14 Best Tandem Bikes Out There – Reviewed by the Experts

Last Updated on 9 February 2023 by Cycloscope

14 Best Tandem Bikes Out There – Reviewed by the Experts 3

The Best Tandem Bikes of 2023
Steel, Aluminum & Titanium
Touring, leisure, kids, holidays, recumbent

14 tandem bicycle models readily available for all purposes and budgets

Tandem Bicycles. What’s the best tandem bike for any use? We’ll discuss this with true experts Alessandro and Stefania, who have been riding a touring tandem around the world for 7 years.

In the utterly lavish cycling lot, tandem bikes still come as an extravagance. Not only does the tandem defy our shining depiction of the exulting pink jersey hero at the end of his lonely final sprint.

It also overturns any embraceable idea of a dream bike: aerodynamic like a jet, agile like a panther, light like a feather…the tandem is not.

However, once you got past its rather hilarious appearance, you’ll discover an enthralling machine originally designed for the greatest speed.

Since tandems have better force/weight ratio and equal wind resistance than a single bike, two trained riders who can develop a perfect synchronization are surely faster than the same guys cycling solo.

That being said, tandem has always been associated with courting and family time.

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How we compile our gear guides: during the almost 10 years of cycloscope.net our team personally tested dozens of similar pieces of gear. For what we can't test personally, we involve other people in the cycling community to give their feedback and opinion about gear they have used. Our decade-long experience in bicycle touring enables us to find the key cons and pros of every product we mention.

tandem bikes list

The Best Tandems 2023 In a Nutshell

The list of tandems we’ve put together is just an example of models readily available on the market that we’ve researched or seen around and that would fit a diverse range of purposes and budgets.


  • Trek Electra Deluxe Unpretentious cruiser for fashion enthusiasts
  • Cannondale Tandem 29 Reliable all-rounder
  • Co-motion Periscope Scout Highly adjustable riders’ size, for all family members
  • Koga Traveller Full-optional foldable touring tandem
  • Santos Double Travel A purebred pack mule for long journeys
  • Co-Motion Kalapuya High-performance gravel with open frame
  • Da Vinci Tailwind TBD Electric handcrafted tandem with independent coasting


  • Northwoods Dual Drive For the occasional Sunday spin
  • Khs Sport Solid starting point for beginners
  • Khs Americano Little foldable with 20 inches tires
  • Salsa Powderkeg Cross-country with no suspension fork
  • Hase bike PINO Semi-recumbent tandem for thrill-seeking stokers
  • Thorn Raven Twin The British masterpiece


  • Santana Journey Only for the obsessed

So, let’s get started with the description of the best tandem bikes. If you want to know more about tandem bikes and would like some expert advice on how to choose, you’ll find all the info you need at the bottom of this article.

The Best Tandems Readily Available [2023]


14 Best Tandem Bikes Out There – Reviewed by the Experts 4
@Godimundi the authors of this article

Tandem bikes can be heavy machines, so why not save some weight by going for an aluminum frame? Some of the best and sportiest tandems in this list are indeed made of alloy, let’s check them out.

Trek Electra Deluxe [+/-] 1300$

electra deluxe tandem

The Super Deluxe Electra by Trek is colorful and fun. The lightweight aluminum frame is the curvy soul of this comfortable and reliable city tandem, garnished with fenders, chain covers and Nexus gear hub for low maintenance.

A cloud-shaped bike that can be used every day, for shop hopping or romantic beachside strolls.

Trek Electra Deluxe – Specs

  • Rims Painted alloy
  • Tires RetroRunner 26 x 2.125″
  • Shifters Shimano Nexus Revo 7-speed twist w/optical display
  • Crank Electra custom alloy 3-piece w/44T steel chainring
  • Bottom bracket Sealed cartridge
  • Cassette 22T
  • Chain KMC S1 nickel plated
  • Pedals Electra retro
  • Saddle Electra low profile w/double-coil springs
  • Seatpost Classic alloy pillar
  • Handlebar Front Electra café & rear: Electra custom tandem
  • Grips Hand-stitched leatherette
  • Stem Alloy classic
  • Headset 1 1/8″ steel threaded
  • Brakeset Front and rear Shimano BR-C6001 roller brake
  • Extras Painted fenders integrated kickstand, stainless steel, and anti-rust hardware
  • Weight 26.3 kg / 58 lbs

Co-motion Periscope Scout [+/-] 3000$

Co-motion Periscope tandem

With a frame designed to suit differently sized riders, the Co-Motion Periscope Scout is ideal for any off-road family adventure.

