's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Tandem owners - thoughts on Raleighs as entry level(11 posts)

Tandem owners - thoughts on Raleighs as entry levelUncleMoe
Aug 11, 2003 1:48 PM
My wife and I have been in the market for a tandem for about 1 year now. We've come close to buying 2 used tandems but the prices were still too high for a used tandem. Both were Burleys. I keep checking all the classifieds, but not finding a good match in our area so we can test ride it first.

Now we are back to thinking new. The delemma is probably what a lot of riders face. My wife/partner doesn't ride that much now, don't want to shell out $$$ for a new tandem only to have it not be used.

I'd really like a Burley Rock and Roll, but it is a bit out of our budgeted amount. I saw a Raleigh Coupe (link below) at a shop this passed weekend for $1050.

What are the opinions on the Raleighs. The components are a Deore and Deore LX mix. This model is new for this year, so no reviews yet. Basically, does Raleigh make a decent frame that would be worthy of upgrading components through the years...or will this just hold us over until we know if we like tandeming and we'll probably buy a better one if we like it anyway?
what are ya gonna use it for?ColnagoFE
Aug 11, 2003 2:25 PM
I just picked up a Fuji tandem cruiser (3 speed) for about $500 that is great for tooling around town and the MUTs. If you plan on touring or longer rides it wouldn't be a good choice though.
hey, where's that photo? nmgtx
Aug 11, 2003 3:54 PM
look up a few threads nmColnagoFE
Aug 12, 2003 7:01 AM
re: Tandem owners - thoughts on Raleighs as entry levelTWD
Aug 11, 2003 3:21 PM
From a brief look at their website, this bike is targeted at casual around town/ MUT type riding. Nothing wrong with that if that is the type of riding you will be doing.

If you want to do longer or faster rides on the road, I would look for something else. The raleigh looks to have a pretty upright riding position both for the captain and stoker. That's fine for shorter casual rides, but not what you want if you're going to be out there in the wind for a long time on the road, or if you're going to be touring.

As far as upgrading the Raliegh, I don't know that it would be worth it. The component spec on the bike is probably fine for casual riding, and I don't think it would be worth trying to upgrade it into a more serious road or off-road machine.
re: Tandem owners - thoughts on Raleighs as entry levelGeoCyclist
Aug 11, 2003 4:14 PM
I bought a Santana Rio (MTB Tandem) back in 1999. My decision to buy a MTB, instead of a Road, tandem was based on my planned riding at the time of purchase; i.e. I lived in Turkey and did all my riding off the pavement. The MTB tandem was great while we lived in Turkey. Since moving from Turkey to Japan my wife and I no longer ride our tandem off road. I've spent nearly $800 changing the drivetrain from MTB to Road gears; as we found we were seriously under geared to ride on the road. My point being, don't buy a MTB tandem to ride on the pavement!!! You will tire of the poor gearing and unfavourable riding geometry. We just returned from a summer tandem cycling in the Northwest States. I would have killed for a road tandem on the days we rode 50 to 70 miles.

I had a look at the bike you mentioned. Just a few observations;
1) Drag Brake (rear wheel drum or disc) is essential if you are going to be riding on steep curvy roads. You cannot use your rim brakes as a drag brakes to control your downhill speed; as this will heat up the rims and blow out the tires. If you don't blow the tires, you will be changing brake pads after every second ride. I would never buy a tandem without a Drag Brake!!!

2) The bike pictured had a shock seat post for the Stoker. This is a must and should not be sacrificed to reduce the price.

3) Probably be too costly to upgrade for more serious riding.

Check out Sheldon Brown's web site ( for Tandem information. Sheldon has some excellent information for the new (and experienced) tandem rider. Always remember – IT IS NEVER THE STOKERS FAULT!!!!

If I were you I would continue to pursue the Used Tandem market. Eventually you will find someone who shelled out $$$ for a good bike and found they couldn't ride with their partner; or didn't understand the most important rule of riding a tandem (IT IS NEVER THE STOKERS FAULT). The prices always go down the longer the bikes sit in the garage! Most important, make sure the bike is a good fit for both you and your intended stoker.

As for your comment about your wife's limited cycling, she will either love riding a tandem or hate it. I hope that you have taken the opportunity to rent / borrow a tandem for a few rides. My assumption is she will be your stoker; therefore, she is putting a whole lot of trust in your piloting skills. Excellent info on Sheldon's Web site regarding this issue.

