Some Nice Tandems Out There On The Market…

It probably comes as no surprise to any of our regular readers that I will occasionally check out the used tandem market via the usual internet outlets like Ebay and Craigslist as well as the somewhat more specialized ones like the always reliable, long-lived tandemmag.com/classified site that enthusiasts like your truly continue to hold in high esteem because it IS targeted to tandem enthusiasts.  But, wait a minute — you say quietly to yourself — what about TCA’s classifieds?  Yes, what about TCA’s on-line classifieds?  Five bikes when I last checked, although a couple of them are pretty interesting.

Anyway, I also learn about and occasionally share information about enthusiast’s personal tandems when I can fit in a plug to something I’d already planned to write about.  In fact, that’s exactly how we ultimately ended up with our Dennis Bushnell-built, Precision triplet this past spring after making a long-overdue mention of its availability in a March blog entry.  The story behind the triplet was recounted in a subsequent blog entry that I penned on April 28th after acquiring the bike from Roger D. and the rest, as they say, is history.   Thankfully, while a lot of the tandems that I’ve learned about from friends and acquaintance whom we know from the tandem community are pretty nice, we’re pretty well covered up with bikes and tandems so it’s been a bit easier to “push back from the table” as these bikes have come to my attention.  So, without further adieu….

2008 Calfee Dragonfly, size Small located in Golden, Colorado

This one belongs to our friends Dan & Bevin. As noted in a posting to the Tandem@Hobbes community, their Dragonfly is in excellent condition and outfitted with a nice Campy/Shimano build kit and all of the other better / lighter-weight components that you get without doing a second mortgage on your home.  In terms of value, the entire tandem as it sits is being offered for just a few more bucks than a new, bare Dragonfly tandem frameset.  You can find more photos on Dan’s picasa site by clicking here.  You can shoot Dan an Email by clicking here.

2002 Co-Motion Primera, size Small located in Tallahassee, Florida

A couple had “hoped” that this Co-Motion Primera would somehow fit and gave it a go, but it was just too small for them. Their loss is your gain as the sellers have this listed at the Panther’s Tandem Club site for $1,200, and I believe that may be a bit negotiable and even at $1,200 that’s a bargain. Again, reading from the ad, this tandem has seen very little use and features a very-cool, very unusual for a Co-Motion shape shifter Green/Plum metallic paint job.  While the finish has a few blems, the mechanical condition aside from a rusty sync chain was characterized as “pristine” by our friend Rick.., who I consider to be pretty particular when it comes to bikes and their condition. The original specs can be found on-line at Precision’s Website and anyone who is interested in this beautiful tandem should contact our friend Rick via Email.  Detailed photos can be found on-line here.

Fleabay Offerings of Note…

Litespeed Taliani Custom Triplet in Madison, Wisconsin

As for what’s on Ebay these days, I do find it somewhat entertaining to see that the same Litespeed Titanium triplet that we first saw back in March of 2010 is still “on the market”.  Of course, being on the market usually implies someone is interested in finding a buyer for something, but in this case I’m not sure what they’re marketing, as the bike is extremely over-priced… assuming we’re still talking $25k USD and not 25k COP (Columbian Pesos) which would be more reasonable.  I must assume that there is some level of “traffic” that the shop gets from hits on Ebay that send shoppers to their Website / Ebay store. Who knows, I just feel for the poor guy who has to answer Email inquiries on the bike.

Early 1980’s Kent Rogers Tandem Tricycle in Madison, Wisconsin

This is just cool. It’s a vintage Ken Rogers tandem trike fabricated out of Reynolds 531 tandem tubing.  How it got from Roger’s shop in Hounslow England to Madison, Wisconsin isn’t clear, but it would be a great addition to our stable if we had: (a) a place to put the darn thing as it looks like it will eat up a lot of floor space, and (b) could find a place to ride it, noting the very wide wheelbase would certainly freak-out motorists as well as MUP cyclists, runners, bladders, dog-walkers and pedestrians. Again, this just warrants a look-see by any hardcore enthusiasts who haven’t checked out a tandem like this.  As for the price, it looks a bit steep. Sure, this is a novel machine… but it’s hardly all that collectible.  Then again, it is being offered by the same shop that’s been listing the Litespeed triplet (above) for the past two years.

