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Newbie Tandem Riders

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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

Newbie Tandem Riders

Old 07-12-11, 01:05 PM
  #1  
bjjoondo 
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Newbie Tandem Riders

I went down to the LBS and bought a Trek T-900 Recreational Tandem today. We've been wanting a tandem for a long time but just never found one that was "low" enough for my very short legged wife and that we could afford. Looked at several "entry"/"recreational" level tandems but still mostly "too tall" for my stroker, then checked out Trek on whim and wala, 18.5/14.5 PERFECT! I'll be changing the tires from 26x1.95 to 26x1.50 100 psi Kenda Kwest's, since we will be doing 99.5% paved roads with this machine.

I do WISH I could have got a tandem with IPS system but I'm sure we can learn to work out signals/commands and learn to ride without it, maybe for the next "upgrade" I know this is a lower end unit but it FINALLY let's us sneak in the backdoor of the tandem world! Got a fitting on Sat., then it's "look out world, here we come"!
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Old 07-12-11, 02:51 PM
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Great! Now join the Colorado Tandem Club and join in the fun. Don't worry that your budget at this time didn't allow for independent coasting. You have the same communication and coordination issues with either system. I like ICS, but it doesn't mean that you don't communicate and work together just like you do on a locked together tandem. Have fun!
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Old 07-12-11, 03:56 PM
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Most tandem teams ride without IPS.
Until we moved on up to the 'bent tandem this year, either my stoker or I would periodically call out for a "Butt break!" every once in a while, signalling a cessation of pedaling and a rising up off the seat, just for a moment.

Double your pleasure!
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Old 07-13-11, 02:48 PM
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Welcome to the "club". We knew next to nothing about tandems other than all the people in the pictures of Happy Tandem Couples looked happy when we got a T900 last fall. There are a lot of communications issues you will need to work out beyond IPS. We enjoy the tandem more than our singles. Check out some of the tandem weekends and rallys. They are different from single events and in many cases draw a different crowd. Hope you enjoy it.
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Old 07-13-11, 10:26 PM
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Welcome to the world of TWOgetherness!

Communication is the key to happy tandem riding!
Pilot tells stoker what he is *planning* to do: shifting, braking, coasting, pedal, turning, slowing, stopping etc . . . and yes 'bump' if there is one.
While capt calls out left/right turn, slowing/stopping . . . it is the stoker's job to do the actual signaling.
Proper communication will lead to smiles and happy miles!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 07-14-11, 09:38 AM
  #6  
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We have had a T900 for about six years, and we have enjoyed it a lot. During that time we have ridden a couple of more sporty tandems, but decided to stick with our T900. It fits our fun riding style and has been reliable all the way.

Like you mentioned, we switched to 26x1.5 road tires (Schwalbe Marathon Racers). Not only did they knock almost two pounds of rotating mass off of the bike, but they roll easier and actually ride better than the stock tires. They made a BIG difference! (To their credit, the stock tires lasted forever, and they were good dual-purpose tires).

I switched to a more sporty saddle. My wife (the stoker) tried other saddles, but stuck with the stock saddle. It weighs a ton, but it's the most comfortable seat she has tried.

We never had any complaints about the stock brakes, but after cooking them on a very long, steep hill we installed some KoolStops and were blown away by how much better they were.

I think the T900 is the least expensive way to get a really good quality tandem. Work with your wife on communication and trust rules, and you will have a great time enjoying the wind in your face, the great outdoors and a good work out! Have fun!

Suggestions from Sheldon Brown: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tandem.html

Last edited by mwandaw; 07-14-11 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:21 AM
  #7  
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Welcome!

Don't worry about your equipment or how others might perceive you -- you are out there having fun and that's the most important thing.
If... IF someday your budget allows for a different machine, you'll enjoy that, too. But meanwhile you get to learn the joys of 2-2gether!

Have fun, communicate, and ride!
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Old 07-14-11, 12:07 PM
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I love nice bikes but speed is really a function of the people riding the bike. I have been dropped by some of the worst bikes known to man that were ridden by strong riders. Likewise I have passed some pro level bikes with weak riders.
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Old 07-19-11, 09:35 AM
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Congratulations on your new Trek! We started our tandem adventures with a Kuwahara from the 80s that we found on Craigslist. I am also short and was uncomfortable with the height of the stoker's crossbar. It's rideable and we enjoyed it enough to discover that we really enjoy riding together, so decided to look for a tandem that fit us better. The Trek 900 is our answer. We love it! We too switched out the original tires to road tires and have thoroughly enjoyed our rides. After riding in our first NW Tandem rally last year, we looked wistfully at upgrading to a nicer road tandem, something with 700 wheels, but have found the Trek works really well for cruising through our rougher country roads. I'll always lust for a 700 but we'll happily ride the Trek for quite some time. It's a great bike! Wishing you many happy miles together!
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Old 07-20-11, 07:42 AM
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Just wanted to say, THANKS, for all the nice replies and yes, we are enjoying the T-900! Although it seems harder to ride than I thought it would be, I feel a bit "twichey" and after riding a LWB recumbent for the last few months, LOL, it seems very tall! I do have another question, when you stop, do you as captain's (pilots), put both feet on the ground or do you just use "one foot on the ground and one in the pedal"?? If the road at the stop cambers a bit, I feel a bit wobbly at times. Lucky for me, my stroker, (navigator) is excellent, after 20+ years of being a co-pilot on a motorcycle, she knows how to not make excessive movements, etc. I'm sure some of this feeling will go away after we put on a lot more miles, thanks!
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Old 07-20-11, 08:49 AM
  #11  
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When we stop, I just put one foot on the ground. However, you and your stoker should experiment with different stopping, starting, shifting, braking, turning, etc. techniques. Come to an agreement about which techniques work best for the two of you.

