Tandem curious

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  • Tandem curious
  • pondo
    Member

    Mrs Pondo did London Brighton on Sunday and really enjoyed it (she made it up Ditchling – very proud husband here 🙂 ), whilst celebrating we came up with the fantastic plan of doing it next year on a tandem. We’ve hired tandems before, so we know we can ride one, but ownership seems like another step. I’ve had a google but there don’t seem to be many on the big retailer websites, although there’s a couple of specialist sites to look at. Any recommendations for manufacturers or shops, are they a reasonable second-hand purchase? And how do you cart the things about?

    Don’t wear a helmet.

    Kick as many dogs as you can.

    johnners
    Member

    And never walk away from an argument.

    pondo
    Member

    The what, now?

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    There’s a guy on here called tjagain, who, despite the good natured banter, knows his stuff re tandems.

    he used to be called tandem jeremy, hence the username.

    but genuinely, he will do his best to help.

    now, how do you feel about helmets on a tandem, yay or nay?

    pondo
    Member

    Sound, hope TJ sees this! 🙂

    Yay to helmets. 🙂

    boblo
    Member

    SJS and JD Tandems are probably the biggest dealers in the UK now. There are many smaller frame builders who’ll make you one but might be best to know what you want first.

    I’d try a mid range s/h jobbie first (and did) then if you click, go off shopping for something special.

    I only ride road/touring but my wife started as a complete non cyclist and completed her first century within a few weeks. We’ve toured all over the world on ours at times for many months.

    It’s a great way of riding together as there’s no way we’d be in the same place at the same time if we were riding solo’s.

    Have a look at the Tandem Club website and/or Facebook. They have a for sale section too which frequently turns up decent used kit.

    Any specific questions, just shout.

    We have one, originally a 26″ wheeled Dawes Double Edge.  Essential upgrades are a suspension seatpost for the stoker and a wider, stronger bar & stem for the captain.  Non-essential have been changing to 650b each summer, with Hope36h and good Mavic rims.  3x drivetrain is vital to get a good climbing gear, as this thing is a hefty beast on steep terrain.  You will climb more slowly and descend more quickly than most riders can.  Once cruising along in touring mode, they can eat up the miles on flat terrain and we’ve managed 120+ miles two days in a row on ours across Scotland when we’ve been pushed for time, towing a trailer..

    We’ve used it for all sorts of things; as a commuting wagon in bad weather, as it’s far less affected by strong winds than a regular road bike; long tours, including 9 days around Ireland, again towing a trailer;  fast road riding on the 3 Pistes Sportif.  As it can reach 60mph on a big descent, good brakes are sensible and the stock 200mm Avid BB7 have lasted years, although the front has just been replaced with a Hope M4.

    JD Tandems sell a good roof rack that is designed for bikes this long and are an invaluable source of advice.

    Car wise, you can fit one inside a large estate, with both wheels and the front saddle off, although you’d need to plan on having something to protect the interior from all that length of chains..

    Finally, they eat parts.  Chains, bottom brackets, cassettes and chainrings all last much shorter lifetimes than they do on more conventional bikes; change everything to steel rings, buy quality strong chains and aim for strength over lightness every time on BBs, headsets and wheels.  Tyres get worked hard too.  I’ve never looked at the second hand market; we’ll not be selling ours, way too much fun.

    Nico
    Member

    now, how do you feel about helmets on a tandem, yay or nay?

    Is this about that naked bike ride thing?

    Premier Icon sockpuppet
    Subscriber

    Soon to embark on a Thorn Me’n’u2 experiment. Can’t wait! Nothing to add to the tandem debate, just really looking forward to it!

    https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/bikes/thorn-me-n-u2-2012-yellow-new/

    oh – something relevant! SJS do see to be the go-to source

    Premier Icon tall_martin
    Subscriber

    Hi,

    I’m selling one.

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”>https://ep1.pinkbike.org/p5pb15990774/p5pb15990774.jpg</span&gt;

    There seemed to be two types of tandems on ebay. Either ridden round the world and left to rust, or pretty much brand new. Make of that what you will about tandem ownership. I went for a dawes as I could fit disk brakes and run normal kit on it rather than a 30 year old one that needs odd sized bits and bobs. We hit 40 mph and I was very gad of the disks!

