. They loved it but needed to move on. The seller happened to mention that they HAD a Bike Friday and he said it was HORRIBLY flexible. And this was a small/medium. I cannot imagine how flexible a Bike Friday fitting a six foot stoker would be. I'm not saying I KNOW this, just inferring this from this observation as well as what I see in the design shortcomings of the Bike Friday. It's built to be easily transported and you give up stout, flex-resistant frame design as a trade-off. At least that's my take. I'd either consult with a Bike Friday owner or be sure to really test ride one before putting down the cash.

But again, if it's to be used as a casual, around-town bike, then it may work out just fine.
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Old 08-10-20, 09:35 AM
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The BF Tandem is definitely a flexible bike ("supple" if you want to be generous). We got the bike knowing this full well; we never intended it to be a performance machine, but we are still able to do self-supported multi day tours on it. We just like to ride and have a good time, plus the adjustability means that when we have guests/visitors we can make the stoker cockpit fit just about anyone.

I'm definitely not familiar with the impacts and struggles of riding a bike while six foot tall only of trying to fit an above average height stoker. The flexibility may become a total no-go when there is that much extra height and weight at the stoker position.

"Just about any bike can do anything—as long as the person spinning the pedals loves it." - Ryan Van Duzer
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Old 08-10-20, 11:58 AM
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Fitting a 6ft stoker comfortably to the rear of a stock tandem is a challenge. The closest stock tandem to working would be a Cannondale Road Tandem J/M (Jumbo/medium) or Cannondale Tandem 29 L/G. Many custom tandems are built with a longer stoker compartment than stock tandems, so they'd be more likely to fit you guys. The critical dimension is the distance between the bottom bracket, or boom tube length. "Standard" is 724mm, 28.5 inches. Those two Cannondales are the only mass-produced frames with 737mm, 29" boom tubes. For a typical 6ft stoker, a 33in boom tube would be about ideal.
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Old 08-10-20, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by amilianadvtrs View Post
The BF Tandem is definitely a flexible bike ("supple" if you want to be generous). We got the bike knowing this full well; we never intended it to be a performance machine, but we are still able to do self-supported multi day tours on it. We just like to ride and have a good time, plus the adjustability means that when we have guests/visitors we can make the stoker cockpit fit just about anyone.

I'm definitely not familiar with the impacts and struggles of riding a bike while six foot tall only of trying to fit an above average height stoker. The flexibility may become a total no-go when there is that much extra height and weight at the stoker position.

"Just about any bike can do anything—as long as the person spinning the pedals loves it." - Ryan Van Duzer
Caveat: The author of this quote rode across the country on a CRUISER! The guy's a glutton for punishment. If it had been me, I'd have probably ridden that bike all of about 50 miles before pulling into the nearest bike shop and ditching the cruiser for an appropriate bike.* Really, riding a bike like that long distances would KILL me, especially knowing that a FAR more suitable bicycle would just be waiting for me to hop on it. Jeez, I bet it would be just as easy cruising through a neighborhood on a weekend, find a garage sale, and a road bike FAR BETTER for a cross country tour.

In other words, the bike does indeed matter. Sure, ANY bike will take you from A to B. But a cross-country ride on a cruiser? That's some serious dedication to riding a "klunker!" I don't think I would have the fortitude to "stick it out" on such a terrible bicycle choice. But that's me I guess.

*But then again, I grew up on a Mongoose BMX bike exploring my local trails and fire roads. Every hill I pushed that thing up, I exclaimed under my breath, "Why don't they put GEARS on these things?!!!" While I was muttering this, the freshly-invented mountain bike was having their finishing touches applied and just going into production. I bought one at my first opportunity. Wow, what an improvement.
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Old 08-11-20, 11:06 AM
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Glutton for Punishment

Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Caveat: The author of this quote rode across the country on a CRUISER! The guy's a glutton for punishment. If it had been me, I'd have probably ridden that bike all of about 50 miles before pulling into the nearest bike shop and ditching the cruiser for an appropriate bike.* Really, riding a bike like that long distances would KILL me, especially knowing that a FAR more suitable bicycle would just be waiting for me to hop on it. Jeez, I bet it would be just as easy cruising through a neighborhood on a weekend, find a garage sale, and a road bike FAR BETTER for a cross country tour.

