In fact, there are some days when I learn quite a few new things and often times they are related to tandems and tandeming. I had two such learning experiences this past week in and amongst my ramblings on bikeforums.net.
The first had to do with tandem roof racks. While I knew that RockyMounts had adopted a new design for their tandem mount a few years back, I never took much notice of what all they’d changed. Turns out, they changed quite a few things. For instance, until our friend ‘Bud’ (aka, WheresWaldo) corrected me I had no idea the newer Rocky Mounts tandem mount incorporated a pivoting head that mimics Charlie Buchalter’s ATOC TandemTopper design, also sold as the Thule 558p. Yakima had also taken note of the ATOC pivoting head design a few years ago and developed their ‘Sidewinder’ tandem mount around a pivoting head.
RackOutfitters.com has a series of ‘how to use’ videos that feature all three of these tandem mounts that does a nice job of illustrating how these racks work and their respective, unique features. I would note, they appear to be using a small sized Co-Motion Mocha with 26″ wheels for their demos. The small Mocha is shorter than the average road tandem, hence the very tight clearances between the front timing ring and the somewhat high-profile Ford SUV also used for the demo. Where the ATOC/Thule design really shines is for triplets and quads; however, the optional support brace is a must.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’ve always liked the ATOC/Thule from an aesthetic standpoint and for it’s rather simple design details. However, the pivoting head does seem to ‘wobble’ a bit which makes the optional support brace a pretty attractive add-on even for a large-size tandem. The Rocky Mounts looks like a good value for all of the features it offers, but is a bit of an eye-full for my tastes. The same has always been true of the Yakima tandem mounts as well as the early Thule in-house tandem mount but the Sidewinder beats all in the visually awkward / high aerodrag department; moreover, the design pretty much limits it to use with tandems as I would not want to support a triplet at that high of an angle and the CG sitting aft of the boom support.