Where to find a CHEAP Tandem
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  1. #1
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    Question Where to find a CHEAP Tandem

    Alright, this is most likely my 3rd post or somethig on rbr, as i'm mainly a mountain biker/xc racer.

    Now, the lady and both think it would be really fun to have a tandem, as then we can go on long trips/rides/etc and she dosent have to worry about keeping up and at the same time we can go far places

    Butttt, being college students, and personally not worrying about how heavy it will be, I'm out to find a dirt cheap tandem.

    Now please don't flame me, i know what a quality bike is, as my mtn bike is an eriksen with full xx.

    I saw some on ebay, "kent" brand, basically what they sell at walmart for 275 bucks.

    however they are more like cruisers, with the geometry and all that.

    I found another model, the "kent international" with 700c wheels and drop bars, but i guess they have been discontinued.

    I really was hoping to spend about 300, maby 350 if i had to, as i want to get a new fork for my race bike.

    I thought about running 26" slicks on the kent cruiser type, and replacing the bars with some drops i had laying around, deff diffrent saddles, a linger stem with a big drop, and put some different pads in the brakes, but i think the geometry might just screw me.

    I live in a city thats not too bike infested (green bay, wisconsin) so craigslist is a no go.

    so if anyone could provide some insight, it would be much appreciated.

    I know the parts and componnents will blow, but its fine, as i have plenty in my parts bin i could throw in there if need be, and i could build a stronger set of wheels up as well.

    Thanks again,

    Chris

  2. #2
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    Save your money. A $300 road tandem will be junk. Rule of thumb with tandems is that you need to spend about 2x what you'd spend on a comparable single bike to get the same spec. Would you ride a $150 mountain bike?
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  3. #3
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    hmm. bummer.

    but honestly, i probably would go for it, i mean, sure its going to be heavy, but how bad can it possibly be?

    well, i guess it could be super bad...

    ugh.

    theres a tandem on the classifides here for 500 but thats a little out of my price range.

  4. #4
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    here's one with 26" wheels for $269...you gotta wonder what poor Chinese kid had to put this thing together for a penny a day's wages.

    http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Dualie...ef=pd_sbs_sg_2
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikecrazy55
    hmm. bummer.

    but honestly, i probably would go for it, i mean, sure its going to be heavy, but how bad can it possibly be?

    well, i guess it could be super bad...

    ugh.

    theres a tandem on the classifides here for 500 but thats a little out of my price range.
    It will probably be OK for tooling around the neighborhood like you would with a cruiser bike, but god help you if you want to do any real road riding on it. It will be super heavy with really low end components. I'd be really suspect about the brakes on anything that cheap also. Probably will come with a low end chain tensioner instead of a eccentric BB like a more expensive tandem has. Will not be worth upgrading, but until it falls apart you can probably figure out if riding a tandem is for you or not.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  6. #6
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    yeah, this is what i was looking at:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Dual-Tandem-Kent...0#ht_780wt_907

    but i cant find any with drop bars/700c wheels.

    like this:
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Kent-Inter...-Bike/10370935

    i know, complete crap, but it would work for what im looking for :-D

  7. #7
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    yeah, that was my intent, but i deff want one with drops over a cruiser type

  8. #8
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    Bocephus is right. The brakes would be junk, and take it from a new tandem rider, you need good brakes. We bought a KHS Milano last summer for around $1700, what I would consider the bottom of the line for a "real" tandem. It came in with a rear disc, even though it wasn't spec'd with it in the catalog. Also has V-brakes front and rear. We use em all cause this thing is FAST. We are not racers by any means, but the rolling mass allows us to easily hit 40 mph on a downhill, much faster than I can make my single roadbike go on the same downhill runs. We darn near hit 50 once, but quite frankly I was scared. If she makes one small wiggle that I'm not expecting at that speed it would make a terrible mess. You need good brakes on a tandem if you're gonna ride it on the road.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the insight, i really appreciate it.

    alright, what do you guys think about this?

    http://wisconsin.freecycleshopper.co...m-bicycle.html

    i would put a fork on it with disc tabs and run a disc on the front for sure, and then deff replace the pads in the rear

    and plus its only like an hour and a half drive

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikecrazy55
    Thanks for all the insight, i really appreciate it.

    alright, what do you guys think about this?

    http://wisconsin.freecycleshopper.co...m-bicycle.html

    i would put a fork on it with disc tabs and run a disc on the front for sure, and then deff replace the pads in the rear

    and plus its only like an hour and a half drive
    That is a good deal, IMO.

