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Room For Two: Riding The Best Tandem Bikes This Summer (2022)

New to tandem bikes and not sure if you need one?

These things are crazy long compared to a regular bike since they fit two riders and come replete with two handlebars, two seats, two “engines” or modes to generate power with two sets of pedals.

When you hear the term – doing anything in tandem- it means to do it together at the same time. Tandem cycling is just that – two riders enjoying and powering a bicycle at the same time.

This guide is designed to make your purchase of your very first tandem bike a bit easier.  

Like any other bicycle purchase there are certain things you should be aware of.

No matter how much fun you have while you are cycling bear in mind that is it is a mode of transportation that comes along with a myriad of responsibility.  

Continue reading to ascertain how you can effectively mantle your tandem responsibility – smiling all the while.

Or, if you think a tandem bike might be too much for you, then check out our recommendations for single rider road bikes here.

Best Tandem Bikes For The Money

Why Buy a Tandem Bike?

The great thing about tandem bike riding is that you can multiply your single ride joy times two.

Whether you enjoy, mountain bike riding, touring jaunts, speed racing or any form of bike riding, most likely you will be able to ride that same style on a tandem.

The main reason that riders decide to ride as a team is because what is fun, challenging, invigorating, thrilling, life-affirming for one is doubled for two.  

Why not add to your pleasure?

What’s Gonna Work? Teamwork!

That’s what it is all about – doing something that you enjoy with someone that you enjoy.

We definitely don’t recommend tandem riding with someone you don’t want to be close to.

Depending upon the exact positioning of the bike you will be very  close to one another.  

Tandem riders point out that they gain great benefit from the shared work that is employed through their joint efforts.

The “captain” or front rider is usually given the majority of the work in cycling in that they herald the speed of bike, the direction, and the best view of the upcoming terrain.

The rear rider or “stoker” cannot actually set the speed of the ride.

They are aptly named the stoker of the team since they stoke the “fire” by pedaling to contribute to the energy that the captain of the team has initiated.

The stoker is the supplemental rider as tandems can be operated by the captain alone.

Stokers must be forewarned by their captain of an upcoming bump or pothole so that they can brace themselves and proactively position their bodies to withstand the shock.

Tandem bike riding is one fun-filled way to make bike riding a team sport.

tandem bike

What Features and Components Should You Look For With Your Tandem Bike Purchase

Tandem bike purchases are like any other bike purchase.

If you invest time into the process there is a better chance you will like the outcome and be happy with your purchase.

The process begins with knowing how you want to use your tandem bike.

Using it for daily use, to commute back and forth to work, for century riding, for racing whether you want to use the bicycle on pavement or on rough trails – all of these factors must be considered prior to purchase.

  • Customizing is big with tandem bike riders.
  • Handlebars can be tailored specifically to each riders individual preferences.
  • If a child is the stoker in the pair, height appropriate cranksets can be added so that they can contribute to the pedaling action.
  • Seats can be customized to provide for better shock absorption as well as design and comfort levels.
  • Color coordination, bells, whistles, baskets and racks can be customized to make your tandem a unique rider on the road of your choice.

Will It Fit Us? 

Getting the right fit for your bike is key in having the right ride.

Your body and the machine has to work properly together to ensure you are getting what you want out of your bike riding experience.

Now let’s double that critical need times two. It is even more necessary to make certain that the tandem bike fits both of the riders correctly.  

Like most bikes tandems are fully adjustable.  

What cannot be typically adjusted in a tandem is the frame.

Tandem frames are usually manufactured for people who are of “average” size.  

Tandems are built with the notion that the captain is the larger of the twosome. 

Sometimes that is not the case and you must look out for bikes that can accommodate a larger or longer person in the stoker position.

Getting the right frame is so important for the comfort of the stoker especially getting an ill-fitted frame means the stoker will feel over extended and will have to reach to an inappropriate level to touch the handlebars.

If the frame sizing is off to the point that the stoker is jammed up behind the captain that will not work either.

Many shops will allow for ample test riding to ensure everyone is comfortable and getting the most out of the bike.

No matter what the dimensions are or need to be for proper fit all couples can be accommodated with the proper level of customization.

Getting The Right Wheels

Tandems boast the benefits of having two less wheels than two individual bikes.

That means less wheel replacement and less flat tire repair.

The type of wheels you choose are an important consideration.

Remember these babies will be helping to support two bodies not just one.

With customization you can get just about anything that you want but typically, tandems come with either 700c wheels or 26 inch wheels.

With 26 inch wheels you get a better choice if you want to be a well-rounded tandem rider.

Maybe you do a little bit of off-roading, may get into a little light competitive race with a couple you guys know but nothing heavy – you may want to go with the 26 inch wheels because you will have more options and you will have a more durable product overall.

They can be the knobier, thicker, more comfortable choice for your tandem bike tires.

Now if you are looking for a more sportier type of cycling experience then you will want to go with the 700C tires.

Riders find thieves wheels to be faster, lighter and generally more efficient in using the pedaling energy you two are generating.  

Having the right wheels is heavily contingent upon the type of riding you will be doing and your personal preferences.   

Some Other Things to Consider…

Count on needing extra storage space to house your tandem.

It is worth it however, when you consider all of the hours of fun you can have with your teammate.

Many people decide to participate in tandem races along with others.

You may not know your partner when you get to a competitive level of riding.

Make certain you are up to this particular challenge.by being the best rider you can be.

Be flexible sometimes you may opt to trade positions being the stoker on some occasions and the captain on others.

It is always a team effort but there has to be a leader.

That leader is the captain but that doesn’t mean that tthe stoker isn’t important.

Ride “Em Cowboy…and Cowgirl!

For a select multitude, cycling is a way of life.

Once you discover that you have a thing going on for the cycle, it is something that does not go away easily and more likely not at all  

There are so many ways to indulge your passion.

Quite naturally todays innovations and technology make cycling almost as diverse as human beings are.

Not only can you ride on different terrain, at different speeds at different heights you can ride in different numbers.

If you are fortunate enough to find someone to share your passion with choosing a tandem bike is a natural step.

Finding the right tandem bike for you and your riding partner will be a lot easier now that you know much more about what to look for. Enjoy the ride – together.

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