Author Topic: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?  (Read 13396 times)

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Offline dfbusken

Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« on: March 11, 2010, 05:50:33 pm »
I'm a newbie.  looking at biking the lewis & Clark trail with 2 teens and wife.  We are in so so shape, used to bike a lot. not so much lately, thinking of doing a tandem and 2 bikes. Daughter and wife are same size, son and self about the same size. figure could trade off on the tandem if knees need respite.  Does this sound like a reasonable plan?  Teens are in very good shape.

Any suggestions on tandems where to find decent used one or new one under $2200.

Thanks much

Offline Spokey

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 06:31:20 pm »
My brother has a barely used tandem that I think he would part with.  Theory was his wife would ride with him but that didn't work out.  I'm betting that it has under 100 miles on it but you'd have to ask for sure.  I don't think I've ever seen it move from where it is hanging in his garage. 

I'd guess it's at least 10 years old. 

I think it has pretty good components but don't know what.  It is a bright red Cannondale. 

Let me know off line if you want me to ask him about it and conect you two.

He is in Pennsylvania in the Reading area.  I have no idea what he would want for it.

Offline whittierider

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 09:30:04 pm »
What area are you in, dfbusken?

Offline BrianW

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 09:38:38 am »
There are a number of good tandem brands out there. Good brands include Santana, Co-Motion, Cannondale and Burley. If you can swing it, Santana and Co-Motion are best. Santana tandems have better geometry for loaded touring than Co-Motions, IMO. Most Burley's are a bit lower-end but are typically very good values.

When looking at used tandems, be sure to stick with a tandem that has 700c or 26" wheels (not 27") and will take an 8/9-speed cassette. Otherwise, you are likely to have expensive upgrade issues down the road. If you are on a budget, I would consider a 7-speed tandem, too (nothing wrong with 7 speeds), but realize that if you ever want to upgrade you'll need a new rear wheel. Do not consider a tandem with a freewheel unless you plan on upgrading the rear wheel right away. For touring I'd also stay away from older tandems (70s/early 80s) as the tubing is not likely to be up to the challenge of loaded touring.

Places to find used tandems:

1. http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/
2. http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?44-Tandem-Cycling (also a good place to post a WTB and questions)
3. Craigslist. I use search portals like www.craiglook.com or www.crazedlist.org to search beyond my local area.

Offline Spokey

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 04:34:53 pm »
I disagree about the 27" point.  I know plenty of people still running with 27" wheels.  THey don't have any problems getting tubes, tires, etc.  Posters on Alex Wetmore's touring list have claimed that of 26, 27, and 700, the 700 is the hardest to find when your overseas.  Can't verify that myself, just reporting.  My youngest daughter has my old mid-80s 12 speed that she uses to commute to work almost every day in the summer from brooklyn to near ground zero.  She doesn't seem to have problems either.

I can 1/2 way vouch for Co-Motion as I have 1/2 of one of their tandems (the Americano single) that I bought in 2002.  I'm pretty sure the Americano specs were the same as the tandem sibling except of course for tandem specific stuff.  I love it.  It's rock solid.  I had a problem with the Velocity Dyad seam separating when I first got it.  I was due for a ride on my new bike in about 2 weeks and Velocity expedited the replacement / rebuilding of the wheel and got it back to me with time to spare.  That's the only problem I've ever had.  I like the gearing etc.  Don't know if the specs are still the same 8 years later, but I'd highly recommend Co-Motion.

As an added plus, if you get to Eugene, they gladly show you around the factory.  We (brother bought one at the same time) got to see every aspect of manufacture.  Oh, and got a couple caps and water bottles when we left.  They really were the nicest people.


Offline vanvalks

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 04:56:19 pm »
Another possible option:  a tandem trike.  My wife and I ride a Terratrike tandem, and she loves it.  Advantages:  No coordination problems when starting, especially on hills; no worries about doing an Arte Johnson; the stoker has a fabulous view of the surroundings, not the back of the captain's jersey; the trike disassembles in about five minutes to fit into a much smaller space; there is an Independent Pedalling System available, so the stoker can just relax if he/she feels like it; adjustments for different heights is easy and a wide range can be accomodated (I've ridden with my 6 year old granddaughter and my 6'5" son--though I did make an extra bracket to accomodate him); very stable for high speed descents (we've had ours to over 50 mph and it is rock solid).  Disadvantages:  like any other recumbent, since you can't weight shift and can't stand up, it is slower going up hills (but you can go as slow as you want without falling over); it is heavier; ready to ride, it is over 10' long; large turning radius; almost have to use a trailer for touring as there is only room for rear panniers; cost more.

