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2012 Raleigh Companion as a first tandem, is it worth it?

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2012 Raleigh Companion as a first tandem, is it worth it?

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Old 11-06-13, 07:49 AM
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pashlit
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2012 Raleigh Companion as a first tandem, is it worth it?

Hello folks,
I m gonna ask probably the most common question in this section. I ve been looking for tandems for last two months and was not able to find any decent deal in less than 1k range. Not sure if my wife is going to like tandeming, so spending 2-3k is out of a question now. I was mostly looking for a road version with 700cc wheels since I mostly ride road bikes. But, accidentally, I found out that local rental shop is getting rid of its inventory and has 2012 Raleigh Companion for $350. Not exactly what I like and used to but will I at least be OK with that tandem? For the price I cant really complain, but is it really worth it? My wife rides comfort bikes so it might be good for her, but I am trying hard to put her or a road bike since riding with her together is just a pain for me. I like pushing my bikes to the limit and she likes to take it easy. So I need to find a compromise.
Thanks for your input.
Paul
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Old 11-06-13, 08:10 AM
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I think that would work for you as a first tandem. You could change out the tires for better road riding. My Stoker was similar to yours when we started and this type bike worked well for us. You could then upgrade at a future time to a better bike. I regret not hanging on to our original tandem as a cruiser bike for taking to the beach or riding around town. At $350 you wouldn't lose much selling this down the road to a new team starting out.
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Old 11-06-13, 09:33 AM
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My wife and I bought a garage sale junker for not much money. I polished out most of the rust, fixed the flat tires and oiled the chain, and we rode it with smiles on our faces for a few months. We quickly realized that we enjoyed the tandem experience, but needed some better hardware. Since the bike looked better than when we bought it, we sold it for a profit.

We took that money, added some more, and bought a new Crestline tandem. I think that it was similar in construction and quality to the Raleigh you are considering. Even though it was new, we broke and re-broke a couple of components due to our MASSIVE power (yeah, right). Those were fixed under warranty. Then we rode it all over the place and really liked it.

Since then we have moved up some more, but here are the points I want to make:

1) We enjoyed our first two tandems, and they taught us that we like to ride together. I think the Raleigh you are considering will help you decide if you like to ride together.

2) Due to the light-duty nature of the Raleigh, you may need to replace some parts if you ride it more than just a little.

3) Starting out as a tandem team can be rough. There are many threads on this forum about that, and I suggest that you read them. The bottom line is that you must captain the bike in a way that allows your stoker to have complete trust in you. Your stoker must be comfortable and must be enjoying herself, or you won't be riding together for long.

Good luck!
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Old 11-06-13, 05:48 PM
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I bought a Raleigh Companion from a rental company that was rotating out it's rental fleet bikes, too. I bought it because my wife doesn't really ride a bike at all, mostly because she doesn't feel confident with the control. She's perfectly happy to ride, she just doesn't want to run into anything.

Compared to most anything else you are going to get at that price point, the Raleigh is going to be pretty good. It's got an eccentric bottom bracket rather than a tensioning wheel, the components are of reasonable quality, and the frame is (for its intended purpose) reasonably stiff.

I don't know your financial situation, but it's possible that it's inexpensive enough that, even if your wife doesn't really like riding a tandem, it's still worth keeping around for the once- or twice-a-year toodle around the neighborhood.
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Old 11-06-13, 07:42 PM
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Thanks guys. I dont mind getting a good bike. I have 3 of them already ). But I have never had a tandem. I m gonna like, I am pretty sure. I like all bikes. But my wife is a different story. I was aiming for a road version and was even thinking of just getting Giordano Viaggio for a sake of just getting into sport but this deal popped up and I am now deciding on which one of them to get.[h=3][/h]
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Old 11-06-13, 07:53 PM
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Pashlit.