Easy and quick to adjust, it will please children and adults alike. The 26″ wheels paired with wider tires offer great stability and can fit smaller riders.

Co-motion Periscope – Specs

  • Frame Handbuilt frame with zonally-butted cro-moly steel tubing
  • Fork Co-Motion Taper Gauge w/ CNC Tandem Steerer
  • Derailleurs/Shifters Shimano Deore SGS rear, Shimano Deore front, 2 x 10-speed trigger shifters
  • Brakes Avid BB5 w/ 200mm Rotors / Tektro Eclipse Mtn levers
  • Headset FSA Orbit Z Internal
  • Drivetrain Shimano 44/32t cranks with 11-34t cassette
  • Cockpit Co-Motion Cruiser and Stoker bar / FSA Gossamer and Co-Motion adj. stoker stem
  • Post/Saddle Co-Motion 29.8mm, PeriScope Seatmast System / Selle Italia X1 & X1 Lady
  • Wheels Co-Motion A-20 tandem hubs / Velocity Dyad 26″ rims
  • Tires Schwalbe Spicer 26×1.5″

Cannondale Tandem Bike 29 [+/-] 3000$

cannondale tandem 2020

Cannondale is a solid starting point for all people approaching for the first time the tandem world.

Their trustworthy aluminum frames are well-tested by cyclists of all sorts. With this 29er MTB-style beast, you will look forward to the next trail to explore with your partner.

Cannondale Tandem 29 – Specs

  • Frame Tandem 29, SmartFormed 6061 Alloy, 1.5 head tube, BB30
  • Fork Cannondale Fatty Tandem 29, OPI, 1.5″steerer
  • Rims DT Swiss Tandem 29 wheelset, 40-hole
  • Hubs DT Swiss
  • Spokes DT Swiss
  • Tires Schwalbe Racing Ralph Performance, 29×2.1″, folding, tubeless ready
  • Pedals Cannondale Reinforced Composite
  • Crank Truvativ Firex Tandem, 44/33/22, 38t timing
  • Bottom Bracket Truvative
  • Chain KMC Z72 drive / X9 timing
  • Rear Cogs Shimano 11-36 10 speed
  • Front Derailleur  SRAM X7
  • Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow Plus
  • Shifters Shimano SLX
  • Handlebar Cannondale C4, 6061 alloy, 680x25mm rise
  • Grips Cannondale Locking Grips
  • Stem Cannondale C4 1.5″, 3-D forged, 6 deg. / C4 extender stoker
  • Headset Tange Custom 1.5″
  • Brakes Magura MT5 Hydraulic
  • Brake Levers Magura MT5
  • Saddle Cannondale Ergo Performance
  • Seatpost Cannondale C4, Alloy, 31.6x350mm front & 27.2×400 rear

Koga traveller [+/-] 5000$

koga foldable tandem

Koga is a well-known company based in Holland. The Koga Traveler, as the name suggests, is designed for touring.

It’s an eye-catching vehicle that doesn’t inspire a honeymoon tour on the Danube cycle trail as much as a lunar expedition.

It is the ultimate touring companion equipped with all arrangements for any bike travel accessory.

Koga Traveller – Specs

  • Frame Completely hand-built Super Smooth TIG-welded full suspension, Y-tech tandem folding frame. Tubes manufactured in triple-hardened and super oversized 7005 aluminum for extra stability. Rear swing arm with adjustable oil/spring suspension unit (80mm travel) and extra disc brake and a replaceable rear derailleur hanger.
  • Fork Fastrax double bridge – Fastrax air ARL – Rebound adjustment
  • Front Derailleur Sram X.9
  • Rear Derailleur Sram X.9
  • Shifters SRAM X.9 twist shifter with micro index and optical gear display
  • Chainset FSA Alpha Drive, 48/36/26T, 170mm (47/50/53/55) 175mm (57/59/62)
  • Brakeset (rear) Shimano disc brake controlled by Sram X.9 twist shifter – Extra rear brake for descending plus Magura HS-11 Hydraulic rim brake
  • Brakeset (front) Disc-/Hydraulic brake set (front) Magura HS-11 Hydraulic rim-brake – Excellent braking power maintenance-free – Turbo Pad Adjustment – Reach Adjust – Easy Bleed Technology
  • Wheelset Rims KOGA KM21-622 XStrong alloy – Double wall and double eyeletted 48 holes – Durable finished
  • Crank set Shimano Octalink & Hollowtech – Lightweight – Hyperdrive chainrings for smooth and precise shifting: 48x36x26T with chainguard and 32t 2x with chainguard
  • Spokes Sapim stainless – Cold forged reinforced and butted
  • Saddle Selle Italia FLX Man – Genuine full-grain leather
  • Weight 29 kg

Santos Double Travel [+/-] 7000$

santos tandem bike

Santos Double Travel is designed for long journeys. It has a comfortable seat for riders who like to sit deep as well as for those who prefer a higher handlebar.

