A tandem bicycle is a two-wheeled vehicle designed to carry one person at a time. They are often referred to as “trike” or “trikes”. A typical tandem consists of a front wheel mounted on the rear axle, with the rider sitting between them. The seat provides support for both legs while allowing easy access to the pedals and steering mechanism.
The term “tandem” refers to a pair of bicycles that are operated by two persons at the same time. These types of bicycles were originally developed for use in tandem racing events. Today they have become popular recreational vehicles, especially among families and groups of friends. Some tandem bikes come equipped with trailers or other attachments such as dollies and ramps; others do not. All models can accommodate children up to around age 10, but some are specifically marketed toward older riders (e.g.
In general, tandem bicycles are built to be sturdy and durable. Most models feature a frame made from steel tubing, which is usually alloyed with aluminum or magnesium. Other materials include carbon fiber, titanium, wood and plastic. Many models are equipped with disc brakes. All tandem bicycles have handlebars that allow the rider to adjust their position in relation to each other’s body position.
Most tandems come equipped with wide tires. Some manufacturers also produce models for use off-road. These models typically have thinner wheels and can accommodate larger tires.
Tandem bicycles are driven by the pedals that are turned by both riders. Tandems can be classified in several different ways. The most common distinction is between Folding Tandems and Fixed Gear Tandems.
Folding Tandems typically have one or two alloy wheels with bolt-on rims that can be removed to make the tandem more compact for storage and transport. Most folding tandems also come equipped with derailleur gear systems, which give the riders the option of using either a regular or low gear ratio. Folding tandems come in many different frame sizes, with a typical range from 20″ – 29″.
Fixed Gear Tandems come in single and double drive types. The single-driven type features a rear wheel with a fixed cog in the hub; this cog is directly connected to the rear wheel. The pedals then act as the “freewheel,” similar to the pedals on a racing bike. The double-driven type has a rear wheel with a fixed cog on the hub and a front wheel with a freewheel. Some double-driven tandems also feature a rear brake, but most rely solely on front and back wheel brakes.
Another common way of classifying tandems is by the number of riders. Tandems come in 1, 2, 3 and 4-seater varieties. A 1-seater is designed for one rider to pedal and one to steer. A 2-seater has two bicycle seats, but no pedals. The rider in the back pedals while the rider in the front steers.
A 3-seater has two bicycle seats and one set of pedals. Two riders pedal, but only one steers. A 4-seater has two sets of pedals and two sets of brake levers; each rider controls their own brakes based on which side they are seated.
Another distinction is between Racing Tandems and Pleasure Tandems. Racing tandems are designed for more athletic types. They are generally lighter weight and stream-lined to improve performance. Pleasure tandems are designed for recreational purposes and comfort.
Most tandems in the United States are classified as “Non-Conventional” vehicles. This means that they do not fit into the classification of a “Bicycle” (20″) or “Motor-Bicycle” (24″).
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