I'm concerned about your comment in your post that "riding with her together is just a pain for me." I don't see a lot of future in your tandem riding success as a result of this comment. Riding with a partner on the same bike, you will not be able to push the bike to the limit, but rather you will have to accept "common ground". Tandem riding is a compromise; there is a lot of give and take to make the experience successful and enjoyable for both riders. $350 is not a lot of cash for a bike, but if you have already decided that you're not going to enjoy it, why bother? Rather than spend any money, why not rent, borrow a tandem and try to determine if you and your wife think it may work, and then go from there. My wife and I have ridden a tandem for over twenty-five years, but we both know it's not suitable for every couple. If you want to ride together, you will both have to accept the differences and grow into this new aspect of the sport together. At first, it's a huge learning curve, but well worth the effort, IF you both agree to learn together. Good luck. Just my two cents. Mike
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Old 11-06-13, 09:48 PM
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That is a good price and a very small investment to try out tandeming. Just be aware that that the Companion is going to be heavy, have lots of flex and slow compared to a used CoMotion or other higher quality tandem. In tandems these issues are really magnified because of the size. Cheap tandems are a lot worse than cheap singles bikes because the long frames and weight greatly magnify frame flex, etc. If you ride high end sporty bikes, just remember that there are really high end sporty tandems that match your singles performance and the Raleigh definitely is not one of those. (Don't think that all tandems are pigs based on the Companion experience.) BUT, if you want to see if you two are compatible and enjoy tandem riding this is an inexpensive and very reasonable way to start. You also should be able to sell it for near that price if you decide to upgrade or go back to single riding.

If you do upgrade later there are a lot of used CoMotions, Burleys, Santanas, etc. out there to be had for $1500 - $1800 and these are a HUGE step up from the Companion. These better tandems will ride amazingly like your single bike experience.

Also, one thing to remember, if your stoker has a lot less power to weight than you do, you will have a combined experience somewhere between what you are used to as individuals (she does not come up to your speed without a lot more effort from you) so you should expect a speed a little better than half way between what you each average now. Also I suggest reading a few threads or posts about tandem riding to start off creating a good experience for the stoker so she starts off liking it not dreading it. Things like coordinating, etiquette, stopping and starting, communicating, etc. I made that mistake with our first tandem and now my wife hates it. I have done much better with my sons though and they both are ready and willing partners on the tandem now.
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Old 11-07-13, 12:52 PM
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It will end up costing alot more than $350 if you're asking about the ones on Boathouse Row. When I went there they had three tandems for sale in various levels of disrepair. I bought the best looking one and scavenged working parts from the other two for all obviously broken parts.
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Old 11-07-13, 02:01 PM
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Spend a few weeks searching Craigslist and I think you can find a MUCH better starter tandem, although you'll have to set your price limit at least a little higher. Here are two listings in my area right now:
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/4125088900.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/4129926110.html
Although the latter is a mountain-style, they give you an idea of what $1000-1200 buys.
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Old 11-07-13, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
Spend a few weeks searching Craigslist and I think you can find a MUCH better starter tandem, although you'll have to set your price limit at least a little higher. Here are two listings in my area right now:
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/4125088900.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/bik/4129926110.html
Although the latter is a mountain-style, they give you an idea of what $1000-1200 buys.
I ve been monitoring our local (NJ area) CL for more than a month with zero results. Glad you guys have those deals.
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Old 11-07-13, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by pashlit View Post
I ve been monitoring our local (NJ area) CL for more than a month with zero results. Glad you guys have those deals.
I think we're probably in the tandem-selling doldrums now for a few months. CL tandem listings seem to rev up come springtime. Another strategy is to broaden your geographical search in CL. I'm not particularly skilled at that or I'd offer advice, or maybe you know how to do that. Others might chip in. If it meant scoring the best bike, driving a few hours shouldn't be that big of a deal, and maybe a nice outing to boot!
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Old 11-07-13, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by pashlit View Post
I ve been monitoring our local (NJ area) CL for more than a month with zero results. Glad you guys have those deals.
These are definitely much nicer tandems but over $1,000. If you are willing to go that high, these look like good deals, but if you are looking for something to try out for a few hundred bucks (assuming the one you are looking at is complete and in tune) you are looking at about the best you will be able to find.
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Old 11-07-13, 10:04 PM
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The Raleigh Comp is a decent introductory first tandem at a good price.
However if it's 'a pain' to ride with your wife . . . you are due for a huge attitude change if you want her to ride with you!
Tandeming is about riding TWOgether and not doing what "I wanna do" . . . for that you've got your single bike.
You've got a lot to learn; don't be pushy. You'll have to convince her (and yourself!) that it's fun.
Before you upgrade, see if she likes the idea of riding in tandem with you. Give it a year or a thousand miles before you even contemplate a road tandem!
You need to build up some tandem time/experience yourself so you become a decent pilot.
Having said that . . . good luck!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
Been riding as a duo since 1975 and for well over 200,000 miles . . . and it is still fun for us.
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
Good luck!
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Old 11-08-13, 10:04 AM
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I think you should heed the advice of those who are recommending you do some self-examination regarding riding with your wife. Most people on this forum are pretty avid riders. Most people on the tandem forum have pretty avid riders for stokers. So, while there may be some discrepancy between pace, the underlying drive to ride is probably pretty similar.