The stiff 7005 aluminum frame with a special cr-moly steel fork steers you through tight corners, keeps you stable when descending fast, and feels efficient at every pedal stroke.

The Double Travel is a purebred pack mule with stable driving even with lots of luggage. The extra-strong 26 inches wheels are hand-built by Santos to ensure an efficient and comfortable ride on both paved roads and unpaved routes. The Rohloff speed hub is just the cherry on the cake.

Santos Double Travel – Specs

  • Frame Santos 7005 aluminum
  • Fork Santos cr-moly steel special version
  • Gearhub/Shifters Rohloff speed hub 14 gears
  • Brakes disk brake hope tech 3-V4 with extra tick and strong 203mm Santos disk
  • Headset Santos with stainless steel bearing and anti-twist system
  • Drivetrain Aluminum tandem crankset / KMC X1 gold, extra-strong Singlespeed chain with anti-rust layer
  • Cockpit Tandem, adjustable, black
  • Rim 26″ holiday rims
  • Tires Schwalbe 26inch marathon green guard

Co–Motion Kalapuya Tandem Bike [+/-] 7500$

co motion tandem

The name Kalapuya sparks the image of steep forested mountainsides glowing with bright green moss. Co-Motion Kalapuya open frame design is neat and elegant, with tubes tastefully arranged in the frame and a carbon belt placed on the left side.

Kalapuya definitely belongs to the gravel category. The compact frame has a wheelbase just a few centimeters higher when compared to its roadie brother, the Macchiato.

The fork of this tandem is sinuous and intriguing: the two carbon blades are generous at the top; they bend a little backward, then, right after the eyelet appears somewhere in the middle, they become flat at the bottom.

The beautifully designed fork can host a rack, but it doesn’t mount any eyelet behind the seat stay. This tandem can take you deep into the backcountry when equipped with a proper bike-packing setup.

As chic as it is, you could ride to a wedding party. And nothing can stop you to carry along a spare wheel and follow your roadie or gravel mood.

Co–Motion Kalapuya – Specs

  • Frame ACMUltra7 7005-series zonally butted tubing / Boost 148 x 12mm thru-axle / Tapered head-tube / 68mm English threaded BB
  • Fork Co-Motion Boost TA carbon fork/ 15mm thru-axle / 1.5″ tapered steerer
  • Derailleurs/Shifters Shimano Ultegra R8000 2×11-Speed
  • Brakes TRP Spyre w/ 200mm disc rotors
  • Headset Cane Creek 110 Tapered
  • Drivetrain Co-Motion Compact Tandem Cranks 50-34t / Gates Timing Belt / 11-40t cassette
  • Cockpit FSA Omega compact and Co-Motion stoker bar / FSA SL-K and Co-Motion adj. stoker stem
  • Post/Saddle Co-Motion 31.6mm / Selle Italia Nekkar and Lady Flow
  • Wheels Hand built Astral Leviathan/ Co-Motion Boost 148/110 thru-axle wheels
  • Tires WTB Riddler 700x45mm

Da Vinci Tailwind TBD Tandem Bike

electric tandem

Wow and only wow. This gorgeous game-changing electric tandem is the ultimate choice for those who want to find the ideal partner at all costs.

On my long tandem experience, I’ve always underestimated DaVinci Independent Coasting System Design. It comes to me as an awkward useless piece of machinery.

On the one hand, it makes things easier, since “Captain and stoker can independently relax, take a drink, adjust the seat position, stand for a few seconds to relieve weary sit bones, even take a moment to gaze at the scenery, while the other keeps pedaling.’’

On the other hand, it ruins the perfect synergic coordination of an ideal tandem experience. That being said, here we are looking at an e-tandem with a powerful Shimano engine.

I would never buy an electric tandem without the DaVinci Independent Coasting System. This tandem is just beyond the imagination.

