Tandem advice

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
martinn
Posts: 336
Joined: 1 Dec 2012, 8:20pm

Tandem advice

Postby martinn » 27 May 2013, 10:17am

Hi all,

I am thinking of getting a Tandem, my wife is in agreement, this means she can keep up and i dont have to go quite so slow. (we have hired one and managed 24miles in one day, which considering my wifes longest ride to date was 5 miles was an achievement).
I also have a young child, which we have a tag along for, which she thinks is great, but i worry they are not particularly stable.
So here is my dliemma, I know you can get child specific Tandems, and can raise the rear seat to just about accomadate an short adult, or alternativly, get a normal sized tandem, and have Kiddicranks fitted with modified bars.
I would be looking at second hand bikes, as custom made is not an option finanicially.
I am a shade under 6", my wife is 5" 6,

Which is the best option?
Is there a viable soultion out there, or will it be too much of a compromise?

Any thoughts greatly appricaited.

Martin

LollyKat
Posts: 2991
Joined: 28 May 2011, 11:25pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Tandem advice

Postby LollyKat » 27 May 2013, 10:43am

We preferred to use kiddy-cranks as it seemed to offer more options. However it would be quite a faff to keep taking them on and off if you wanted to swap between your wife and your daughter as stokers. Also I wonder if the tandem frame would be a bit flexy if you used a long seatpost for a 5'6'' adult on a child-back tandem - it would depend on the design, I suppose.

I'm sure there will be others along shortly to give you a better answer. You should also ask the Tandem Club.

Good luck with it - tandems are great fun.

User avatar
RickH
Posts: 5047
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Tandem advice

Postby RickH » 27 May 2013, 11:16am

Circe Helios
The stoker size range is quoted as 107cm-188cm / 3’ 6” to 6’ 2”
Mrs H is 5' 4" & my Grandson is 5 & has been stoking since he was 4 1/2. The only modification, apart from adjusting saddle & handlebars, that I need to make between the two of them is taking off the pedals & re-fitting them on crank shorteners.

This was Mrs H & me with our Grandson on the 2011 Manchester Skyride
Image

And here's me & the grandchildren earlier in the month, taking my 1 year old Grandaughter for her first ride on the back.
IMG_1509_e (Small).jpg


Rick.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tandem advice

Postby Vorpal » 27 May 2013, 11:41am

I think that our Thorn Voyager (childback) tandem could accomodate someone as tall as 5'6" on the back. I've had a friend's youngster on the back when he was nearly that tall. They are designed to be quite adaptable. I've heard of other people using a tandem with a small stoker section as both childback & partner tandem.

Other places it might be worth asking is SJS Cycles and the Thorn forum http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/

You don't say how old/big your child is. I haven't tried a trailer bike with the tandem, but it would probably be best, if you go that route to try a rack-mounted one. We currently use a child seat and/or trailer with the tandem for littlest. You may also want to keep an eye out for a triplet?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

User avatar
foxyrider
Posts: 4968
Joined: 29 Aug 2011, 10:25am
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: Tandem advice

Postby foxyrider » 27 May 2013, 11:55am

you might want to look at these guys too Thorn aren't your only option!

http://www.orbittandems.co.uk/orbit-tandems-range/ :D
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

User avatar
Cunobelin
Posts: 10738
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Tandem advice

Postby Cunobelin » 27 May 2013, 11:58am

Rick beat me to it

I have not ridden one of these, but have seen them and it looks to be just what you need.

However there are going to be very few second hand ones around

For that reason a kiddyback tandem is going to be more available.


The only issue I am aware of though is that the rear cockpit is compromised

If you look at Rich's photos the handlebars are very long and swept back for the child

Some models (Twocan) have been criticised for the cockpit being to long in child mode, and others like the Thorn being cramped when used by an adult

Thorn have some clearance models at the moment, but are not cheap compared to other makes.

They do however have a triplet so you could take wife and child

Image

martinn
Posts: 336
Joined: 1 Dec 2012, 8:20pm

Re: Tandem advice

Postby martinn » 27 May 2013, 12:23pm

Thanks for all the replies,

i have posted on the Tandem site as well, thanks LollKat,

The Helios is interesting, not sure why but had sort of discounted this one, i think probably on cost grounds as i have not seen one of these second hand yet, but will keep looking. Same for Orbit tandems.

