Tandem advice required

Armegatron

Active Member
Hello everyone,
Im interested in buying a tandem and Ive been keeping a close eye on ebay. Seems the second hand ones can be had at about 150 - 200 quid, but Im unsure as to whats a lemon and whats a bargain :rolleyes: Im not wanting to spend a huge amount as I just want something to give me and the mrs a taster.

Ive seen these come up a couple of times and they seem to fetch about 150 each time (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=370389162362&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT) and looks somewhat like what Im after (and a decent price!). Is this ok for a budget entry level tandem?

Its use will basically be me (5ft 7) and the mrs (about 5ft 6) who will be stoker, on quiet cycle paths for say 20 mile rides, and should be able to carry luggage in the form of a packed lunch and essential cycling kit somehow.

Another worry that I have is transporting it. With both front and rear wheel removed, is it possible to fit into a VW Golf sized car with 1 adult passenger?

If anyone has some advice or nuggets of knowledge its much appreciated!

Thanks :smile:
Mike
 
Wow that is budget !

It's 'hi-ten steel', so it'll weigh a ton and be pretty agricultural, and has cheapo gears, brakes, etc

But that's what you'd expect at £150...

I know you're not intending it for heavy use, but my worry would be the wheels - tandem wheels are built strong, even those with 26" MTB wheels tend to be 36 spoke because of the weight/power/impact/etc you get on a tandem, particularly the rear, even on tarmac or gravel paths : this thing has no-name rims on cheapo Quando hubs so possibly they'll only last 5 minutes before they go out of true or start breaking spokes...

Carrying light luggage on it wouldn't be a problem - it has rack eyelets on the rear.

I really doubt you'd get it inside a Golf, even with the wheels off.
I never tried with our MTB-style Dawes, we used to carry it on a modified/lengthened rack on the roof of our old Citroen ZX, where the back wheel was at the back of the roof but the front wheel was overhanging the windscreen.
I need to take the front wheel off my road solo bike to get it in my Scirocco, a tandem is twice as long and has two lots of handlebars.
 

bikepete

Veteran
Location
York, UK
Unless you happen to have a local equivalent it might be worth giving:

http://www.yorkrecycling.net/index.php?id=84

a ring - they regularly get decent quality tandems in and for similar money (and a trip to York and back) you may well be able to get a better bike... and they'll make sure it's sorted out mechanically for you too.

Failing a roofrack/bars then you can get tandems on the EastCoast trains Darlington-York if you pre-book, not sure about the Darlington-Middlesbrough leg though.
 
OP
Armegatron

Armegatron

Active Member
andy_wrx said:
It's 'hi-ten steel', so it'll weigh a ton and be pretty agricultural, and has cheapo gears, brakes, etc

But that's what you'd expect at £150...
Hmm, probably worth paying a touch more for a decent second hand one then.

andy_wrx said:
I really doubt you'd get it inside a Golf, even with the wheels off.
I never tried with our MTB-style Dawes, we used to carry it on a modified/lengthened rack on the roof of our old Citroen ZX, where the back wheel was at the back of the roof but the front wheel was overhanging the windscreen.
I need to take the front wheel off my road solo bike to get it in my Scirocco, a tandem is twice as long and has two lots of handlebars.
Firstly *drool* @ the Scirocco. I suppose I could buy some roof bars & rack but its getting more expensive :smile:. Guess I need a new car :biggrin:

bikepete said:
Unless you happen to have a local equivalent it might be worth giving:

http://www.yorkrecycling.net/index.php?id=84

a ring - they regularly get decent quality tandems in and for similar money (and a trip to York and back) you may well be able to get a better bike... and they'll make sure it's sorted out mechanically for you too.