Da Vinci Tandem – Specs

  • Shifters Shimano XT 3×11 – Option XT Di2
  • Rear Derailleur Shimano XT – Option XT Di2
  • Front Derailleur Triple – Option  XTR  Di2
  • Brakes Avid BB7 Front and Rear Disc with 200mm rotors
  • Front Bars Flat or riser mountain bars
  • Rear Bars Profile Stoker 26 – 47cm
  • Front Stem Thomson Elite X2
  • Rear Stem Control Tech Adjustable Stoker
  • Cranks Da Vinci Designs Billet Machined (wide choice of lengths)
  • Rear Cogs 11-36 or 11-40
  • Driving Gears Shimano Hyperglide 13-21-28 Equivalent to 26-42-56 (this is very customizable)
  • Eccentrics da Vinci Designs
  • Front Hub White Industries
  • Rear Hub White Industries Tandem Disc – 145mm
  • Rims da Vinci Designs V-23
  • Tires Panaracer RIBMO
  • Front Seatpost Thomson Elite 31.6mm
  • Rear Seatpost Cane Creek Thudbuster ST or LT
  • Saddles Selle Italia Man Flow and/or Lady Flow


Is steel still real? Let’s check it out!

Northwoods Dual Drive Tandem [+/-] 500$

cheap tandem

This is the cheapest and the heaviest on the list. It is made of metal fences kind of steel and could rust quite easily if you don’t take the proper care.

For less than 500 bucks it’s probably a wiser choice to opt for a second-hand better quality tandem, but if you can’t stand your impulse to buy it, you’ll probably be quite surprised by its performance.

If you’re looking for a budget tandem bike for leisurely weekend activities by the beach, this might just be the best buy for you.

KHS Sport [+/-] 1400$

khs tandem

If you are looking for a bargained-price tandem to start riding this steel-framed KHS sport with 26-inch wheels has a decent group set.

KHS Sport – Specs

  • Frame Hi-Tensile w/CrMo Seat & Down Tube, w/Disc Tab
  • Fork Oversized CrMo Unicrown
  • Headset FSA TH888 1 1/8” Threadless
  • Rims Weinmann U28 Disc, Double Wall, w/Eyelets
  • Hubs (F/R) F: Alloy QR23, S/B, Disc; R: Alloy QR, Cassette, S/B, Disc
  • Tires Maxxis Overdrive, 26” x 1.75, 60 TPI w/Silkworm
  • Spokes 14g Stainless Black, 40×40
  • Derailleur, Front Shimano Acera
  • Derailleur, Rear Shimano Alivio
  • Shifter Shimano Acera Rapidfire
  • Chain KMC Z9
  • Crankset  Drive Line Alloy Forged Tandem, 44/32/22 +38T
  • BB Cartridge Isis Spline
  • Cassette  Shimano CS-HG20, 11-34T, 9-Speed
  • Pedals Wellgo C28DU, All Alloy w/DU Bearing
  • Seatpost  Captain: Alloy Micro-Adjust, Stoker: Suspension
  • Saddle KHS Ultra Comfort, Soft Shell
  • Handlebar F: Alloy Riser 31.8mm, R: Alloy Riser
  • Stem Captain: Threadless 3D Forged, 25D, 31.8mm, Stoker: Alloy, 35 Degree Adjustable
  • Grips KHS Sport, Dual Compound
  • Brake Levers Promax Alloy Linear Pull
  • Brakes Bengal MB700, Mechanical Disc, 203mm Rotors, Wave12
  • Color Silver
  • Frame Size S (18″x16″), M (20″x16″)

KHS Americano [+/-] 1700$

khs tandem

This tiny 20 inches wheels tandem is easy to set up and it’s smartly designed to fit multipurpose situations. The steel frame can be folded in half and offers a great range of measure adjustments.