    Mine is pretty much brand new (make of that what you will) as my wife now has an MTB and a road bike

    Ours fits in a Skoda octavia or a honda civic estate. It does need mild dissassembling to do, mostly just the mudguards and rack off the back, although I think I have had to remove the bars in one car.

    <span style=”font-size: 12.8px;”>https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2388654/</span&gt;

    Cheers

    Martin

    ^username checks out!

    I know of one for sale in Cornwall if that is any use (a roadie touring one) if martin’s isn’t useful to you.  PM and I’ll put you in touch.

    djambo
    Member

    Do It! I was in a similar situation a few years ago and bought a 2nd hand Dawes off ebay for about £200. We’ve had loads of fun on it over the years.

    Biggest hassle is it takes up a fair bit of room in the garage and anytime I need to get in the car is a mission (both wheels off situ, mudguards too ideally if can be arsed)…but in reality this is very rare for us as we always ride locally. Only wear issues we’ve had are a few spokes popping.

    Child number 1 didn’t stop the fun….he joined us via a weeride seat on the front. My mission this weekend is to rig up another kids seat on the back for number 2 to join us too!

    Reading above disc brakes is actually a really good idea. We have old cantilever brakes that I always forget/fail to adjust properly….it’s always fun hurtling down a country lane knowing you can’t stop any time soon. I’ll definitely investigate how easy it is to fit disc brakes to ours…

    bigh
    Member

    Google Jd Tandems, and Landescape Tandems. Both very good shops,

    We have a landescape custom built to our awkward sizes, couldn’t be happier.

    There’s a Uk mtb tandem page and a Tandem club page on facebook that often have some for sale. Do it, its great fun (for a very small handfull of couples who seem to not want to murder each other after the first ride)

    H

    Premier Icon leffeboy
    Subscriber

    And how do you cart the things about?

    We have a Cannondale in 20/16 size and it’s small enough to go sideways on a bootrack with both wheels and mech off.  Most of the time now I put it on the roof using a modified single bike rack and the rear wheel off. At some point I’ll buy a ‘proper’ rack but they aren’t cheap

    A couple of our friends have different flavours of folding tandems, with the Ritchey version looking beautiful.

    They rock.  I’m interested to know if bigger wheeled versions steer better as our 26in tandem feels quite old skool. Might just be because it is a tandem though

    Premier Icon Greybeard
    Subscriber

    Essential upgrades are a suspension seatpost for the stoker and a wider, stronger bar & stem for the captain

    And if you have an older design with a 1 inch steerer, replace fork and steerer after however many miles seems appropriate – my brother and his wife found out the hard way that they get a lot more stress than an ordinary bike and can fail suddenly.

    boblo
    Member

    Ours goes in the back of either a V70 or E class estate with just the front wheel off so they are the only two approved tandem lugging wagons 😀 I used to use an across the back tow bar mounted thingy which is fine, the wheels stick out ~400mm either side depending on the car. I prefer inside now for security and keeping the crud off though I appreciate it’s an extreme purchase just for carrying a bike.

    The maxim to remember is you can’t have too low gears or too much braking. We use drag brakes on ours on the old Sun Tour power shifters to stick the brake on and forget about it when descending long/steep passes. Good for a handbrake as well to stop the beast from rolling away.

    We use a 20 up front and a 34 on the back, 9 speed. Gets us up steep stuff fully laden without walking.

    pondo
    Member

    Thanks all, some really useful and interesting info – Tall Martin, we’ll be in touch! 🙂 Only question for us is transporting the beast – I’m guessing it’ll be too wide to go on the rack across the back of the car, even wheels out and mudguards/rack off? I’ll investigate the world of roof racks… 🙂

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    AFAIK tj is away riding for a few days…..on his tandem….without a helmet 😜

    In other news, Dog helmet sales are up 380%

    thecaptain
    Member

    Van is one of the most popular tandem accessories. Ideally LWB so you can fit in a bunch of tandems no problem without taking off any wheels.