My son and I have ridden back to back centuries with it in perfect comfort; my wife loves the reclined mesh seat--she thinks it is as comfortable as any of the chairs we have in the house.  We have a Tandem Talk intercom whihc we don't always use, but does make sure that no one needs to shout (the stoker's head is about 5' from the captain's.  There are two major makers of tandem trikes:  Greenspeed from Australia and Terratrike in the US.  The Terratrike is about 60% of the cost of the greenspeed.  Go to www.bentrideronline.com for lots more info

Bob

Offline whittierider

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 05:05:10 pm »
The problem with 27" is not particularly the ability to get tires at all, but that almost none of the better tires are available in 27".  There are plenty of 27" tires available, but even if you're not interested in performance, my experience is that they don't have the better tires' resistance to flats.  One exception, although you won't find it stocked in bike shops in 27", is the Continental Ultra Gatorskin, at http://www.biketiresdirect.com/pcog27/continental_ultra_gatorskin_%2827_inch%29/pp.htm .

Unfortunately Burley is not making tandems anymore.  When we got our tandem almost eleven years ago, Burley offered by far the most for the money for our low budget, which was $2,000 at the time.  The four biggest tandem makers were Santana, Co-Motion, Cannondale, and Burley, IIRC.  We got a Burley Rumba Softride (with 700c wheels).  We took our training rides on a similar Co-Motion that was nearly twice the price ($3500) and I could not tell the difference, although we were new to tandems at the time.  My wife and I had a lot of happy miles on the Burley, but it looks like her unrelated ankle injuries and other factors will keep us from ever using it again.  Our sons don't fit on it anymore either.  It's still in excellent condition and has never been crashed, but life changes.  We're in southern California.  We've had it up to 55mph and it was totally stable and easy to handle, not nerve-wracking.  We could have gone 65 there if traffic had permitted.

People who have spent plenty of time in both seats usually prefer the back (assuming they have a trustworthy captain), because the back does not have the pressures of watching for every little bump, traffic, etc..  My wife's freedom to look around resulted in her seeing a lot more than I did since I had to watch where we're going.  She was always commenting on all kinds of things that I didn't notice and couldn't take time to look at; so I don't think the "view of the back of the captain's jersey" is a valid argument against normal tandems.  I have always thought it would be fun in traffic though to have one of those back-to-back recumbents where the two riders' heads are together.

Offline rvklassen

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 05:09:48 pm »
For tandem touring, if you want to go loaded, self-contained, 26" will give you a substantially better selection of appropriate tires.  A quick search for 27" tires yielded all the tandem tourists' favorites, but nearly all restricted to 1 1/4 or narrower, which is fine if you're a light team or doing credit card touring, but not so good if you're trying to go self-contained, or have a team weight above the 25th percentile.  Also, a bike built for 27" might or might not have room for fenders, which may matter to you, if you plan to ride in the rain or when the roads are still wet after a rain (whether for the sake of your stoker's back, or the drive train, fenders protect them both).

As for the original questions

Who makes them? http://www.thetandemlink.com/tandems.html has, among other things, a list of who makes them.  The two largest manufacturers (Santana and Co-motion) have already been mentioned.  There are many smaller makers/brands that make or made perfectly good bikes as well, so if you're looking at the used market you'd be well advised to broaden the range.  Probably the next three that come to my mind would be DaVinci Designs, Rodriguez and Bilenky.  But depending on the year, there's also Trek, Cannondale and Burley. 

I don't know about the difference in geometry,  but I do know that Santanas are harder to modify.  Specifically, if it doesn't fit, or there's something else you want to change, it'll cost you more than most to change that.  To whit: Santana (I don't recall whether this applies to all years) has a different stem size, so you need to use a Santana stem, and if the one that came on the bike is the wrong size, you need to get a Santana stem to replace it.  The rear wheel spacing is 165, rather than 145 (the more common standard), which has an impact not only on the wheel but also the rack, and the FD.  And, if I'm not mistaken, the stoker BB.

Santana makes a great bike, but you want to take into account these quirks when looking at a used bike.