KHS Americano – Specs

  • Frame Folding, 4130 CrMo Tubing w/Carrier Bosses
  • Fork Full CrMo Unicrown, w/Fender Bosses
  • Headset Alloy Threaded 1 1/8″
  • Rims Weinmann SP-17, 20″x32H, Double Wall w/CNC Sidewall
  • Hubs (F/R) Formula Alloy QR, Cassette
  • Tires Maxxis Gypsy M2015, 20×1.5 w/Silkworm
  • Spokes 14G Stainless, 32×32
  • Derailleur, Front MicroShift FD-R539 Braze-On
  • Derailleur, Rear Shimano 105 RD-R5701
  • Shifter Shimano Sora Trigger
  • Chain KMC Z9
  • Crankset Drive Line 3-pc Alloy Forged, 52/42/30
  • Bottom Bracket ISIS Cartridge Bearing
  • Cassette SRAM PG-950, 11-28T, 9-Speed
  • Seatpost Alloy 2-bolt FT, Alloy Suspension RR
  • Saddle KHS Sport
  • Handlebar F Alloy Riser; R: Alloy Riser
  • Stem Captain: Threadless 3D Forged, 10D, 25.4; Stoker: Alloy, 35
  • Grips Velo Ergo Triple Density
  • Brake Levers Tektro BL-39B Linear Pull w/Bell
  • Brakes Tektro Linear Pull
  • Color Metallic Gray
  • Extras Rear Carrier, Fenders, Pannier Bags, Kickstand
  • Frame Size One Size

Salsa Powederkeg [+/-] 4000$

salsa tandem bikes

If you want to spray the stoker with mud before falling on a mossy bed in the wood, this Salsa Powderkeg is what will set you up.

It’s a 29er tandem designed to mount a suspended fork in the front. The oblique tube in the center ensures more lateral stiffness to the steel Cromoly frame. 

It has a long wheelbase for stability, but it holds a short chainstay for responsiveness.

Salsa Powederkeg Specs

  • Frame Powderkeg Cobra Kai 4130 Chromoly.
  • Fork Powderkeg Tandem, 4130 Cromoly, 15x 100mm
  • Front Derailleur Shimano SLX HDM
  • Rear Derailleur Shimano SLX Shadow Plus
  • Shifters Shimano SLX
  • Chain KMC X10
  • Crankset Truvativ FC Firefox TD 44/33/22 front, Truvativ FC Firex TD rear
  • Brakeset (rear) SRAM BB7
  • Brakeset (front) SRAM BB7
  • Wheelset Rims Notubes Flow, 32h. Hub Shimano SLX, Spokes DT Swiss Champion
  • Spokes Sapim stainless – Cold forged reinforced and butted
  • Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29 x 2.25’’ performance folding
  • Saddle WTB Pure V Comp
  • Weight 20 kg without gadgets

Hase PINO [+/-] 4300$

recumbent tandem

The next level of rideability is delivered by Haze.

Just think that among all the awards earned by the German company Haze, there is also The Guinness World Record for the creation of the longest trike, connecting 62 trikes together.

The semi-recumbent tandem Pino offers unprecedented comfort and an exhilarating ride. The wheelbase is so short that you won’t need to speak loudly, the front rider can surely get the best selfies ever, and most importantly this brilliant creation is maneuverable almost like a single-seater.

If you can manage to ride recumbents, the Pino offers beautiful views and optimal panorama to both riders. In addition, switching positions it’s easy like in no other tandem.

The front rider can just enjoy the comfort of a ride without pedaling because there is a freewheel in front, so the bike can readily double as a taxi.

You can smoothly accommodate children with their dedicated crankset, which can be mounted in a flash. And adding the foldable Haze bag, the Pino can easily carry a week of groceries.

If you aren’t impressed by PINO’s size, don’t worry. The frame can be split into two pieces, so that it’s possible to carry the parts in any compact car and, once you’ve reached your destination, reassemble your tandem in a flash.

Hase Pino Tandem Specs

  • Total length 83″-93″ (210-237 cm)
  • Total width  25″ (64 cm)
  • Total height 41″-43″ (104-110 cm) depending on seat adjustment
  • Seat height, front  25″ (64 cm)
  • Bottom bracket height, front 24½” (62 cm)
  • Wheelbase 57″ (145 cm)
  • Two-part frame/front boom 7005 aluminum, with adjustable and replaceable dropouts in the rear (Patria patent)
  • Max. load 495 lb (225 kg)
  • Fork Spinner 300
  • Brakes TEKTRO HD-M750 hydraulic disc brakes
  • Wheels Rear 26″, Rim: a double wall with double eyelets
  • Hub HASE BIKES Tandem Hub
  • Spokes Sapim; Front: 20″
  • Rim a double wall with eyelets
  • Hub dynamo Shutter Precision
  • Spokes Sapim
  • Tires Schwalbe Marathon 47×406 (front), 50×559 (rear)
  • Gears Shimano Deore 27-speed derailleur
  • Front derailleur Microshift FD-R539 cold-forged
  • Shifters Microshift bar-end, Herrmans Ergo grips
  • Crankset/bottom bracket: HASE BIKES crankset for tandem with integrated freewheel mechanism, Rear: 170 mm 28-38-48 tooth, left 36 teeth; Front: 165 mm 38 tooth
  • Lighting system Hub dynamo Shutter Precision
  • Taillight: B&M Toplight 2C plus
  • Headlight: Herrmans Black MR8 50 LUX
  • Fenders:        SKS black matt
  • Luggage rack: Racktime Addit, Max. load: 66 lb (30 kg)
  • Kickstand: Humpert double kickstand
  • Weight: 55 lb (25 kg)
  • Colors: RAL 3002 Carmine Red matt/powder-coated, front boom black anodized with length-adjustment markings

