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Tandem pricing

Old 08-29-21, 04:49 PM
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Wheels74
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Tandem pricing

Hello Everyone, I am new to tandems and looking for a road or hybrid version for my wife and I. I have found quite a few in our size, but the pricing seems a bit high. I am sure this is bc of the covid bike shortage(maybe?).

Anyways, my question is... should bicyclebluebook.com be referenced when researching a bike I am interested in? Or do people not use that site?

Thank you.
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Old 08-29-21, 07:12 PM
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I can't answer you question about blue book accuracy, but with regard to general pricing (I am assuming you are looking at used bikes), I have the opposite impression. Used tandems seem to be a tough sell and the prices asked are often great bargains compared with buying new. Of course a lot will depend on your area, and tandems aren't easy to ship.
Have you looked at this thread? Is anyone looking for one of these? Tandems found for sale.
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Old 08-29-21, 07:19 PM
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To me tandems are typically priced high, usually more than twice the price of two equivalent bikes. Used are often high with people asking over 1k on 20 year old used cannondales, but with some searching there are occasionally bargains that can be found.
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Old 08-29-21, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
I can't answer you question about blue book accuracy, but with regard to general pricing (I am assuming you are looking at used bikes), I have the opposite impression. Used tandems seem to be a tough sell and the prices asked are often great bargains compared with buying new. Of course a lot will depend on your area, and tandems aren't easy to ship.
Have you looked at this.. ( had to delete link)
Thanks for the feedback... I should have stated that I am, indeed, looking for a used tandem. And I have read that thread. Thank you for referencing it.

Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
To me tandems are typically priced high, usually more than twice the price of two equivalent bikes. Used are often high with people asking over 1k on 20 year old used cannondales, but with some searching there are occasionally bargains that can be found.
Thanks for the feedback. The search continues.
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Old 08-30-21, 05:00 AM
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Have you looked at https://tandemclassifieds.com?
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Old 08-30-21, 06:13 AM
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We have a CoMotion Supremo that we payed over $8k for in 2015. I tried to sell it last year and never got a bite. I can’t remember what we were asking for it but we never got a bite. I probably priced it too high.
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Old 08-30-21, 06:23 AM
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Iíve bought a used tandem.

The market is small, shipping cost high and sizing is complex.

If you need to get rid of one youíll practically give it away. If you find good bike nearby youíll pay relative to your alternative, a new tandem.
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Old 08-30-21, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mikebian View Post
Have you looked at tandem classifieds dot com
Yes, I was looking there a couple of days ago... thank you for posting it.

Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
We have a CoMotion Supremo that we payed over $8k for in 2015. I tried to sell it last year and never got a bite. I canít remember what we were asking for it but we never got a bite. I probably priced it too high.
That is a bummer that you didnt sell.

Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
Iíve bought a used tandem.

The market is small, shipping cost high and sizing is complex.

If you need to get rid of one youíll practically give it away. If you find good bike nearby youíll pay relative to your alternative, a new tandem.
This is the conclusion I am starting to come to. One of the local finds fits our budget well... it is a khs Cross that lools to be in good shape and the size we need. He is asking 300 over bluebook, but willing to negotiate. We will probably go and check it out.

thanks for the input everyone.
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Old 08-30-21, 04:56 PM
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I bought a new KHS Cross. It was a great purchase, and priced between used up out of date overpriced tandems and used newer higher end tandems. It did take some upgrades to get it to shift as well as my 20 year old Norco, but we are happy with it

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Old 08-30-21, 05:18 PM
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I bought both our tandems used. In both cases, I got tired of watching Craigslist and eBay and seeing the silly prices people were asking. This was pre-Covid. In general, people even then wanted way too much for their used bikes, tandem or single.
So I put ads in Craigslist: "Wanted, a used Blah Blah Tandem at a reasonable price." Then I waited. Eventually, people called me who had tandems in their garages but didn't want to bother with the hassle of listing them.
Our first was the 2000 Santana Sovereign, in very nice shape and including a rooftop carrier. $1,100.
Our second was the 2005 Co-Mo Speedster Co-Pilot (with S&S couplers), which we just rode 3,800 miles cross-country this summer. It was in nice shape, with wound-up carbon front fork, Rolf wheels and a second set of Co-Mo touring wheels, two travel cases, an extra bottom bracket and a bunch of other stuff. $2,500.

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Old 08-30-21, 06:50 PM
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Regarding bicyclebluebook.com or whatever. Not accurate all. Feel free to reference it if you are offering a lower price on a bike. I have no idea how they come up with their pricing, because it definitely isn't associated with the prices that used bikes sell for.

