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· In need of sock puppet
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I ride together fairly often, but the difference in our levels of fitness is so significant, she only feels comfortable joining me on my recovery rides. There are a lot of great mountain loops that I'd love to take her on, but the climbs aren't much fun for her. She wants to get out and ride with me more, and I want that as well.

I think we're perfect candidates for a tandem.

I've found an older Bob Jackson 62/52 seat-tubed tandem in Reynolds 531 that would likely fit us. I'm 6'4" and she's 5'6". Finding a frame that would fit us is uncommon. Finding a frame that fits us and is affordable? Wow.

Anyway, I'm jazzed, and want to see images of your tandems, and here about riding tandems.

Thanks!

Cooper
 

· Shirtcocker
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thinkcooper said:
My wife and I ride together fairly often, but the difference in our levels of fitness is so significant, she only feels comfortable joining me on my recovery rides. There are a lot of great mountain loops that I'd love to take her on, but the climbs aren't much fun for her. She wants to get out and ride with me more, and I want that as well.

I think we're perfect candidates for a tandem.

I've found an older Bob Jackson 62/52 seat-tubed tandem in Reynolds 531 that would likely fit us. I'm 6'4" and she's 5'6". Finding a frame that would fit us is uncommon. Finding a frame that fits us and is affordable? Wow.

Anyway, I'm jazzed, and want to see images of your tandems, and here about riding tandems.

Thanks!

Cooper
for around town cruises this Fuji tandem cruiser is great. We have a 7 speed nexus on the rear and that gets us up any hills along the way--if you're talking road riding you'll need something else though. Wife hated it at first cuz you feel out of control of the bike, but now she prefers it to riding her own bike. I'm 6'2" and she's 5'2"--all I had to do was put on a longer seatpost up front.

// got the bike on sale for $500 and put another $200 into the rear wheel...so cheap com[pared to a road tandem
 

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Better check out that rear top tube length.

thinkcooper said:
I've found an older Bob Jackson 62/52 seat-tubed tandem in Reynolds 531 that would likely fit us. I'm 6'4" and she's 5'6".
Those older Bob Jacksons were infamous for having really short rear top tubes (don't forget that the stoker stem goes backwards from the captains seatpost).

Short rear top tube = one really unhappy stoker = no riding.

YMWNV
 

· In need of sock puppet
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MB1 said:
Those older Bob Jacksons were infamous for having really short rear top tubes (don't forget that the stoker stem goes backwards from the captains seatpost).

Short rear top tube = one really unhappy stoker = no riding.

YMWNV
I noticed that. It's hard to picture where you'd fit the stoker stem. From looking closer at the frame pics, it seems like a time trial cowhorn bar is the only way to get enough length for the stoker.

Maybe the fit isn't as optimal as i thought.

 

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thinkcooper said:
I noticed that. It's hard to picture where you'd fit the stoker stem. From looking at the frame pics, it looks like a time trial cowhorn bar is the only way to get enough length for the stoker.

Maybe the fit isn't as optimal as i thought.

have you ridden a tandem before? Maybe you could rent one for a day or 2 first and try it out. The road versions are really strange feeling (at least to me) if you've never ridden one before. I was gonna try out out on a recent Ride the Rockies, but a few trips around the parking lot changed my mind. 65MPH descents on an unfamiliar bike didn't sound so good. That's why I suggested a cruiser tandem. Super stable and you can see if you're both gonna like it before you drop big $$ on the real thing.
 

· BS the DC
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Below are a couple of my tandems. I just sold the Cannondale. The Santana is our main ride now.

For me it's been a double edged sword. My girlfriend likes to ride all the time. I like to go out on my single bike and hang in a fast pack. With my girlfriend on the tandem we just can't keep up. I use to kill myself trying to stay with faster groups. At first this led to frustration, but it's been better since I've learned to chill out and settle into a slower pace. The good part is she always wants to ride.

Tandeming is fun. It's like driving an 18-wheeler. It's slow uphill but fast downhill. On the flats, a strong team can really get moving. It's quite a conversation piece. You'll meet and talk to a bunch of people while tandeming.
 