 1930’s Superlux Tandem Tricycle 

Case in point, now we’re talking….  A 1932/35 James Superlux vintage tandem tricycle.  I can’t do it justice by paraphrasing the Ebay ad: just go and check it out!  I’d consider making room for this beauty and it’s actually a REAL auction: no minimum/reserve; highest bid wins.  Frankly, I think our friends Bob & Jan T. NEED this for when they head down to the square for dinner and concerts in The Villages on Saturday evenings now that their little red car is in storage.

2009 Landshark Composite Tandem, size Small located in Ashland, Oregon

I’d heard that John Slawta was making composite frames and had even made a couple for Levi Leipheimer, but had not seen a composite tandem until this one popped-up on Ebay. Again, very cool and I’d love to take it for a spin to see how it compares to our Calfee.  The asking price seems very reasonable for a lightly used composite bike, although the wheels and rear-spacing may leave something to be desired for all but the most lightweight or “clean riding” sport/recreational teams. The specs on the ads both on Ebay and Siskiyou Velo suggest that it has 130mm or perhaps 135mm rear spacing as it’s using Shimano Ksyrium wheels and it’s not clear if they were given a wider axle or if the frame was designed around a narrow (for tandems) rear triangle.

Ref. 130mm spacing on tandems, some useful insight from a friend and racer who pilots tandems at national championship level paralympic events:

Greg M: None of the tandems I’ve raced against on the high end, at either Para Nats, International races, or Masters nats, had rear spacing greater than standard 130. The UCI rulebook even mentions that those racing in UCI Para events are strongly urged to ride 130 spaced wheels so they can use neutral support. Of course, I race on the cheap, on a 90s vintage Marinoni steel bike with 145 spacing; this cost us a silver at last year’s Para nats when we flatted in the RR and had to change the innertube because we could not take a neutral wheel.

1990’s Ibis (Cousin It?) Tandem, size Medium/Small located in Dayton, Ohio

Although the seller doesn’t share any year or model information, I’d guess that this is a 1996ish Ibis Cousin It with 26″ wheels.  The lister goes on to note that the tandem has low mileage, having been used mainly for special events like tours of the Canadian Rockies and Yellowstone.  It has a very nice collection of components.   Worth taking a look, but wish there were more photos.  While not the most iconic or rare models of Ibis, it’s one of the ones that begs to be ridden just about anywhere.  No reserve, so this one’s also a real auction!!!

1990’s Ibis Touche, size small located in  Great Barrington, Massachusetts 

Yet another highly sought-after Ibis, but this one is a 700c model with the truly iconic with its “Toe Jam” frame pump peg, “Hand Job” rear brake cable hanger, and of course the ‘MORON” tubing. While this one is not in pristine condition, you really don’t want an Ibis to be pristine. You expect that it was purchased to be ridden by someone who was a cycling and tandem enthusiast and who appreciated what made Ibis bikes just a bit different from the others. The seller has this one up on ebay as well as Craigslist and also has lots of photos. Worth taking a look.

1950’s Cycles Devos, size Medium located in Hillsboro, Oregon 

And just a sampling of some of the classic tandems that are up for auction at Ebay, here is probably one of the nicer ones that you’ll find.  Again, as noted by the seller, this is a hand-built high-end tandem from Brussels, Belgium manufactured approx. in late 40’s to 50’s by Cycles Devos. This bike has gone through a restoration/preservation by the owner — trained professional bicycle mechanic and vintage bicycle collector — approx. twenty years ago and has been stored in their home on display since then.  Once again, even if you’re not in the market this one’s worth a look-see. Once again, this is a true auction.  There are a lot of other Schwinn tandems and the like from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s out there as well.

