Are tandems faster or slower than solos ?
I was always under the impression that tandem is faster. My pal Dave used to race tandems back in the 60’s & 70’s. He said without doubt it is much faster, he said that descending at 50 – 60mph on tandem is quite possible. It helps if each rider is sort of equal then each rider can carry his own weight.Posted 4 years agosouldrummerMember
Having done loads of cycle touring with me on a solo and friends on a tandem, I can vouch for them being much faster except, as someone else had said, up steep or long draggy climbs. The speed they managed down alpine descents was properly scary; for me watching, not them!!!Posted 4 years agoMidlandTrailquestsGrahamMember
Anecdotal evidence is that tandems are a lot faster down hill, a bit faster or the same on the flat and slower up hill.
Our experience seems to back that up, but it’s hard to tell as I’m faster than Mrs MTG on a solo, so I need to estimate if we are going faster or slower than our combined average speed.
Logic would say a tandem should be faster. Twice the power, yet only the same wind & rolling resistance and 1.5 times the weight of a solo.
It doesn’t seem to work like that though.
Is there a scientific explanation ?
Is there any evidence of speed difference ? Time Trial, Track or Hill Climb records for example.
I’ll have to introduce Mrs MTG to Strava and both ride solo and tandem over the same segments to create our own dataPosted 4 years agonbtMember
For us it seems a bit slower up hill, but a lot faster down. Depends on the crew – with a stronger stoker we might be faster uphill, with a better captain we would be faster downhill – certainly SingleSpeedStu left us for dead on the Buxton Old Road descent on his tandemPosted 4 years agoTheBrickMember
Not a scientific explanation but I would imagination even with two evenly matched riders there will still be significant loss from how well co-ordinated you can be as a team. You may be equal in power but what about cadence preference? What about the fact that you can’t move about on the bike as much. I say this as someone who has not ridden a tandem more than 100m so really just geussing.Posted 4 years ago
aracer – Member
Which is slower than the solo record
hmmm, was the tandem ridden by first and second place solo TTers? What were the tandem riders solo tt times? Presumably world class TTers don’t “fanny around” on tandems much so the tandem riders fitness is a big step down, enough to negate any advantage….?
The power/drag thing would suggest tandems would be quicker like for like, assuming you can get the pair to work together effectively, I guess steep climbs where solo would be standing to get the power down tandemers struggle?Posted 4 years agobobloMember
You can’t honk on a tandem, more up and down sewing machine style.
We’re faster on the downs, similar on the flat and slower on hills. Ours are fairly heavy touring tandems and we ride well with touring solos. We’re a bit if a miss match riding with l/w road bikes so we try not to as it’s a bit frustrating for all.Posted 4 years agosinglespeedstuSubscriber
We’re about the same speed on the flat, slower on climbs and a lot faster on descents on ours.Posted 4 years ago
That’s one of the great things about MTB tandems. When you let them run on a wide open descent they feel like someone is pushing you along from behind.If you’re feeling brave a solo has trouble keeping up.
A few people we’ve ridden with have bee quite suprised at the speed we can get on a good long descent. 😀tonyg2003Subscriber
Tandems are definitely faster on the road except for the steep hills. I know that the UK Tandem TT records are slower than the solos but the riders setting the Tandem records aren’t the very best riders.
Years ago I was doing a hilly 73mile TT (not the best decision!) and I started going down a not very steep hill on my TT bike, tucked in at about 40mph, when a TT tandem came past me at what must have been 60mph. I couldn’t believe how fast they were going.
The fastest road tandems are where the stoker steers and the rider in front faces backwards. The are banned from competition but are very fast (a lot more aero).Posted 4 years agoaracerSubscriber
I know that the UK Tandem TT records are slower than the solos but the riders setting the Tandem records aren’t the very best riders.
Well the LEJoG mixed tandem record is held by the women’s record holder and the former men’s record holder. In a time of 51 hours 19 minutes. Which is just under an hour and a half faster than the women’s record (held by the same person), but over 6 hours slower than he did it on his own (on a conventional bike).Posted 4 years ago
The fastest road tandems are where the stoker steers and the rider in front faces backwards.
woah! Not heard of them before, that would be proper trippy to ride as the front rider.
This was the best I could find no proper aero ones on google images.
This looked pretty freaky too
And this, bet the trail really comes alive!
Mmm lick my backsweat ewwwwww.Posted 4 years ago
but over 6 hours slower than he did it on his own (on a conventional bike)
oh. fair enough.
<edit>mind you he helped her go faster and beat her time by an hour, presumably she conversely slowed him down, but 6 hours does seem a lot. Any pairs with similar solo times tried a tandem lejog?Posted 4 years agobugpowderdustMember
MTB tandem average slower than me on solo average by about 10-15% where we ride, definitely quicker on wide open descents, slower climbing and on singletrack though.
Recent purchase of a touring road tandem in the last month for the winter instead of trashing the mtb one, works out a bit slower than me on solo so far but getting quicker each time out.Posted 4 years agoMidlandTrailquestsGrahamMember
Thanks mrmo for an island of evidence in a sea of anecdotes.
Looks like 10km male veterans is the only case where the tandem was quicker.
Everyone else seems to backing up what I have heard elsewhere and found ourselves.
Good point about the top riders not riding tandems. I guess it’s a bit like singlespeeding. If you’re good enough to be in with a chance of an overall win, then you go in the open class, not some sub-niche.
Finding two riders with compatible styles could be another factor too. I tend to lunge up and down on the pedals, while Mrs MTG spins in circles.
I feel I’m being carried through at the top & bottom, while she feels the pedals are pulling her feet away on the down stroke.
We’re still experimenting with hill climbing. Mrs MTG is getting more confident and trusting and will stand on some climbs while I sit.Posted 4 years ago
I don’t know if I’d want to try that with someone nearer my size on the back though.
The topic ‘Are tandems faster or slower than solos ?’ is closed to new replies.