If your wife isn't an avid rider before you get on the bike, you may have to reevaluate how you ride. In my case, I'm not an avid bicyclist, but I really like anything with two wheels, and have been riding bikes or motorcycles for decades. My wife doesn't really ride at all. Rather than looking at it as going for a ride, or exercise, or training, or whatever, I just look at it as something we do together. We hand our young child over to a baby sitter on a Saturday afternoon and ride up the river path and then to lunch, and make our way back. There's no attempt to look at mileage, pace, or any other metric like that.

She has progressed from, "hey, this isn't so bad" to, "this is great! I can ride with my eyes closed! No hands!" We use the "Proper Method" and I emphasized that she only has two jobs: waving at little kids, and ringing the bell hello to other bicyclists. I get to ride a bike and hang out with my wife. We both win.

Your situation will be different, but I suggest you look at it from the point of view of what your wife will want​ to get out of it.
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Old 11-08-13, 02:39 PM
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We hung our original tandem up in the early 1985 and my wife/stoker didn't ride more then a few miles each year on a bike path for the following 20+ years. A couple of things have changed in those years to make our return to tandeming a success. First we had a more comfortable bike and second we were "empty nest" and probbly more important I'm a kinder gentler person. :-)

We started out with an upright GT and rode that for a year and a half before getting the Cannondale which got us into a more serious routine. We are fortunate to live in an area where we can ride on quiet rural roads which helped her get use to riding with traffic. I got her a mirror which she has mounted to her helmet so she announces traffic coming up on us which gives her some security and something to do. She can now ride strongly and pushes me sometimes.

So, if the interest is there you can bring a non-cyclist along with the right amount of encouragement and support.

As I've said before on the forum, one night I showed-up at home with the old GT tandem and now over several years we have our third bike which is the first one that fits correctly and we are having a blast! My only regrets is buying the Cannondale, it was a great frame but the components were in need of replacement and it didn't fit me well. I spent several hundred dollars replacing parts and trying to make it fit. In hindsight I would have been more careful with the second purchase, if I would not have been is such a big hurry and done more research I could have gotten a bike that fit and was in good repair on the second bike. We now have a bike we can ride forever or till my "wanter" gets out of control which will probably happen first! :-)
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Old 06-19-18, 11:46 AM
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Finding someone to ride with

So far I have been on my Santana for 1 ride with my son,I can only be a stocker because the bike is too big for me and he said it sucks.
I have a twosome that I captain with the wife and sons girlfriends friend for a total of 4 times. No fun riding by my self.
damm spell check!
Hope to ride with the wife and friend more this summer.GoodLuck!,
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Old 06-19-18, 07:09 PM
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That looks like a good choice for a first tandem, especially for a couple not committed to it, since the price is so low.

Please, PLEASE, make sure it's a good fit, for both of you. If either of you is not comfortable, it's a miserable experience and won't last long.

Secondly, I was struck by your differing approaches to riding. While a tandem can be an excellent way to bridge differing strengths, I don't know about differing goals. For instance, going uphill on a tandem is a very different matter than you blasting uphill on your road bike; if your stoker isn't engaged to a significant extent, you're going to absolutely hate any significant hill.

Just some food for thought.

Mark
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Old 06-21-18, 06:02 PM
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I suggest you rent one and ride with her to see if you both enjoy it. Otherwise you might end up like these two:

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Old 06-21-18, 08:33 PM
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Zombie Thread Alert! This thread had been asleep since 2013 until two days ago. The original poster has not posted on BF since 2014. Wonder if he bought the Raleigh Companion?
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Old 06-22-18, 10:08 AM
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Zombie thread and all, and here is a tangent. I got an offer to buy a used Burley Zydeco a few years ago, and the price was irresistible. It's a low end model, and I had doubts about the 26" MTB wheels, but I had to try it. My wife wasn't sold on the tandem idea whatsoever, so better not to spend much money. Well, we are riding it for the third year now, and enjoying it more each year. I have no impulse to get a "better" bike yet, though I just bought the components to upgrade the drivetrain. I hope to start the work on it tomorrow. Cheap tandems can be good.

The bike originally came with straight mountain bike handlebars. The previous owner installed trekking bars, and I haven't decided if they're the best idea for me. I might try straight bars again. Oddly enough, while I ride drop bars on my single bikes, I find them too hard on tandems. This might be because I don't have very strong shoulders, and balancing the bike is hard enough with upright bars, harder with drop bars. So maybe this cheap bike is just right for us.
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