3x the Fun: First Tandem Rally on a Triplet

If you are a regular reader and caught our Alabama Tandem Weekend reports, this isn’t exactly breaking news.  However, I was so jazzed by the whole experience that I thought I’d share some additional comments pertaining to just the triplet experience.

Brenda, Debbie and Mark just ahead of Eric, Linda & Lisa: the Triplets of Sylacauga

We’ve played around with triplets before, but this was our first serious, long riding experience and rally experience on a multi-seat tandem with three adults: what a hoot!  Note that I was fortunate enough to have low-profile, experienced stokers and that the tailgunner — Brenda, who co-owns the Co-Motion PeriScope Trident we were riding — has logged many, many miles stoking their triplet with her S.O., James, and a wide variety of guest captains and stokers. Those factors contributed greatly to the fun factor and extremely pleasant weekend of riding that we enjoyed.

James, guest stoker & Brenda at the 2007 Southern Tandem Rally in Chattanooga, TN, on the 26" PeriScope Trident.

As for how riding the triplet compared to our tandems, obviously, getting on/off is quite a different production given that the middle stoker has to deal with handlebars and potentially a rider sitting behind their saddle that just aren’t an issue on a two-place tandem.

Starting and stopping, at least with the two experienced stokers that I enjoyed on our weekend, wasn’t all that different other than having to be better about keeping the tandem absolutely upright and getting both feet down for longer stops. On the two-place tandems, Debbie knows to off-set her weight to the left when I put my left foot down and lean the bike to the right: that’s a bozo-no-no on the Triplet… I almost dumped the bike and my stokers in the parking lot when I tried that on Sunday.

Cruising along, the difference in going from a two-place to a three-place tandem is reminiscent of going from a single bike to a tandem… it just gets smoother, faster and more stable at speed. In the rollers, again it’s like going from a single to a tandem where the added weight gives you a lot of momentum that allows you to pass the two-place tandems as they lose their downhill momentum before the heavier triplets. True climbing wasn’t all that bad for us, but then again we were a very light trio and the 26″ Triplet had very low gearing.

Cornering and turning, yeah… that’s very different. In some respects, it’s not a fair comparison because of the way the 26″ PeriScope Trident was set-up, i.e., running VERY large diameter 26×1.5″ tires vs. something closer to a 1.25″ or a 28mm tire. I also never got completely comfortable with the steering geometry. So, no big change for gradual curves; however,as someone who likes to be aggressive through corners, the triplet took a lot more finesse and a much wider line through the apex to deal with the longer wheelbase. Guiding the triplet around parking lots and such at slow speed also demanded a lot more attention and finesse. I can only imagine what a handful it would have been with stokers who were my equal in size.

Would be want to add one to the stable? Tough question, as I’m just not sure how often it would be used.  Amongst our tandem cycling friends, there are probably 1/2 a dozen triplets so it’s not like we couldn’t get our hands on one if we needed to.  Frankly, the ideal multi-seater would be a convertible that could be configured as a tandem, triplet or quad.  Having four adults on a quad would be a scream!

Anyone in the Market For A Fantastic, Nearly New Triplet @ $4,900

All that said, we did actually investigate a local triplet that’s for sale down near Macon, Georgia but it’s just too darn large for me.  However, if anyone who rides a Large-size frame is in the market for a smoking deal on an amazing triplet, look no further.  This thing is easily worth twice what its listed for and the specs are tailored for adults, noting the stoker compartments are a generous 29″.

Link to the Craigslist ad: http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/bik/2909976236.html

Here are some additional specs from Mark Johnson at Precision Tandems:

Standover = 30.75/28.75/27.25″.  The captain’s top tube length is a 58 with the design effort towards a reasonably low stand-over height. It has roomy stoker compartments at 29″.

Mark has noted that these frames made by R&E Cycles master builder, Dennis Bushnell, for Precision have outstanding lateral stiffness and predictable handling even when piloting with two adult-size stokers.  These aluminum triplets are order and built in lots of three and feature a complex miter where the lateral intersected the boom tube, bb shell and seat tube as well as a ovalized the top tube that decreases stand-over height.

Again, if the captain’s top tube wasn’t so darn long I’d have snapped this baby up a long time ago.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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2 Responses to 3x the Fun: First Tandem Rally on a Triplet

  1. Kevin Vinson says:


    Excellent follow up to your triplet weekend at the Alabama Tandem Weekend rally. I’ve always been curious as to what it’s like going from a tandem to a triplet and so forth. When Linda and I attended the 2000 Midwest Tandem Rally in St. Charles, Illinois, there was a family of 5 on a quint by LongBike. It was a beautiful bike and the family had no problem navigating through the rural roads outside of St. Charles.

    Closer to home, there were 2 couples from a coastal town southwest of Houston that would attend the SWTRs on a quad. They were very impressive on that bike. The last time was saw them was in Waco in 2002. Shortly after that, they listed that quad on our DATES website. It sold within a couple of months.

    You did an excellent job of describing the differences and the gotchas. Excellent reference information for future use. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  2. Pingback: Triplet Fever… We Got It Bad! « The TandemGeek's Blog

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