The Tandem Bike: Everything You Need to Know

The wind rushing past, the breeze in your hair, the mountain trail beneath your wheels . . . these feelings are just some of the things awaiting adventurous bikers. Going for a bike ride is an amazing way to get exercise and feel in tune with nature. It also saves gas money for short trips around the block, giving you peace of mind and better health.

And if there’s anything greater than enjoying a nice bike ride down a soft dirt path, it’s taking a friend along for the experience. Tandem bikes allow for a closer, friendlier approach to bike riding than any other bicycle on the market. Tandem bikes are essentially two bikes crammed into one and are designed for two riders: one in the front and one in the back. They are known for being faster and good for long-distance trips, but also require a lot more patience and practice to master.

Because of their second set of pedals (and usually a second set of handlebars), the wheels have twice the amount of input they normally do. This unique situation means that your tandem bike has more power behind it than a typical bike. It also means the pilot (the rider in front) and the stoker (the rider in back) need to work together to reach their destination. It may sound like a lot of work, and it is, but reaching goals with a friend is much more enjoyable because you enjoy not only your own happiness but the happiness of your partner. Whether your partner is a friend, a spouse, or your friend’s buddy you met on vacation together, tandem bikes teach us that cooperation and good teamwork skills can overcome any obstacle and be a great source of enjoyment.

Although tandem bike riding can sometimes feel like a test of your friendship or relationship, when you get in sync, flying along the road with your best friend can be a lot of fun. 

Bestselling Tandem Bike in 2020

Bestseller No. 1
Schwinn Twinn Classic Tandem Adult Beach Cruiser Bike, Double Seater, Steel Low Step Frame, 7-Speed, 650c Urban Tires, Alloy Caliper Brakes, Medium Frame, Grey
  • Hit the road with a friend with the Schwinn Twinn Tandem Bicycle. This Schwinn aluminum tandem frame features an extra low step-thru rear bar to comfortably fit smaller riders.
  • A 21-speed Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters and a Shimano rear derailleur provide an extended gear range and smooth shifting on every ride.
  • Mechanical disc brakes offer superior all-condition stopping power on the road and on the trail.
  • The main set of handlebars and a Schwinn suspension fork put you in complete control when you ride. Ergonomic grips and plush fitness saddles create a comfortable and enjoyable riding experience.
  • This tandem bike ships ready to be assembled, has a 5 year limited warranty, and the wheels measure 26 inches.
Bestseller No. 2
Kulana Lua Single Speed Tandem Cruiser Bike, 26-Inch Wheels, Yellow
  • Designed with 26-inch wheels, this bike fits riders 5'4" to 6'2" in height
  • Hi-Ten steel Kulana tandem frame with oversized fork
  • Single speed drivetrain is easy to use and maintain
  • Rear coaster brakes eliminate cables, keeping the bike neat and sleek
  • Easy-reach cruiser handlebars and cruiser rise stems for upright, relaxed riding positions

New Releases

New
26 in Bike, Yirise Mountain Bike Road Bikes Adults Mountain Bike, Load: 90kg, Suitable Height: 160cm-180cm | 26-inch Wheels Fit 5'3-5'9 ” - US Shipping
  • 🍒 Upgraded frame suspension to make your ride more comfortable, the foldable frame is easy to store and carry
  • 🍒 Adult folding bike, 26-inch wheels fit 5'3-5'9 ”
  • 🍒 The bike uses a high-carbon steel mountain bike double suspension with 21-speed gear.
  • 🍒 Free pedals and comfortable seats are included in the package. Load: 90kg, suitable height: 160cm-180cm.
  • 🍒 Product size: 150x25x (59-70) cm / 59x9.8x (23-27.5) inches
New
26 in Bike Men/Women Bikes, Yirise Mountain Bike 21-Speed Gear Road Bikes Adults Mountain Bike, 59x9.8X (23-27.5) in with MTB Break Lever - US Shipping
  • It is an affordable entry level 21 speed road bike well suited for commuting. It features a lightweight aluminum frame , a Shimanos drivetrain powerful disc brakes for all weather stopping.
  • The complete bike weighs in at an impressive 35 lbs, the lightest in its class. Free pedals are included with every bike!
  • 3 spoke aluminum wheels: lightweight and more durable, Fashionable, advanced Suspension - Gift for friend
  • Product size: 150x25x(59-70)cm/59x9.8x(23-27.5)in
  • High quality, Full suspensio - Disc Brakes, Fashionable, advanced Suspension, Disc brakes-Mechanical,Fast delivery

What is a tandem bike?