Best of luck with your bike search!
Aug 11, 2003 4:41 PM
This sounds like solid advice, thanks.

To answer your question, yes, we've rented tandems twice and had a blast both times. The delimma isn't as much "will she ride with me..." it is "How often will she ride" and is that worth a $2500+ bike?

We know we're going to love it when we do ride, but she has the craziest schedule I know of. We would only ride on weekends, probably just one day each weekend. She has plans with her family on weekends at least once a month, so remove that.

Our 3 year anniversary is in one month. We usually go away for a two night weekend, spend at least $500. We're talking about passing that up and buying a Burley as a gift.
re: Tandem owners - thoughts on Raleighs as entry levelStruggle
Aug 12, 2003 6:35 AM
My wife and I just bought a tandem yesterday. After 3 years of road riding I wanted us to be able to ride together so the tandem was the machine of choice. We bought a Trek T2000 at a really great price since it was rented out once. You might find a bike shop that rents them to buy from. It is nearing the end of the cycling season in the midwest so it was a deal we could not pass up. As far as an entry level bike if you know you are going to use it for many years you get what you pay for. I would rather spend more on one with better componets now then try to unload one later to by another. You said you like riding tandems so be carefull of componets as I have seen in reveiws that a lot of people find they have to upgrade componets soon after buying a tandem. On RAGBRAI tandems seem to be popular at the bike repair shops since they are under more stress such as wheels and shifting componets. Money spent now for better equipment equals many miles of happy smiles down the road with out concern of break downs. My .02. By a better than entry level road tandem. Quality tandems always seem to hold excellent resale value as well. Trek also makes a T1000 which is less money. I almost a year ago bought a Burley tandem on a whim but am glad we waited until we could get one with better componets.
HUGE difference in tandem frames.Spoke Wrench
Aug 12, 2003 7:51 AM
If you're a bike rider, no doubt you've heard the old saw that the biggest difference in bicycles is in the frame. Well, a tandem frame is two feet longer so it is even more true.

When I owned my own bike store, I used to stock a Univega tandem, a Burley and a Santana. As you moved up the price range, you could definitely descern a huge difference in lateral rigidity. Immediately after riding a Santana, the Univega felt almost unrideable. It felt to me like the rear wheel was constantly wagging from side to side.

If you aspire to a Rock n Roll but don't feel you can afford it, I'd suggest you think about a Samba. It's the exact same frame, just lower priced components. You can add an Aria drag brake if you feel the need. You can upgrade the components a bit at a time if you like. You'll still have the stable Burley frame full time as you ride. That's more important to me than nicer shifters that you only use now and then.

One other thing. As a company to deal with, Burley is the absolute best!
Your opinion on road vs. MTB tandemUncleMoe
Aug 12, 2003 2:21 PM
I'm leaning towards spending more now vs. upgrading later. Tougher to swallow and justify now, but better in the long run looking at my other bikes. I've always wanted to upgrade something.

You've always had good advice, especially on Tandems. Considering Burleys:

Is the R+R the MTB equivalent of the Duet?

The main reasons for considering the R+R over a road specific like the Duet is the 10% of the time we "might" want to go off-road, even up in the mountains some of the sandier paved roads, or rougher side roads, my wife will feel more comfortable with the wider tires. Of course I can put 27cm tires on the Duet as well for added stabilty.

In your opinion, what is the better option for us, the R+R or the Duet?
Your opinion on road vs. MTB tandemSpoke Wrench
Aug 12, 2003 3:04 PM
As you guessed, the Rock n Roll is the fat tire equivlent to the Duet. Rumba, I think, is the downscale road bike.

I've never off roaded on my tandem and I don't know anybody who has. My wife and I regularly ride our Santana on the crushed limestone surface KATY trail, but I don't consider that real offroading. Since you have linear pull brakes, I'd imagine you could mount some pretty hefty rubber on a standard road tandem but I've never taken the time to do it.

I see the opposite frequently. Almost every tandem team I know who has 26 inch wheels has converted to 1 1/2" smooth tires because all, or almost all, of their riding is on the road. I've also done at least one flat bar to dropped bar conversion on a Burley. I've never been asked to convert a tandem the other way.

I can't really say which would be better for you because I don't feel that I know you well enough. If it was me, I'd get the Duet.