  11. #11
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    woohoo, i think im goig to try talking him down to 300 and im going for it :-D

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Own Private Idaho
    That is a good deal, IMO.
    +1...much nicer than those no-name bikes you were looking at earlier.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  13. #13
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    and i guess it has a new rear wheel so thats good

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikecrazy55
    and i guess it has a new rear wheel so thats good
    On cheap tandems the rear wheel will be the first thing to go. I believe the Trek also has an eccentric BB which is a lot nicer than the roller-based chain tensioners that cheaper tandems have.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikecrazy55
    Thanks for all the insight, i really appreciate it.

    alright, what do you guys think about this?

    http://wisconsin.freecycleshopper.co...m-bicycle.html

    i would put a fork on it with disc tabs and run a disc on the front for sure, and then deff replace the pads in the rear

    and plus its only like an hour and a half drive
    Appears to be a good bike.

    You may also want to peruse Madison or Chicago Craigs list. i found my Schwinn Duo Sport on CL, and no weight is not an issue. Before that, we started out on a cheap tandem and just improved it.

  16. #16
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    Go!

    I wouldn't be afraid of that bike at all. Trek is going to put a beefy enough brake on any bike they sell. I prolly overstated my point about brakes before. Now that we have some miles under us, we don't use the disc near as much as we did at first. But here in western PA, we have some decent downhill grades that make me glad to have the disc sometimes.

    I forgot to mention earlier....the tandem is just as slow uphill as it is fast down. Have Fun!

  17. #17
    BT, wishing you ride safe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones II
    Save your money. A $300 road tandem will be junk. Rule of thumb with tandems is that you need to spend about 2x what you'd spend on a comparable single bike to get the same spec. Would you ride a $150 mountain bike?
    BJ is right, however.....

    You get what you pay for, but what do you really want to do? In August of '09 I got a brand new Lamborghini Vaggio on line delivered for $508. The idea was to get my wife more involved in road biking, and be able to tote my then 6 yr old grandson around town. BJ and many other warned against the purchase, but I did it anyway. I have not regretted the purchase for one second, and I just live riding this bike. Now I will admit that the first thing I did was to rip off the LOUSY brakes and install Avid 7s and Koolstop MTB brake pads. Once I trued the wheels and adjusted the brakes, it went from literally not being able to stop with one person to being able to "stop on a dime" with 330 lb team on board.

    I also replaced the crappy rubber rim tape, and put on 700x28 tires in lieu of the 700x35's it came with, in the belief that it would be faster.

    So as to be able to accommodate my 6'4 son, my 5"10 wife, and my 46" grandson I got a ControlTech adjustable stoker stem. It wasn't necessary, but it provide for lots of adjustments to fit different stokers.

    I also eventually got some nice Velocity Tandem rims so I can swap out wheels. I use the Velos with now 700x23s for road, and the stock rims and 700x35 for "off road" trails and levees.

    Here is a link to our 54 mi ride report today.
    Click here.
    I haven't figured it up, but I'm guessing I problably have about 1k mi on the bike since 8/4/09, and like I said, I just live riding it. Yes, I would like a lighter bike (stock it was 43 lbs, but it's probably closer to 47 now. I got us SPD cycling sandles and some platform/spd mtb pedals. They are almost 1 lb ea, and there are 4, remember!

    Anyway, you can get a cheap bike and you may have to spend a few bucks to get it ridable. Search craigslist and the local papers. If you can find a kent international (steel frame) or a Lambo (alu frame) it might be ok if in good condition and well maintained. It really helps if you can do your own wrenching.

    You can also get lucky and score a nice old steel frame tandem, but it may need some help. You won't get brifters (down tube shifers or if your luck barcons) but there is an occasional good deal here and there. Good luck!
    BT

    '09 Motobecane Immortal Pro, with lollipops
    '02 Diamondback Hybrid
    '09 Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem

  18. #18
    BT, wishing you ride safe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones II
    +1...much nicer than those no-name bikes you were looking at earlier.
    BJ's right again! I hope you get it. And Butler is also right. All tandems are slow to start and uphill, but down hill watch out! You gotta have good brakes! Even here in flat FLA.
    BT

    '09 Motobecane Immortal Pro, with lollipops
    '02 Diamondback Hybrid
    '09 Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem

  19. #19
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    My wife ahs suggested we get a tandem (mostly because she won't have to pedal). I would hate to go out and spend thousands for a tandem and get bored with it.

