Best Tandem Bikes
Do you have dreams of going on a romantic beachside cruise with your loved one on a bicycle built for two? Or do you want to take your children out for a bike ride without having to worry about them steering into oncoming traffic? You may want to consider investing in a tandem bike. These bikes, with a colorful history dating back to the 1890s, have come a long way since the Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two) song and are capable of providing hours of entertainment and enjoyment for the people you love most in your life. But, how do you know which are the best tandems to invest in? We’ve taken all of that pesky guesswork out for you in compiling the list of the ten best tandem bikes below. Practice your communication skills because it won’t be long until you’re riding with your loved ones!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 3 hrs of research
Comes with a five-year limited warranty
High quality yet lightweight frame
Affordable price tag
Comfortable ride – no need to crouch over the handlebars
Great option for families with growing children
Top 10 Picks
1. Schwinn Twinn
Comes with a five-year limited warranty
High quality yet lightweight frame
Affordable price tag
Comfortable ride – no need to crouch over the handlebars
Great option for families with growing children
Peddles may hit the ground in high spots
The Schwinn Twinn took our number one spot in our list of ten best tandem bikes for good reason. First of all, you cannot deny the staying power that the brand name Schwinn has. The company has nearly 125 years under their belt after all! The Twinn was the first tandem bicycle that the company made and with its roots extending back to 1964, you can expect a high-quality and modernized product from this most recent iteration.Read more
This bicycle features a tandem frame with a low step-through rear bar that is designed to help fit smaller riders. The bike is equipped with mechanical disc brakes that will let riders stop on a dime. It features ergonomic grips and a comfortable saddle that will provide an enjoyable ride.
The Schwinn is a 21-speed bike. The rear derailleur helps to provide an impressive gear range and will lend itself well to smooth gear shifting on all of your rides.
The Schwinn Twinn is a great bicycle option for those who plan on taking their tandem on both roads and trails. Because of its adjustable seat heights, the Twinn is a great option for families who want to share tandem cycling with their children.
The wheels are 26-inches with a 22-inch front frame and an 18-inch rear frame stoker. The length of the bicycle from tire-to-tire is around 98-inches and it weighs less than 50 pounds.
This is a moderately priced tandem. We gave it the number one spot on our list because it provides a lot of value for its price tag and is a great option for families.
2. Giordano Viaggio
Great budget option
Handles great on the road
Rim braking system not as effective as disc brakes
This tandem option from Giordano Viaggio is one of the most popular products on the market today. It’s a lightweight option, perfect for travellers and it even makes a great option for those who are just dipping their toes into the world of tandem bicycling.Read more
This bike boasts a very strong frame. Beginners will be hard-pressed to find another option on the market of this quality. The frame is made of 7005 aluminum, a popular material choice for bicycles because it doesn’t require any expensive heat treatment.
The Giordano is equipped with Shimano 8-speed.
The size makes the Giordana Viaggio a great choice for families as someone as short as 4’6” can ride in the rear seat when it’s adjusted to its shortest position. Someone even shorter than that can sit in the stoker seat so long as the captain is willing to do all the pedaling. This bike is designed for use on roads.
The frame size in the front is 20-inches and 16-inches in the rear. This tandem weighs just 42.5 pounds.
Though this isn’t the cheapest option on our list, it is still priced fairly around the middle of the line. It is a great investment for families with children who they wish to introduce the world of tandem bicycling to.
3. KENT Northwoods
Quick and easy installation
Comfortable to use on rides with a lot of hills
Easy to shift gears
Heavier than some other options on our list
This high-quality tandem from KENT takes our third-place spot for good reason. It has extra wide tires, gel saddles and water bottle holders, features not every option on our list can boast.Read more
The Northwoods features a fully-adjustable alloy stem that will provide a comfortable upright position for riding. The seat is made from Vitesse gel material for additional comfort. The frame is comprised of a high tensile steel material for the ultimate in durability.
The Northwood features a 21-speed Shimano drive train to provide cyclers with a comfortable ride at a varying number of speeds across a lot of different terrain types.