In other words, the bike does indeed matter. Sure, ANY bike will take you from A to B. But a cross-country ride on a cruiser? That's some serious dedication to riding a "klunker!" I don't think I would have the fortitude to "stick it out" on such a terrible bicycle choice. But that's me I guess.

*But then again, I grew up on a Mongoose BMX bike exploring my local trails and fire roads. Every hill I pushed that thing up, I exclaimed under my breath, "Why don't they put GEARS on these things?!!!" While I was muttering this, the freshly-invented mountain bike was having their finishing touches applied and just going into production. I bought one at my first opportunity. Wow, what an improvement.
​​​​​​
If you want to read about a guy who is a glutton for punishment, pick up Tim Moore's book, "The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold." It's an hilarious, if painful account of a 9000 km ride along the old Iron Curtain route on a two speed grocery bike. The guy starts in Finland - in the Winter! One of my favorite lines; "When you're half dead, finishing the job seems like no biggie." Funny as hell!
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Old 08-11-20, 11:26 AM
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Tall Stoker

Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
Fitting a 6ft stoker comfortably to the rear of a stock tandem is a challenge. The closest stock tandem to working would be a Cannondale Road Tandem J/M (Jumbo/medium) or Cannondale Tandem 29 L/G. Many custom tandems are built with a longer stoker compartment than stock tandems, so they'd be more likely to fit you guys. The critical dimension is the distance between the bottom bracket, or boom tube length. "Standard" is 724mm, 28.5 inches. Those two Cannondales are the only mass-produced frames with 737mm, 29" boom tubes. For a typical 6ft stoker, a 33in boom tube would be about ideal.
I've been keeping my eye out for a tandem with a longer than normal stoker compartment for a couple years, and my stoker is 'only' 5'9"!

We have an older 'Jumbo' Cannondale, which we rode quite happily for a few years. Really it's only 'problem' is that its rear dropout spacing is 140mm. The current standard is 145, so finding or building up wheels is tricky.

We currently ride a 2006 Co-motion Speedster in size medium, mostly because I have, and can put on different wheels for different riding situations.

While I search for a tandem with a longer stoker compartment (or save up the coin for a custom frame!) I am thinking about moving back to the Cannondale, maybe devoting some time to finding components to make some new wheels.

Besides the Cannondale Jumbo, which has a slightly longer stoker compartment, I did find this Meridian on Craigslist

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/bi...174579930.html

It has a nearly 31" stoker compartment! I'd consider this bike myself, but the front end is a small for me. Might work for others, especially if you live around Reno-Sacramento area.
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Old 08-11-20, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by joeruge View Post
I've been keeping my eye out for a tandem with a longer than normal stoker compartment for a couple years, and my stoker is 'only' 5'9"!

We have an older 'Jumbo' Cannondale, which we rode quite happily for a few years. Really it's only 'problem' is that its rear dropout spacing is 140mm. The current standard is 145, so finding or building up wheels is tricky.

We currently ride a 2006 Co-motion Speedster in size medium, mostly because I have, and can put on different wheels for different riding situations.

While I search for a tandem with a longer stoker compartment (or save up the coin for a custom frame!) I am thinking about moving back to the Cannondale, maybe devoting some time to finding components to make some new wheels.

Besides the Cannondale Jumbo, which has a slightly longer stoker compartment, I did find this Meridian on Craigslist

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/bi...174579930.html

It has a nearly 31" stoker compartment! I'd consider this bike myself, but the front end is a small for me. Might work for others, especially if you live around Reno-Sacramento area.
Joeruge, your older Cannondale can use modern "Boost" spaced rear hubs with QR end caps. There are some 141mm QR hubs, too. The DT 350 Hybrid would be a good candidate rear hub to keep that frame rolling.