Thorn Raven Twin S&S Mk3 Tandem [+/-] 6000$

thorn tandem

How not to mention Thorn, the British company that firmly believes in the motto ‘’Steel is real’’.

Thorn tandem surely offers a lot of value for money. 26 inches hand-made wheels, Rohloff speed hub, neat crank-set all on one side, heat-treated steel frame with the diagonal tube, and S&S couplings installed.

Please take notice of the diagonally sliced seat stay at the seat tube weld, it’s Thorn signature. 

This tandem is beautifully designed and multifunctional; considering what you get, it comes at an unbeatable price.

Thorn Raven Twin S&S Mk3 – Specs

  • Frame: mega-oversized, seamless, cold drawn, butted, heat-treated top quality Japanese Cro-Mo tubes – “Thorn 9/6/9.
  • Fork: (A) twin-plate crown fork rim brake bosses, Reynolds blades fork (B) unicrown fork only disc, ISO disk mount.
  • Gearhub/Shifters: Rohloff speed hub 14 gears.
  • Brakes: ventilated disk brake system available.
  • Headset: Thorn high quality.
  • Drivetrain: Thorn cranks 7075 aerospace alloy ratio TBD.
  • Cockpit: Thorn expedition handlebar.
  • Rim: Andra 30.
  • Tires: Schwalbe 26 inches of choice.

Santana Journey [+/-] 10000$

best tandem santana titanium

For the sake of inspiration, we couldn’t leave out a marvelous titanium frame by Santana! Well, here you’ll have all the benefits of the everlasting and spacecraft-looking titanium frame with a carbon fork.

At 10 grand price tag, the Santana Journey is a tandem recommended only for the passionate of titanium tubing frame composition. It is more a journey to a still undefined prototype than a smart and well-engineered set of features.

Standard Build Kit

  • Wheels Hadley/Velocity Fusion 32 spoke or 48 spoke (48 spoke wheels are a $50 Upgrade Option)
  • Tires Continental Gatorskin 28 or 32mm steel bead
  • Fork Santana 1 1/8″-1 1/2″ full carbon, road caliper (fits 28mm tire) or Santana Steel V-brake (fits up to 40mm tire)
  • Headset Cane Creek Hellbender 1 1/8″-1 1/2″
  • Captain Handlebar Santana 31.8mm round drop, alloy
  • Stoker Handlebar Santana 31.8mm round bullhorn, alloy
  • Captain Stem Control Tech 1 1/8″, choice of length & angle
  • Stoker Stem Control Tech 31.6mm, adjustable length
  • Seatposts alloy 31.6mm (alloy stoker suspension post option, $150)
  • Saddles Terry Chromoly Fly & Butterfly
  • Crankset Santana BB386 alloy w/modular spider, PF30 BB
  • Timing chainrings Gates CDX
  • Timing belt Gates Center track

Confused? Don’t worry, read on for our full buying guide to the best tandem bikes! Learn how to chose the tandem of your needs and things you should consider before buying a tandem.

The Tandem Bike Buying Guide (by the experts)

tandem bikes 2020
Photo @Godimundi

Global Tandemic – A Brief History of Tandem

The visual impact of the odd tandem you have seen on the beachside is probably not the same you expect from the sporty bike of your dreams.

Oddly enough, tandems had initially been developed to be the fastest of all bikes, for the very purpose of record-breaking.

At the end of the nineteenth century, state-of-the-art tandems, triplets, quads, and quints ridden by professionally trained teams were widely used as pacing bikes in track and road races, shortly before the invention of motorized pacing tandems.

Since then, tandems’ fame has seen many ups and downs, culminating in the late 1990s, when tandeming was the most promising discipline in the racing compartment.

Some suggest the decline of the sports circle’s attention towards tandem has been the unintended consequence of the spreading of an evil training tool: the force meter.

