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· Shirtcocker
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I've heard of Co-Motion, Santana, but not sure what else is out there? Are these brands the Treks of the tandem world? Better stuff out there to be had? Not looking for super-boutique brands, but wondering what to consider when I finally get the cash to buy one of these suckers. What features would you consider, "must have"? ALso...frame materials. Is steel real for tandems or is there something better?
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
I've heard of Co-Motion, Santana, but not sure what else is out there? Are these brands the Treks of the tandem world? Better stuff out there to be had? Not looking for super-boutique brands, but wondering what to consider when I finally get the cash to buy one of these suckers. What features would you consider, "must have"? ALso...frame materials. Is steel real for tandems or is there something better?
I'm tandem-curious, so I don't have any answers. Interested to see to see what your thread turns up.

But like our 'half' bikes, I suspect that which brand is 'the' brand depends largely on which one happend to be sold at the store you stopped in. Secondarily, what you are looking for. The Co-motion rep seems to be 'most like my single bike' and Santana 'most like my Caddilac', although the stoker compartment seems to be a bit bigger on the Co-mo's. Santana's seem to revel in some fairly specialized componentry, which is either essential or a PITA, depending on who's marketing you've chosen to believe.

Materials - while the specifics are a bit different, the argument is the same - all materials can make good bikes, all can make crap.

But the real reason I write is this - what do you mean by 'the Trek's of the tandem world?' Depending on who's doing the listening, that's either a good or a bad thing. Besides, Trek makes a couple of tandems, so I'm sayin' they're probably the Trek's of the tandem world.

You've probably already done it, but read over at bikeforums.net - they're tandem forum has a bit more life to it. Also, over to thetandemlink.com for a bunch of crosslinks, and especially to some of bigger tandem dealers. That'll start to give an idea of the marketplace, I'd think.
 

· Shirtcocker
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danl1 said:
I'm tandem-curious, so I don't have any answers. Interested to see to see what your thread turns up.

But like our 'half' bikes, I suspect that which brand is 'the' brand depends largely on which one happend to be sold at the store you stopped in. Secondarily, what you are looking for. The Co-motion rep seems to be 'most like my single bike' and Santana 'most like my Caddilac', although the stoker compartment seems to be a bit bigger on the Co-mo's. Santana's seem to revel in some fairly specialized componentry, which is either essential or a PITA, depending on who's marketing you've chosen to believe.

Materials - while the specifics are a bit different, the argument is the same - all materials can make good bikes, all can make crap.

But the real reason I write is this - what do you mean by 'the Trek's of the tandem world?' Depending on who's doing the listening, that's either a good or a bad thing. Besides, Trek makes a couple of tandems, so I'm sayin' they're probably the Trek's of the tandem world.

You've probably already done it, but read over at bikeforums.net - they're tandem forum has a bit more life to it. Also, over to thetandemlink.com for a bunch of crosslinks, and especially to some of bigger tandem dealers. That'll start to give an idea of the marketplace, I'd think.
By Trek I meant an easily available bike--ones that you see a lot on the road. Not boutique or chi-chi, but still good stuff. Don't think I could afford a custom from some boutique builder or the like.
 

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I own a co-motion speedster for the road and an older specialized mountain bike tandem. I test rode a Santana sovereign and spent a fair amount of time on my buddy's sovereign as well.

FWIW, I love my Co-motion and am glad I picked it. It fits me better, rides smoother (its steel v. AL on the Santana), and overall I think was a better package for me. If I had to choose the best, I'd probably pick some chi-chi carbon-ti thing that cost more than a space shuttle. But I can honestly say I don't regret buying mine. I do regret is is collecting a lot of dust. :cryin:

That being said, there are many choices at many price ranges. Santana, Co-motion, trek, cannondale (maybe still?) to choose from. See this page for a good list.

If you have any interest in MTBs the Ventana and the Ellsworth are primo. I've ridden both...like butter.


Best advice is to get out to as many as you can find and try them. post here, to see if tandem owners near you could lend your theirs for a short test ride.

Oh, and like with most things, set your budget and then plan to spend more than that!
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
By Trek I meant an easily available bike--ones that you see a lot on the road. Not boutique or chi-chi, but still good stuff. Don't think I could afford a custom from some boutique builder or the like.
In that meaning, the Cannondales are probably the Treks of the tandem world, followed by the actual Treks (which I suppose would make them the Cannondales of the tandem world...). At least in my part of the world, they have best availability and are most widely seen.

Away from the mainline builders, it seems like it's Co-mo and Santana. As I go round in my head, I keep coming back to the Primera. My stoker is intrigued by the DaVinci ICS drive, though. Need to find a way to ride each.
 