Late 90’s / Early ’00 Bruni Tandem, perhaps Medium size located near Baltimore, Maryland

A sentimental example, this is a Tom Bruni creation from what I’d guess is the late 90’s early ’00.  We lost Tom a few years back in an unfortunate cycling accident, but his unique tandems are still out there and are always a great source of interest.  This one appears to be a 26″ wheeled model with the open frame that Tom favored well before other builders re-discovered that tandems didn’t always need an internal tube when the right combination of tubing is used. The seller’s sound like classic tandem folks too: “We hope to sell it to a good home, so it can live through many more trips across country roads or through busy streets.”  Their pricing is also quite reasonable and negotiable.

2008 Paketa V2 Tandem, size Medium located near Fairway, Kansas

Great example of the detail I like to see in a classified ad:  2008 Paketa tandem-size medium frame. Bike was sold new by Precision Tandems of Kansas City. Blue frame is constructed of magnesium, which is as light as aluminum but has the vibration-dampening qualities of carbon. Campagnolo chorus shift levers. Alpha X2 carbon fork. FSA headset. Carbon seatposts. Four profile design carbon cages. 60-tooth Vuelta large chain-ring. 10-speed 11-28 rear cassette. Rear hub accepts a disc brake. “Thudbuster” rear seat post. White Industries hubs. 36-spoke wheels hand-built by Precision Tandems. For local sale only. I will entertain any serious offers.

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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9 Responses to Some Nice Tandems Out There On The Market…

  1. Kevin Vinson says:

    Mark, I don’t know if you have ever checked out our DATES website “DATES Buy & Sell Page”. Below is a link to that page.

    http://www.doubledates.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=61&Itemid=77

    In regards to this blog, thank you for taking the time to put together some of the more “interesting” used tandems out there on the market. Have a great weekend!

    Regards,
    Kevin

  2. Jennifer says:

    Do you have an opinion as to why the Landshark is getting so little attention on eBay? We have been in contact with the seller a couple times and are also attempting to contact the builder. Is the market just really that small or are we missing a few things that make this bike a little less attractive?
    Thanks,
    Jennifer

    • TG says:

      I think it’s because the tandem market is pretty darn small to begin with and folks hitting Ebay looking for tandems are more likely looking for names they recognize, e.g, Santana, Cannondale, etc., at a lower price point.

      High-end bikes like a Calfee, and relatively obscure builders like John Slawta’s Landshark brand are probably only appealing to “enthusiasts” who recognize those brands and who might appreciate the value of what are typically prices on par with a brand-new entry or mid-level premium quality tandem. I’m guessing that there are only a few nut-jobs like me who aren’t in the market for a tandem that even go out to look at Ebay on a regular basis — looking not shopping — and that most high-end buyers simply decide to buy a new one that was built for them vs. snapping up someone else’s former dream bike, even when they’re excellent values.

      In general, selling a high-end tandem for it’s true value is hard for a lot of reasons. I have a partial solution in mind, but haven’t done anything to move it forward; perhaps its time to do so. Case in point, we have a very good friend here in Atlanta who had a 2005ish steel Seven Axiom 007 with a premium component group that he and his wife used lightly and they decided to sell. It was on the market for a long time and his wife finally said, just sell it… It was bought for $1,200 about a year ago. Unbelieveable. I don’t think the buyer knew what they got in terms of a deal. Good for the buyer, but bad for the seller. I’d prefer to see more win-win’s where the “right buyer” is hooked up with the “right second hand tandem” for a fair price.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wow, that is an awesome situation! Hope the Seven is being loved! I wish we could workout the details for the Landshark but I don’t think it is going to happen. Our one requirement is being able to pull a trailer so we probably need to focus more on a steel build. (We recently joined bikeforums, VastCrew, and I believe you gave us some advice on what to what to check before buying and or riding a tandem) I was able to contact John Slawta today and he was actually no help on providing details about the build of the bike. The seller said they have only used the bike for leisure and casual riding, not sure of what that exactly means other than not raced or toured with. John did mention that he typically builds for speed and not touring however he offered no specifics. The search will continue…

    • TG says:

      Wow, that’s really disappointing; John’s not doing his clients any good in the aftermarket which is a shame. He does amazing work and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up one of tandem IF it fit. Fit has always been the issue with us with the examples of his steel tandems that we’ve come across in the past. This carbon tandem looks to be our size, but with a Calfee in the stable I don’t think we could justify a second composite frame…

      As for pulling a trailer, any tandem regardless of material can do that so long as the trailer hitch is universal. Frame material shouldn’t matter. Just get the right size frame and you should be golden.