It's very, very important for your stoker to feel confident about how the bike is being captained. If the stoker ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!
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Old 07-20-11, 09:17 AM
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We have experimented with the technique where the captain gets on and clips one foot in and stabilizes the bike while the stoker gets on and clips in.

This did not work for us. I get on and clip my right foot in, right pedal down, left on the ground, she gets on and does the same thing. We announce that we are clipped in. We then back up a bit and push off, I clip my left foot in and then she clips in, we both announce when we are in! When we stop we both take our left foot out and repeat the above process, this works best for us.

We have also ridden motorcycles so my stoker knows how important it is not to squirm at the wrong time.

Enjoy the ride and experiment to find out what works best for you.


Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
Just wanted to say, THANKS, for all the nice replies and yes, we are enjoying the T-900! Although it seems harder to ride than I thought it would be, I feel a bit "twichey" and after riding a LWB recumbent for the last few months, LOL, it seems very tall! I do have another question, when you stop, do you as captain's (pilots), put both feet on the ground or do you just use "one foot on the ground and one in the pedal"?? If the road at the stop cambers a bit, I feel a bit wobbly at times. Lucky for me, my stroker, (navigator) is excellent, after 20+ years of being a co-pilot on a motorcycle, she knows how to not make excessive movements, etc. I'm sure some of this feeling will go away after we put on a lot more miles, thanks!
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Old 07-20-11, 01:23 PM
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A Trek T-900 was ridden up Vail Pass, over Swan Mountain and maybe also up Loveland Pass by a couple in last years Bob Guthrie ride. They were laughing and having at great time on the way down to the feed.
You "low-end" tandem is nothing to sneeze at.
Hope you have a great time on it.
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Old 12-22-21, 11:57 PM
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I ride with diferent stokers on a regular basis with Vision impard stokers so when i'm stoping I anounce stoping and un clip both feet and slam them down as I stop the stoker stays on the pedals whilst I balance the bike. when ready to take of I say ready? 3,2 ( I Clip in one foot) 1, go and then we are off this works well and the stokers quickly get the hang of it.
When turning I say (for right turn) Right arm out then Ok when we have turned .
Been doing this for 5 years and get a big thanks from all my stokers as it is often their day out
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Old 12-23-21, 12:35 PM
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We have been riding a Bike Nashbar tandem for 24 years - 26 in wheels and flat bars - and it has served us well. Many of the components have been upgraded over the years including converting it to disc brakes and then to 650b wheels. We are a upside down team (stoker taller than captain) and are finally upgrading to a custom Curtlo tandem which we can't wait to ride!
Enjoy what you have and then as you ride it more you'll figure out what does and doesn't work for you.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mwandaw View Post
We have had a T900 for about six years, and we have enjoyed it a lot. During that time we have ridden a couple of more sporty tandems, but decided to stick with our T900. It fits our fun riding style and has been reliable all the way.

Like you mentioned, we switched to 26x1.5 road tires (Schwalbe Marathon Racers). Not only did they knock almost two pounds of rotating mass off of the bike, but they roll easier and actually ride better than the stock tires. They made a BIG difference! (To their credit, the stock tires lasted forever, and they were good dual-purpose tires).

I switched to a more sporty saddle. My wife (the stoker) tried other saddles, but stuck with the stock saddle. It weighs a ton, but it's the most comfortable seat she has tried.

We never had any complaints about the stock brakes, but after cooking them on a very long, steep hill we installed some KoolStops and were blown away by how much better they were.

I think the T900 is the least expensive way to get a really good quality tandem. Work with your wife on communication and trust rules, and you will have a great time enjoying the wind in your face, the great outdoors and a good work out! Have fun!

Suggestions from Sheldon Brown: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tandem.html
Hi, I am looking at getting a used Trek T900. Would you (or anyone else) mind sharing what a fair price would be? I see a few listed on CL for about $450 and obviously, it depends on the upgrades and modifications, but was curious if they would go lower/higher than $400-450. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:33 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by NewTandem View Post
Hi, I am looking at getting a used Trek T900. Would you (or anyone else) mind sharing what a fair price would be? I see a few listed on CL for about $450 and obviously, it depends on the upgrades and modifications, but was curious if they would go lower/higher than $400-450. Thanks in advance.
That would be a pretty good price for a T900 in good condition at about half of the original price. It is a solid "comfort bike" style and one you could enjoy for many years. Most of these you would find would have minimal upgrades most likely.
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Old 02-09-22, 04:30 PM
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Welcome to the fun world of tandeming! Top tip is develop good communication (both ways!) for stopping, starting, gear shifting, freewheeling, braking and bumps ahead in the road.

Happy days!
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Old 02-15-22, 07:31 PM
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A T900 for $450 should be a reasonable choice if it's in good condition. We bought one new over 15 years ago and still ride it as our backup. It's a good bike, comfortable, and not complicated to work on. Other than the pedals, saddles, and adding a rear rack, I can't think of anything we've felt the need to upgrade.
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