Failing a roofrack/bars then you can get tandems on the EastCoast trains Darlington-York if you pre-book, not sure about the Darlington-Middlesbrough leg though.
Cheers, that sounds perfect! Its mainly because the mrs suffers from Dyspraxia and I reckon if I was captain and she was stoker she'd be able to join me on longer rides without struggling with her co-ordination.

sheddy said:
can you hire one first, to see if the Mrs is still keen?
Ive convinced her to join me at the York cycle show, so Im hoping there will be some stands there that might be offering demo's or hires.
 

bikepete

Veteran
Location
York, UK
mike.pembo said:
Ive convinced her to join me at the York cycle show, so Im hoping there will be some stands there that might be offering demo's or hires.
Brilliant idea. Bikerescue will almost certainly be there (if not they're 5 mins away) and so will JD Cycles (www.jdcycles.co.uk) from Ilkley who are real tandem specialists - they'll have good advice and demos even if their new bikes are too pricey. There are also often tandems for sale at the show both privately and in the auction.

Oh, the Tandem Club usually have a stand too. Their sales page is worth keeping an eye on too:

http://tandem-club.co.uk/_sboard.htm

Arch, Gromit and myself will be on the Velo Vision/Electric Bike stand in the Exhibition tent part of the trade show so say hi if you see us!

Cheers!

Peter
 

rogersavery

New Member
our viking tarrantino fits in the back of my wifes honda civic (the current version) with the back seats down and the wheels and handle bars off

I would not recommend it for long distances, the front of the bike has to go over the top of the front seats, so better off getting a roof rack
 

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
There are quite a few Galaxy tandems on Ebay from time to time.

I bought one on a total whim ( OK I was a little inebriated at the time) because it was almost exactly same colour and generation as the pair of solo Galaxy's we've owned from new (1987)

Paid £395, which seems around the going rate, but our seller threw in a custom built roof rack (which we've not tried yet)

Like the Galaxy solos, the Galaxy tandem seems a good reference point.
It is very well thought out, quite robust, but weighs a ton even though it is Reynolds 531 throughout.

I've not used it a lot with my Mrs.... but it's been great for longer family rides with my youngest (tall 9 year old) as stoker. He wouldn't be able to keep up on his solo bike. The weight of the total rig and the comparative lack of sustained power from the stoker means it's hard work for the captain.

IMO anything much lower spec or heavier would just demand so much effort as to be a quick recipe to put off a non-cyclist.

Whatever you get (or even try out) - expect to go really,really, fast downhill (but with half the braking performance!), and hit the granny ring on any but the most moderate uphill.

Oh yes, and the Tandem club forum most helpful with any technical questions that are tandem specific.
 

Bong

Über Member
Have just bought a Peugeot tandem on ebay for Mrs Bong and I, probably '80s vintage (it has 6 speed and the decals etc match mid to late 80s). Apart from the heavy moped back wheel with disconnected drum brake, it seems surprisingly light. It needs a clean and overhaul but we should have some fun on it. Bid for quite a few on e-bay but did not want to commit to more than £400 unseen. The Galaxies and custom build 531 tubed etc. seem to go for around that, unless the auction finishes at an unusual time. An excellent Orbit (too small for us) went for about £250, finishing early on a Saturday morning. Bidding itself seems to be quite an art which I am not sure I have yet mastered!

We were very tempeted by the Viking Tarrantino (£400 new) which (a) looked good in terms of finish and reasonable/modern kit and (:biggrin: was highly praised by several bike shops that I spoke to and (c) had a good review in the Tandem Club site. It just seemed a bit on the small side for us. Obviously if you are only going to provide one size it will not be tall pilots and stokers but more average folk!

Looking for a larger frame did limit the e-bay options and even now the first job is to get some new and longer seat posts. We had a wobble up and down the street, much to the neighbours amusement at the weekend.
 
We had a 'beginners to tandems' thread a few years ago - https://www.cyclechat.net/

I'll take the liberty of requoting my post from it.
Riding a tandem is teamwork - yes the captain can see where you're going, has the brakes, gears and steering, but the stoker can do the looking behind for traffic without wobbling the whole bike about, can indicate, can navigate (I saw one couple where the captain had a map pinned to his back for the stoker to read...)

Most importantly, work-out how you're going to start and stop, otherwise one or both of you will lose skin from your shins and you'll hate one another.
Then talk to one another - the captain needs to keep communicating with the stoker, who can't see what's coming.

It all just becomes automatic very quickly, but...