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danl1 said:
Away from the mainline builders, it seems like it's Co-mo and Santana. As I go round in my head, I keep coming back to the Primera. My stoker is intrigued by the DaVinci ICS drive, though. Need to find a way to ride each.
Personally, I think that is the key...whichever keeps catching your eye and mind. this is not an insignificant amount of $ to put on a ride.

I am intrigued by the independent drive train also, but on some level I don't get it (though I've not ridden it). My wife and I are in sync pedaling. I recall one time I dropped the chain and flatted simultaneously. Two problems caused me to remount the timing chain out of sync. 50M down the road, I thought we had destroyed the rear wheel given the strange feel of being out of sync. I would fear that as a strange phenomenon of the ICS drive train...kind of a solution to a non-problem.
 

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Oddly enough Trek is the Trek of the tandem world, Cannondale is the Cannondale of the tandem world, and Calfee is the Calfee of the tandem world. Co-motion also makes singles or half bikes.

Some links.

Colorado tandem shop:
http://www.tandemcycleworks.com/

other good links
Sheldon's page: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tandem/index.html

The Tandem Link: http://www.thetandemlink.com/

The Tandem Link's article on buying a custom tandem: http://www.thetandemlink.com/articles/Customs.html

Tandem Magazine: http://www.tandemmag.com/

Precision Tandem, parts, accessories: http://precisiontandems.com/

Informative Tandem site with lots of links and articles: http://www.gtgtandems.com/

Santana: http://www.santanatandem.com/

Co-Motion: http://www.co-motion.com/

Rodriguez Custom tandems: http://www.rodcycle.com/

Curtlo Custom Tandems: http://www.curtlo.com/frame_pages/tandem.html

Calfee Custom Tandems: http://www.calfeedesign.com/tandem.htm

DaVinci Custom Tandems: http://www.davincitandems.com/

lastly, the link Gersting posted is awesome: http://tandem-fahren.de/Mitglieder/Christoph_Timm/builders.html
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
I've heard of Co-Motion, Santana, but not sure what else is out there? Are these brands the Treks of the tandem world? Better stuff out there to be had? Not looking for super-boutique brands, but wondering what to consider when I finally get the cash to buy one of these suckers. What features would you consider, "must have"? ALso...frame materials. Is steel real for tandems or is there something better?
Tandems are a lot simpler to buy than a half bike. First of all there aren't so many brands available and secondly all that really matters in a tandem is, "Does it fit?"

BTW I am assuming you are thinking about buying a tandem that is no more than 10 years old.

Used is a good way to go as lots of couples upgrade from their entry level bike because they love riding together so much AND because lots of couples get rid of their first tandem because they find out it is hard work.

FWIW I like bikes from tandem specialists like Santana and Co-Motion because they are the folks that created the market and keep it going through times good and bad. But still, what really matters to any first time buyer is just, "Does it fit?"
 

· Seat's not level
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We recently started looking at tandems, but then instability at my wife's office put everything on hold for a while. We are/were looking at something that could accomodate both my wife and daughter as stokers. The idea is to have me captain with my daughter, and my wife could ride her single. Then when daughter is busy (or grown) then my wife could still fit. The one we are interested in is the Co-motion Periscope series.
 

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gersting said:
Personally, I think that is the key...whichever keeps catching your eye and mind. this is not an insignificant amount of $ to put on a ride.

I am intrigued by the independent drive train also, but on some level I don't get it (though I've not ridden it). My wife and I are in sync pedaling. I recall one time I dropped the chain and flatted simultaneously. Two problems caused me to remount the timing chain out of sync. 50M down the road, I thought we had destroyed the rear wheel given the strange feel of being out of sync. I would fear that as a strange phenomenon of the ICS drive train...kind of a solution to a non-problem.
I've heard it said that ICS riders tend to fall back into sync, but even if not, it's easy enough to get that way. Others argue that being intentionally out-of-phase 90 deg. (even with a conventional drivetrain) is smoother for all but standing and starting. WIth ICS, you could switch back and forth instantly and at will. One thing that's appealing is the relative ease of skipping a beat to rearrange a butt on the saddle, and my stoker-to-be is the sort of rider that can't take a drink without coasting. Starting and stopping would be easier, too. Certainly, there are drawbacks as well, but "solution to a non-problem" might be overstating it. Perhaps things aren't problems, but that doesn't mean that the alternative might not be convenient.

In a way, the argument seems analagous to the one between fixie vs singlespeed. I'm not sold on the ICS idea, but I'd like to hear some balanced ideas about the drawbacks - ones that aren't in the realm of mystical 'feelings' and 'rightness' of a thing. I've come across folks that have tried it and loved it, folks that have never tried it and hate it... But not yet anyone that has given it a fair shot and turned back. Those are the folks I'd like to hear from.
 

