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Are you looking for used tandem bicycles information?

"A good used tandem bicycle resource."

Finding used tandem bicycles can be tough. There isn't a whole lot out there and I hope to remedy that by providing a place for people to get information on what to look for in a used tandem. I'll give you some tips on what to look for and if you don't have a local resource for used tandems, take some time to look at the used ones below. I have put a widget on that scans eBay every day for used tandems that might interest you.

Bookmark this site and come back often, you might just find what you are looking for.

Here are some used tandems currently for sale.  There are tips below the bikes to show you what you might need to look out for on a used tandem.

A used tandem bicycle has one obvious difference over a new one, it is used! You haven't been with the bike since new so you can't know how it has been treated other than by what you are told by the owner and a close inspection of the bike.

A good inspection can tell you many things. Look for dirt in the cable guides, look at the condition of the brake pads, the rims. Did owner do regular maintenance on the bike? They can tell you one thing, but seeing the bike itself tells loads also.

You can successfully buy a used tandem bicycle online from a place like eBay. All you need to do is know what pictures to ask for and what damage to look for.

Let's start there:

Damage to look for

A commonly seen area with damage is near the bottom bracket. Something that can happen from time to time is your drive chain can drop off your tandem at the rear bottom bracket.  This really isn't a big deal anymore than it is on a single bike.

The thing that you have going against you on a tandem that you don't on a single bike is that you aren't the only one pedaling. If you don't have good communication (or technical understanding) between the captain and stoker you might just continue to grind away or try to power your way through the drop if the chain got stuck.  

Now the frame material will make a big difference on how serious the damage to the tandem is or is not.  If you have a steel frame, most likely the damage will be cosmetic and really won't be of much concern for the used tandem buyer other than a little paint.  If the frame is aluminum or carbon fiber this could be a different story. The chain can literally saw it's way through the frame and cause some very serious damage. Now you know why they call a chain saw a chain saw a chain saw.

Take a look at the frame damage from this photo (original here)on Precision Tandem's web site.
used tandem damage to watchThere really is no way to repair this frame and you would have to scrap this frame or have a new lug put in.  Either way, you are looking at an extreme amount of money. Just another reason to get a good feel for when something goes wrong. If you are having trouble pedaling, there is something wrong. Stop and find out what it is!

There is a little thingy you can put on your bike that can almost eliminate the possibility of the chain coming off the inner ring and dropping down onto your frame by the bottom bracket. I have used one of these for years on my mountain bikes with great success. It is called a Third Eye Chain Watcher .

used tandem bicycles This little guy goes on the seat tube with the included clamp and rides just to the inside of the smallest ring on your stoker's cranks. When the chain wants to drop off for whatever reason, the arm will hold the chain in place and prevent it from coming off or at the worst the chain will drop off the ring onto the Third Eye, preventing you from sawing your frame in half.
All you have to do is stop (don't try to do it moving), get your hands a little dirty, and put the chain back on the ring. Good to go.

Another area to check a used tandem bicycle is the condition of the rims.  Are the holes where the spoke nipples enter the wheels cracked? Are they bulging out? Is there corrosion present? All of this could indicate future problems that you will have to take into consideration when pricing the used tandem bicycle. A new set of wheels isn't the end of the world but it can be a deal breaker if you don't know it's coming.

If you find things like this and the user is saying "low miles", that might not be entirely truthful.  A used tandem bicycle could have just a couple hundred miles on it or it could have thousands and thousands. One more way to get an idea about the miles on a tandem is are the areas where the brake and shifter cables come off the handlebars worn through to the metal.  Many times riders will not think about putting protection where the cables contact the frame and over time it will wear through the paint.  If the bike isn't ridden, it won't wear through.  Only getting used will this cause wear.  Mind you, this is cosmetic wear so you'll just have to touch it up. Perhaps painting the bike might be in your future. I did that with one of my tandems. It was done by a professional but you can see in the preceding link how to do it yourself.

If you are buying a tandem used from a party on the internet or a classified ad from another city, be sure to ask for photos of the bottom bracket areas.  This is where a lot of damage can be seen if you ask for close ups but not seen in general photos. Also ask to be shown front and rear wheel skewers. Many owners that put their bikes down won't spring for new skewers after a crash. They'll put new bar tape on because their hands are on it all the time but the skewers are something they think about on a used tandem bicycle.

Here's an up to the date listing of used tandem bicycles on eBay.  Maybe you'll see one you like.  It's a long list but a tandem isn't something you buy on first sight.  Check out many of the models on this page. Among the cheap entry level models you might find a nugget of gold.

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