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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 06-06-11, 06:09 AM   #1
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New Captain Here

Hopefully you are all getting in lots of fun miles together now that the weather has finally warmed up Me and my stoker just got our 'new' 1992 IronHorse tandem to play with, so far its been tons o'fun. Surprisingly it's not a ton only about 44 Lbs all loaded up. It's a mountain tandem so I'm happy with that weight. Can't afford to drop 4-5 G's right now but this will be our 'starter' tandem and HOPEFULLY one I can eventually get my boyfriend to ride with me. Must be a guy thing??? I'd let him captain, I don't mind stoking too. As for now the tandem is me and my mum. Really thinking the 'Mothership' is a great name but my mum wasn't so amused, lol.

I have a fit question you all may be able to help me with. I am used to riding a road bike for longer distances but now that we have the tandem its a flat bar. Is it kosher to use bar ends on it or is there some reason I shouldn't do that. I just would like to get a different position cuz my hands keep on getting soooooo numb. I have Ergons on it which help; gonna try tipping them up a little more. I shortened the stem which also helped but we like to do longer rides. We are working up to 50 - 60 milers. We did 30 the other day but had to stop several times due to hands and butt issues. I'm wondering if you typically have a fitting done on a tandem or is this something we can work out on our own? I was just curious how most of the teams out there approached this sort of thing?
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Old 06-06-11, 07:34 AM   #2
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My starter tandem was also a mountain bike. Since we only rode on the road the bars were the first thing to change. We installed a riser bar that was swept back and used bar ends.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:13 PM   #3
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Of course ride whatever setup works best for you, but I would hold off on considering a fit until you have more miles on the tandem. Regarding hand and butt issues when your captaining a tandem you're probably not standing as much as you do on your single. This can make a big difference in terms of bottom well being. Those several standing pedal strokes at the top of a small hill really do make a difference comfort-wise. Regarding your hands, you may not yet be as relaxed as you are on your single. This can cause additional pressure on your hands more rapid fatigue of triceps and shoulder muscles. I'd go ahead and experiment, but hold off on a fit until you've got some miles under your belt.

Congrats BTW on buying the tandem. And I think "Mother Ship" is a great monicker - deserves a license plate.
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Old 06-06-11, 10:41 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum and tandeming!
Not too many Ironhorse tandems around; and yes you can put barends or whatever you like on YOUR tandem!
Perhaps you're still a bit tense handling the l-o-n-g bike and saddle position may need a bit of adjusting.
Enjoy the 'Mothership'!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-07-11, 07:18 AM   #5
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We run a flat bar on our tandem with no bar ends, one less thing to snag the seat belts where we load it in the van... When we were test riding tandems I never felt secure with drop bars on the long bike, it felt as though I didn't have enough leverage to control the beast, perhaps I might feel different with drops now that we're experienced. Numb hands are an issue and I make it a point to try and move my grip around frequently.
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Old 06-07-11, 09:15 AM   #6
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We started with a Trek T100 with flat bars. Before it came out of the shop it had long curved onza bar ends at the front, shorter straighter ones on the back so as not to snag the captain's shorts. This really helped with long rides giving extra handpositions (my favorite is palm stretched across the corner of the bar and bar ends) and allow me to cheat the wind a little more. Someone used to make a bar end with a front extension and a drop and I almost tried those, but was able to upgrade to a full road tandem before that. Upgrading to road bars is also an option, but much more expensive as you need new shifters and possibly brake mods - usually that's the time to consider a new bike.

If you're riding mainly on the road, you'll usually find slick tires that can handle 100psi+ will help performance a lot. We surprised a lot of people on that T100 - stock except for tires and bar ends.
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Old 06-07-11, 12:01 PM   #7
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Putting bar ends on makes every straight-bar bike more comfortable. The best available are Cane Creek's Ergo Control 2 bar ends.
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Old 06-07-11, 07:48 PM   #8
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Sure, it's kosher to use bar-ends! Put them on the ends, or inside the shifters. Put 'em up, down, whatever.
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Old 06-08-11, 04:54 PM   #9
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Hmmmm.. You are a female sitting in the captains compartment that you may relinquish if and when your guy shows an interest in riding 'twogether'. However, at the moment would it be fair to say that you do not have the EXACT handlebar, seat and pedal relationships that you have on your single bike? Well... that would be a place to start. If you can manage to put the flat bars where the flat part of the drop bars on your single are, and at the same height (or a bit higher) you might find your hand pain issues diminishing. You might need a somewhat shorter stem (horizontal) than what is standard on the bike if it was sized for the typical couple i.e. guy up front, woman out back. If you do nothing else, try putting your handlebars higher than they are now. Insanely higher, 4", 5", 6" higher. That's Dutch Workbike territory. Your hands will not... cannot hurt with your bars at that altitude. Try that out for a few days and work back down to a more aerodynamic (and cooler looking) forward lean. FWIW.

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