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danl1 said:
Certainly, there are drawbacks as well, but "solution to a non-problem" might be overstating it. Perhaps things aren't problems, but that doesn't mean that the alternative might not be convenient.
Hence my open qualification that I have not ridden one. If you wish to hear only opinions from those who have ridden, you should have stated that first. I gave you an impression, which didn't appear to be prohibited by your statement that your stoker was intrigued.

regardless, it seems that you are mostly sold on it anyway...you presented a string of explicit pros, and one virtual, non-enumerated con.
 

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Not at all. I'm not saying your input wasn't wanted or valuable; simply that it's a wish of mine to find someone with riding experience that ended up not liking it, to help gain that particular perspective. And while I did list mostly positives, that was because you had aptly handled some of the usual negatives (or perhaps better phrased as pro's for the traditional setup.)

That's where I want to get. I hear the pro's on each side, which is fair enough. And I hear the con's for traditional rigs, which is good information. What I can't seem to find is the con's for ICS. I'm sure they are there, but it's tough information to find.

I'm curious about the in/out of sync phenomenon. Normally, I wouldn't see staying together as a problem - as long as the pawls are engaged, you'd stay in, I'd think. But something like standing climbing, with it's naturally irregular stroke - that could make keeping together tough, and at the time when it's most necessary.

Others make a big deal about the value of non-verbal communication through the timing chain. I get that; but I don't know how that plays against our on-bike dynamics. I don't know if ICS would require more active communication, or eliminate some of the reason(s) for it.

Sorry if I phrased things in a way that seemed to have another meaning.
 

· Squirrel Hunter
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Goals...

First question would be what are your goals with the tandem and what are the riding styles and experiences of you and your stoker. Answer those questions for yourself and you will be well on your way to finding the tandem of your dreams.

For us, we are a light, go fast team. Our current rocket sled is a Santana Soveriegn which is equally at home on tours, climbing and Tuesday Night World Championship with the boys. I really enjoy this bike as when we put power to the pedals it moves down the road. Don't notice any comfort issues with the aluminum frame and skinny tires (25c) and my wife is fine with a rigid seatpost.

Santana does have some proprietary parts so keep that in mind. They are pretty good at stocking stuff for a long time but ocassionally your component choices may be a limited. The plus side of Santana is they have been doing this a long time and make really good tandems. Careful reading their marketing bullshit, but the tandems are great.

Also think about where you will use your tandem and how you will transport it. The couplers can be a real plus if you plan to travel a lot over extended distances. Even if not flying, just the ability to put the two halves inside a car can be a benefit. A roof rack can cost $$$. A pickup is very practical.

Finally, just like singles, look hard at the component set up. Have a decent range of gears, however most tandems are set up for fully loaded clydesdale tourist having a huge range of gears. Normally we run a 12-23 and rarely get into the granny gear. Brakes can be an issue if you are descending a lot, otherwise some good pads will do you just fine. Wheels need to be a bit sturdier than singles, however once again there are plenty of setups with overkill. Careful with low count spokes as you cannot baby a tandem back home. We like handbuilt 36s wheels.

One other note, be sure to pack the tools needed to adjust your eccentric in your tool bag when riding.

MB1 said:
FWIW I like bikes from tandem specialists like Santana and Co-Motion because they are the folks that created the market and keep it going through times good and bad. But still, what really matters to any first time buyer is just, "Does it fit?"
When we shop for our next tandem Santana and Co-Motion will both be on the short list. The old Litespeed founders, Lynskey(?) are also rumored to be making Ti tandems out of their new shop and I may give them a look too.

Great resource - just follow the links...
The Tandem Link: http://www.thetandemlink.com/

Happy Shopping
 

· Shirtcocker
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Keeping up with Junior said:
First question would be what are your goals with the tandem and what are the riding styles and experiences of you and your stoker. Answer those questions for yourself and you will be well on your way to finding the tandem of your dreams.
Thanks for the advice. I'm pretty experienced at "half-bike" riding, but the wife (who would be stoker) isn't. She loves being stoker on our cruiser tandems and is in great shape so I think she'd like the road tandem also. She's not as crazy about riding her own bike as she doesn't feel that comfortable with her handling abilities. My road bike is steel and not all that light--then again, neither am I. I'd want a tandem that can last for the long term--nothing stupid light, but then again doesn't need to be designed for loaded touring either. Guessing day-rides out of Boulder as well as some centuries and working up to week-long rides like Ride the Rockies. S&S couplers would be a good feature from what I can tell. Also think that steel would be on the shortlist for frame material and would like disc brakes. For gearing I'd like a little more gear than I have on my road bike now (53x39 front with a 13x26 rear)--just in case we need it. Planning to ride this for years to come. Maybe a steel bike with the equivalent of Ultegra/Chorus level components.
 