This bicycle can be easily used across a number of different terrain types. Because it is designed to provide the cycler with a comfortable ride, you can take the Northwoods on long hauls across your city or through trails without any issues.
This bike is 93-inches by 23-inches by 29-inches and weighs in at 61 pounds. It has low stand over heights – 29 inches in the front and 20 inches in the rear which will make it easy for both cyclers to get on and off of it.
This is one of the most value-priced options on our list. It’s a well-built tandem with a host of special features that set it apart from other products. We highly recommend it.
4. Pacific Dualie
Gears are easy to change
Wide range of gears available
26-inch wide tires provide better grip on the road
Fun to take around the town
Can bottom out
The pretty blue Dualie tandem from Pacific might be the bicycle choice for you if you’re looking for something that provides a comfortable and secure ride. The Dualie is a fun bike to ride and won’t break the bank either.Read more
The Dualie features a steel frame that is meant to provide a comfortable and durable ride. The choice to use a steel frame allows the bike to become stronger while providing a smooth ride overall. The wheels are made of alloy, ensuring the Dualie is as lightweight as possible. Its brakes are high-precision and the saddle is sure to provide you a secure and comfortable ride.
The Dualie features a Shimano rear 21-speed derailleur. It also has a twist shifter that boasts 21 speeds as well.
The Dualie is a great road bike. It can be used for casual sightseeing around town to a utility vehicle, great for hauling your groceries home from the store.
The frame of the Dualie in the front is 18-inches and for the stoker it is 16-inches. It weighs 57.3 pounds.
Here we have another great budget priced tandem bicycle. You won’t have to break the bank to purchase this high-quality option from Pacific.
5. Kulana Lua
Bright yellow color is eye catching
Fun to ride
Good customer service
Fun palm tree decals
Foot operated braking system
Hi-tens steel is not the best frame material choice
This hand-built bicycle from Kulana might be the tandem for you if you’re in the market for a single speed drivetrain. It features easy to reach handlebars for comfortable steering and fenders that will protect you in more inclement weather riding conditions.Read more
The Kulana frame is constructed from a high-tensile steel material. The spring saddles are extra large in size to ensure the ultimate in comfort.
This is a single-speed bicycle. It has no derailleur gears.
While the single-speed construction of this bicycle might be a turn off for some cyclers, there are advantages to a single-speed bike. There are fewer parts that will require maintenance. This makes the Kulana a great bike to take in all types of weather conditions.
This tandem is 26-inches. Fully assembled, it is 24-inches by 8.75-inches by 76.25-inches.
The Kulana is priced average when we compare it to the other options on our list. It is a heavier tandem bike, something that should be taken into consideration. We loved its bright yellow color and overall simplicity.
6. Hollandia Rathburn
Relatively affordable price tag
Poor instruction manual. May need to have professionals put it together
This attractive looking tandem from Hollandia is a great option for cyclists looking for a bike with a comfortable saddle. It also features fenders on both the front and rear tires and a front light to help you see in darker settings.Read more
This tandem features a durable steel frame. The fork is also made of steel. The rims of the tires are made of aluminum. The seat post clamp is made of aluminum as well and is quick-release.
The Hollandia Rathburn features an 18-speed Shimano drivetrain. It has a 3-piece crank and the pedal platform is comfortable.
The Hollandia’s tires are 26-inches by 2.125-inches, making them a great choice for beach cruising. It is a functional bike that will bring you enjoyment in several different settings.
The length of this tandem is 93-inches.
While this isn’t the cheapest tandem on our list, it is still affordably priced all things considered.
7. Mantis Taureno
Some concerns regarding quality control of some of the components of this tandem
This affordably priced unisex-style tandem from Mantis is a brightly colored beast that screams, “LOOK AT US!” when you ride past people on it.Read more
The Taureno has a steel frame as well as a steel suspension fork. The spring saddle provides a relatively comfortable ride.
This bad boy features an 18-speed Shimano drivetrain.
This tandem can be used in a number of different settings. Whether you’re riding to the grocery store or for exercise, the Taureno will prove itself to be useful.
When fully assembled, the Taureno measures 93-inches long, 23-inches wide and 41-inches high.
