What is A Tandem Bike?

A single rider bicycle is popular and fun to ride. However, to add a completely new dimension to this experience you can try out riding the tandem bike as well. These are long bikes and are preferred by cyclists for various reasons.

The tandem bike has two seats and it lets two cyclists to ride the bike together. Both cyclists could be of different abilities and have different strengths. The speed of both the riders does not have to match. They can ride at their own individual speed. Thus, the fast rider does not have to wait and the slow rider does not have to ride fast to catch up with the speed of his partner.

The tandem bike lets one ride as a team.

This changes the solitary activity to a couple of activity. In addition, if one of the partners is handicapped he can still enjoy cycling a tandem bike with a partner. Tandem bikes can also let the parent and the child team together.

For those who enjoy high-speed cycling, tandem bikes offer them the best experience.

Terminologies of a tandem bike

Couple riding tandem bicycle

Here are a few terminologies of a tandem bike that you should be aware of:

  • Captain or pilot is the front rider on the tandem bike. He is responsible to control the tandem, which includes steering, braking, balancing and using the gears.
  • The stoker or the rear rider on the tandem bike has to trust the front rider completely. He gives all the control to the captain. The stoker will have to lean when the bike gets into corners and try to balance the bike. He will also have to provide power using the pedals.

Features of a tandem bike

  • The wheels and the rim are the most important choice of a tandem bike. Thus, make sure to find the best and the strongest wheel that you can.
  • If you want to carry a lot of weight then check the heavy-weight options for the rim. For less weight, the lighter weight will do.
  • The tandem will have more spokes than what a standard wheel has. This is so that the load is reduced on each spoke.
  • The hub size is typically 145-160 mm in the tandem wheel.
  • Trailers help to reduce the weight of the wheels of your tandem bike.
  • A road handlebar is preferred for the captain because it offers different positions. The flat and wide handlebar makes it easy to handle the tandem because it helps to increase the leverage of the steering which makes it easy to manage loads.
  • For the stoker, a bullhorn or flat handlebar is best.
  • The stoker will not be able to anticipate the bumps and thus the suspension seat post is used
  • The tandems are fast and the cyclist will need the top end gears. It also needs low-end gears for the perfect balance.
  • The tandem carries more weight than the solo bike so you need powerful breaks for the same. The disc brake is recommended on the heavy-weight tandems. The other option is the rim brake.
  • Timing Chain is the front chain or the belt that connects the front and the rear crankset. This helps to drive power on the rear wheel to the sprocket towards the rear side.
  • The Boom Tube is the horizontal frame tube and it connects the two bracket shells at the bottom on a tandem frame.

The fitting of a tandem bike

Young couple riding on the tandem bicycle

A tandem bike has to fit in two riders. It could be challenging to find one that is perfectly suitable for both the tandem riders. It is preferred if the larger rider stays on the front.

If there is a slight compromise on the fitting of the tandem bike then it is best that the bike fits the captain. The front frame of the tandem should not be very large so that the captain can straddle easily. The captain will also have to stretch his feet to balance the bike and the stoker’s weight. So the clearance should be much bigger as compared to that on a single bike.

For the stoker, it is not necessary to be able to straddle the frame. In general, it is recommended to use a tandem with a high handlebar position especially for those who are not riding the tandem for speed. The high bar helps to reduce tiredness for the captain.

The tandem team

The tandem team works like the sum of parts. The team will eventually develop communication that is non-verbal. Just the shift in weight and the variation in the force on the pedal will let both the cyclists to achieve a balance. After a few miles, the cyclist will be able to cast at the same time and shift without discussing. It also will let them maneuver at slow speeds smoothly. A skill that is acquired by both cyclists when they ride a tandem bike.

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Advantages of riding a tandem bike

Here is the list of advantages of riding a tandem bike.

  • It lets partners of different abilities ride with ease. The cyclist gets to choose how hard or how easy he wants to drive and the other does not have to catch up with his partner’s speed.
  • It is safe to ride the tandem bike. When both the riders are riding the bike at the same time it lets them be together and at the same time both get to cycle.
  • The tandem bikes are faster than single bikes. It has two wheels and four pedals, which makes it much faster than single bikes.
  • You do not have to shout out to your partner who is riding another bike. With the tandem bike, since both of you are together, it lets you not lose sight of each other.
  • If you are taking your tandem bike outstation then this is preferred over two single bikes because the number of spares that you need to carry for one bike is less than the number of spares to carry for two bikes.
  • A tandem bike is a great option for those who do not know how to ride a bicycle. The pilot can ride while you sit behind and enjoy pedaling without having to balance the bike.