This sensor was meant to improve the performance of a cyclist by buzzing each time he wouldn’t impress the same force on both pedals.

When installed on the pedals of two tandem riders, results immediately showed: times decreased and miles bumped up at stellar rates, while riders’ motivation dropped equally fast.

It’s probably a coincidence, but it casts a light on a tandem’s ground rule that can’t be set aside: its intrinsically social nature.

Are you a Tandem Person?

When two people ride the same pair of wheels something intriguing happens: the synchronized cadence is no anymore only a competition concern.

It forces them into a pattern of movements that it’s quite like dancing. In order to enjoy the dance, both have to let go of the performance anxiety and embrace the joyful and comical side of cycling.

It means for the captain to take the lead with the most attentive and courteous attitude, and for the stoker to be led with complete trust and lightness.

That’s why tandem is most successfully used as an auxiliary kind of bike for people who cannot cycle themselves: when accompanying a small child or a visually (or otherwise) impaired bicyclist, the captain is automatically more aware of his co-riders special needs, while the stoker is naturally trustworthy.

Anyway, tandem enables people with no physical aptitude or cycling experience to ride together enjoyably.

Especially when the captain can cope with his first-of-the-class complex and the stoker develops a marble ass able to survive unseen bumps. Our case is a classic example.

Our recommendation: try as many tandems as possible before making up your mind. Every team has a unique feeling and a special way of working together pleasurably. Only they can understand which tandem suits their personality better.

tandem bikes
Photo @Godimundi

Different Tandem Categories Explained

You can easily find tandems declined in all most representative single bicycle categories, i.e. road, MTB, touring, and gravel.

A peculiar type is the telescopic, or family tandem, whose frame has been designed to ensure ample adjustability of saddles and handlebars’ height, in order to fit stokers of different sizes. Fairly common are tandems capable to split or fold into two or multiple pieces.

  • The road tandem is sometimes built with sensual carbon fiber frame and components, crazily short wheelbase, and tiny shiny wheels.

The compact frame entails the highest level of intimacy and the greatest speed possibilities: recommend only for well-knit couples.

You must trust your partner but especially your tires because you risk staining your pants on a 100 km/h descent.

  • A new entry in the tandem lot, the gravel has a compact reinforced frame capable of withstanding the Eroica off-road, relatively short wheelbase, drop bars, and wider tires. It’s barely a pinch higher from the ground than a road tandem.
  • The MTB tandem presents a longer wheelbase, wider clearance to accommodate bigger tires, and a more upright position.

If equipped with a proper suspension system can assure delightful off-road moments, and bounce the stoker enough to hug the captain when most needed.

  • The touring tandem is the one that offers more flexibility of use. Some have the longest wheelbase and the biggest tire clearance of all categories.

All materials are allowed without compromising reliability and appeal. All sorts of bike bags or panniers can be hung to get ready for a lifelong honeymoon.

tandem bike
Photo @godimundi

Things to Consider When Buying a Tandem

Tandems are often purchased on a whim by over-enthusiastic couples who won’t actually find the time and the patience required to get to ride together.

The good news is that tandems’ second-hand market is full of good-value options. Checking a lesser-known hand-crafted bike manufacturer is also a good idea since an affordable capable artisan is often your best bet if you need a custom-built frame.

Our world tour tandem bike was built by Paduan “Vetta telai” bike frames laboratory. The master artisan Antonio Taverna took the time to personally get our measurements and understand our needs; he delivered us a painted frame with crank-set and bottom brackets for a very reasonable 1000$.

If you’ve already laid your eyes on a tandem, there are a few single elements to consider before getting your first double rig: frame, wheels, and brakes.


The frame must hold lateral stiffness at an optimal level, otherwise, the wobbling of the long structure will scare you out.

Tandems nowadays tend to have an open frame without the diagonal tube that is used to increase the natural stiffness (and weight) of older models.

To achieve this result companies have invested time and resources in researching materials, tube shaping, and geometry and have increased accordingly the price tag.

You can save a lot of money without scratching the surface of a suggestive look by choosing aluminum frame models with diagonal tubes: they are perfectly up to the job.

A word about size should be said: stokers who are taller than the captain may have problems with handlebar height. For a pleasant ride, double-check the sizing of your frame before proceeding to other adjustments.


You need to trust your wheels. Look for a professional wheelmaker able to build strong and long-lasting touring wheels.