· In need of sock puppet
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bocephus Jones II said:
have you ridden a tandem before? Maybe you could rent one for a day or 2 first and try it out. The road versions are really strange feeling (at least to me) if you've never ridden one before. I was gonna try out out on a recent Ride the Rockies, but a few trips around the parking lot changed my mind. 65MPH descents on an unfamiliar bike didn't sound so good. That's why I suggested a cruiser tandem. Super stable and you can see if you're both gonna like it before you drop big $$ on the real thing.
Never ridden one. Aside from a cruiser tandem my neighbor has. I expect it'd take a fair amount of time to get used to a road tandem. But if it enabled the two of us to get out and do some road rides on the local routes, I'd figure out how to get used to the feel. The frame in the picture should go pretty affordably, certainly not a huge cost like a new Santana or Co-Motion tandem would be. I've already got most of what I'd need in bins to finish that frame into a road worthy bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
bsdc said:
Below are a couple of my tandems. I just sold the Cannondale. The Santana is our main ride now.

For me it's been a double edged sword. My girlfriend likes to ride all the time. I like to go out on my single bike and hang in a fast pack. With my girlfriend on the tandem we just can't keep up. I use to kill myself trying to stay with faster groups. At first this led to frustration, but it's been better since I've learned to chill out and settle into a slower pace. The good part is she always wants to ride.

Tandeming is fun. It's like driving an 18-wheeler. It's slow uphill but fast downhill. On the flats, a strong team can really get moving. It's quite a conversation piece. You'll meet and talk to a bunch of people while tandeming.
On our local fast saturday ride, there's a couple on a tandem, he's a cat2, she's a racer as well, and they are "the" leadout in the downhill sprint. It's wicked cool to get on their wheel and try and get past 'em at speed. I don't picture doing rides as fast as that with my wife and I, but some nice decent clip rides through the backcountry would be awesome. Maybe even try and work in a century with her somewhere down the line.
 

· BS the DC
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During our last group ride, we managed to keep up with the fast group for a while, then we hit some hills. We hung in there long enough to blow their doors off in a long down hill, then we were toast on the up hill, so we settled into a nice leisurely ride. Tandeming is a lot of fun when you figure out your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to work them.

Getting started in tandeming is a lot easier than you think. I was amazed how quick we became comfortable on the tandem.
 

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bsdc said:
Getting started in tandeming is a lot easier than you think. I was amazed how quick we became comfortable on the tandem.
I imagine it is, but I have to say there is a world of difference between a road racing tandem and a cruiser tandem as far as handling goes. I imagine that you get used to it quickly though.
 

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That is a "No Beans Before the Ride" tandem.

Bocephus Jones II said:
have you ridden a tandem before? Maybe you could rent one for a day or 2 first and try it out. The road versions are really strange feeling (at least to me) if you've never ridden one before. I was gonna try out out on a recent Ride the Rockies, but a few trips around the parking lot changed my mind. 65MPH descents on an unfamiliar bike didn't sound so good. That's why I suggested a cruiser tandem. Super stable and you can see if you're both gonna like it before you drop big $$ on the real thing.
With a short rear top tube like that one has just think about where her face is going to end up in relation to your bottom......bullhorn bars will only make it worse.

Why don't you call up a Santana Dealer and arrange a test ride. Not saying you have to buy but it sure helps to ride one first. BTW Tandem dealers tend to be enthusiasts first and salesmen second.

BTW2 Your size different isn't that unusual for a tandem couple, spend a little more time looking and you should be able to find just what you want.
 

· BS the DC
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Bocephus Jones II said:
I imagine it is, but I have to say there is a world of difference between a road racing tandem and a cruiser tandem as far as handling goes. I imagine that you get used to it quickly though.
The long wheelbase makes even the twitchiest road racing tandem smooth and stable. You can't quickly twitch around a rock in the road at the last minute like you can on a single bike.

I've gone long periods of riding only the tandem. It's weird going back to my single bike. The steering feels quick and twitchy. If bike feels weightless and fast. But I miss the speed on the downhills. Tandems build up a lot of momentum on the downhills. It's like a freight train.
 

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bsdc said:
The long wheelbase makes even the twitchiest road racing tandem smooth and stable. You can't quickly twitch around a rock in the road at the last minute like you can on a single bike.

I've gone long periods of riding only the tandem. It's weird going back to my single bike. The steering feels quick and twitchy. If bike feels weightless and fast. But I miss the speed on the downhills. Tandems build up a lot of momentum on the downhills. It's like a freight train.
I love riding the cruiser tandem on our Thurs nite cruiser ride. If someone runs into me they are the ones going down and not me. That thing is like driving a tank.
 

· In need of sock puppet
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
MB1 said:
With a short rear top tube like that one has just think about where her face is going to end up in relation to your bottom......bullhorn bars will only make it worse.

Why don't you call up a Santana Dealer and arrange a test ride. Not saying you have to buy but it sure helps to ride one first. BTW Tandem dealers tend to be enthusiasts first and salesmen second.

