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Bike Friday tandem - any cons?

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Bike Friday tandem - any cons?

Old 02-17-08, 01:11 PM
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Bike Friday tandem - any cons?

I'm trying to convince my wife that we should buy a Bike Friday tandem now, while the NZ/US $ exchange rate is so favorable for us (even though we really won't need a second tandem for a couple of years). I'm sold and, despite trying, have had no bad comments about Bike Fridays. It seems that it will do everything we want; pack up for travelling, accommodate our children as they grow, allow me or my wife to captain, deal with the terrain that we want to ride on.

I think the only thing I have found that would be a con is the small wheels on trails, giving a bit of a rough ride (although our current tandem is aluminium and the BF steel will give a different ride feel anyway). Is there anything else I should be aware of with BF tandems? Also, does anyone have any practical experience with SRAM dual drive; it seems like a good solution, but what are the downsides?

Cheers

Ian
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Old 02-17-08, 01:41 PM
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A third brake may be necessary for some of the descents in parts of NZ depending on the heat load on the small wheels. Fatter tires will take care of riding on trails.
Wait a while as he US $ will be slipping some more this year . . .
Have ridden a few Fridays, although not extensively. Good value for the money and riding with family/kids.
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Old 02-17-08, 01:50 PM
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I've got some personal friends who have owned a variety of Bike Friday's single, tandem and triple. Generally speaking, I'd assume that as repeat buyers they have been satisfied overall.

A year or so ago, as their son was growing bigger and heavier, they bought a Santana Cabriolet. After using it for awhile their comment to me was "It's nice to have a bike that doesn't need to be fixed or worked on every time we ride."
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Old 02-17-08, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
A third brake may be necessary for some of the descents in parts of NZ depending on the heat load on the small wheels. Fatter tires will take care of riding on trails.
Wait a while as he US $ will be slipping some more this year . . .
Have ridden a few Fridays, although not extensively. Good value for the money and riding with family/kids.
Rudyand Kay/zonatandem
Yep, the Arai drum brake gets a good workout here on our present tandem and is an essential upgrade as far as I'm concerned.

While I dream about the Santani Cabriolet, Retro Grouch mentions, the pricing is a bit steep for us. The BF does seem like good value for money.

Ian
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Old 02-17-08, 03:19 PM
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Google Rob English and email him. He has a nice website, a titanium Bike Friday tandem and works at Bike Friday as a product designer. He is a mine of useful information on bikes.
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Old 02-17-08, 06:12 PM
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we had a Bike Friday Tandem Traveler XL II. Overal, I would say were very satisfied. Used the bike for 8 years, and sold it for close to what we paid for it.

The big advantage is all the flexibility in sizing, and the ability to pack it for traveling.

Downsides; 1) we found it a bit flexible with 2 adult riders really getting after it,
2) it was a fair amount of work to break down and pack. At least as much, if not more than a conventional tandem with S&S couplers.

For the purposes you've identified I think it's a good choice. However realize there are some trade offs.
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Old 02-17-08, 08:30 PM
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A Co-Motion Periscope may be another good option, with full size wheels, 700c or 26-inch.
A bit more pricey than the cheapest stock Friday; however, when you start adding options to a Friday, it can come up to the same price point very quickly
Have ridden several Pericsopes . . . very good/adaptable full size tandems.
Just our opinion/experience.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-17-08, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by simsi
Also, does anyone have any practical experience with SRAM dual drive; it seems like a good solution, but what are the downsides?
The dual drive works fine. My family has ridden a Bike Friday triple for six seasons, and the downsides are not really significant for us. DD is supposedly less efficient than a triple crank, but we haven't noticed. The hub isn't quick release, but we just pack the (provided) wrench. And the triple jumps and range are fixed, but they seem to be fine the way they are. We've used the original SRAM twist-grip gear changer and Shimano STI "brifters." Both worked well, though we prefer the ability to shift while standing with STI.

We're moving on/up to a Co-Motion Periscope triple this year (we never used the travel-ability of the BF), but will remember our Bike Friday fondly.

Regards,

Dave
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Old 02-18-08, 03:26 PM
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Thanks for all your comments.

The things that appealed to me were the flexibility in sizing. I would like for myself or my wife to be able to captain without too many changes (BF suggest a change in handlebar stem to change the reach). It's most likely that my son will be stoker, so we need to accommodate his growth. So, maybe we won't notice the flexibility mentioned with two adults riding.