Given your budget, you're best off looking at the used market.  Where to look has already been covered.  When you find something you're considering, you can run it by the folks at the tandem forum (already mentioned), who will opine as to whether the price is reasonable.  They will tell you that nothing matters more than fit.  And many other things too.  Mention your team weight, and planned use, and information will come pouring in.

Finally, as for your plan trading off - that should work.  If you're lucky, you can get one that the stoker's seatpost goes up to where your son can stoke for you as well.  That's a blast when you're having a rest day and the two of you ride off to provision 10 miles away, with nothing but empty panniers on the bike, and food-filled ones on the way back.  The main consideration when trading off is not so much who's on the tandem as how the loads are distributed.  When we toured with our kids (on two tandems) we kept adding weight to their bike (and taking it off ours) until we were matched.  By the last day we were about the same speed.

Offline dfbusken

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 07:08:10 pm »
My brother has a barely used tandem that I think he would part with.  Theory was his wife would ride with him but that didn't work out.  I'm betting that it has under 100 miles on it but you'd have to ask for sure.  I don't think I've ever seen it move from where it is hanging in his garage. 

I'd guess it's at least 10 years old. 

I think it has pretty good components but don't know what.  It is a bright red Cannondale. 

Let me know off line if you want me to ask him about it and conect you two.

He is in Pennsylvania in the Reading area.  I have no idea what he would want for it.

Thanks we are in illinios but go to Cinti OH.  If we worked something out could we meet somewhere inbetween?  If willing to do this would be interested.  Hope it works out better with my wife, no guarranttees yet.  Not sure if this goes to the forum or to just you.  Took 10 minutes to figure out how to reply.

Thanks much DFB

Offline Spokey

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 08:01:27 pm »
Take a look up top at My Messages.  I think there shows a number if you have unread messages.  I sent your reply to my brother.  It's probably better at this point to use the message facility for this so we don't clog up the forum.  Moderators also the ability to split messages off and move them to another area.  So if these couple disappear you might find them in classifieds.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 11:27:26 pm »
Dfbusken, my dad lives in Cincinnati, a great city. We have a Santana Road Tandem. We have had it for years and really like it. We purchased it from Tandems East in Pittsgrove, N.J. They are not too far from Philadelphia. Mel is a good guy and knows his stuff. If this is your first tandem, I would go to an expert. Jack Goetz of Tandems Ltd, in Birmingham, Al. is also a pro. Both shops have a good selection of new and used tandems in stock. These two dealers specialize in tandems and have 25 years+ of experience. You must decide who will be the Captain (Rider in the front) and the Stoker (person on the back) I would get properly fitted for both Captain and Stoker. Then you will know what tandems will fit front and back. (My Santana is a 56c front and 53c rear) You can have a bike that fits the Captain but is a miserable fit for the stoker, then you have a problem. I would also decide if you want a road/touring tandem or a mountain tandem. If you are using it around town or short trips it is not as critical as taking it on long distance touring. The only two negative thing I can see, on a tandem, is if you are in so so shape, is climbing hills. Cincinnati has lots of hills. Try to find someone, in town, that you can ride a tandem. I would also make sure that you have low enough gearing to climb hills. A triple crank 24,36,48 in front and 11-34 in the rear should give you a good range. The second thing is they are very long and storage and transport will need a special tandem rack, for your vehicle. Tandems require a small adjustment to gain confidence to ride, with two people, and a learning curve. The Captain has to hold the bike up, with brakes held, while the stoker gets set. The stoker has to bring the pedal around so that the captain can push off properly. There is a degree of coordination and communication that must exist, for starting, shifting, stopping and pedaling. If you are not proficient, I would get use to riding one, alone first, get use to the ride characteristics before putting someone on the back. Also, before I would drop $2k+, I would do my research and talk to someone who knows tandems, even if you don't purchase one from them. Not all tandems are equal and tubing strength matters. (frame flex) We like a steel frame because it has little frame flex but is comfortable mile after mile. Others like aluminium or carbon fiber. Most bike shops don't have the experience in sales and maintenance. Purchasing one used, from a private source, you best know what you are getting into. On a light side, if you are going to captain a tandem, best to lay off the fine Cincinnati Gold Star or Skyline Chili;D

Offline bogiesan

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2010, 09:53:16 am »
I have seen lots of tandems on cycle Oregon and when the US Northwest Tandem Club had their annual meeting here in Boise. Looks like a ton of fun.
Among owners, the tandem has a nickname you may or may not have heard: Relationship Acceleration System; wherever your marriage is going, it will get there ten times as fast on a tandem.