Great question! A tandem bike is a bicycle for two, a single bike for two riders. It’s different from a solo bike, which has only a single set of handlebars, brake system, and one seat. A tandem can be used for any journey from a steep mountain trail to flat terrain. Tandems can be made with a lightweight aluminum frame alloy with disc brakes to optimize speed, or a carbon fiber seat stay to cushion blows and increase personal comfort. There are lots and lots of them on the market, so you’re sure to find a great new bike for your riding experience.

The word “tandem” refers to the fact that two people can ride the bike simultaneously, in tandem. You may have gone on a bike ride with friends, but have you ever ridden the same bike together with someone? There’s an extra rear seat (also called a saddle) at the back for the second bike rider, with another set of pedals so both cyclists can propel the bike forward. Both pedals propel the rear wheel on the tandem bike, which relieves the strain felt by any one rider, so a tandem team can keep up their momentum for longer rides. 

Not only that, but tandem bikes also allow you to steer with both riders on the vehicle. There is usually a second set of handlebars for the stoker. The stoker has to turn their own handlebars and put their weight behind their turns to ensure that the vehicle turns right. This is why there is so much teamwork involved with tandem bikes: even the simplest decisions require coordination and effort. There are even crazier tandem bikes with room for a third or even a fourth saddle! Imagine working together so well that you can steer and pedal with four people! But most tandem bicycles for sale are geared (no pun intended) towards couples and friends, so we’ll stick to those examples for the scope of this article.

How do tandem bikes work?

Basically, both seats are designed to act as a solo bike would, but with two bike riders in mind. A tandem riding team has to work together, and think together in all their efforts: steering, pedaling, braking, and any other aspect of bike riding.

Because the bike weighs more, especially with two people, it’s important to recognize how powerful it is. If it tips over with two people on it, it’s going to be a lot harder to pick up, and it will always require good teamwork to carry, place, and store a tandem bike.

You’ll also have to match each others’ pressure and speed when pedaling to maximize your efficiency. Have you ever spun a single pedal around and watched the other one move with it? A tandem bike is a larger-than-life version of that experiment. The pedals are both able to influence the speed of the bike, but they also influence each other. As you and your partner pedal and steer together, you’ll notice differences in how you each like to move, accelerate, decelerate, and perform other basic functions of cycling. A good tandem team will be able to reach a happy medium between the two partner’s speeds and riding styles. It should be noted that although both people can pedal, that also doubles potential snags and snares. If your chainrings catch on something, you’ll have to stop and fix them before continuing.

How do you ride a tandem bike?

Generally speaking, the stronger rider takes the front seat to take care of steering, watch for obstacles, and call out directions to the rider in the rear. It’s important for the rider in the back to stay focused and listen to the front rider’s directions. After all, without someone to see the road, how are you going to see where you’re going?

But experienced riders can cooperate so well that they might not need vocal directions. Once you get used to riding the same bike with the same partner, you become used to each other’s style and are able to react to their body language. Here’s an example: let’s say you’re riding a tandem mountain bike down a dusty trail. Then you reach a fork in the road, and the pilot in the front saddle starts leaning to the left. If the rear rider is paying attention and looking for clues in your surroundings for what to do next, their fellow rider’s body language will do much of the talking. Front riders may still use vocal commands or hand signals occasionally, in case of emergency or sudden changes, but riding a tandem bike is all about riding in tandem. Both of the people on the bicycle are equal partners, overcoming obstacles and reaching their destination together. It’s not just physical exercise; both riders must put in the work for a teamwork exercise. With experience, time, patience, and practice, tandem bike riding takes lots of teamwork, but it’s well worth the effort!

