When it comes to Tandem bicycles, we’ve heard it all! We often hear the same questions from many of our customers and it’s likely that your question is covered here. But, should have a question that isn’t covered on our website please contact us. We are here to help! To help you understand some tandem bike basics, we’ve included our list of the most frequently asked questions.
What is a tandem bicycle used for?
A tandem is a bicycle built for two people. This fun vehicle makes it possible for two riders of differing abilities and skill levels to arrive
at the same place, at the same time – and have fun riding together!
Are tandems hard to ride?
No. Tandems are not difficult to ride, but they are different than riding single bikes. Riders will need to take the extra length and weight
of the tandem into consideration. With a little practice riding a bicycle built for two, tandem teams will quickly get a feel for it. At
Tandem Cycle Works, we can give you a brief riding tutorial and send you out on one of our rentals, so you can give it a try on a
nearby bike path.
Who sits in front?
The larger/stronger/more experienced rider will be in the front; this person is called the captain. The captain steers, shifts, and brakes
the bike. The rider in the back is called the stoker. The stoker pedals – and helps by signaling turns and providing navigation
Tandems handle much better when the heavier, larger rider is in the captain position. With the larger rider up front, the weight is better
distributed on the frame. All modern tandems are designed for the bigger person to sit in the forward position.
Do we both always need to pedal?
Yes. On tandem bikes, the pedal crank arms move synchronously because they are connected by what is known as the timing chain
or timing belt.
Is it true that tandems are divorce machines?
Not at all! Our customers rent and buy tandems from Tandem Cycle Works as a way to spend quality time together and have fun. We
have personally found that it has improved our communication and our relationship – others tell us the same!
Is tandem biking easier?
Riding a tandem bike is not really easier or harder than riding a single bicycle; it’s just different. It might be compared to driving a truck
v. driving a car. Once you get used to riding a tandem, it’s easy!
Can tandem bikes go faster?
It depends. Generally, two strong riders can go faster than someone on a single bike. Uphill, tandem teams typically slow down due to
the weight of two riders. On the descent, however, two people pedaling can significantly increase speed.
What are the most popular tandem bikes?
At Tandem Cycle Works, our most popular tandems are the Co-Motion Carrera Co-Pilot and the KHS Cross. We have a tandem for
everyone — for teams just starting their tandem adventure to teams looking for high-end performance bikes.
Do tandems come in different sizes?
Yes. Like single bikes, tandems come in a variety of frame sizes. It is crucial to get the frame size right to have optimum comfort while
riding. The two primary measurements needed for both the captain (rider in front) and the stoker (rider in back) are height and inseam.
Tandem manufacturers size their frames differently, so there’s no standard one-size-fits-all. The experts at Tandem Cycle Works
know these brands and have years of experience helping tandem teams select the correct frame size for their body types.
How do you fit a bike for two people?
Teams that value comfort while riding will have a very different fit than teams looking for performance and speed. The main things to
consider when fitting a tandem team are the bicycle’s seat height and handlebar reach. Most importantly, the bike should fit YOU —
you shouldn’t have to make yourself fit the bike! Bring your tandem into Tandem Cycle Works to get fitted for years of riding
Are there different kinds of tandems?
Yes, there are several kinds. Choosing the right one all depends on the type of riding you do. There are tandems for road racing and
touring, off-road/gravel, performance, and comfort/path riding. We have years of experience helping teams select their perfect type of
How do we transport our tandem?
If you don’t have a vehicle big enough to accommodate your tandem bike, look for a carrier that supports your bike’s frame. There are
roof-mount tandem carriers, as well. For air travel, some manufacturers offer couplers that allow you to take your tandem apart, pack
it, and take it with you to your destination.
How do we travel with our tandem?
We can help you select a tandem with couplers, so you can take your bike with you! Couplers are an option that allows you to take
your bike apart for travel. They are specifically engineered for disassembly and assembly, while maintaining the frame’s integrity. The frame sections and bike components are easily packed into bike-specific travel cases. These can be checked on airlines like regular
baggage. Once reassembled at your destination, you can explore in comfort on your own tandem bike!
What options or components are available for tandems?
There are many! A great advantage of tandems is being able to mix and match components to suit both riders. Tandem teams have
the utmost flexibility when configuring their bikes. Some interchangeable parts to consider are suspension seat posts, handlebars,
pedals, carbon forks and cranks, wheels, carbon fiber belts, electronic shifters and derailleurs, internally geared hubs, and couplers.
Do tandems need special brakes?
No. Most modern tandems use cable or hydraulic disc brakes. Older tandems may have drum brakes; however, this brake type is no
Do tandems have a lot of frame flex?
No. Frame tubes are now engineered to virtually eliminate any flex, no matter what material they are made from. These materials
include aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, or titanium.
Are there bike tours specifically for tandem riders?
Yes. There are several companies and organizations that offer tours. For example, TandemBicycleTours.com is a touring company
that specializes in bike vacations for tandem cycling.
How much weight can a tandem bike hold?
This depends on the tandem frame. We’ve seen tandem teams with a total team weight of up to 400 pounds.
Can I upgrade or modernize my old tandem?
It might be possible. Some considerations are the age and design of the tandem, and what you are looking to upgrade. For certain
tandems, it would simply not be cost-effective.
What are some Tandem cycling tips?
Too many to list here! Check out our website or give us a call and our experts would be happy to provide tips on how to ride
tandem, selecting a tandem bicycle, tandem bike maintenance, tandem rentals, and traveling with a tandem – or any other tandem