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    Our Dawes discovery twin goes in the back of our insignia with just the front wheel off and stoker bars loosened. Stuck some MTB tyres on it recently and tried some off-road for the first time, brings the trails alive I tell thee ☺️

    pondo
    Member

    Really? Wow – wondering whether I’d get one in the back of a Focus, wheels out and ‘guards/rack off…?

    thecaptain
    Member

    Well I’ve also carried one across the back of a Nissan Micra on a standard bike rack. Wheels off, it might have been just about legal 🙂

    TiRed
    Member

    Wherever your relationships is going, you’ll get their faster on a tandem.

    Have a Dawes Super Galaxy for rides with Mrs TiRed and a kiddyback tandem for my kids since the eldest was four and the youngest rode in a baby seat on the back.

    Some of the very best cycling I’ve ever done. Insanely fast with a good stoker who matches power, joyful riding with kids who travel on a bike at Speeds they can only dream of over adult distances.

    For a beginner, look for flat bars and reasonably modern components. Disc are nice, but if it’s flat, good Vs with decent pads are not so bad- and my kiddyback has a tagalomg mounted! They do pick up speed very quickly on even modest descents. You will use the granny ring. Learn to spin

    if starting out, but used. Cannondale are super, Landscape produces greatvtrames by some former friends, Dawes are the long established go to brand and there are smaller brands  a George Longstaff is a hing of beauty. us top brands are Santana who loves the game on, and Com-motion who I prefer

    Want to ride off road? Go for double edge like spec and start with easy trails.

    Get a thudbuster  the stoker takes a pounding. Call bumps and get them to stand out of the saddle, use clipless and have them stay clipped in. Put the computer on their bars. Get an adjustable stoker stem.

    The Stoker is always right, and surprisingly has a better ride than the Captain. Whenever ive ridden as stoker I’ve always been much more relaxed!

    pondo
    Member

    Mmm, interesting – that might be the interim solution. Cheers! 😀

    pondo
    Member

    Cheers TiRed, useful stuff! 🙂

    shermer75
    Member

    Thread resurrection.

    I’ve been getting more and more interested in trying out a tandem, so we’re going to give it a go with a hire bike next week in Portugal. I’ll let you know if we’re still together!

    Also, why no TJ in this thread?!?

    pondo
    Member

    You’ll love it. 😉

    shermer75
    Member

    @pondo, did you buy one in the end? What did you get?

    tjagain
    Member

    Only just seen the thread – when it was put up a year ago I was wandering around the highlands on mine. MUch of the advice is what i would have said anyway

    Shermer – rule number one – the captains job is to make sure the stoker enjoys the ride. there is no rule 2

    Starting off can be tricky -captain gets on, sits on the crossbar and puts their feet wide to avoid a pedal in the shin. Stoker climbs on and gets settled on the pedals both feet up. Stoker brings the pedals to the right position to start – leading foot at just above horizontal. Captain puts their foot on the pedal but don’t lean the bike over. then on call – go – half a turn – pause to get your other foot up and off you go. ~Call out gear changes and bumps for the stoker. Have fun!

    shermer75
    Member

    Amazing! Thanks!! 🙂

    pondo
    Member

    @pondo, did you buy one in the end? What did you get?

    We did! Dawes Galaxy with flat bars off of Tall Martin of this parrish. Lovely bit of kit that gets nowhere near the use it deserves, but great to get out on. 🙂

    pondo
    Member

    PS – TJ’s rules are bang on the money for us. 🙂

    Premier Icon tall_martin
    Subscriber

    Glad its getting any use rather than languishing with none at mine!

    shermer75
    Member

    The one pictured above? Very jealous!!

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    George Longstaff used to be the go-to tandem maker I think. I remember drooling over one of his gorgeous tandem trikes once upon a time but luckily I didn’t have enough money.

    shermer75
    Member

    So here’s a question- how do you clamp a tandem in a workstand?!?

    Premier Icon Dickyboy
    Subscriber

    So here’s a question- how do you clamp a tandem in a workstand?

    Assuming rotating clamp head, at an angle with one wheel still on the ground is how I do it.

    shermer75
    Member

    Aaah, that makes sense!!

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