My wife and I would like to start riding tandem. I've been reading about it and am worried that we are not physically eligible.

She's 165cm, I'm 195cm...

I've considered buying a baby trailer and just cramming her into that along with the snacks and drinks, but she would rather prefer to be at the head of the convoy.

Are there tandems suited to pairs like us?

  • This seems like a common setup round here - I can think of 2 couples like this (out of 2!), but both ride quite old tandems. – Chris H Sep 9 '13 at 9:56
  • There are a number of tandem designs that can accommodate people of different size. I recall 20-odd years ago seeing a quasi-recumbent tandem that placed the stoker in front, atop the front wheel, in a setup ideally suited for a small stoker (wife) and large captain (husband). They comfortably did a week-long tour of 80 miles a day (carrying their own bags). And there are plain old tandems built for a small stoker. (You do, of course, spend more money for such configurations.) – Daniel R Hicks Sep 9 '13 at 10:49
  • In Holland, I have seen a tandem built with one adult position and one child position. I think there should be something out there for you, it'll just be a matter of finding it. – PeteH Sep 9 '13 at 12:38
  • Search for "childback tandem" to see plenty of tandems designed for large differences in rider size. – armb Sep 9 '13 at 15:43

I think this should be possible, as long as your wife is happy in the navigator position and you are OK with being the bug-shield. Having the larger person on the back is difficult, but may be possible with unusual designs.

I'm always banging on about how important bike fit is and a tandem is no different. Do make sure you try as many as possible before buying as it's a big investment. If you are in or are visiting the UK, you can try the Tandem Experience, which we found very helpful. We visited a (fairly) local bike shop and they found us a bike which fitted us and gave us some tips on a harmonious ride. It would be worth calling to discuss sizing in advance.

SJS Cycles/Thorn make popular touring tandems and they do a L/Xxs size frame which might fit you both (I couldn't see precise numbers).

Note that it's very likely you'll need different crank lengths, or you may argue over gear selection.

There are any number of frame builders who could build something to fit you both, but that's a big investment, especially if you haven't had a chance to ride a tandem together properly. It's not just the bike fit that counts, you need to have at least a day out to get used to it and ensure you can both enjoy it and the compromises involved.

However, don't let that put you off. One of the best things about tandeming is the easy conversation on a long ride. The next best thing is long, gentle down hills. Have fun.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.