Can One Person Ride a Tandem Bike?

tandem bikes

Although it might be possible to ride a tandem bike without a stoker in some cases, the bicycle is technically built for two. Only having one rider can make it much harder to accomplish anything. That's why the captain of the bike needs A PARTNER. 

Tandem bicycle riding is all about teamwork. The captain has sole responsibility for the gears, brakes, and steering. However, they also need to avoid things like sudden changes of direction. Keeping the stoker informed in a tandem bike is essential because riders can't always see directly ahead. The stoker is also responsible for pedaling in part.

Since the stoker is often visually impaired on a tandem bike, captain cyclists need to be cautious about where they're going, particularly on busy streets with traffic. However, both parties are essential in the tandem riding experience. For instance, each rider might have a different capacity for effort. This means that the stronger rider will need to take over at times. 

Tandem bike riding requires a little bit of persistence. There's a learning curve involved here. If you're committed to making the most of this love machine, then you both need to make sure that you feel comfortable. It can take a while to figure out who the main rider and the rear rider should be. 

Additionally, when you're out with other cyclists, you might find that some journeys or more stressful than others. It's important to try and maintain your enthusiasm for the exercise even when you have tough days. Tandem riding is a lot like any other sport - you need commitment.

How do you travel with a tandem bike?

While tandem bikes are themselves an excellent transport method, you may occasionally need to use another vehicle to get to where you want to go. For example, you may need another transportation method if you’re crossing an ocean, as most tandem bikes are only certified for land! (If you find one that is seaworthy, lucky you!)

You have the option to dismantle your tandem bike to store it on an airplane or in a car. First, make sure the bicycle is not expanded, as some bikes come with an extender that can expand it by a few feet. Next, consult the owner’s manual on how to properly disassemble your bike. Each model is a little different, but here are some general tips:

--Take the air out of the tires.

--Remember to keep screws where you can find them again. Make a labeled plastic bag for small parts.

--Take out each pedal crank, but keep the pedals on.

--You may need to remove the fork to fit the bike in its intended space.

--Avoid shoving or cramming your bike. If it can’t fit, you may want to take it apart even further.

--Keep track of how you disassembled it so you can put it back together in the right order.

Do Tandem Bikes Have Gears?

A tandem bicycle is a very different tool for cycling than a standard bicycle. Just like any other bicycle, some of the features are the same. For instance, your bike will still have a range of pedal options for each rider, a saddle (both rear and front), a frame, and so on. The main difference is that a tandem bike is built for two. 

Tandem Model with Clipping Path


In terms of speed and gear choices, there are still options with tandem bikes. The kind of handlebar gear experiences that you get will depend on the type of tandem bicycle you choose. If you have a lightweight aluminum frame, alloy, or carbon fiber bike, your bike is likely to move much faster. That could mean you need fewer gears and stronger disc brakes.

If you have a road tandem bike, you're going to need more top-end gears, because of the weight to power ratio. Tandem riders that aren't used to working with these kinds of bikes should usually take their bike for a test ride first. You can find a variety of trail options out there for your tandem team to check out. You might even be able to test out who feels more comfortable on the front seat and rear wheel on angled and flat terrain. 

Can a Tandem Bikes Go Faster

A tandem bicycle is a lot of fun once the rider gets used to cycling with it. Once you get to grips with concepts like cranks, chromoly fork, and chainrings on your tandem bicycle, you can accomplish amazing things. 

Remember, a tandem bike has the same kind of drive train as a regular bike. These vehicles have both the power and weight of two riders, but the potential aerodynamic drag of a solo bike. You go a lot faster on down-hill rides, particularly if the riders on each seat stay still and focused.

