Tandem sizing, short captain and tall stoker

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Antti Salonen, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. I've been looking into tandems, mostly because riding with my girlfriend
    would be a lot nicer if we could both get good exercise while doing it.
    Because I have a more riding experience, better technique and a lot more
    upper and lower body strength (and perhaps a fragile ego), we both very
    much agree that I should be the captain.

    The problem is this: I'm 5'7", 30.5" inseam, she is 5'11", 34.5" inseam.
    Both are about 135 lbs, so the total weight is pretty low. Are all
    stock tandems out of the question?

    And even with a custom frame, I'm guessing that getting the stoker's
    handlebar low enough will be difficult, especially with the captain's
    saddle already a lot lower than the stoker's. I'm also wondering about
    the stoker's cockpit length. If you use a stoker stem that raises the
    handlebar behind the captains saddle (instead of below), the cockpit
    would become even shorter. With a big frame it might work, but then
    getting the captain's handlebar low enough would probably be difficult.

    Advice?

    -as
     
    Tags:


  2. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    Antti Salonen <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I've been looking into tandems, mostly because riding with my girlfriend
    >would be a lot nicer if we could both get good exercise while doing it.
    >Because I have a more riding experience, better technique and a lot more
    >upper and lower body strength (and perhaps a fragile ego), we both very
    >much agree that I should be the captain.
    >
    >The problem is this: I'm 5'7", 30.5" inseam, she is 5'11", 34.5" inseam.
    >Both are about 135 lbs, so the total weight is pretty low. Are all
    >stock tandems out of the question?
    >
    >And even with a custom frame, I'm guessing that getting the stoker's
    >handlebar low enough will be difficult, especially with the captain's
    >saddle already a lot lower than the stoker's.


    That's usually not much of an issue, since the stoker's stem is
    fastened to your seatpost, and has plenty of vertical adjustment
    (plus, they angle upward). If her bars need to be higher than your
    saddle, you could have a problem.

    > I'm also wondering about
    >the stoker's cockpit length. If you use a stoker stem that raises the
    >handlebar behind the captains saddle (instead of below), the cockpit
    >would become even shorter. With a big frame it might work, but then
    >getting the captain's handlebar low enough would probably be difficult.


    Depends on how low you ride your bars. You would want a bike with a
    longish (relatively speaking) rear cockpit. Some twofers have fairly
    hoirzontal top tubes, and as long as your stoker doesn't need the bars
    any higher than (approximately) your saddle, you should be fine.

    To get it perfect, you'd probably have to go custom, which isn't all
    that much more expensive than a "stock" tandem (on a percentage basis
    at least).

    Mark Hickey
    Habanero Cycles
    http://www.habcycles.com
    Home of the $795 ti frame
     
  3. Antti Salonen wrote:
    > I've been looking into tandems, mostly because riding with my girlfriend
    > would be a lot nicer if we could both get good exercise while doing it.
    > Because I have a more riding experience, better technique and a lot more
    > upper and lower body strength (and perhaps a fragile ego), we both very
    > much agree that I should be the captain.
    >
    > The problem is this: I'm 5'7", 30.5" inseam, she is 5'11", 34.5" inseam.
    > Both are about 135 lbs, so the total weight is pretty low. Are all
    > stock tandems out of the question?
    >
    > And even with a custom frame, I'm guessing that getting the stoker's
    > handlebar low enough will be difficult, especially with the captain's
    > saddle already a lot lower than the stoker's. I'm also wondering about
    > the stoker's cockpit length. If you use a stoker stem that raises the
    > handlebar behind the captains saddle (instead of below), the cockpit
    > would become even shorter. With a big frame it might work, but then
    > getting the captain's handlebar low enough would probably be difficult.
    >
    > Advice?
    >
    > -as


    In my very limited stoker riding experience, I'd say you need a custom
    or a very high end tandem that already builds in a very long stoker top
    tube on all frames. I'm 5'11" and have ridden stoker on a first model
    year Cannondale tandem. I was extremely cramped, forced to sit very
    upright, and the stoker bars were as far forward as possible so my
    hands were rubbing the captain's arse on every pedal stroke. I've
    ridden stoker on a Co-Motion Big Al large size frame and there was
    enough room for the stoker. But still shorter than what I use on my
    single bikes. And Co-Motion supposedly builds in long stoker top tubes
    on their frames. Particularly a large frame.
     
  4. [email protected] wrote:

    > In my very limited stoker riding experience, I'd say you need a custom
    > or a very high end tandem that already builds in a very long stoker top
    > tube on all frames. I'm 5'11" and have ridden stoker on a first model
    > year Cannondale tandem. I was extremely cramped, forced to sit very
    > upright, and the stoker bars were as far forward as possible so my
    > hands were rubbing the captain's arse on every pedal stroke. I've
    > ridden stoker on a Co-Motion Big Al large size frame and there was
    > enough room for the stoker. But still shorter than what I use on my
    > single bikes. And Co-Motion supposedly builds in long stoker top tubes
    > on their frames. Particularly a large frame.


    I'm guessing it comes down to three issues:

    1) Getting the stoker's handlebar high enough. When the captains
    saddle is 3" lower than the stoker's it's tight but should be doable
    with a flat bar.

    2) Getting the stoker's cockpit long enough. This is obviously possible
    with a large frame.

    3) Getting enough crotch clearance for the captain.