About every day I search craigslist in with a 250 mile radius of CO, LA, SF, Seattle, DC (occasionally Dallas). I will say I look at the listed places because there are a good number of tandems being sold in these markets. Despite what folks are saying if there are good deals on more modern tandems in these places they go pretty quick. Bikes that are 9 speed or older with rim brakes that the owners are asking 50% of the new version don't sell. Similarly folks who are trying to sell newer bikes at 80-90% of the new MSRP don't sell either. If you're in a more rural area there probably isn't really a market so prices could be all over the place.

I'm never offended if someone low balls me...I just may not respond.
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Old 08-30-21, 08:16 PM
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TandemGeek I wish your old tandem price calculator was still up from the old Tandem Link site — I was going to link there to help answer this thread. BTW, thanks for hosting that site for so many years, it was invaluable to me when we first got into tandems. And the great article on multi-seat tandems was also a wonderful resource.
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Old 08-31-21, 12:00 AM
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Lately I'm seeing pretty good deals on tandems on CraigsList. Some outliers, but on the whole, fair asking prices.

In general, a used tandem should be listed at near half of MSRP. More for a newer model. Less for older. Right now there has been a Co-Motion Speedster for $2,900 up for about a month. Pretty fantastic deal if it's in good shape.

I had been looking for a coupled tandem for a little while. In January I came across a 2007 Co-Motion Speedster Co-Pilot listed for $3,500. (MSRP of about $7000) I thought, "Oh, that's NICE and fits us. But a bit too high price." So I waited. Then a week or so later I saw it listed at $2,900. It was time to contact the seller!

I went to look at it. It appeared to be everything I was looking for. The seller had ALL original receipts, owner's manual, product CD, S&S wrench, both airline bags and packing material. Wow, the COMPLETE package! Before I scrutinized the bike, I offered him $2k. He said no way. So then I spent over an hour looking it over in detail. After finding everything in order, I offered him $2,500. He took it. I was pleased.

But I wasn't NEARLY as pleased as I was when I tore it down and rebuilt it. It's PERFECT! The seller was selling the bike for his mother and late step-father, so he didn't know much about the bike. The bike was almost 14 years old and had a lot of road grime on it and the STI levers were almost completely non-functional. So it wasn't prepped for sale and didn't look NEARLY as good as it should have. After a thorough cleaning & waxing, I found the paint was almost pristine. The wheels were perfect! Spoke tensions were as good as new. I was amazed. I got REALLY lucky to have found a diamond in the rough.

After six weeks of renovation, it's better than new and looking amazing. I couldn't be happier or luckier.

Given what I've seen lately, you too should be able to find a great tandem at a very fair price.

Good luck.

PS Caveats: I wouldn't look anywhere that would require shipping. That's too expensive and risky. No way would I buy a tandem sight-unseen. Also, I'm in the SF Bay Area which seems to be pretty blessed with ample used, quality tandems for sale. In fact, there's a guy in San Rafael who has about 10 tandems listed for sale. Seem to be pretty fairly priced and apparently most or all of them are new. (Just test ridden.)

PPS Right after buying mine, two Co-Motions, one of which was virtually exact same bike hit CL with an asking price of $2,500. So I probably could have gotten almost the same bike (not the same beautiful three-color fade though) for $500 less. But there's NO WAY it was in the excellent shape mine's in!

PPPS Duh, picture!


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Old 09-01-21, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post

In general, a used tandem should be listed at near half of MSRP. More for a newer model. Less for older. Right now there has been a Co-Motion Speedster for $2,900 up for about a month. Pretty fantastic deal if it's in good shape.
Thanks for all of the info... that tandem paint job is pretty awesome! I wanted to ask... what is considered 'older'? Anything pre 2000? I believe I read that in another thread... and the reasoning was components.
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Old 09-01-21, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheels74 View Post
Thanks for all of the info... that tandem paint job is pretty awesome! I wanted to ask... what is considered 'older'? Anything pre 2000? I believe I read that in another thread... and the reasoning was components.
Personally I consider anything with a threaded stem to be older as that's a good indicator that it could be a challenge putting modern components on the bike.
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Old 09-01-21, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Yamato72 View Post
Personally I consider anything with a threaded stem to be older as that's a good indicator that it could be a challenge putting modern components on the bike.
It also depends on what you are looking for. We moved our 91 Cannondale down to our beach house in South Carolina and it was a blast riding the grand strand. It is old tech with brifters but is bomb proof and rides like a rail along ocean blvd at 20mph. For the right price an older tandem is a good starting point. We are up to 3 tandems now and each has a different purpose all at less than the cost of a recent tandem.
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Old 09-01-21, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kayakindude View Post
We are up to 3 tandems now
Tandems are like guitars: How many do you need?
Just one more.
We have two, but badly need a third: a MTB tandem, perhaps a Salsa Powderkeg.

