Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tandem Bicycle

After traveling many years by tandem bike we wanted to share some tips with you as an upcoming tandem cyclist. If you are unsure of whether to take a tandem bike or two single bikes for your next trip with your partner, this is the right place to be. We have summarized 12 pros and 9 cons to make your choice easier. The decision will follow you for a long time after, so choose wisely. Tandem Bicycle or Two bicycles. What´s better? Here are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tandem Bicycle:

A man standing next to a sitting in front of a hotel next to a orange tandem bicycle
Velotraum

Advantages of a Tandem Bicycle:

  1. 2 wheels, 2 breaks, 2 seats

    Basically, every mechanical issue exists only once as you carrying two people with only one bike. The practicality is that everything that can go bad on a bike trip is at least to some extent minimized.

  2. Show your glory and use the attention

    Your bike will attract a lot of attention. In our point of view, people tend to respect you more like a proper vehicle to share the road with. Of course, this heavily depends on your travel destination but generally, you will more likely receive help.

  3. TEAM – Together everyone achieves more

    Since you are riding all the time together, you achieve something as a couple. This accomplishment not only feels great but also creates bonds between the two riders.

  4. In the plain, feel less pain

    Riding in the plain can be an advantage compared with a normal bicycle as you are more aerodynamic than 2 bikes and less heavy.

  5. One disconnects doubles the effects

    It saves energy of the co-pilot when riding the bike for a longer period. The stoker only has to peddle and sit in the seat. The pilot has to be concentrated. So one person less to do the steering job.

  6. ‘You keep steering, I do the rest’

    All tasks that are done while biking is divided in two. As the pilot steers the bike the stoker is free to take pictures, navigate or supply food.

  7. No time wasted

    You can do your breaks for anything simultaneously and therefore don’t lose time.

  8. No need to wait, he/she is already here

    You are always together, so there is no need to wait. So nobody needs to get annoyed. Also, depending on the country you travel in, you can protect one another.

  9. Take one for the team

    The stronger member can balance out the weaker member and everyone gets his exercise equally after all.

  10. 4 eyes see more than 2

    Two people on one bike mean having 4 eyes to look out for the traffic instead of 2. So that taxi cutting you off might be spotted just a second earlier.

  11. Talk the talk

    In long hours of silence, you might want to share something which is on your mind with your travel buddy.

  12. Theft secure

    A tandem bicycle is much less likely to be stolen as it attracts a lot of attention. It is also very uncommon in most countries.

    A bicycle rider holding a tandem bicycle at a staircase
    Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tandem Bicycle

Disadvantages of a Tandem:

  1. Big and clunky

    The tandem bike is anything but gracious riding. The bike is longer and heavier which makes it unhandy. Keeping the balance, starting at the same time and riding is a lot more challenging with an extra person on your back seat.

  2. ‘The back isn’t peddling’

    A sentence you will have heard in many languages on many occasions from many many people. Your constantly receiving full attention from pretty much anyone that sees you. This also includes the honking of cars in many countries.

  3. Carriage requirements – single seat

    Many airlines include this into their special baggage requirements which makes the tandem bicycle a tricky travel companion. Our experience in South America involved many times calling different airline call centers and being on hold (sometimes for hours).

  4. The hills are killing

    Much more difficult to ride a tandem bicycle if hilly or in mountain areas or against wind and downhill, off-road.

  5. Share the pain

    If one of you falls, the other one will too. Maneuvering the tandem bike through areas can be tricky and falling with a tandem bike might leave both riders injured, let’s hope someone stops and helps.

  6. ‘I don’t feel like it today’

    If one person does not want to ride, the tandem becomes a burden. If you travel with two bikes, it is much easier to do stuff by yourself. Traveling with a partner can be tiring, you might want some time alone.

  7. More load = more trouble

    While bike packing with a tandem bicycle you certainly need hydraulic breaks that are much more likely to be tested to its limits compared to two single bikes.

  8. Money is the issue?

    Tandem bikes are more expensive than 2 normal bikes and can only be used by two people. You need an extra-long brake and gear cables which make reparations much harder.

  9. Should I stay or should I go?

    In case you have a major equipment problem during your travels. It is very difficult to hitchhike with a tandem bicycle or it might even be challenging to take a bus. One stays behind and the other one leaves?

  10. We recommend an extremely good Tandem manufacturer!

    Tandems are much more injury-prone than normal bicycles. You need a good frame and good material to keep your bicycle healthy for a long time during your travels.

    A man riding a bicycle on the beach of Ecuador
    Cycling!

Now, enjoy your time together and discuss the options with your partner. Taking a decision together is the most important part of traveling with other people. You can certainly have fun with a tandem bicycle and 2 bicycles. The decision depends very much on your individual situation, the length of your travels, and your fitness level.

A man holding a tandem bicycle on a sandy beach during the sunset
South America
A bicycle rider stretching his arms next to a orange tandem bicycle in front of a shop in the mountains
Travelling

This was our article about the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tandem Bicycle.

Read everything about 5 simple Tips to Prevent Cycling Pains During And After A Bicycle Ride.

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