So using a Thorn Kiddiback might be possible, (Child currently about 120cm tall), rack mounted trailer bike is a possibility, but both kids hated the trailer when we had that on the back of the hired Tandem. Littlest is just under two, and is used to riding up the front with me on a "wee-ride" seat.

A triplet, interesting but out of price range, (although i have just sold my car, ???????????????????????????????????????)

more food for thought,

Martin

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tandem advice

Postby Vorpal » 27 May 2013, 1:00pm

I have made the childback of our Thorn Voyager a little more child-friendly by putting bullhorn type handlebars on it. I think that switching back to straights, or drops and/or using a shorter handlebar mounting might make it better for an adult. If I were regularly riding with two very different stokers I might try to find a way to make the switch easily.

I normally ride the tandem with Mini V (6 years old) as stoker and littlest (now 4 years old) in a Co-pilot Limo seat on the rear rack of the tandem. We also tow a trailer for longer trips. It extends our range, as either child (or both) can sit in the trailer when necessary. Both kids prefer to be on the bike most of the time, but they will also go in the trailer if the weather is inclement.

We bought our tandem used, and I think it was one of the best purchases I ever made. I know there are other tandems out there, and even that many of them are better materials and components than our Thorn, but we love ours and have put it to good use. Frankly, I could easily justify the cost of a new one (or two!) for the money we have saved in not having a second car for the last 3-1/2 years, and not having a car at all for several months last year.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tandem advice

Postby Vorpal » 2 Jun 2013, 9:16am

I don't know anything about this bike or the seller, but it popped up this morning... viewtopic.php?f=40&t=76362
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

martinn
Posts: 336
Joined: 1 Dec 2012, 8:20pm

Re: Tandem advice

Postby martinn » 2 Jun 2013, 6:26pm

Cheers just saw it, a little out of current price range though, but very nice.

martin

Binkyboy
Posts: 83
Joined: 29 Oct 2010, 5:05pm

Re: Tandem advice

Postby Binkyboy » 3 Jun 2013, 11:00pm

Why not just a tandem, sized for you and the missus, and a tagalong behind the tandem?

In a few years your child will have outgrown the tagalong and any child sized tandem, but your wife won't have.
So then get a bigger bike for your child.

Tagalong's are not very good, but on a tandem their effect will be much less than on a solo.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tandem advice

Postby Vorpal » 3 Jun 2013, 11:11pm

Binkyboy wrote:Tagalong's are not very good, but on a tandem their effect will be much less than on a solo.


Are you certain about that? I would think that it would depend quite a bit on the design of the bike. Having two adults to stabilise it should be beneficial, but the much longer frame may flex more. Also, tandems are harder to steer than standard bicycles. Adding a tagalong could make it very difficult to steer some tandems. Personally, I wouldn't plan to do that without having tried it.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

martinn
Posts: 336
Joined: 1 Dec 2012, 8:20pm

Re: Tandem advice

Postby martinn » 4 Jun 2013, 8:55am

I have thought about having a tagalong at the back of the Tandem, and for when all the family is cycling together that is proabably what we would end up doing. Currently, i have both children on my bike, one on the front and one on the back on a tagalong, which was fine to start with, however when the eldest on the back stands up to pedal, because daddy is not going fast enough :roll:. she makes the whole unit wobble quite alarmingly :!:
Hence the rational for the Dual use tandem that is should be more stable when i am just taking the children out.
On a different note has any one used one of the "followme" bars for attaching a childs bike to the back frame of the towing bike as an alternative to a tagalong.
http://www.followmetandem.co.uk/followm ... andem.php#

Martin

User avatar
RickH
Posts: 5047
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: Tandem advice

Postby RickH » 4 Jun 2013, 9:56am

No personal experience of the FollowMe but, in case you haven't seen it, there was a review in October/November 2011 Cycle magazine (PDF). It also got a favourable mention in this article (PDF again) on family cycling in the August/September 2012 issue.

As an aside I particularly liked this picture in the above article. :D
biking for four.JPG
8. Dan and sons in the Peak District. both the Thorn triplet and Burley trailer-cycle are still in production

Rick.

LollyKat
Posts: 2991
Joined: 28 May 2011, 11:25pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Tandem advice

Postby LollyKat » 4 Jun 2013, 9:57am

martinn wrote:On a different note has any one used one of the "followme" bars for attaching a childs bike to the back frame of the towing bike as an alternative to a tagalong.
http://www.followmetandem.co.uk/followm ... andem.php#
Martin

Weren't these reviewed fairly recently in Cycle?
Edit: Rick beat me to it :) .