The ideal wheel doesn’t need 48 spokes to resist the stress of a great journey. We have been riding our fully-loaded tandem (220 kg) for six years on every kind of road and never broke one of the 36 spokes mounted on each wheel.

The Rohloff gear hub ensures equal spokes length and a much stronger structure: in fact, we cycled 50.000 km with the same rear wheel.


Tandems are significantly quicker than solo bikes on down-hills, so they need to have the best possible brakes.

We have been cycling around the world relying only on normal v-brakes, and surely, we had to be extra careful in many descends.

Even disc brakes, anyway, aren’t to be used carelessly. Unless you are planning to compete, you won’t need huge disk brakes to slow you down, since it’s cautious to stop sometimes in all cases and make sure the disks are not melting.

You could consider installing an additional ventilated disk brake on the back to alternate the braking heat in long descents.

Why a Tandem: Love & Speed

Tandem fans will tell you over and over how they fell in love while cycling together or that they can enjoy fantastic quality time with their children and partners, but be aware: getting on a tandem is sharing the ride in a very real sense, and the truth is that to be a perfectly synchronized couple does take effort, patience, time and compromises. 

So if you’re ready to watch your once best riding fellows breezing past you (on climbs, let’s say) and you don’t mind being shouted at “she’s not pedaling on the back” till your nerves collapse, this article will introduce you into the heavenly world of tandeming.

Heaven, it can be. Finding a tandem partner is adding a compelling new dimension to the already orgasmic pleasure of cycling.

In order for that to work, both the captain (the guy in the front) and the stoker (the one in the back, apart from some notable exceptions like the Pino tandems) have to feel a similar level of gratification while riding together.

 That’s most easily happening when the stoker is someone who can’t ride on his own, and the cycle is likely to be a memorably satisfying experience for both riders.

But even experienced cyclists willing to rediscover the participative side of the sport will be blown away by tandems’ thrilling speed possibilities, while good-humored couples can strengthen ties and appeal over a laugh or two.

Long known as the divorce machine, tandem can indeed be seen as the ultimate love machine.


In a world of social distancing, tandem could be the key to post-pandemic socialization. Life is getting more and more individualistic, lonely are the people in front of the bright screen, few and far between the chances of being together.

Cycling in itself – when it’s not only dictated by Strava addiction – it’s a medicine for nerves, health, and social flair.

Cycling in tandem, in addition, can improve the cycling capabilities and self-esteem of people scared of traffic and solitude. Changing tandem mates is still morally acceptable.

You could even follow the example of that smart guy who ventured on a solo tandem world tour all by himself and came back home with a wife on his empty saddle. Try your chance, the perfect cycling partner could be just around the corner.

Is it easy to ride a tandem bike?

A tandem bike requires teamwork, it might not be immediate for you to get a hang of how to ride with a partner. You’ll have to sync your shifting and get along well. Besides that, the passenger will have to cope with the scary feeling of not being in control.

Can you ride a tandem bike if you can’t ride a bike?

Yes, riding in the back of a tandem bike doesn’t require any riding skills, just confidence, and trust in the pilot. The only difficulty stays in standing up on the pedals to push harder, which requires a concerted balance.

best tandem bike

The Authors, Ale and Ste and Their Around the World in Tandem

In this article we want to draw an overview of the tandem world for first-time users, presenting some ideas about an often-overlooked kind of experience.

We have been building our opinion on a 50.000 kilometers tandem journey across 30+ countries.

Alex has always been a passionate cyclist, while Steff couldn’t give a damn. What we both loved was traveling.

We were both intrigued by bike traveling, but we couldn’t put a mile together on singles without starting a fight or rescuing Steff up from a ditch.

The idea of the tandem came up as a joke, but we realized immediately the advantages for our unpaired couple: Alex wouldn’t have to wait for Steff half day or to save her from each ditch, while Steff could – slowly – forget the suffering of trying to keep up with a cycling fanatic and with the fear of being ditched at every curve.

She had to concentrate on building up pedaling muscles and discovering the pleasure of cycling, while Alex had to accept setting up a slower pace and being outmatched by chubby cyclists.

Ever since we have been learning a lot about each other and about how our couple can work efficiently.

We’ve figured out that arguments can be solved if we think about ourselves as a team collaborating on a happy project of life instead of behaving as two individuals competing to claim our space in the relationship.

Alex has realized how to slow down on steep descent while Steff has learned how to stand up on pedals on steep hills.

Having successfully survived the divorce machine and truly enjoyed every second of it, we gaily give you our two cents.

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