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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 06-23-11, 09:34 AM   #1
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1st Tandem - some questions

I am looking to get a
2003 Raleigh Pursuit Tandem
for my wife and I. She hasnt ridden much and wants to but has some fears. I have ridden the past few years and this looks to be a good compromise without hurting financially if she doesnt like it.

Can i add a third brake - Disc or Drum? We will be doing some climbing in the mountains and I worry about slowing the bike coming down.

Is the gearing adequate? 9-speed, 12 - 27 with 30/42/52 Crankset? I have a 11-26 on my bike with a standard crank and often wish i had a compact. Most of are riding will have some decent climbs, i really dont want to discourage my wife by not having it set up properly

Are adjustable stems easy to find for the Stoker? (she is 5 1ish)

and looking forward to this tandem adventure
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Old 06-23-11, 09:56 AM   #2
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This looks like a nice first road tandem, as long as it fits the both of you. Look to see if the left side of your rear hub is threaded externally for a drum brake. If it is, the Arai drag brake is the best at what you are looking for. It is no longer being made and might take some patience to locate. You can try the usual places, such as Tandems Ltd, Tandems East, or ebay. It will also need a bar-end shifter, or some other means of activating it. There is much to find about it on the BBS archive. If you are going to do any serious climbing, you probably would be happier with a 12-32 or 12-34 cassette. This will require a mountain bike derrailleur such as a Deorre or LX, as well as a longer chain. If you go with 34 teeth, make sure you go to a "mega" derr. Either one will work perfectly with your shifter. I would also say that staying with the triple crank is the way to go.
There are several adjustable length stoker stems available, such as control tech. I found a really nice adjustable angle stem made by Oval tech. It is designed to be a conventional steering stem, but can easily be adopted to a seatpost with a readily available shim.

Last edited by steve53mg; 06-23-11 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 06-28-11, 09:29 PM   #3
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The Tektro Mini-V brakes could be sufficient.
We have a D/A caliper front and Tektro Mini-V on rear of our tandem. Works fine for us; we are a sub-250 lb team and have 33,000+ miles on the tandem so far.
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Old 06-29-11, 06:47 AM   #4
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It depends on your fitness, of course, but the 12-27 might be a bit of stretch in mountainous terrain. We sometimes ride a 12-25, but it's pretty flat around here and while we can climb 18% grades with this, they are very short grades. For everything else we ride an 11-34.

Frank and Terry
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Old 06-29-11, 07:23 AM   #5
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Usually I agree with zona but this time I'm going to completely side with steve53mg. Aria drum brake, 11/34 cassette, don't know about the stoker stem. You can always change back as you get more comfortable riding the hills in your neighborhood.

zona and his wife have been riding tandems together for so long (in both years and miles) that they're in a different class from most of us. Their equipment choices might not be pertinent for a new tandem team.
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Old 06-29-11, 08:35 AM   #6
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TP....Kudos to get it! You are focused on the right things. Safety and making it a positive experience for your stoker. Definitely get the gearing changed out before you get to any kind of hills, unless you are young and gifted the gears you have now will not be a fun experience when the roads head up. Also the additional stopping power can not hurt...going down the steeps, particularly if they are tight and technical can be a challenge until you get use to it. Go with the drum ..they are well developed, simple are easy to find and easy to sell if you end up not using insurance. Lastly, there are all kinds of stoker stems available and again it is worth getting the stoker's position nice and comfy. A source for those is a place like Tandems East:

Bill J
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Old 07-04-11, 01:45 AM   #7
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We have a 2005 Raleigh Coupe which is a flat bar version of your Pursuit. All I did to make it more fun in the hills was to change the 30T granny to a 24. 26T's are easy to find but I figured since I was going through the hassle...eventually found a FSA 24. Also ended up swapping the 42 to a 39 so the shift from the 24 would work better. A "jump stopper" is a real good idea with a wide range setup like this. Sweet setup and highly recommended. Drag brakes really should not be necessary unless you are touring with gear.

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