That Meridian is a good find. I agree that the front is a bit small for the OP; and the steering would be too quick for the intended use.
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Old 08-16-20, 08:29 PM
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I don't know if this bike is still available but this Keith Lippy tandem in the tandem marketplace is one heck of a deal!
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Old 08-21-20, 12:14 PM
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I have not done all the measurements or compared the models but my old Arriva (Santana) fit my wife (5' 9") and me ( 5' ll"). Admittedly I was captain most of the time, but when I was the stoker. I was not cramped, not uncomfortable etc. We both use the same seat height so it was easy for us to switch back and forth and we did so until one accident that convinced the wife that she wanted to trust me as the captain full time. Ride a few and check it out for yourself and don't depend on measurements too much unless you stoker is really hard to please.
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Old 08-21-20, 02:58 PM
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Dave,
I think it's awesome you are doing this for you son! I'm not too far from you - I live just north of Milwaukee WI and will be listing a bike for sale in the upcoming weeks that may be a good option for you.

(this group has been a huge blessing to me - they helped me get started! I don't post here much, but frequently keep an eye on this board for helpful tips!)

90's Trek T200 "fast track"
It's an XL front and L rear.
62cm front/56cm rear

It was my first tandem, and they are regarded as a trusty/sturdy/well built frame. I'm a big guy (250-350 the past 6 years) and it's worked great for us...

I am just over 6, and the stand over in the front is a little tight...but has worked well for me. My inseam is 30" and my primary rides are a 1994 Trek road bike 60cm and 2008 lemond 57cm, and all three have the exact same cockpit spacing set-up.

I've used it with all three of my kids (now 12/10/7).

I am selling it because I upgraded to an aluminum Trek T2000 with a smaller rear that fits my kids better. (I used kiddy cranks, but the new bike allows just my youngest to need the crank arm shorteners).

It's in nice shape - but does have some scratches in the paint, from use and from being on a bike rack. I bought it used in Texas ~6 years ago.

I was a bike mechanic in the early 90's and have upgraded/taken care of the bike myself. I would be happy to help configure it however it would best fit/work for you and your son.

I was going to list it for $600 with the stock wheels, road handle bars, basic seats, flat pedals, and updated mixed STI brifters.

If you'd like nicer wheels, different tires, different handles bars, nicer seats, clipless pedals, etc, I am more than happy to work with you.

I am still working on getting recent pictures for the ad...and will send you whatever info you need if you are interested.

This is an older picture...


Please let me know if you'd be interested!!

Thank you,
Tony
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Old 08-23-20, 07:23 AM
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Saw this today. Don’t know much about the model, but looks like a good size rear frame?

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...1633438617619/
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Old 10-20-20, 09:41 PM
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My Trek T2000 has a long stoker zone, plenty of room for a 6 footer.
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Old 10-21-20, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
Fitting a 6ft stoker comfortably to the rear of a stock tandem is a challenge. The closest stock tandem to working would be a Cannondale Road Tandem J/M (Jumbo/medium) or Cannondale Tandem 29 L/G. Many custom tandems are built with a longer stoker compartment than stock tandems, so they'd be more likely to fit you guys. The critical dimension is the distance between the bottom bracket, or boom tube length. "Standard" is 724mm, 28.5 inches. Those two Cannondales are the only mass-produced frames with 737mm, 29" boom tubes. For a typical 6ft stoker, a 33in boom tube would be about ideal.
We had our tandem custom built. We went to several different tandem companies and all except one (guess who) said it would require a custom build. I needed what was formerly a "compact" frame as captain, though nowawdays the geometry is pretty standard. Stoker inseam is 2" longer than mine. Our boom tube is 33-1/2" from C-C of the BB. Stoker rides with saddle height and bars about 2" above mine. Over the last 12 years she has begun riding more upright, as might be expected at our age, both pushing 70. Stoker bars are now 5" behind my saddle and I'm thinking of getting a custom stem made as we are at the end of the range for the stoker stem.
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Old 10-28-20, 08:40 AM
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As a previous owner of Bike Friday tandem, I’d have serious reservations about riding one your 6 foot tall son, particularly if he weighs very much. If he’s a big kid, and if you’re not well in synch with each other, the BF could be very uncomfortable.

I rode ours with our 8 year old daughter, and as a travel tandem with my 5’8” 125 lb wife.

Even at her relatively light weight, the bike was uncomfortably flexible, to the point she pretty much ended up refusing to ride it.

Admittedly, we were asking a lot of the bike doing hard rides, and fast descents. (50 mph plus was an adventure.) So it may work for you for casual rides, but I definitely test ride it first.
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