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danl1 said:
What I can't seem to find is the con's for ICS. I'm sure they are there, but it's tough information to find.
try taking a look at http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=166672

the second .pdf linked in there is pretty interesting. I did not read the whole thing, as there is coverage of recumbent stuff not relevant here. but It seems that he rode a davinci before and went with another system (though apparently primarily for seating reasons)

danl1 said:
Others make a big deal about the value of non-verbal communication through the timing chain. I get that; but I don't know how that plays against our on-bike dynamics. I don't know if ICS would require more active communication, or eliminate some of the reason(s) for it.
not sure about with ICS, but after any small amount of dedicated practice time, I would
believe that most pairs get to a fairly high level of non-verbal communication competence on a traditional setup. Plus, you'll be hauling so much arse, no time to talk!

danl1 said:
Sorry if I phrased things in a way that seemed to have another meaning.
No problem...career based self-defense on my part. :D
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
......My road bike is steel and not all that light--then again, neither am I. I'd want a tandem that can last for the long term--nothing stupid light, but then again doesn't need to be designed for loaded touring either. Guessing day-rides out of Boulder as well as some centuries and working up to week-long rides like Ride the Rockies. S&S couplers would be a good feature from what I can tell. Also think that steel would be on the shortlist for frame material and would like disc brakes. For gearing I'd like a little more gear than I have on my road bike now (53x39 front with a 13x26 rear)--just in case we need it. Planning to ride this for years to come. Maybe a steel bike with the equivalent of Ultegra/Chorus level components.
I think of tandem frames as closer to MTB frames with front suspension than road frames. A tandem frame IME (except for Cannondales) are plenty flexy so a steel frame really isn't that much more comfortable than an aluminum one but much heavier.

Sure, the overall weight of the bike going down the road with 2 riders and gear isn't going to be that much different no matter what the frame material. Still you are going to have to move that thing around when you are off the bike and it is suprising how much easier a lighter tandem is to deal with.

So as much a fan as I am of steel half bikes for a tandem I think steel is my last choice for frame material. Matter of fact my last 4 tandems were in order; steel, aluminum, titanium and now a carbon/ti mix.

BTW S&S Couplers are sweet and make air travel much easier with singles, I am really looking forward to finding out how much easier flying with an S&S tandem is going to be. It is not really so much the airline part either, getting a cab or rent-a-car that will haul a boxed tandem is no joy at all.

As far as gears go-we have yet to need the inner ring on our new Santana but I am really enjoying the 12-34 10spd cassette (although I have noticed a lot of complaints about really bad shifting with the IRC cassette that other brands are using (Santana sourced theirs from Shimano and everyone seems to agree that it works fine)). BTW we do lots of nasty climbing but don't weigh much. I'm thinking that clydesdale or not, if you are doing any kind of "slow you down" kind of kind of climbing you might as well get a wide gear range.
 

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MB1 said:
I think of tandem frames as closer to MTB frames with front suspension than road frames. A tandem frame IME (except for Cannondales) are plenty flexy so a steel frame really isn't that much more comfortable than an aluminum one but much heavier.
I'm not sure what that means. Any comparison b/t the two types of frames would need to be made on fit and geometry. Of course a MTB tandem is closer to an MTB, but why would a road tandem be more similar to an MTB than a road frame?

I also don't agree with the blanket that steel frames are necessarily heavier. A high quality steel frame is likely to be just as light as an AL frame. I never weighed head to head on a scale, but my Co-Motion speedster is quite similar to my friend's Santana Sovereign. Again, this will all come down to the particular frame/manufacturer/components/tubing/and even size.

MB1 said:
BTW S&S Couplers are sweet and make air travel much easier with singles, I am really looking forward to finding out how much easier flying with an S&S tandem is going to be. It is not really so much the airline part either, getting a cab or rent-a-car that will haul a boxed tandem is no joy at all.
I'd love to try these out...I got to imagine its a dream in comparison to a std. tandem...now if only I ever got to travel with mine...
 

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Why?

Keeping up with Junior said:
One other note, be sure to pack the tools needed to adjust your eccentric in your tool bag when riding.

This statement baffles me. I've ridden thousands of miles over 27 years on our 1980 Melton tandem, 2000 Bushnell triplet and most recently a 2003 Trek T2000 and have never experianced a need to make an eccentric adjustment while on the road. We've done loaded touring, racing and we're not a terribly light team at 310lbs.
Even if a couple were to do their first ride as a century on their new tandem, the bit of slack that would develop in the timing chain certainly could wait until the end of the ride to adjust.
What gives:confused:
 
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