The travelling option appeals. I've read elsewhere that the packing isn't trivial, but it's not intended to be a quick fold for the bus trip home.

Having priced a BF I still come up a good $1500 cheaper than the Periscope with all the options I would want, although the Periscope does look like a nice machine. It's interesting that the BFs have good reslae value too.

Cheers

Ian
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Old 02-18-08, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by simsi
I'm trying to convince my wife that we should buy a Bike Friday tandem now, while the NZ/US $ exchange rate is so favorable for us (even though we really won't need a second tandem for a couple of years). I'm sold and, despite trying, have had no bad comments about Bike Fridays. It seems that it will do everything we want; pack up for travelling, accommodate our children as they grow, allow me or my wife to captain, deal with the terrain that we want to ride on.

I think the only thing I have found that would be a con is the small wheels on trails, giving a bit of a rough ride (although our current tandem is aluminium and the BF steel will give a different ride feel anyway). Is there anything else I should be aware of with BF tandems? Also, does anyone have any practical experience with SRAM dual drive; it seems like a good solution, but what are the downsides?

Cheers

Ian
We rode one for about 75 miles at Hellweek 2 years ago. It was ok, but not great. Putting it together was very time consuming and frustrating, although I assume that you would get a lot better at this as you went. The shifting was problematic, although again I assume that you would learn how to deal with this in setup. Not a great experience, I wouldn't buy one. but not too bad either. For reference we ride a Como Speedster and rode an old Motobecane for many many years.

Frank
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Old 02-18-08, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ftsoft
The shifting was problematic, although again I assume that you would learn how to deal with this in setup.

Frank
You do have to get it set up right to get it to shift well.

The legth of the frame will actually vary slightly each time you reassemble it. You can actually fine tune how the shifting hits by adjussting the frame. Bit of a learning curve.
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Old 02-25-08, 03:46 PM
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My partner and I have ridden a Tandem Tuesday for about 10 years. It does take 1.5-2 hours to set up. We've had very few problems with gearing, or maintenance. We also often use the "quick-fold" option and can fit it into my Subaru legacy that way. It takes less than 5 minutes to make it into a pretzel.

We had suspension seatposts and wider tires put on for a trip over part of the Continental Divide trail. It did fine in sand and gravel.

We also have options to change out so either of us can captain.

We've taken the Tuesday via airplane from the Pacific Northwest to Cuba, Scotland, Ireland, France, Nova Scotia, Alaska, Arizona/New Mexico. In Cuba we used the quickfold, hitchhiked, and the Tuesday rode in a Russian dump truck, a Cuban cargo truck with pigs, a mail truck and a small car.

We've toured using the stackable trailer, and also using a BOB trailer, or panniers.

On one tour we crossed the Continental Divide 7 times, and our fastest speed on a descent has been 58 mph.

So far the Tuesday's worked for us!
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Old 02-25-08, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for all your replies. The news is that I am in the process of ordering one, so there will be another bike in the garage before too long.

Ian
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Old 02-28-08, 09:50 PM
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I had a Tandem Tuesday for about 5 years. It was a nice bike, especially for riding with a small kid. I rode it both with my son and my wife. I did think it slower than my '88 Santana Soverign. I did like the 3-speed rear hub. After my son got older, I sold the Tuesday and the Santana and bought a Calfee. One of my tests for buying the Calfee, was riding with the local club on the LBS's Calfee. There was a hill we would always get dropped on and could stay up with on the Calfee. I do think that it takes about the same amount of time to assemble the Tuesday when it is completely broken down for travel as an S&S coupled Tandem. Periscopes were not out when I bought the Tuesday. I would take a closer look at one of those now if I had small children.
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Old 07-04-11, 05:25 PM
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Hi Ian

About the SRAM, I have had a Friday for about 8 years now, and it is equipped with a SRAM dual drive,
and I love it. No deraillers to deal with. The only con is two fold: first when you change the rear tire
be careful not to put any torque on the long screw in the dual drive. A torque on it will easily bend it,
and one such way is to have your chain on it as you take off the wheel. Make sure the chain clears
the screw before taking of the wheel. After bending and bending-back my screw with the first rear tire flat, I learned to take out the screw first, and then replace once the flat is repaired. Second item, for some reason my screw broke off at about the
end of the threads. Since the screw is long and the threads occupy about 1" at the end, it was impossible
for me to get out the broken threaded segment, I had to return the wheel to BF and let them do it. They were pretty quick on returning the wheel. And a third item, to anticipate you may bend the long dual drive screw
at some point, I would pick up a few of them from BF and carry in my bike bag. I do...I probably have 10,000 miles on my bike, and that has been the ONLY problem....
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Old 07-04-11, 07:50 PM
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Hi Ian;

You may want to e-mail April: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=8905&v=G7

They have two on tour with thier two children.
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Old 06-27-21, 06:05 PM
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Bike Friday tandem - updates? thoughts?

