The tandem bicycle is an iconic piece of transportation that was first invented in the 190s by Mikael Pederson. Since that time, we’ve seen tandem bikes permeate pop culture as a sort of wholesome hobby for romantic couples in movies.
If you are reading this, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that there is a whole world of dedicated tandem cyclists. Many people can be intimidated by the large and heavy bicycles, but you don’t have to be. So if you and a friend, or significant other, want to go for a tandem ride, take a look at a few of the better models on the market.
Top 4 Tandem Bikes Online.
Much like single rider bikes, there are various sizes and styles to fit your needs.
1. Kent Northwoods Dual Drive Tandem BikeIf you don’t want to spend your time combing through catalog after catalog for a tandem bike, then you can end your research here. Kent Northwoods’ has developed one of the premier tandem bike options available for those interested in a more comfortable cruising model. You have a 21-speed drive train, twisting shifters, and gel saddles for optimal comfort. The wheels on this tandem are 26 inches, which is perfect for cruising. This bike has a steel frame and supports two full-grown adults.
2. Kent International Synergy Tandem BicycleThis striking tandem bicycle has 26-inch wheels and a black frame. The bike weighs in at 53 pounds, and it can handle up to two full-grown adults. Again we see Shimano’s patented 21-speed shifters with alloy brakes, cranks, and wheels.
This mountain bike style frame has raised bars in front and lowered bars in the stoker position for maximum relaxation while peddling around. Though this model is slightly heavier than some of the other options on this list, it makes up for that because it is so darn sturdy.
3. Giordano Viaggio Tandem Road BikeThis tandem bike has a 20inch front and 16inch rear frame size, and the whole model weighs-in right at 42lbs. This model is lighter than the two previous entries, mostly due to the aluminum body instead of steel.
Giordano is a well-known brand in cycling, and they didn’t let their guard down while developing their tandems. You’ll see a host of familiar names in the parts section: Shimano shifters and derailleurs as well as KMC chains.
With easy to adjust seats, you can fit riders as short as 4’6 without too much trouble, allowing for some parent-child riding if you so desire. Giordano has worked wonders here with the Viaggio, and this is the perfect entry-level tandem bicycle.
4. Kulana Lua 26″ Tandem Comfort Cruiser BikeThe final bike on our list is the Kulana Lua, a brightly colored and heavy-duty tandem bike. There are leisurely tandem bicycles on the market, and this one has to take the cake.
This large cruiser has comfortable seats, easy to reach pedals, large wheels, and a heavy-duty frame that screams ‘stability’. You have rear coaster brakes here to help ease your braking stresses, and the relaxed positions of the seating will keep you comfortable for the duration of your ride.
This is a visually stunning ride with a bright yellow body, and it is one that will keep people looking out for you while you are on the road. Big enough for adults but small enough for kids to ride with their parents, the Kulana Lua is one of the best models on the market.
Reasons to Buy a Tandem Bike
While tandem bicycles carry a specific social connotation, the canoodling partners are far more than that. Listed below are a few common reasons you should consider jumping on the tandem bicycle bandwagon.
- Riders with different abilities can ride together.
If you are a world-class cyclist, but your friend or significant other is just getting into the exercise, then a tandem bicycle is the perfect way to get them involved. Tandem bicycles are team-oriented, and they help to create both camaraderie and a fitness connection. Also, consider cyclists who are uncomfortable riding solo in certain areas, like crowded city areas. The person who is too afraid to take the lead can ride in the back (stoker position — we’ll get into later) and let the lead cyclist take charge.
- Tandem bikes are great for riders with disabilities.
If you are visually impaired, partially or otherwise, then hitching up with another rider for a tandem bicycle can be a great way to get out there and experience the joy of cycling. Many other minor physical disabilities would prevent riders from getting on the pavement with an adult tricycle, and tandem bikes offer a solution for all of them. Just put the stronger or more capable rider in front and enjoy the experience.
- A tandem bike ride is a great relationship builder.
If you feel like you don’t get to talk to your significant other enough or that they don’t always listen to what you have to say, then get out there on a tandem bike. The mechanics of riding a dual seater require you to have open and transparent communication. Getting in tune with one another on the bike paths will get you in tune for the rest of your day-to-day activities.
- They are a great workout.
A tandem bicycle has double of everything that a regular bike will have. This makes tandem bikes heavier, a little bit harder to ride, and a lot more intense when you start. The workout you get while going uphill or traversing harsher terrain will leave you sweating and burning calories — perfect for the couple looking to improve their fitness. However, when you are going downhill or on a paved road, tandem cycling is the most comfortable experience you’ll have on two wheels.
Key Terminology for tandem bike riding.
Alright, so we’re pretty well introduced to the world of tandem bicycles, but there is still a lot more to learn yet. As you go about researching your first tandem bicycle purchase, you will run into a ton of terminology that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to you. No matter how casual tandem bikes may seem, a lot is going on to make them operate. So to manage them efficiently, you need to understand the different key terms.
Alright, so we’ve pretty much covered this term. A tandem is just a bicycle that allows for multiple riders. Typically the most common tandem bike will have two seats, but three and four-seaters are out there. The more people you add to the cycle, the more difficult it will get.
Now we are talking about the actual positions on the bicycle. The stoker is the rider who sits in the back of the tandem bike. The stoker is a more relaxed position and typically includes pedaling and enjoying the view. More dedicated riders will have the stoker in charge of maps and handing out supplies. The stoker should never stop pedaling, however, without telling the captain in the front seat.
The captain has to be the most advanced rider between the two because their job is to handle all of the duties that cycling requires: steering, braking, shifting, and pedaling. The captain has to make sure their stoker trusts them, and they must always be in complete communication with one another.
Tandem bicycles don’t brake the same way that a single rider unit does. They utilize this thing called the drum brake, which is connected to the rear hub. This can help you slow down over a more extended time without the riders worrying about destroying their rims.
Tandem Bike FAQ’s
Is a tandem faster than a normal bike?
Tandems are the most efficient for family bikes, without exception. Two adults can ride faster than two adults on a single bike because while they have twice the power, they don’t completely double the weight (one tandem is lighter than two singles) and the wind resistance is almost the same.
Should I buy a tandem bike?
A tandem takes power from both riders and puts it through the same drive train, so it doesn’t matter if one rider works harder than the other. A good tandem is also a great way to teach kids the art of riding a bike on the street, and many parents prefer it to a single small bike or a bike with a trailer.
What’s the point of a tandem bike?
Tandems can also be used for bike tours, solving cyclists’ problems with different skills touring together. Each cyclist can operate as he or she wishes, and all cyclists travel at the same speed.
Can a tandem bike be ridden by one person?
While there’s more friction and weight, it’s something a single rider can handle. It’s just a big, heavy bike, but of course, it’s easier than riding a tandem with an additional rider.
Who works harder on a tandem bike?
Tandem bike captaining requires more strength than riding a single bike because the captain has to control the heavy bike’s combined weight and the weight of two people. It makes sense for the stronger rider to captain a tandem.
A few words on upkeep
While any bicycle, tandem or otherwise, will entail upkeep, the facts are pretty clear that tandem bikes will keep you busy. The more you ride your bike, the more features you will wear out over time, from your brakes to your suspension and everything in between.
That is why it is so important that riders take the time to learn the ins and outs of their bike while opting for higher quality components. While this can be seen as a negative to some people, it is also an unlikely strength.
Tandem bikes have so much room for customization that you and your co-riders can pick specific parts that cater to your riding style, spending extra money where necessary to get the best available gear.