In photos on the Internet one often sees the unusual “Tandem” bicycle with two people riding at the same time. Immediately you wonder, “What is the name of such a bicycle for two people with two or more seats?”
Involuntarily you begin to imagine a couple in love and their walk together on a country road. The romance of it all.
Unfortunately, in life it is rare to meet a similar model of bicycle. Therefore, many people are familiar with them only from photos and romantic comedies. Also double models are used not only by lovers for travel, but also by athletes in competitions.
What is a tandem bicycle
In recent years, the tandem bicycle has been gaining popularity. This is the name given to a bicycle with two or more seats that are arranged behind each other. Mostly, they are chosen by people for romantic walks. Therefore, the most common is the two-seater bicycle, which is designed for two adults.
A family bike can be for two people, or three or even four people. At the same time, everyone will have their own handlebars and seats. Therefore, the tandem is a great option for traveling with children.
In addition to the “Tandem”, there is also a model “for buddies”. This is the name acquired by the bicycle for two, designed in such a way that two people do not sit behind each other, but on the side.
The first tandem bicycle appeared in Denmark in 1898. Engineers designed it for the military. It was assumed that by using a two-person bicycle, two people would be able to defend themselves and fight back against the enemy. Their weight was about 11 kilograms.
At the beginning of the 20th century, low-quality steel began to be used. Tandems could not withstand the load and broke under the weight of the passengers.
Only in 1963, tandem bicycles began to be mass produced in the United States. They became available to ordinary citizens for transportation, as well as for entertainment.
Now many companies around the world offer their tandem bicycles for two or more passengers.
The whole process of control falls on the front rider. It is he who can control the steering wheel and switch speeds. The second cyclist only twists the pedals and helps to gain speed, his rudder serves as a support.
However, it is impossible to manage a two-person bicycle alone.
Distinctive features of a tandem bicycle:
- Length – up to 2.4 meters.
- Weight – about 15-20 kilograms.
- Chain length – about 3 meters.
- The front star – 60-tooth, the other sprockets – 12-tooth.
- Reliable frame that can withstand the load of two passengers.
- Two seats, two handlebars and two pairs of pedals.
- Additional brakes.
Due to the increased number of parts, the cost of a two-passenger bicycle is significantly higher than the cost of a standard single-passenger model.
On a two-passenger bicycle, the powers of the passengers complement each other. That is, both cyclists pedal, which sets the bike in motion.
Modern tandem models differ in three types of chain gears, depending on the location of the chain:
- In the first, the front system is connected to the rear with a left-hand chain and the rear with a right-hand hub.
This is the most common variant. When riding in tandem, the chains do not engage each other, and the number of gears is unlimited.
- Both chains are on the right side.
Since one chain can hit the other, the number of gears is limited. This type of chain gear is used by professional cyclists.
- One chain is located from the front crank to the cassette, and the other is located from the front system to the rear.
The design involves the use of a long chain.
System and wheels
Crank systems differ in the number of sprockets:
- The front system has one sprocket;
- The rear has several, such as three or four.
Wheel diameters for tandems come in only two varieties:
Distinguishing features of tandem bicycle wheels are:
- Strong rims and a large number of spokes – to further strengthen the structure of the bike;
- high pressure in the chambers – to reduce the risk of breakdown of the wheel under the influence of their own weight of the passengers.
Two or three-passenger bike is more difficult to accelerate. But it is even harder to stop it. Therefore, the tandem is equipped with additional brakes.
Depending on the purpose of use, a tandem bicycle is fitted with one of two types of braking system:
- Drum brakes are a great option for steep descents. The brake system handles constant speed on downhills and steep corners.
- Hydraulic disc brakes are an option for couples who will use the vehicle for walking on flat terrain.
For competitions, athletes choose exactly drum brakes.
Pros and cons
In addition to the fact that on such a trip, no one will fall behind, the Tandem bicycle has the following advantages:
- The original way to spend a romantic evening and bring the couple closer together.
- The ability to develop a higher speed than on a normal bicycle.
- Saving strength on long journeys. The main load is on the first passenger. Passengers can take turns resting and recuperating while riding.
- The second passenger can talk on the phone, look at a map, or take pictures.
- Introducing children to cycling and organizing family entertainment.
Undeniable advantage: the second cyclist can take part in competitions, having health problems. For example, poor eyesight or attention problems.
- The main problem is the difficulty of braking. Since a bicycle with two adults has a lot of weight, it is much harder to brake than on a normal bike.
- Difficulty going uphill. It is necessary to apply more force due to the increased mass. This also makes it difficult to corner.
- A second passenger cannot see the road, which may cause discomfort.
- The impossibility of attaching to the car. Which means the tandem bike is difficult to transport to the start of the trip.
- High cost compared to a regular bicycle.
How to learn to ride
Riding a tandem is a team effort between two or more people. Everyone has to understand when to brake, accelerate and turn. That’s why it takes a team.
Front seat passenger functions:
- Steering wheel controls;
- Speed shifting;
- Rotation of pedals;
- Visibility of the road (potholes, bumps, obstacles, etc.).
The tasks of the other passengers are only pedaling.
It is important to remember that the tandem has a long braking distance. Therefore, you should accelerate with caution and be ready for emergency braking.
Tandems are not as widespread as road or mountain bikes. Major manufacturers can be counted on one’s fingers. They include:
- Bilenky Cycle Works;
- Bohemian Bicycles;
- Cannondale Bicycle Corporation;
- Co-Motion Cycles;
- Dawes Cycles and others.
It makes sense that tandems are produced in limited quantities due to low demand. Many owners purchase their future vehicle to order.
It is extremely difficult to control a tandem alone. Therefore, choose a bike together with a partner right away. Do not count on being able to manage on your own.
Before you buy a tandem, choose a comfortable bike model. Remember that the quality of workmanship affects the safety of both your own and your passengers.
First, pay attention to the same technical specifications as when buying standard models of bicycles:
- Wheels – their diameter, size and number.
- Speeds – the number of gears.
- Material – what the parts are made of, viz:
- forks of the front handlebar.
- Dimensions – weight and dimensions of the tandem.
- Adjustment – which parts can be adjusted (handlebars, seats, etc.).
Tandem is a very rare model of bicycle. It is almost impossible to meet them on the street, walking near the house. Especially in Russia. Therefore, the owners of tandems can safely consider themselves the owners of exclusive transport.
Pair tandem bicycle will strengthen the relationship, and the walk will cause a storm of impressions. Travelling will leave warm memories for a lifetime.