Tandems do have a habit of being a little slower uphill. However, you can sometimes accomplish more speed with the right gear and a bit more power in your pedal. If both of the riders on the bike have the same amount of power, then it's also possible to enhance your speed and accomplish even more with your tandem bike. 

Ultimately, the speed that you achieve with your tandem bicycle will depend on several different factors. The biggest issue will be whether you're going uphill or downhill. Thanks to gravity helping with pulling two sets of weight downhill, the amount of speed that you can achieve between your captain and stoker is much higher.

Are Tandem Bikes Fun?

The amount of fun you have on a tandem bicycle will be up to you. It can take a little while for both you and your partner to get used to the saddle experience. The good news is that you can find a lot of articles and videos online to teach you about tandem riding. There are guides out there to walk you through everything from defining a seat tube or shimano bike, to finding your fork, choosing a bike rack, and learning how to brake. 

The good news is that once you and the other rider get used to a tandem bicycle, you can explore a lot of great benefits. For instance:

Relationship building: If you and your partner want to spend some more time together, but you both have different riding abilities, then a tandem bike is a great choice. Both you and your partner can pedal at the right speed for you, as long as they align. 

  • It's safe: Tandem bicycle riding is a great way to make both the captain and stoker feel safer when traveling around the world. If you choose the right aluminum bike with a good wheelset and a reliable seat or saddle for both of you, your confidence will grow. 
  • Speed: As mentioned above, you can potentially go a lot faster with a tandem bicycle if you choose the right terrain. Although it takes a little more work to go uphill than downhill, you'll discover more speed on your bicycle over time. 
  • Fun for kids: You don't have to go on rides with your romantic partner or your best friend, you could consider traveling with your child instead. A tandem bike is a great option for a child that's learning how to ride. 
  • Something new: It's easy to get bored when you do the same bicycle ride over and over again. However, cycling is a great way to get fit and get some more fresh air into your life. Tandem bikes can help you rediscover everything you love about the great outdoors.


Are Tandem Bikes Hard to Ride?

tandem bike bestsellers

A tandem bike is a unique piece of exercise equipment designed to help people explore the world in a new way. Tandem bikes have a different build to solo bicycles because they need to carry more weight spread out over a comprehensive frame. There's an extra frame tube along the bike's sides to stop the bike from taking on too much pressure.

A tandem's gearing and braking are very similar to a standard solo bike. For most people, riding a tandem bicycle will feel just like riding a standard bike. That makes it a lot easier to get used to this exercise style if you haven't tried it before. However, it's worth noting that there's a lot more teamwork required in managing a tandem bike. 

Usually, the captain on the bicycle will do the most work because they need to control the bike's speed and direction. While the stoker contributes to the pedaling and keeps the bike moving, they don't have as much control. A stoker on a tandem bike also doesn't always have the best visual over the road ahead, making it particularly important for the captain to keep both riders safe.

Taking some time to learn how to use the essential components of tandem bikes is often a good way to keep the ride as safe as possible. It's worth speaking to an expert when choosing your bicycle or frame. These people should be able to tell you how to pedal effectively, which gear options to use, and more. Remember to practice using the brake on your bike as a couple. 

Since tandem bikes take on the momentum of two riders, they can be a lot more difficult to stop when you're going at an accelerated pace. Ensuring that you both feel comfortable using the brakes is crucial to your combined safety.

What options are available for tandems?

Tandem biking has enjoyed a lot of popularity recently, and there are types to fit all needs, including sporting, leisure, travel, vacation, and tourism, among others. For some of the best options available, we recommend checking out this list of the best bikes. Needless to say, purchasing a tandem bike is a big decision because they can be pricey.

But there are often rental options available, which is advantageous when you’re traveling. If you want to get around town for touring with a tandem bike, feel free to take the vehicle for a test ride before committing to any one option. If it’s your first time riding a tandem, you may find it easier to take separate bikes for long-distance destinations. But for the avid cyclist couple, you will probably get the hang of it after a few turns. It might also help to confirm that the tire pressure and kickstand are fully functional before committing to any rental or purchase. And, of course, be sure to wear all proper safety equipment to ensure you reach your destination safely.