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Old 09-01-21, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheels74 View Post
Thanks for all of the info... that tandem paint job is pretty awesome! I wanted to ask... what is considered 'older'? Anything pre 2000? I believe I read that in another thread... and the reasoning was components.
My list from (single) road bikes tends to be:
Ancient and/or cheap:
French thread bottom brackets
Mixte frames
Cottered cranks
Lack of a derailer hanger
Chromed steel rims
Any frame with a rear axle spacing less than 130 mm
Suicide shifters (levers on the stem)
Brakes with brake cable routing out the top instead of under the bar tape
Any rear non-indexable shifter

Somewhat old but maybe ok depending on my goals:
Any non-steel frame with round tubes around 1.25" OD (ie, the diameter of most steel bike tubes)
Threaded or 1" threadless forks/headsets
Original 7sp components (if a Shimano 105 or better group). I'm getting to the point where this includes 8sp as well, but they seem to have stuck around longer on tandems than on road bikes. I find 8sp or 9sp to be a sweet spot in gear count, but it's a lot harder to get nicer components in those ranges as they are no longer made*.

*This is much less of an issue if you don't plan to use brifters.
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Old 09-02-21, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Wheels74 View Post
Thanks for all of the info... that tandem paint job is pretty awesome! I wanted to ask... what is considered 'older'? Anything pre 2000? I believe I read that in another thread... and the reasoning was components.

Thank you! I'm a sucker for fades. I feel so lucky to have found this gem of a paint scheme - love it! I've had three bikes (one mtb., one road, one tandem) custom painted with fade paint (as well as two other custom paint jobs - one camouflage). So when I saw this, I LIKED!


Anyway, I'd consider something "old" at 10 years and older.* Sometimes sooner, say, perhaps at over 5 years. It kinda depends on the vintage and if there were any significant technology changes between the used tandem and today's bikes. Disc brakes are a good example. I'd consider mine VERY old at 14 years at this point. A bike has a certain life span if used frequently. Most 14 year old tandems can be pretty tired by age 14, especially if ridden a lot. I'm lucky in that this one wasn't apparently used much, so it's much younger than its actual years. Eg. lower mileage. But you usually can't really tell with bikes because they have no odometer. A trained eye can determine the actual usage - especially after tearing it down (which is WAY TOO late from a purchasing perspective!). In hindsight, it appears that this tandem, the couple's third, was used only for travel, so I'd guess their other two non-coupled tandems got most of the mileage the put in together. Again, I got lucky.


My 1991 Cannondale got custom paint and looks amazing to this day. It's in mechanically perfect shape. But it's 30 years old, so it's beyond "old" at this point as far as functional used bike sales go. Anyone buying this bike would behoove themselves to be skeptical. What's it really been through? (It was ridden across the country, but by the previous frame owner.) But apart from that, it's pristine. However, even though it is, I still know I can never recover what it's worth to me.


* Prior to finding this bike, I was looking at a Periscope. The bike was 10 years old and the seller admitted to buying the bike at the end of the year on closeout. Well, their asking price was basically the price they paid for the bike. I called them on it and said that is was worth WAY below what they were asking. They refused to budge, so I went on my way. Expecting to recover FULL paid price on a bike you've owned for 10 years is absurd. So that's the kind of deal to avoid!
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Old 09-02-21, 05:52 AM
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My 91 was our 1st road tandem and got it in 2019 for 400. Great starter bike for the road. There is something about 27 inch wheels that inspires confidence when riding. We just retired that to part time riding when down south. That is in a closet with our very 1st tandem which is one of those bright yellow cruiser tandems from the Walmart in Myrtle. That is all steel and single speed, not a bike to take seriously but perfect for those beach neighborhoods.

Our 3rd is a 2006, that has ultegra and discs, along with a thudbuster. That is our primary now.

We know what you mean about multiple bikes, probably looking at a trail bike next. Don't want to get started on folders. Between both places we have 14 bikes!!!
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Old 09-03-21, 09:53 AM
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I've sold probably 10-12 used tandems over the past 15 years or so (either upgrading, changing sizes, or simply fixing up and reselling), and similarly have bought quite a few used ones, too. I sold two this year, one locally and one that I shipped. I'd say the current tandem market is fairly priced, perhaps even a bit lower than before, compared with the crazy prices single bikes (used) are bringing due to Covid. Tandems are still specialty items that the average person is not buying. When I sell a used tandem I take a TON of photos so the buyer, either local or remote, knows what he/she is buying. Usually I'll talk to a non-local prospective buyer on the phone to answer any questions, or if I'm buying will always call the seller. You're never going to be totally "safe," but you can usually get a pretty good feel for whether it's legit or not. And use PayPal Goods and Services (even if you have to pay the fee) for the safeguards it offers.