    I'm guessing that 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive without custom
    geometry. In addition, I'd like to have my drop bars at least an inch
    below saddle level, so with a large frame that would be difficult.

    -as
     
  5. Mark Janeba

    Mark Janeba Guest

    Antti Salonen wrote:

    > [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >
    >>In my very limited stoker riding experience, I'd say you need a custom
    >>or a very high end tandem that already builds in a very long stoker top
    >>tube on all frames. I'm 5'11" and have ridden stoker on a first model
    >>year Cannondale tandem. I was extremely cramped, forced to sit very
    >>upright, and the stoker bars were as far forward as possible so my
    >>hands were rubbing the captain's arse on every pedal stroke. I've
    >>ridden stoker on a Co-Motion Big Al large size frame and there was
    >>enough room for the stoker. But still shorter than what I use on my
    >>single bikes. And Co-Motion supposedly builds in long stoker top tubes
    >>on their frames. Particularly a large frame.

    >
    >
    > I'm guessing it comes down to three issues:
    >
    > 1) Getting the stoker's handlebar high enough. When the captains
    > saddle is 3" lower than the stoker's it's tight but should be doable
    > with a flat bar.
    >
    > 2) Getting the stoker's cockpit long enough. This is obviously possible
    > with a large frame.
    >
    > 3) Getting enough crotch clearance for the captain.
    >
    > I'm guessing that 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive without custom
    > geometry. In addition, I'd like to have my drop bars at least an inch
    > below saddle level, so with a large frame that would be difficult.


    If the stoker has sufficient upper body strength, you could just arrange
    that the stoker puts a foot down at stops and the captain stays up
    (revere of the typical arrangement). Then (3) is much less of an issue,
    though it's an awkward compromise.

    As I've posted before, I've seen this done with a blind father with his
    much smaller son captaining - seemed to work for them, but of course
    they had much more compelling need given how small the son was.

    Mark
     
  6. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    Antti Salonen wrote:
    > I've been looking into tandems, mostly because riding with my girlfriend
    > would be a lot nicer if we could both get good exercise while doing it.
    > Because I have a more riding experience, better technique and a lot more
    > upper and lower body strength (and perhaps a fragile ego), we both very
    > much agree that I should be the captain.
    >
    > The problem is this: I'm 5'7", 30.5" inseam, she is 5'11", 34.5" inseam.
    > Both are about 135 lbs, so the total weight is pretty low. Are all
    > stock tandems out of the question?
    >
    > And even with a custom frame, I'm guessing that getting the stoker's
    > handlebar low enough will be difficult, especially with the captain's
    > saddle already a lot lower than the stoker's. I'm also wondering about
    > the stoker's cockpit length. If you use a stoker stem that raises the
    > handlebar behind the captains saddle (instead of below), the cockpit
    > would become even shorter. With a big frame it might work, but then
    > getting the captain's handlebar low enough would probably be difficult.


    Consider a 'hi-rise' stoker bar rather than a low 'stoker' bar:
    http://www.yellowjersey.org/photosfromthepast/SANTFLOP.JPG
    http://www.yellowjersey.org/photosfromthepast/SANTFLIP.JPG

    --
    Andrew Muzi
    www.yellowjersey.org
    Open every day since 1 April, 1971
     
  7. Antti Salonen wrote:
    > I've been looking into tandems, mostly because riding with my girlfriend
    > would be a lot nicer if we could both get good exercise while doing it.
    > Because I have a more riding experience, better technique and a lot more
    > upper and lower body strength (and perhaps a fragile ego), we both very
    > much agree that I should be the captain.
    >
    > The problem is this: I'm 5'7", 30.5" inseam, she is 5'11", 34.5" inseam.
    > Both are about 135 lbs, so the total weight is pretty low. Are all
    > stock tandems out of the question?
    >
    > And even with a custom frame, I'm guessing that getting the stoker's
    > handlebar low enough will be difficult, especially with the captain's
    > saddle already a lot lower than the stoker's. I'm also wondering about
    > the stoker's cockpit length. If you use a stoker stem that raises the
    > handlebar behind the captains saddle (instead of below), the cockpit
    > would become even shorter. With a big frame it might work, but then
    > getting the captain's handlebar low enough would probably be difficult.
    >
    > Advice?


    See <http://www.geocities.com/rcgilmore3/FlevoB_B.jpg>.

    --
    Tom Sherman
     
  8. Quoting Antti Salonen <[email protected]>:
    >I've been looking into tandems, mostly because riding with my girlfriend
    >would be a lot nicer if we could both get good exercise while doing it.
    >Because I have a more riding experience, better technique and a lot more
    >upper and lower body strength (and perhaps a fragile ego), we both very
    >much agree that I should be the captain.
    >The problem is this: I'm 5'7", 30.5" inseam, she is 5'11", 34.5" inseam.


    My stoker is about two or three inches taller than me, but we still agreed
    I would be the captain for much the same reason. We bought a second-hand
    1980s tandem on eBay - luckily, from someone who lived 2 miles from me.
    Frames of this vintage often have level top tubes and so are much more
    suitable for taller stokers.

    Our stoker bars are inverted drop handlebars. The stoker cockpit is pretty
    tight - we had to abandon the idea of mounting a map there, for example -
    but not impossible.

    I also recommend you use shorter cranks. Then more of the difference in
    your girlfriend's height will be in her feet being lower at the bottom of
    the stroke.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
    Today is Gloucesterday, February.
     
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