- Tandem curious
I’m considering a tandem for a bike packing ride to Le Mans next year…
2 bikes have come up: Dawes Galaxy and Ridgeback Panorama.
Anyone have any thoughts? The Dawes looks great but the Ridgeback has disc front and rear. I could do either on the CTW.
Cheers!Posted 10 months ago
Got a link to the ridgeback? I can’t find it
Dawes are just nicely made old skool bikes. I would want discs tho. Are they still making the galaxy? again I cannot see it on their site
JD tandems in ilkley are the go to tandem shop
double postPosted 10 months ago
ta. Looks good to me but dunno much about them. I think the Dawes has disc brake lugs on fame and forks but not certain
Discs I really would wantPosted 10 months ago
Thanks TJ… will keep researching. I think the Dawes does have them; I’d look to put a dynamo hub (disc) wheel in the front of either so the difference in cost would more than allow a new front disc setup.Posted 10 months ago
Just a word of caution. Might be worth using cable discs rather than hydraulic. There’s very little fluid in a bicycle master cylinder and very little metal to act as a heat sink. You really really don’t want to be boiling your brakes half way down something significant…
We’re still on vees and arai drag brakes on our tandems but I don’t think you can buy new machines with arai’s any longer.Posted 10 months ago
Its a myth not an issue really boblo. If you drag your brakes at low speed down a long hill it might happen. However just braking for corners as you would on a motorbike or car its no issue. I have done it – but only under very extreme circumstances – a long steep rough dirt descent with a heavily laden bike with trailer and old fluid in the brakes. and you get enough warning it will is happening that you can easily stop before it does ( the lever feel changes)
Don’t use tiny discs and use a disc with a fair amount of metal in it.Posted 10 months ago
I think the Ridgeback looks the better option as it’s cable disc F&R.
I’m quite excited about this as I feel it opens up a new dimension to cycling with my gf. It also means a practical solution to getting to Le Mans and back in the timescale available next year.Posted 10 months ago
Have you and your better half tried riding one? Its a good idea to try first as some couples simply do not get on with riding one. Yo can borrow mine if yo are anywhere near Edinburgh.Posted 10 months ago
Thanks 👍🏼I’m near the south coast, however, so will look to hire one in the new forest to see what’s what. Much obliged!Posted 10 months ago
Its well worth doing! The tandem club has a list of hire places on their website – I think in the publicly available bitPosted 10 months ago
Mikertriod, I can help out if you want to try something as we are down near south coast, we have a bit of a collection, can try either a Galaxy (ours is a bit gravelised for the occasional trail shortcut, now runs discs front and rear too) or our 29er one, even got a 26in kiddyback too. Drop me a message if your interested.Posted 10 months ago
Great thread! Well resurrected too. The missus had never ridden a bike in her life, until we hired a tandem in Bristol a couple of weeks ago. With the three year old on the back in a child seat. Rode along the river to a pub, combination of tarmac and slightly bumpy dirt. Small wheels (a la Brompton, though maybe not that small). I captained (obvs) & she stoked. TJ is spot on, getting started was occasionally problematic and madame rodent now knows what it feels like when you get shinned by a pedal. Also my propensity to suddenly stop pedalling elicited a few choice bits of language. And the small wheels made it somewhat unsteady to ride.
But, surprisingly, overall it was deemed by the power that be to be a ‘good thing’ and given she’s probably never going to learn to ride a bike there could well be a future in it..
NBT I might be interested in the mountain bike tandem. What’s the sizing? I’m 6’3″ & the missus is 5’11” so would need to be quite large. Also any idea on cost?
EDIT – Just found it on classifieds. I’m Manchester based so could have a look at it sometime if it’s the right sizePosted 10 months ago
Aye I’m coming at from an on road, fully loaded touring perspective. Sometimes it’s not possible to save all your braking for the bends as you need to keep your speed down before then. Tandems are much faster downhill than solos and you can reach indecent spreads very quickly. We’ve topped out at over 60mph on ours off one of the big Alpine passes in NZ. Coming off at those speeds in lycra doesn’t bear thinking about.