Originally Posted by simsi
Thanks for all your replies. The news is that I am in the process of ordering one, so there will be another bike in the garage before too long.

Ian

Hi Ian - I am ordering my twosday at the moment and I'm wondering if you find your twosday a reliable machine by chance? I have heard a few stories about how these tandems fail the owners and I would be very grateful for your thoughts on this tandem bike.

Thank you,
Mom
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Old 06-28-21, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by saw333
Hi Ian - I am ordering my twosday at the moment and I'm wondering if you find your twosday a reliable machine by chance? I have heard a few stories about how these tandems fail the owners and I would be very grateful for your thoughts on this tandem bike.

Thank you,
Mom
I don't know if you realize it but the post you are responding to is ten years old. The timing is interesting because almost a month ago we bought a used Two'sday from a couple in Florida. I don't know how these bikes 'fail' other owners but what you should know is that there are two tandem models from Bike Friday. One both folds and splits in two for travel and the other only splits in two. Obviously the model that both folds and splits is much more expensive and perhaps somewhat more fragile, but the point is moot if you NEED a tandem that can fold in minutes to fit on mass transit vehicles as we do. If you merely need a tandem that allows a wide size range of users there are way cheaper alternatives. People take these bikes around the world without incident. If you take reasonable care in using them they should serve very well. The SRAM dualdrive hubs have not been made for years. If you buy a new Bike Friday it will not have a SRAM dualdrive hub.
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Old 06-28-21, 09:55 PM
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Sold our bikefriday tandem tuesday a couple years ago. Not due to reliability but because it didn't feel like riding our normal bikes.

It was really convenient to travel with. Folding and putting the bike in the travel bag was a cinch. It also had the trailer that carried the cases so we didn't need to worry about a place to put the boxes. We took it on trains, road trips and cruises, but as I said it didn't ride like our normal tandem. It always felt twitchy and flexed a noticeable amount when climbing.

We bought a coupled tandem to replace the bikefriday and it rides like we are accustomed to, however it is much more challenging to travel with. Packing and building takes hours. The boxes, while airline legal aren't convenient to store when traveling.
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Old 07-04-23, 01:47 AM
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I have a habit of letting messages go for years before responding. From one BK tandem owner to another, I am happy to say that the bike is everything we'd hoped for and more. We ride it almost everyday and couldn't be happier with it. In fact, we love it so much, we bought a use Bike Friday Family Tandem. Ride on!
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Old 01-21-24, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by saw333
I have a habit of letting messages go for years before responding. From one BK tandem owner to another, I am happy to say that the bike is everything we'd hoped for and more. We ride it almost everyday and couldn't be happier with it. In fact, we love it so much, we bought a use Bike Friday Family Tandem. Ride on!
This is a long-lived thread but one worth adding to. We have a CoMotion Speedster we use on European trips and US sport rides and a Tandem Two'sday we use in the Northeast on trips involving commuter rail and transit. The Speedster weighs measurably less due to butted Reynolds tubes. The Bike Friday weighs more, being apparently of non-butted 1031 tubing (we did not buy the titanium option which cuts the weight) . As a result, the BF is slower to accelerate and feels more tank-like than the CoMotion. For use on trains in racks, etc they both take about the same time for disassembly into three and two sections respectively. If you want to fold the BF instead of disassembling it, that is quick and easy although we discovered that our Pletscher double leg kickstand has to be removed before one can do that (the stock BF kickstand does not interfere with the fold but is quite flimsy). The folded bike is a small enough package to be able to take it on transit or trains without becoming a problem. The BF is more maneuverable on bike paths in Boston while the Speedster is more pleasant to ride and faster on suburban road tours. Each bike has its purpose and price point... the BF is significantly less expensive than the CoMotion but one makes some compromises for that. Both are conversation starters and you'll make a lot of new friends on club rides.
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