BTW2 Your size different isn't that unusual for a tandem couple, spend a little more time looking and you should be able to find just what you want.
Oh contrare. I think a heavy beans pre-ride meal would be just the right thing. I'd be entertained by that all day. :D

Thanks for the input. Looking at the photos from bsdc confirms just how short that Jackson frame is. Now I'm curious why he designed them so short. Was it a technique that would minimize flex from an overly long wheelbase constructed in 531?
 

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Only real problem getting used to them is starting and stopping. :) My wife takes her left foot out and the first big ride we did on a tandem she helped my out by leaning hard left. I had my right foot out and over we went. To start, we push off and after a few times she figured out when out push on the pedals.

As the captain, you really need to call out bumps or she will take some real shocking hits.

Bump! Shift! Stand! Communication with the stoker is a key. They really can't see very well.

I'm guessing you are used to it in 50 miles and expert at riding together in 500.

Have fun.
 

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No Competition

thinkcooper said:
Oh contrare. I think a heavy beans pre-ride meal would be just the right thing. I'd be entertained by that all day. :D

Thanks for the input. Looking at the photos from bsdc confirms just how short that Jackson frame is. Now I'm curious why he designed them so short. Was it a technique that would minimize flex from an overly long wheelbase constructed in 531?
Until the early 70's when Bill McCready started Santana Cycles no one thought there was anything wrong with the stoker being jammed against the captain. Back then geared and dropped bar tandems were all about going fast once in a while or out of shape old couples putzing around.

Bill tried to figure out what it would take to sell more tandems (and I believe he was not satisfied with just being a bike shop owner who imported tandems from unreliable suppliers). The ideal customer turned out to be married couples who didn't have the same abilities. But then you had to keep the stoker happy......hence longer and longer rear top tubes.

The guy actually started a revolution in bicycle design but was overtaken by the fame and glory of Mountain Biking......

MB1
I was there.
 

· Cheese is my copilot
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My sweetie and I are doing our first tandem century tomorrow. We'll be on a 1990 Burley Duet, which also has a fairly short TT (though not as short at that Bob Jackson). We've had the bike for about 9 months and have been dying to try a century on it, but this is the first time we've been able to get our act together. Up to now our longest ride is about 3 hours, and I think we're looking at 6 tomorrow. Should be fun. I'll report back. :)



My car, in the lot, right now. :D


Also, FWIW there's a very useful tandem board on bikeforums, and an email list here:
https://hobbes.ucsd.edu/tandem/

And here's a link on buying a used tandem that you might find useful:
https://www.thetandemlink.com/tandems.html
 

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Never worked that well for me and my wife.

She wouldn't captain and hated being the stoker. We're close in height and had the bike built so we both fit on either seat. It's far more enjoyable for both of us to go out together on single bikes for rides when she wants to work a little harder and I'm doing an easy day.

The highlight of our tandeming was riding with our sons when they were young. A 7 year old keeping up with adults on a group ride is mighty proud, especially if a grown-up notices that he's really working. They'd stand up and hammer the hills hoping that nobody could pass us and sometimes yell with delight as we passed riders flyin' down hills.
 

· Collin's Dad
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We bought a tandem last year, only put a couple hundred miles on it so far. We ended up getting a Burley Tosa. It's a little less expensive than the Santana's and Co-motions, not really anymore than similiar spec'd Cannondales/Treks. I really enjoy riding w/ my wife, she likes to ride it also, but is more a fair weather type rider so we don't get out on it all too often. She definitely likes to go places and do things on the tandem, rather than just the ride itself (i.e. a ride that ends up at a coffee shop or whatever).

I viewed and still view the purchase price as more of an invenstment in the relationship rather than just the cost of the bike. I really like how connected I feel to her through the timing chain when we are riding, kind of strange / hard to explain.

We've got our start ups and stops down really well now. It's easier and better to have a system for this, I always let her clip in w/ both feet before we go, she rotates the right pedal crank to be forward and parallel w/ the ground, I clip in and we go. I don't have her clip out at stop lights, I just unclip w/ foot, makes for quicker starts. What's really nice is how it can equalize the different riding abilities, you just have to communicate how hard you want to other person to work. I haven't done any group rides yet w/ it though as she doesn't think she's ready for the distance right now.

2 tandem ride reports I did last year:
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=34762&highlight=katy+trail+tandem
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=32449&highlight=breakfast+commute

Bikeforums.net has a pretty good tandem board: http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=44
 
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