‘Traditional’ braking is at least 2 vees (or cantis if its even more prehistoric) and an Arai drum brake. The drum brake is used with a Suntour Power shift lever if you can get one and left partly ‘on’ during a big descent. This moderates your speed without putting heat into the rims and gives your hands a rest. The tandem never gets away from you then. We descended the infamous 20%+ Greenhow Hill into Pateley Bridge on just a rear vee and the drag as we’d run out of front block material. We got the Arai so hot it was smoking and then steaming when squirting it with a bidon.
The option to drag a disc when needed is less appealing even if it’s cabled actuated as it’s easier to warp the disc. Some recent tandems come with a rear vee as a drag brake and disks. My gold standard would be cable discs (Spyres) and an Arai drag brake but I’m pretty sure they never made a hub that can take both discs and is threaded for an Arai.Posted 10 months ago
I totally agree with TJ about trying one out.
It’s sometimes easier for a non cyclist stoker as they’ve hardly ridden a bike, meaning they won’t be too bothered about trying to turn, brake and change gear on the back, which obviously they can’t do.
We were lent a tandem by the wonderful Jon at the ‘Bicycle Smithy’ in Stockport. After a weekend of playing around, we decided it was for us and we purchased our own tandem.
There has to be a lot of communication and trust.Posted 10 months ago
It’s so much fun tandeming together, either for a full day out or a trundle down to a local pub.
Boblo – I am just going to disagree with you 😉 – there is no need on road IME to drag brakes – and yes we have done big descents at 50+ mph. Even if you want to reduce your speed on the straight ( why?) you just use a different technique with discs – brake hard for a few seconds then release. Dragging discs at low speed will cook them but there is no need to do this. The other thing to do is alternate brakes when descending. With big discs you have so much braking power that dragging is really not neededPosted 10 months ago
I’m with TJ on this. We’ve used the Dawes for touring with Panniers hit 50mph a couple of times – hit the brakes hard and release. The new road tandem has Spyres front and rear with 203mm rotors, and a rear v-brake that we use as a parkig brake. I suppose it could be used as a drag brake but I’ve never felt the need
@funkrodent, You’re welcome to pop round and have a gander / test ride. I’ll PM you my detailsPosted 10 months ago
We went on a weighbridge once fully laden and including us – approaching 1/4 of a tonne thats with a fully laden trailer – that rig did get a bit floaty and flighty above 45mph so required a few dabs o the brake to keep it below thatPosted 10 months ago
@nbt – thanks mate, see you’ve pmed me so will respond to that.Posted 10 months ago
I got beasted by a couple on a tandem yesterday on my commute home – amazing how much momentum they can build up! Admittedly I was JRA from some birthday drinks so wasn’t going for pb’s, but they must’ve been sitting comfortably above 25mph on the stretch where they caught me – was properly impressed.
Want one now…Posted 10 months ago
Donwhill – insanely fast
Flat – still fast, as long as you keep pedalling
uphill – rapid deceleration to Dead Slow, approaching Dead Stop.
It’s much easier to maintain speed on the flat once you’re up there, but getting up to speed – or getting up hills – can be hard workPosted 10 months ago
Its the wind resistance – only a bit more than a solo – but a lot more power or weight pushing you downhill. Someone worked out for me once that downhill your terminal velocity is 60% higher
Why tandems are slower uphill I have never found an explanation for -= tho it seems to be true. YOU need a massive gear range to cope – specially has you need a lot of skill to stand up and pedalPosted 10 months ago
Why tandems are slower uphill I have never found an explanation for
Oh the amount of times we’ve discussed this whilst slogging it uphill & still non the wiser too.
+1 for not dragging brakes, dragging builds up too much heat, much better to pulse brake if you need it.