Bicycle Blue Book is a joke IMO and it annoys me when potential buyers e-mail me and berate me for not adhering to the silly, low prices it lists.

Many sellers have no idea how much to list their tandem for, resulting in a wide disparity of prices for basically the same tandem. If you are in an urban area, or reasonably proximate to one, you'll have an easier time selling for more $$ because the shipping thing freaks many people out. Small and medium-sized tandems seem to sell most readily, as they fit the widest range of people. A large or XL tandem will be harder to sell. I sold a very nice XL Santana this spring and it took a while and sold for much less than it was worth (IMO), but mainly because the cohort of people that fit an XL is pretty small, and I wasn't willing to ship it. I also sold a medium S&S coupled Santana, which I was willing to ship (due to it being coupled). It sold in just a few days for more than double the price of the XL tandem, even though it had similar specs (actually, it wasn't as nice) apart from having couplers. Due to back surgery, I recently had to literally "downsize" from my two medium-size tandems to small-size tandems, and I can tell you its VERY hard to find a good small-sized tandem :-(

There are a lot of really nice "old" tandems with 9 speed drivetrains out there that are still perfectly usable and I wouldn't hesitate to buy (actually, I think 9 speed is the sweet spot for tandem drivetrains). I bought a year-2000 26" Santana S&S coupled tandem (size small) last spring; even though it was 21 years old it was in excellent condition and had a 27-speed drivetrain with brifters. Some might hear "21 years old" and roll their eyes, but it's really not that much different from "modern" tandems with 11 or 12 speed drivetrains.

I've bought two coupled tandems off Craigslist from other states, which had to be shipped. In both cases the sellers hadn't considered shipping, but when I asked were willing to drop it off at a local bike shop to get shipped and packed, which I set up and handled. There are ways to ship a non-coupled tandem, but it takes a bit more work on the seller's part and costs a bit more than a coupled tandem. If you want to buy a non-coupled tandem that's $$$, consider flying out and buying it in person and then bringing it back on the plane with you. For a high-ticket tandem tandem of your dreams, plane tickets are a small additional cost for being able to test ride and do the deal in person. Work with a local bike shop to get it packed (put two regular boxes together) and pay the surcharge to take it home with you on the airplane.
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Old 09-04-21, 02:00 AM
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The shipping thing is a good point. I did that with our current one. I found it for sale locally in rural Maine, about as far from San Francisco as one can get and still be in the lower 48.

A phone call and photo of my ID later we agreed that they would box and ship it. Fortunately it was coupled came with the box+wheel bag, and the owners had lots of experience traveling with it. They gave me dimensions and weights and I purchased and emailed them the shipping tags. FedEx (BikeFlights or ShipBikes) picked it up from them and for under $200 it was delivered, insured for full value, to my house. The backup plan was to fly out to get it, but this was easier. I wouldnít buy a bike unseen for a first tandem, but I would definitely consider flying out to see one and bringing it home on the plane.
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Old 09-05-21, 05:54 PM
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Thank you to everyone that replied... some great info was shared.
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Old 09-06-21, 09:58 AM
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Bikes: 2010 Bob Brown Cycles tandem, 2019 Co-Mo Carrera tandem, 1980 Richardson tandem, 2014 Cervelo R3, 2018 Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Bianchi Campione, 1983 Trek 720, 2020 Trek Fuel EX8, 2021 Salsa Mukluk

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I've been trying to sell this custom 1980 Richardson tandem and haven't gotten a single bite on it:



Of course, since we live in the boonies, and since the bike is a L/XL in the front and customized for a shorter rider in the back, it isn't an easy sell on the local level. On the other hand, it's loaded with many Campy parts and Phil/Mavic wheels, so I could potentially sell the parts for considerably more cash than what an assembled bike might bring. Still, it's a nice-riding bike with a 3x10 drive train that would be great for a couple starting out on a tandem. I'm probably asking too much for it at around $800 or $900 or so, but I don't care to be giving it away, either. Then again, who wants a 41-year-old bike?
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Old 09-06-21, 07:23 PM
  #25  
Wheels74
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Well, if everything goes as planned... I will be purchasing our first tandem this thursday. We found one we really and I believe it to be a good deal. Really excited. Woohoo!!
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