To start :-
- captain gets on bike, straddles it with both feet on floor and holds it steady
- only now does stoker get on bike, gets on saddle both feet on pedals, gets comfy
- when stoker is ready to go, rotates pedals so the captain's preferred start pedal is top-of-stroke
- captain puts one foot onto pedal and asks stoker if it's clear behind from traffic
- when stoker says yes, captain pushes off
- if captain struggles getting into cleats, stoker can pedal strongly and captain with one leg until upto speed : particularly useful for pulling out of junctions, hill starts, etc

To stop :-
- captain tells stoker you're stopping, brakes to halt
- captain puts both feet down, straddles bike, holds it steady
- only now does stoker put feet down and get off

To stop temporarily, e.g. at a junction
- captain puts one foot down to steady bike
- stoker stays clipped in, rotates pedals ro top-of-stroke
- then like starting above

To turn right, pull-out to pass a parked car, etc
- captain tells stoker that's what's happening
- stoker checks behind for traffic, tells captain if it's clear, sticks arm out to indicate

For captain to irritate stoker
- bump through potholes, etc without warning stoker
- start to brake or change front ring without warning stoker
- swerve or change direction sharply without warning stoker
- get out of saddle and 'honk' without warning stoker (i.e. stick your bum in their face...)
- fart, with or without warning stoker

For stoker to get own back
- jab captain hard in kidneys


I think a tandem's great. Mrs wrx isn't as keen a cyclist as me, so if we go out I keep having to wait and she keeps feeling I'm not waiting. But go out on the tandem and we can ride together, talk to one another.

It's like a big powerful but lumbering truck - tons of grunt, fast in a straight line but without sprint accelleration, fairly unmanoevrable.
Far faster than a solo on the flat, for a given amount of effort, goes like stink downhill, pretty quick up long shallow drags.
Just a bit of an effort on steeper stuff, but that does get a lot better with practice, as you learn to work together in time rather than fight one another - first time you try to honk up a steep hill you'll spend more effort on balancing the thing than climbing, but it gets better.
Unfortunately we don't use ours anything like so much these days, as I've got more into club cycling and Mrs wrx is running, but it used to be great to go out together.

Instead, I'm now riding a tandem at the velodrome, a volunteer tandem pilot for a program they have to allow Visually Impaired riders access to the track as stokers on the back
- this has varied from taking round complete novices who usually start-out a bit nervous but soon think it's great, to an old bloke the other week who turned-out to be an ex-cyclist who'd lost his sight in an accident and was, depite being at least 20 years older than me, an absolute powerhouse on the back !
 

Bong

Über Member
Thanks for the above. I think the jab in the kidneys will be well received by the stoker :laugh: - and the captain has been well warned!:laugh:

PS - is it captain or pilot?
 

jack the lad

Well-Known Member
Transporting a tandem on a bootmounted bike rack is OK. If you take the wheels off and put them in the boot it's not much wider than a solo bike. Would recommend trying it before you spend any serious money. I had always wanted a tandem and was very lucky to be given one. Jack the Lass doesn't like the out of control feeling or not being able to see where she's going. She will do 2 miles to the pub on a sunny afternoon for a laugh but nothing longer.
 

Ben M

Senior Member
Location
Chester/Oxford
Another worry that I have is transporting it. With both front and rear wheel removed, is it possible to fit into a VW Golf sized car with 1 adult passenger?

If anyone has some advice or nuggets of knowledge its much appreciated!

Thanks :smile:
Mike
I'm currently looking to buy a tandem, and I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that you will not fit a tandem in the back of a Golf with the seats down. If you're lucky you may fit it in if there isn't a front seat passenger. As a guide the frame will have a max length of about 67". Remember also that having 67" of space diagonally may not be enough due to the fact that you also have a "width" of the tandem.

As for nuggets of advice... Have you ridden a tandem before? I'd suggest hiring one for a day before taking the plunge into buying one.

Happy tandeming!
 

biggs682

Smile a mile bike provider
Location
Northamptonshire
just picked up a Raleigh pioneer tandem on fleabay for 250 , hardly used in very good condition and local to boot .

by a cheapo first ie around 100 mark try it then make the decision and commit more money to the pot
 
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