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Need recommendation on tandem.(12 posts)

Need recommendation on tandem.MXL02
Sep 18, 2002 9:19 AM
Any tandem riders out there? I am thinking of buying one for my wife and myself. Looking at Santana and Burley. What issues do I need to consider before buying one.
Santanaafrican
Sep 18, 2002 9:34 AM
My Dad had a tandem, can't remember what kind, but it did not fit right and made it unpleasant. So get one that fits. His new one (Santana) fits right for him and the stoker (person on the back). He loves the Santana and they organize group tandem rides around the country (world as well I think) that you can go on and meet other riders. He did this and met the Prez of Santana, great guy. His only problems are the tandem needs a big bike rack and he might have prefered the Santana that folds into a case for long travel and flying. So think about how you will transport your baby. All in all my Dad and his girlfriend have a great time on the tandem. Enjoy your ride.
re: Need recommendation on tandem.Lactate Junkie
Sep 18, 2002 10:14 AM
Check out Co-Motion as well. I have a Double Espresso and it is great. If you can fit stock sizes there is nothing wrong with either Trek or Cannondales tandems as well,
26th year of tandeming for my wife and me.Spoke Wrench
Sep 18, 2002 10:45 AM
We're on our third Santana, but we rode a cobbled together Schwinn Twinn for about 6 or 7 years so we have experience in all of the price ranges. My daughter and son-in-law have owned a Burley tandem since the year they were married. Now they also have a Burley trailer for their little girl.

My top advice is to find a sales person who knows tandems. The majority of people who buy tandems do it because they have dissimilar physical abilities and want to ride together. Most sales people are more race oriented and just don't get it.

How are you going to use it? Most tandem riders spend all or most of their time on the road. I've converted several tandems from flat bars to road bars and I think my daughter's bike is going to get that treatment this winter. Nobody has ever asked me to convert a tandem the other way around.

How are you going to transport it? The "A" answer is inside of a mini-van. "B" answers include roof rack systems and receiver hitch racks and trailers. Strap-on racks need not apply. I've heard that some people with S&S tandems break them in two and carry them inside an ordinary car, but I've never seen anybody do that.

I have several friends who do overseas tours every year. They all love their S&S take-apart bikes. S&S couplings add about $1,000 to the price and 2 pounds to the weight. Figure about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to either assemble the bike or to disassemble and pack it. Odds are about 50/50 on beating the airline surcharge for bicycles on domestic US flights.

Generally it's the rear seat rider who determines how much a couple will pay for a tandem. If both parties have significant bicycling experience they almost always buy a Santana, Co-Motion or similar brand ($3,000 and up). If only one party has been a bicyclist in the past, they buy a Burley or a Cannondale ($1,500 to $3,000). If neither has bicycled much in the past, they go for the Raleigh or something similar ($700). As you move down the price pecking order, the components work less crisply and the frames get noticeably "wobblier." The quality differences are much more noticeable on a tandem than on a single bike.

My Email is: alanandcarolyn@prodigy.net
Very sound advise.MB1
Sep 18, 2002 12:02 PM
I am on about my 10th tandem-in 30 years. We love our Santana and will probably never buy another brand.

I know that Co-Motion and Meridan also make very good high quality bikes. I truly don't think much of the Cannondales unless you want to go short and fast. Treks seem a little lower in quality although a good value.

The team is far more important than the brand.
Wife and I love our 'DaleAFred
Sep 18, 2002 7:07 PM
We tried Co-Motion, Santana and Burley and found them to be great, but more than we were willing to pay for limited riding. We purchased a leftover RT3000 on sale, and love it. It's relatively light, and very fast which suits our needs. Our rides are all under 3 hours though which is about the comfort limit for an aluminum tandem. Support has been excellent.

Our best advice is to ride as many models as you can and buy from a dealer who knows tandems. Best of luck!
"rides are all under 3 hours" My point exactly.MB1
Sep 19, 2002 5:09 AM
We tend to ride all day. Last year our average ride on our Santana was over 80 miles. We got rid of our Al tandem after just one year and switched to Ti-we found Al to be far too harsh.

Steel or Ti for long rides for us.
Different strokesAFred
Sep 19, 2002 9:41 AM
You're lucky, but I would tend to think that most tandem teams do not regularly do all day rides. Since our rides are shorter, we enjoy the speed and stiffness of aluminum over the sluggish, but more comfortable steel. I'm the biggest fan of Ti frames, but for the $$ and limited use, it would be wasted on a tandem for us. The money we spend on Ti and carbon frames go to our singles, where we think the material is put to our best use.
KHS makes a few cheaper ones, tooDougSloan
Sep 18, 2002 10:45 AM
I have their basic one, which was about $650. Amazingly decent for the price, for just farting around on. I'd not want to do a tour or race on it, but perfectly functional and reliable.

Doug
Any opinions on independent pedaling?gogene
Sep 18, 2002 12:27 PM
My wife and I are gong to buy a tandem. We've talked to quite a few owners of tandems (Burley to DaVinci to Santana etc.) Because my wife and I are disimilar in size, power and cadence, we are considering a bike with independent pedaling. Thoughts? Opinions? Likes/dislikes? Stories?
Independent coasting would be more accurate.Spoke Wrench
Sep 18, 2002 1:56 PM
I've never tried it or even seen the hardwear up close so this could be inaccurate. I think that someone on Tandem & Hobbs described it as independent coasting. If you pedal at different cadences the slower rider doesn't contribute like pedaling downhill at less than bike speed.
re: Need recommendation on tandem.sprockets2
Sep 19, 2002 9:07 AM
I have been tandem riding for a long time, back to the old french Motobecane, and up to more modern bikes. I am riding a Trek now, and looking to move up to a better bike soon. Some of the advice given already is good, and to that I need to add some additional guidance.

1. Buy the best frame that you can. Just like for a single bike, but even more so. Take a loan if you have to, but get that quality frame. How do you know a quality frame? Well, like in a single I am mainly talking about riding it under the touring conditions-or racing if that is your gig-in which you will be using it. Ride it hard and fast.

One of the most important elements of tandem performance is the degree to which the bike resists the tendency to flex between the riders, like your going around a corner and your stoker isn't quite pointed in the same direction that you are! Poor frames will wobble back and forth before they straighten out again. This can be both scary feeling and unsafe. Aluminum frames that do this won't last as long as you would like them to. Good frames feel amazingly like a single bike. I remember riding my first quality Santana a few years back and I was amazed at how good a tandem could perform. I hardly knew my 150 # wife was back there.

Another area to minimize flex is in the fork. If your front end moves around a lot, this is scary and unsafe. Avoid. Cannondales had the reputation of having a less-than -ideal fork, but I don't know what they have done recently.

2. Consider trying to get a disc brake in the rear as an auxiliary brake system. People have historically-I like to say hysterically-used drums in the rear, but they don't all work well, and that can get nasty. I helped a guy pull his wife and tandem out of a tree once after his drum failed on a long steep descent.

3. I agree that you should buy your tandem from folks who know tandems, but still resist the temptation to buy what they want to sell you if you feel that it is not optimal. They try to move those things as they have lots of money tied up in them.