Here we have another affordably priced tandem bike option. We feel the Taureno doesn’t have some of the standout features that some other budget-priced options on our list do, but it is still worth consideration regardless.
8. Supreme Savings
Easy to reach handle bars
No rear coaster brakes mean a sleek looking design
Difficult to determine exact weight and certain specifications
The Supreme Savings is the last of the somewhat budget-priced options on our buying guide. This bike was a bit difficult to find information about but we had to include it on our list because of how beautiful it is and the comfortable ride it provides cyclists.Read more
We were unable to find the exact materials that were used in the construction of this bicycle. It does feature a comfortable padded saddle, however.
We were unable to determine what kind of drivetrain this tandem has although, considering the quality of the product, it should be fast enough for you and your family
Whether you’re using this beautiful yellow tandem for exercise, sightseeing or cruising the trails, you’ll be happy with how well it will perform.
The dimensions of this Supreme Savings tandem bicycle are 24-inches by 8.75 inches by 76.25 inches, making it one of the shorter tandems on our list. This will come in handy when it comes time to store your bike.
This product is not as affordable as its brand name would have you believe. It is priced just above average when we compare it to other options on our list.
9. PFIFF Compagno
Comes with a light and a bell
Rear rack for storage
If you’re already well-versed in the world of tandem biking and are on the lookout for a more advanced bicycle, this product from PFIFF is going to be right up your alley.Read more
The frame and fork of this tandem are made from aluminum. The rims are double walled aluminum. The tires themselves are from Schwalbe and are designed for use in marathons so you know they’re going to be durable and perform well.
The PFIFF features a 7-speed Sram hub.
This tandem is suited for use by two adults. If required, all of the important functions necessary to make the bike operate can be implemented so only the captain is in control. It has a front light, a bell and a double kickstand which will all come in handy if you’re going to be using this bike on light trails or roadways.
This tandem weighs 53 pounds. Its dimensions are 89-inches by 40-inches by 20.4 inches.
This is definitely not a budget-priced option. We felt it important to include a few tandems on our list that are designed for use by experienced riders, though, and that’s what you will get with this product from PFIFF.
10. Addmotor MOTAN
Great for people who don’t have the strength to peddle for long distances
Great for families with small children
Fun to ride
Unique riding experience
Very expensive price tag
Finally we have reached the end of our ten best tandem bikes buying guide. We’ve saved the most expensive and unique product for last. This tandem from Addmotor is actually an electric tandem. Let’s take a look at what this beast can offer.Read more
The Addmotor features a strong and sporty frame. The bottom tube is double layered for extra security and durability. It is equipped with a 750-watt brushless motor that will provide riders with some serious power for their outdoor adventuring.
The bike has a 7-speed TEKTRO drivetrain. This adds to the speed and easy maneuverability of this product.
Because this is an electric bike, cyclists will be happy to know they’ll likely be able to go further than ever. The long-lasting battery is designed to take you up to 50 miles on a single charge. You can even take it on more adventurous terrain without worrying about your legs fatiguing early.
The front wheel of this tandem is fit for captains who are 5’8-6’4 in height. The stoker seat is great for folks within the 5’4 -6’1 height range.
As we’ve already mentioned, this tandem is extremely expensive. But one must take into account what you will receive from a product with this high of a price tag. Sure, it might be an entire paycheque (or two…or three…) in order for you to afford this tandem, but because it is electric, you will be able to further in it. It will be easier for you to go long distances and that might just be enough to make you consider investing in this.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Aluminum or steel? The choice is up to you.
There are a few main bicycle frame materials that you came across while reading our buying guide. The first and most common material is aluminum. The next is steel.
Aluminum is used most often because it is a lightweight material. This material makes your tandem less likely to rust, allowing aluminum bike owners to put in less time for maintenance every year. Because aluminum is rust-resistant, you can ride your bike through inclement weather (heavy rains, lots of puddles without worrying about destroying the frame of your bike. Aluminum is not as durable as other frame materials, but manufacturers will often ensure they combat this by having thicker walls in their aluminum frame tubes. A bike made of aluminum might end up costing you more right out the gate, but it’s still an investment worth making as it’ll last a long time and won’t require as much maintenance year-to-year.