      Again, really disappointed that John wasn’t more forthcoming with info on HIS frame. If it was just the build that he couldn’t speak to, then I’d give him a pass if he didn’t do the build, which is often the case. Craig Calfee designed our tandem and actually did some hands-on work on the frame; however, until he saw it at a tandem event in New Jersey he didn’t have a hot clue what type of components were used in the build since we / me did the build.

      Again, high-end tandems can be a challenge to buy used or new if you’re not a geek. I’m a pretty over the top geek.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I was totally stunned after the conversation ended. Had to actually take a minute and replay the conversation in my head! John seemed nice enough and actually wished me luck with the situation but said he designs each bike for what the customer wants and couldn’t tell me much more about it. I was thinking if you can’t provide details nobody can! Introductions and all the conversation was over in less than 3 minutes! Fit wise it looks like it would be about perfect…
    Interesting that you think any frame is capable of towing! We were under the impression that the rear is a little more built up for towing to accomodate additional pull that would be exerted to the frame itself. I would love to get a higher end bike at this point if it would serve our needs. After having bottom line road bikes for the past 3 years we are reaching a point of wanting to upgrade. We have certainly noticed a difference riding carbon frames when test single road bikes out at our local shop. It seems to make more sense for us to spend money on a tandem at this point instead of new singles. We prefer to ride together instead of heading out individually so that usually means we have the little kids and sometimes if practice schedules allow the older kids on their own bikes as well.
    Next week we might be able to squeeze in a trip/visit to Mel in NJ. Used is our preferred market at this point however we have been searching for 6 months now. It is also probably the reason we have increased our budget as to allow a wider selection, however spending more now will probably/hopefully eliminate need to upgrade frames in a couple years, which was our original intention. We tried visiting a more local (Boston area) shop that carries some tandems but it was not our kind of shop and we had a hard time getting informative answers. We have some rides scheduled for this fall and we would love to be riding them on a tandem!!
    At this point I am totally grateful that you are a little over the top with your knowledge and experience. You have been more than helpful over the past week!!

    • Kevin Vinson says:

      Jennifer,

      Mark is right on with his comment regarding any frame will do when it comes to pulling a trailer. My wife and I have a 2002 Trek T2000 (aluminum frame) and for the last 6 years we have been pulling a trailer on various tandem club weekend rides that call for riders to either pull a trailer or attach Panniers since the weekend ride is “unsupported”. As for our trailer, it is a Nashbar Cargo Trailer 2. Several of our club members have the Bob Yak Trailer. Best of luck in your search for a tandem.

      Regards,
      Kevin & Linda Vinson
      The Colony, TX

      • Jennifer says:

        Thank you Kevin & Linda! It is great to hear from others that are towing. We are currently towing a Trek Go Bug with 2 kids, weight of kids combined are about 52lbs. I think it is a fairly universal buggy, it has a skewer mount. I could easily swap trailers though if need be at some point, the kids seemed to be the most comfortable in that buggy when we were shopping last year. Some day with older kids we hope to do some distance touring where we hope to pull some gear 🙂

    • Steve Gorski says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      My wife and I bought the Landshark discussed in this posting. It is an awesome bike and we have upgraded seats and seat posts in order to get the right fit. However, after several different setups, we have come to terms with the fact that the bike is just a bit too big for my wife. She wants to be able to use a “thudbuster” suspension seat post, and at 5 feet tall, she can’t lower the thudbuster enough. (the suspension post requires an additional 98 mm of space between the top of the seatpost clamp and the rails of the seat.)

      We will be listing it on eBay shortly, if you are interested just reply to this comment and I should be notified. I am 5’10”. This bike can be considered a medium, and would be great for a 5’9″-6’2 captain and a 5’0-5″8 stoker. (5’2″ with a suspension seatpost). The bike is gorgeous.

      Thanks,
      Steve

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