We have a voice activated panic brake – rear vee with lever on stokers bars 😃Posted 10 months ago
@bpd message sent 👍🏼👍🏼
We don’t drag brakes on aircraft taxying as that’s a sure fire way to get them hot.I’m guessing it’s the same on a bike!Posted 10 months ago
Unless of course it’s designed as a drag brake… The Arai is, the others not. 👍Posted 10 months ago
Why tandems are slower uphill I have never found an explanation for -= tho it seems to be true. YOU need a massive gear range to cope – specially has you need a lot of skill to stand up and pedal
I think it’s possibly because your legs are more tired from sitting and pedaling, on a solo at least you get to stand up and honk to stretch about a bit if you want to.Posted 10 months ago
I’m guessing disc brakes do away with the need for drag brakes?Posted 10 months ago
Maybe. In the days of rim brakes there was a risk of blowout/blowoff(!) through overheating if you ‘overused’ your rim brakes. This was alleviated by moderating top speed via the drag brake and then using the rim brakes normally for corners. The blowout/blowoff risk is a non issue with disks but if you go for hydros, you’ll obviously need to manage the new risk of boiling the brakes hence my suggesting Spryres.
There are circumstances where you might still need to moderate top speed between corners (poor road surface, very steep etc) and there’s no option but to use your primary brakes for this if all you have is disks. P’raps drags were in vogue at one time and aren’t now, I don’t know. I have them on both of my tandems but no disks so all I can comment on is my own experience (50k loaded touring miles all over the globe…).Posted 10 months ago
As you can see its a topic of much debate. Personally I have discs front and rear tand that is it. Never felt the need for more or for a drag brake
I think the drag brake thing dates from when bicycle brakes were poor and also from people not understanding that you can use the front brake hard along with a lack of understanding of how discs work
Thousands of us use tandems with discs with no issues, however even some manufacturers ( Thorn!) refuse to use them at all ( I think they will now put one on the back as a drag brake – a use they are useless for)
It is possible to boil hydro discs – but you have to try really hard. I also know of people that melted the plastic bits on BB5s. However I also know of people that have had tyres blow from overheating rims with rim brakes.
For me – big discs with heat resistant set ups – no skeleton discs, nice big discsPosted 10 months ago
This is all very appealing to the inner geek in me! I sense I’m going to enjoy this journey…!Posted 10 months ago
For maximum nerdyness, his n hers matching jerseys are required. Something I absolutely refuse to engage in… 😉Posted 10 months ago
We deliberately clash!Posted 10 months ago
We bought one of those Ridgeback Panoramas from Freewheel a couple of weeks back (£1249)…and it is rapidly turning out to be the best bike & marriage related purchase I have made in many a long year!
Isn’t the faster-on-the-downhills/flats, and slower-on-the-uphills thing simply due to the combined power to weight issues vs air resistance? i.e I’m slower uphill on the tandem than on my road bike but Mrs Rexated feels like we’re going much faster upwards than when she rides alone…at slower speeds air resistance has little effect cancelling out much of the efficiency of the tandem. Compared to solo riding your power-to-weight ratio goes down for the stronger rider, and up for the less powerful rider?? At higher speed the aerodynamic efficiency trumps the power related stuff.Posted 10 months ago
What size did you get and what size are you two? That’s the model I’m looking at.Posted 10 months ago
mike, we went for the medium; I’m 5’10” and she is 5’2″. there’s quite a lot of adjustability for the stoker’s cockpit in terms of reach and height. The bike fits me like a road bike, whilst for Becca it is more like an mtb position i.e. more upright and with wider bars, which gives her more confidence (admittedly it is misplaced confidence given that I’m in charge of steering and braking!).Posted 10 months ago
oh, and re the brakes, after an initial bedding in period the cable actuated 200mm discs either end do the job just fine even on longer steeper downhills (although north devon doesn’t exactly have alpine topography). coming from a mtb back ground I’m happy to feather brakes and also brake hard into corners….not a roadie-esque ‘drag them all the way down the hill’ approach. no problems yet.Posted 10 months ago
That’s great, thanks! Sounds good fun!!Posted 10 months ago
@rexated assuming Spryres, they are quite alarming when new…. I have them on a couple of solos and braking was notable by its absence prior to bedding in. Fantastic after, shite before… When you change pads, either semi sintered or race further boosts their performance.Posted 10 months ago
bobble – yes, they’re Spyres – thanks for the tip.Posted 10 months ago
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