The captain has no idea what it's like to pedal for hours in that stupid stoker's seat. If you love your stoker, you owe it her to carefully examine and test ride recumbent tandems and trike tandems.

bentrideronline.com, and navigate to the message boards and the tandem discussions.
hostelshoppe.com to see many bent tandems and to visit their used department.

http://www.ransbikes.com/Screamer.htm
http://www.ransbikes.com/Seavo.htm


http://www.tukandu.org/
http://www.thetandemlink.com/
http://www.adventuresportsonline.com/club/tandemclub.htm
http://www.lynxview.com/tandembike.html
http://www.bkspeck.com/tca/clubs.cfm




    *  Apple Dumpling Gang: Karolyn Reker, 1636 Christy Court, St. Charles, MO 63303. (314) 928-7109.
    * Chicago Area Tandem Society (CATS): Tom/Sherry Master, 302 East Willow Rd., Barrington, IL 60010, (708) 358-7797.
    * Couples on Wheels (COWS): Mike/Dianne Meuret, 623 Fulton Street, Wausau. WI 54403mike.meuret@weyerhaeuser.com.
    * Greater Ohio Area Tandems (GOATS): Norm/Rosemary Bernhardt, 2639 Morning Sun Dr., Beavercreek,OH 45325. (513) 426-2796.
    * Earth Riders: Group rides, trail maintenance sessions and more.
    * Michigan Untied Tandem Society (MUTS): muts@lmb.org.
    * Missouri Union of Longbike Enthusiasts (MULES): Al/Carolyn Stuhlsatz, 325 Lemonwood Dr., St Peter, MO 63376.
    * Paired Iowans Going Somewhere (PIGS): Dennis Bush, 774 560th Street, Cleghorn, IA 51014, 712-225-2403. debndennisbush@evertek.net.
    * Rockford Area Pedaling Tandems on road Society (RAPTORS): Sue Tucker, Blackhawk Bicycle & Ski Club, P.O. Box 6443, Rockford, IL 61125. (815) 874-9862.
    * Tandem Illinois Going Everywhere Riding in Style (TIGERS): John/Marcey Werthwein, 204 Pakey Rd., Springfield, IL 62707. (217) 498-9337.
    * Twin Cities Tandem Club: Sara & Doug Laird, 5445 Maple Ridge Ct., Minnetonka, MN 55343. (612) 935-9337. drlaird@ibm.net.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2010, 10:56:03 am »
DFB, have you ridden a tandem before?  It's not a get-on-and-go affair.  There are a lot of skills that the captain (the person steering, shifting, and braking) needs to have in tip-top shape if the stoker (person not in control of steering and brakes) is to have a vaguely comfortable ride.

The Blayleys have a lot of good, no-nonsense info: http://www.blayleys.com/articles/tandem/index.htm.

And the really easy way to search all of Craigslist is to use Google's "site:" search modifier.  Here is a search of CL for tandem bicycles: http://www.google.com/search?rls=en&q=tandem+bicycle+site:craigslist.org.

If your budget for your tandem is $2000, that will generally buy you a decent to very nice used tandem.
waynemyer.com
warmshowers.org  (user:waynemyer)

Offline whittierider

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2010, 01:34:03 pm »
Quote
DFB, have you ridden a tandem before?  It's not a get-on-and-go affair.
+1.  It's not an instant-gratification thing.  We had many happy hours and miles on ours, but the first several rides sure weren't that way at all.  I had 30,000 miles of bike-riding behind me when we got the tandem, and yet I felt like I had to learn to ride bike all over again.  What might be surprising is that starting out with an inexperienced stoker makes it all the more difficult.  I was reminded of that every so often when I would take others out.  I had to take a wider section of the lane, or even take the entire lane, because the inexperienced stoker would make it impossible to go very straight.  We were all over the place.

Offline Spokey

Re: Tandems Who makes them any used ones out there?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2010, 03:18:54 pm »
Dfbusken, . . .  We purchased it from Tandems East in Pittsgrove, N.J. They are not too far from Philadelphia. Mel is a good guy and knows his stuff.

I've never ridden a tandem, but I agree that Mel would be a good person to go to if possible.  My brother knew about Mel so maybe he got his tandem there.  We bought our CoMotion Americanos from Mel.  Mel is in a quiet area where a test ride on an unfamiliar steed is OK.