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How Long Is a Tandem Bike: Frame, Wheels, Brakes, & Handlebars

Riding a tandem is the ultimate bike fun experience that you get to share with someone. If you are looking for reasons to buy a tandem bike or are wondering how long is a tandem bike, keep reading this article. Starting from why to ride it, the dimensions of different parts of the bike, and ways to transport it—you can read all these below.

Why Ride A Tandem?

Besides offering a unique and fun experience, we present four other reasons to ride a tandem bike. Read on to go through each one of them.

Riding together

The main reason why you should ride a tandem bike is the opportunity to ride it together with someone else. This someone else can be a kid, someone with disabilities, a significant other, or just a friend.

Riding a tandem bike with kids

Tandems are a safe way to introduce your kids to cycling. At all times, but specifically in areas with heavy traffic, it is crucial that you ensure a safe ride for your kid. Riding a tandem bike offers you complete control as a captain while your kid will pedal along. The saddle height can be adjusted to accommodate your kid’s needs. By riding together, the child will learn how to safely ride a bike while watching and participating in the ride. Moreover, using a tandem will enable you to have longer rides with your kids, as you will be doing most of the work, so they will be able to “catch on.”

“Anyone” can ride a tandem

With a tandem bike, even people who cannot ride a single bike can experience the joy of riding. People suffering from certain mental health conditions who cannot ride alone can ride together with someone on a tandem bike. Furthermore, even blind or visually impaired people can ride a bike as a stoker. Tandem bikes work for anyone who simply doesn’t feel comfortable riding alone.

Two people with different skills riding together

Sometimes when two people decide to go for a ride together on single bikes, one rider is often trailing behind since that person is physically weaker than the other rider. Waiting for someone to catch up while all you want is to enjoy your ride or having to rush behind someone can be irritating. Using a tandem bike doesn’t matter if one rider is more experienced, stronger, or faster than the other. Both riders will enjoy the ride together while contributing to the ride, with different skill levels. In the end, they both arrive at their destination at the same time.

Couple riding

If you are looking for ways to strengthen your relationship with your significant other, consider tandem riding. It’s a great way to have fun and learn to work together as a team. One of you will be in charge of steering, shifting, and controlling the brakes; the other can be responsible for taking photos or looking at the map while you both pedal simultaneously. You will communicate with and trust each other while working together to reach your destination.

Riding together as a couple will also give you time to chat. Riding a single bike wouldn’t allow you to experience everything together. With a tandem, your partner is always near you while riding. You see and hear the same things. And since you are close, you can talk to one another in a normal voice.

Efficiency

Compared to separate bikes, tandems are significantly faster. Two riders can create twice as much pedaling power as opposed to one. Furthermore, a tandem bike is also lighter than two bikes. Thus, it takes less energy to climb hills and maintain your speed. In addition, tandem bikes are more aerodynamic and create less wind resistance than two bikes. All of this allows you to ride further and faster while burning less energy.

 Attracting attention

attracting-attention

People tend to always notice tandems. When you ride by, they will honk and smile. Children will point and wave. Sometimes, you will have people approaching you to ask questions about your tandem bike. Making new friends is guaranteed when you ride a tandem bike. It is something that brings joy to you and everyone around you.

Safety

Riding a tandem keeps you safe from drivers and thieves. Since tandems attract attention and are bigger than single bikes, you will be more visible to the drivers while you’re riding. Furthermore, not being alone while riding, you are less likely to be attacked by anyone. In addition, since tandem bikes are rare, thieves usually don’t want to steal a tandem because these bikes tend to be recognizable.

Dimensions of a Tandem Bike

Tandem frame

There are a variety of tubes that combine to create the intricate frame of a tandem bike. Depending on the tandem bike dimensions, the length of its tubes differs as well, so follow the chart below to see the average measurements.

The tube Dimension
Captain Top Tube 56.5 cm
Captain Seat Tube 54 cm
Stoker Seat Tube 44 cm
Head Tube 1.65 cm
Chainstay 43.8 cm
Seat Tube Angle 73°
Fork Span 3.9 cm
Head Tube Angle 73°
Fork Rake 5 cm
BB Drop 7.3 cm
Captain Standover 77.7 cm
Stoker Standover 68.9 cm
Wheelbase 175.1 cm
Boom Tube 72.4 cm
Stack 5.88 cm
Reach 3.84 cm

Tandem wheels

A tandem bike needs strong wheels. Deciding on a wheel size is one of the biggest decisions regarding tandems. Most of them feature 26-inch or 700c wheels. 26-inch wheels are usually made for off-road and all-around tandems, but they work for pavements too. The 26-inch tires are fatter, absorbing road shock, thus softening your ride. On the other hand, if you like long-distance touring or racing, you should go with 700c wheels. These are more efficient and made for pavement use.

Tandem brakes

Powerful brakes are crucial for a tandem bike since while riding it, the bike will be carrying at least twice the weight that a typical single bike would. For the safety of all riders, we recommend purchasing a tandem bike with disc brakes. Although rim brakes are popular with most bikes and would be an acceptable choice even for tandems suitable for pavements, they are not preferred for long slides. It is important to know that such brakes can heat the rim to the point where the tire blows off it.

So tandems usually have disc brakes with 8″ rotors. These are the best option for tandem bikes, based on their ability to cool down and stop quicker.

Tandem handlebars

tandem-handlebars

Like all other bikes, tandem ones can also have various handlebar dimensions depending on the brand and size of the bike you buy. A general rule is that the front handlebars and the rear or stoker ones should be shoulder-width apart. If they are too wide or too narrow, it can lead to muscle spasms and pain. Typically, most adult tandem bikes have around 32 mm clamp diameter handlebars.

An easy way to measure the handlebar dimensions suitable for you is by measuring the distance between your two acromioclavicular (AC) joints. This measurement provides a baseline you can follow. If the space is 40 cm, look for handlebars with that length. However, remember that you will typically need a more extended bar for the stoker. We recommend a stoker handlebar with around 40 cm extra in length, allowing enough room for the front biker’s legs and rear biker’s hands to work without touching one another.

How to Transport a Tandem Bike?

When it comes to transporting your tandem bike, there are different ways in which you can do so. Below we present all three of them.

 Putting it at the back of your car

Putting your bike inside your car is the simplest way to transport your tandem. You can put your car seats down to provide more space. Or you can remove one wheel (or both of them if needed) to make sure your bike fits inside. Then, go on and put your bike inside gently. If you removed any of the wheels, put them on top of the bike.

Using a bike rack

If you cannot put your bike inside your car for any reason, you can install a rack. Installing a rack at the roof or the back of your car will allow you to transport your bike and have it attached to your vehicle rather than inside it. You can choose between temporary or permanent racks.

Using a tandem bike bag

If you don’t want to have your bike attached to your car, you can use a tandem bike bag. To use a tandem bag, first, you need to dismantle your bike. After you do that, you can put all the parts in a tandem bag designed specifically for your bike. This method takes more time, but it is the safest one.

A tandem bike might require more care, power, and number of riders than the typical bike, but it makes up for it by providing efficiency, safety, and exposure. The proper tandem bike length depends on the dimensions of a variety of elements such as the frame, wheels, brakes, and handlebars. As long as you are careful with your picks, you will ensure that riding around with your tandem bike is not only comfortable but also safe.

Tandem bikes are worth it; you just have to know how to pick right. So follow the guide we have provided, and you will find the perfect bike for you, your partner, kids, parents, or friends. The possibilities with a tandem bike are endless- just like the fun.

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