Are Tandem Bikes Safe?

Any bike is only safe when you know how to use it. Just as you'll need to learn how to master your first bike as a child (or adult), you also need to dedicate enough time to understanding how a tandem bike works.

One thing to remember is that with tandem bikes, you have someone else helping you out. If one partner on your tandem team can't hit pedal as fast anymore or runs out of energy, the other person can contribute more of their own power to the experience. However, the fact that multiple people are on a tandem bike can also make the experience more challenging. 

If the stoker on the rear seat moves around too much during a tandem ride, the bike can wobble and lose balance when the bike is going quickly. This is a serious problem for many tandem bike fans, and it's one of the main reasons it's important to practice. 

Another problem with tandem bike rides and safety is that both partners need to work together on stopping the bike. If you both brake at different times and with different intensities when going downhill, this could throw the bike off balance. 

Learning how to properly brake and maintain the balance of your bike when you're riding will reduce the risks associated with this kind of riding. It's also worth making sure that you continue to follow the road rules as you would with a typical bike. 

Do your research and learn how tandem biking works best for you and your partner before committing to any riskier routes. It's often best to stick to flat terrain while you're still learning. Once you feel comfortable on the bike, you can experiment with more up and downhill locations.

What is a tandem bike used for?

buy tandem bike

Tandems have speed and distance advantages over regular bikes. There’s an old saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In this case, though, a tandem bike with experienced riders can go fast and together, easily outpacing a regular bike with only a single rider.

But despite the mechanical advantages of a dual pedal, dual driver system, most tandem riders have a much simpler goal in mind: companionship. Companionship is much more interconnected on a tandem bike because both riders have to be in sync. Working together requires a genuine concern for the other’s well-being, as well as a healthy desire to help and support that person. 

It takes time to work together on a tandem bike because it is not like any other biking experience. Even if both riders know each other well, their interpersonal skills do not automatically transfer over to the world of bikes. They need to work hard and allow themselves to grow and come together. Many cycling couples say that riding a tandem bike allows them to become more in tune with each other. For all the amazing benefits that a tandem bike enjoys over a regular bike, nothing beats the ability to deepen your friendship by increasing your teamwork capabilities.

In a way, tandem bikes are like an analogy for life. Whether you’re the stoker or the pilot in your life right now, you can take friends along with you for the ride. Or, you can help a friend through their tough journey and help them reach their destination.

An efficient tandem bike ride means that neither driver has to pedal or turn as hard as they would for a regular bike. The rear wheel is connected to both sets of pedals by a chainring in the front and back. That way, the rear wheel receives leg power from both the people involved in the ride via their chainrings. Each time one rider cranks their set of pedals, that energy is transferred to the rear wheel. That means that it takes less energy to turn the wheel, which leaves you room to pay attention to the road and your surroundings (including your partner’s body language and hand signals).

Just like tandem bikes, life offers us many choices in friends and partners. Choose those carefully who will help you become your best self and work well together. Shopping for a tandem bike is easy, but finding the right partner is priceless. There’s so much more power in a tandem ride when you reach the top of a mountain bike trail and say, “We did it!” Your trail—and your life—is always better in tandem.

Should You Try A Tandem Bike?

A tandem bicycle riding experience isn't going to be the right option for everyone. Some couples hate using this kind of bike and struggle to work as a team because of differences in their fitness levels. That doesn't necessarily mean that you're not a great couple - just that tandem biking isn't right for you. On the other hand, if you and your partner have equal athletic skills, you might fall in love with this hobby. 

Tandem biking is a good way to stay fit, and an excellent opportunity to try something a little different. If you've been searching for an excellent way to explore the outdoors, and you want to stick together with your partner on the same bike, try tandem riding. 

A tandem bike isn't as expensive or as challenging to master as most people think these days. With plenty of video guides and different options to work with, you might find your new favorite hobby.