But what I really rate the most, is involving the whole family, and there’s no better couples therapy than hopping on one of the best tandem bikes together!
Here are my (and my husband’s) choices for the best tandem bike:
What Is a Tandem Bicycle Used For?
A bicycle tandem style allows more than one rider to ride the bike at the same time. But why, you may ask.
Well, cycling can be a solitary pursuit. Even while biking in a group or with your partner, there’s definite separation. Riding in tandem with someone is a whole new experience!
Tandems possess a minimum of two sets of handlebars and saddles. In most cases, you’ll find a double-seater bike, but sometimes you may be lucky enough to find a rare triple-seater.
Not only is it challenging learning to ride a bike in sync with each other, but tandems can be quite a bit faster than your average cycle if you work well together!
Other things a tandem bike can be used for include:
- To get the kids used to the motion of riding before they ride on their own bike.
- If you’re after a higher speed on the bike, tandems can give you that.
- To provide those who may not be able to ride alone a taste of the freedom it offers!
Are Tandem Bikes Hard to Ride?
Tandem bikes are easy to ride — with some practice! The key is learning how to ride a bike as a team. Getting that right can take anything from a few miles to months of working on it!
The person taking the bikes tandem lead is called the captain, they’re also in charge of steering, gear changes and braking. The person in the back seat is the stoker.
Here are some quick tips for making your tandem bike rides as easy as possible:
- The captain should hop on first.
- Tandems are easiest to mount by swinging your leg over the handlebars! Don’t forget, on tandems, you have an extra set of them behind the front seat.
- Next, the stoker should get on. They should lift their feet to the pedals while the captain steadies the bike.
- The stoker will need to move the pedals into the right position for the captain to begin pedaling (the captain should still be standing!).
- Upon the captain’s command, the stoker pushes down on the pedal, and as the bike moves forward, the captain sits.
- Use commands when stopping, starting, or approaching obstacles to inform the stoker of what is coming!
Can One Person Ride a Tandem Bike?
Yes, but it may be a bit more difficult to balance yourself on it. Tandems are, naturally, heavier than a single bike, so as long as you can handle the weight, you should be all right.
What are The Best Tandem Bikes?
If you’re keen to try tandem bikes, here are my favorite choices.
Schwinn is over 120 years old, so they have plenty of experience making bicycles! In my opinion, the Schwinn Twinn is the most sleek and light tandem bike that makes riding easy.
It features a lightweight aluminum bike frame and an ultra-low rear bar to make getting on and off simple for shorter riders. Shimano parts add extra value to this bicycle — a 21-speed gear shifter and derailleur. The tandem’s handlebar grips are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort, and it has a plush seat.
You can choose from a medium-sized bike frame (best for those between 5’7” and 5’10”) and a large frame (recommended for 6” or taller).
- Lightweight aluminum construction.
- Extra-low rear step-through bar.
- Shimano EZ-Fire trigger shifters.
- Mechanical disc brakes.
- Better saddle cushioning would be an improvement.
Northwoods tandem bike is an eye-catching machine and has several features that indicate that it’s built for comfort. I would suggest this is great for cycling couples to take a relaxing cruise on weekends!
The gel-padded saddles should be reasonably comfortable for both short and long rides. If you’re keen on long cruises, the dual water bottle holders help you both stay well-hydrated.
The tires are extra-wide, at 2.1 inches, which should soften bumps. A 21-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain adds to the smoothness of the ride.
The standover heights are 29 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear, making it easier for riders of all sizes to hop on and off — even switching between captain and stoker should be quite easy for most people, regardless of height!
- Cruiser-style aluminum frame.
- Shimano Tourney drivetrain.
- Spring gel saddles.
- Two water bottle holders.
- Affordable tandem option.
- Assembling the bike can be complicated.
The Micargi tandems are built using a steel chrome frame, which makes them a little heavier than their aluminum counterparts. Given the former, I feel this as a tandem bike suited toward shorter rides — longer distances may induce a greater chance of fatigue due to the extra weight.
The rear of this tandem bike comes pre-assembled, so you’ll only need to put together some basic parts in the front — handlebars, seat, wheels, fenders and pedals. Those who aren’t mechanically-minded may appreciate this.
This “beach-cruiser-style” bicycle has wider-than-average saddles for enhanced comfort, and whitewall tires for a stylish, nostalgia-inspiring look. With Shimano parts, the running of this tandem cruiser should be simple and smooth.
- Shimano Tourney derailleur.
- 18-speed gears.
- Completely adjustable.
- Easy to assemble.
- Stability of the kickstand is disappointing.
The PFIFF is a retro-style tandem bike featuring a lightweight aluminum frame. It comes with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires that are reflective and aluminum rims.
A Shimano 7-speed drivetrain and coaster brake enhance the biking experience. And, with Velo comfort seats, the ride should be quite forgiving on the butt.
The features I find quite neat and unique are the higher rear seat and handlebars. This allows an increased scope of vision for the person sitting at the back. In the case of this tandem, the captain sits behind the stoker, as the gears and brakes are also situated at the rear.
In my opinion, this would be super for parents to keep an eye on a younger family member while riding, or for someone taking a less-abled rider out on a trip.
This tandem bicycle also comes with nice touch extras, such as a rear tire rack, front light and bell for extra safety, a double kickstand for added stability, and quick-release seat clamps.
- Unique reverse design.
- Velo comfort saddles.
- Higher-than-average rear seat and handlebar.
- 7-speed Shimano drivetrain.
- Premium price.
If you love biking with your kids, this trailer-design could appeal to you. Most tandem bikes are too large for younger children, and I feel this device may solve that problem.
Simply fit the provided rack to the rear of your bike, attach the patented trailer cycle hitch to this, and hook up the Piccolo. It turns your regular bike into a child-friendly tandem.
It can handle a weight of up to 85 pounds, or kids from age four to 10 years old. The seat and handlebar are both fully adjustable, so it shouldn’t be difficult to make most children comfortable on it.
I love this idea for teaching your kids to ride, as it’s a very interactive way of being involved in the process. The Piccolo has a 7-speed gear system, so it’s also an amazing tool to teach your kids how to shift gears.
In my view, it's extremely versatile and can be taken anywhere!
- 7-speed rapid-fire gearing.
- Seat and handlebar are both adjustable.
- Includes Burley Moose Rack.
- Safe for children up to 85 pounds in weight.
- Those who are technically challenged may find it difficult to install.
Best Tandem Bikes Conclusion
Tandem bikes can be great fun for couples and cycling friends! Tandems are challenging but can also improve your power and control, depending on whether you’re the captain or the stoker.
So, what is the best tandem bicycle?
My top pick of the best tandem bikes would have to be the Schwinn Twinn Adult Tandem.
I feel this tandem is more lightweight than many due to its aluminum frame. It also has the backing of a brand that’s 120+ years old. It features ergonomic grips and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
But my top choice for durable, light and reliable tandems is the Schwinn Twinn.