    I've looked for and found many ultra cheap tandems on the web that were under 500. I think thats the way I would go and just have fun.

  20. #20
    BT, wishing you ride safe
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    Here's a cheap option. It's a "walmart" quality bike, not worth putting a lot of $ in it if it craps out, but a cheap way to get into tandem riding. Be sure to have an LBS set it up if you are not a bike wrench. Brakes on a tandem are critical because of the momentum. A lot of hard core tandemistas look down their nose at these cheap bikes, but it's a great way to get into the sport cheap. If you find you like it, you can sell it and loose maybe $100 and find a better bike on craigslist. Tandems are NOT cheap.

    pacific dualie
    BT

    '09 Motobecane Immortal Pro, with lollipops
    '02 Diamondback Hybrid
    '09 Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobthib
    BJ is right, however.....

    You get what you pay for, but what do you really want to do? In August of '09 I got a brand new Lamborghini Vaggio on line delivered for $508.

    I paid less than that for a Burley tandem. It wasn't very used, and required very little. I replaced the tires, tubes, and lubed it. That's it. Total I have about $500 in it. There are some high-quality used tandems out there if you look, and if you're patient.

  22. #22
    BT, wishing you ride safe
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Own Private Idaho
    I paid less than that for a Burley tandem. It wasn't very used, and required very little. I replaced the tires, tubes, and lubed it. That's it. Total I have about $500 in it. There are some high-quality used tandems out there if you look, and if you're patient.
    That's a great deal, the type I looked for on craigslist but finally gave up. There are maybe a dozen tandems a year in this area, and most are cruisers or mtb or hybrid. I wanted a roadie. You are very lucky indeed!

    Now that I know I and my wife like it, I would be open to a good deal on a used bike if it fit right. But the Lambo is so versatile. It's an XL - SM so I've been able to fit my son at 6'4" and my grandson, albeit with a foot rest. It's not the best bike, but it really meets my needs. If we were touring I'de look for a better bike.

    Pretty soon I'll be able to drop the seat post and he will be able to reach the pedals. Maybe next year. That will be about the time I'll be hooking on a baby trailer so I can put my yet to be born 2nd grand son in that and have my grandson be able to help me pedal. Sweet.
    BT

    '09 Motobecane Immortal Pro, with lollipops
    '02 Diamondback Hybrid
    '09 Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem

  23. #23
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    check craigslist, or old/used bike shops around you. i got a sweet tandem for $500 plus trade for old parts. i'm in the process of upgrading wheels and brakes, but it's good to go as is. i'm just neurotic and particular about those things.
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  24. #24
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    Definitely look on Craigslist, and don't be afraid to search over a fairly wide area.

    I had been dreaming about a tandem for years, and when this one came up on CL last year, it had to jump on it immediately. Like many CL tandems, it had LOW miles on it (less than 100 in my case.) Prior owner's wife was not interested in riding, and he was ready to cut his losses.

    I too had considered the eBay, Amazon, Micargi tandem option, but I just knew deep down that I would not have been happy with the results.
    '02 Cannondale R700 USA Edition
    '02 Cannondale RT3000 Tandem
    '05 Cannondale Prophet 600
    '92 Trek 920 Singletrak (Rigged for commuting.)

  25. #25
    BT, wishing you ride safe
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    For the patient or lucky, Craigslist is the way to go. I, however, was neither in Aug of '09, and took a gamble on what was then called the Lamborghini Vaggio sold by Amazon. I must say, I have not been sorry. I did do some upgrades, some were "necessary" most were not.

    The Vaggio has been resurfaced as the Giordano Viaggio Tandem Road Bike sold by Kent on Amazon. It is virtually identical except for the use of the Shimano 2300 shifters. My Lamborghini came with Microshift 8 which has performed flawlessly for the past year and a half.

    The bike is a department-store level bike with components commensurate with that level. I'm sure that the guy who bought the bike that JFmcgowan found wished he had tried a much less expensive bike to find out his wife was not interested.
    BT

    '09 Motobecane Immortal Pro, with lollipops
    '02 Diamondback Hybrid
    '09 Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem

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