Steel is typically three times the weight of aluminum. It was most commonly used in olden-day bike making and isn’t as popular of a choice in these modern times because of how heavy it is. That said, a well-made steel bike frame will last you a long time, maybe even forever if you care for it probably. Bikes made of this material are durable as heck. If you look closely at some bikes you might see when you’re out riding, you might notice some of them have a “vintage” flair. While there definitely has been an increase in vintage styled bicycles as of late, some of these olden day-esque bikes that you see on the road are probably actually from the olden days. Many steel framed bikes from the 1950s are still rideable today because of how durable steel is.
Single or multi-speed depends on what you’re using your tandem for.
Beginner cyclists may not fully understand what the big deal is about bike speeds. If you plan to make your tandem bike choice solely on the speeds available on your bike, you will want to consider what it is you’re expecting to get from your tandem. Some options are better for slow cruising with no particular end goal in mind. You may want to go to the farmers market or take a slow ride along a bike path. Other speeds are better suited to get you anywhere, uphill, downhill, through difficult terrain.
Choosing a single-speed bike like the Kulana Lua will mean you’ll never have to switch gears. When you pedal forward, your tandem will move forward. When you pedal backward, your bike will stop. This is a simple speed option that works best on flat terrain.
Multiple-speed bikes, like most other options on our list, are easier to use when traversing over different types of terrain, cycling fast and conquering hills like it ain’t no thang. You will be able to change your gear on these styles of bikes to suit any situation.
Where are you going and with whom?
How you plan on using your bike may determine which choice you’re going to ultimately decide to invest in. Do you want to ride on flat terrain at your own leisure? Or do you like the sound of being able to go fast and up and down hills easier? Are you planning on using your new tandem bike with your spouse or do you want to use it to get your children out of the house and off their iPads? These are all things you must take into consideration before choosing a tandem bike. Some options on our list are suited for shorter riders in the back, making them a great bicycle to consider if you want to introduce your children to the world of tandem cycling. Some of the products on our list are better suited for two adult riders.
Fitting on the bike is a prerequisite to riding it.
The size of the tandem bike matters for a number of different reasons. First of all, you want to make sure that you’re even able to fit on the bike. Some options are better suited for shorter rear riders, for example. Size also matters when it comes time to store your bike. We get into this a little more in depth below in our Other Factors to Consider section, but it’s worth noting here. If you have a small space, you’re going to want to find a smaller tandem bike in order to make storage easier. Options that are shorter will make it easier to store your bike both vertically and horizontally. The overall weight of the tandem will matter as well. There are options on our list that are quite a bit lighter which will make transporting and riding the bike easier overall.
What will you receive in return from your investment?
As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes it just does come down to price. A bicycle can have the best features in the world but if it is out of our price range, we cannot buy it (in good conscience, anyway). This is why we took the value of the tandems on our list into consideration as we individually reviewed them. It’s not just the price we’re looking at here, but the value that you will receive back from the bike once you’ve invested in it.
When it comes to successfully riding (and enjoying) a tandem bike, both the captain and the stoker need to be able to be comfortable keeping lines of communication open at all times. If the captain doesn’t announce to the stoker that he or she is braking or making a turn or announcing that there is a bump ahead, the stoker will not have time to adequately prepare. This could result in injuries or, well, relationship problems if the two riders are married. Save a marriage, communicate at all times!
You might not get the hang of tandem cycling at first. Be gentle with yourself and the partner you’re riding with. It can take captains 50 miles or so until they fully feel comfortable behind the handlebars of their tandem bike. Give yourselves time to learn how to ride with one another. We’ve heard of tandem bikes being referred to as “divorce machines” but that’s silly. Practicing patience and communication is key to learning how to ride efficiently with your partner together.
Other Factors to Consider
If you thought that transporting and storing your single rider bicycle was a tough task, imagine how difficult it can be for a tandem bike. They are often over 8-feet long! On some products you can address the issue of portability by investing in a S & S coupling that will allow you to break the frame down into smaller sections. This is a pricy endeavor, however.
If you have the space in your garage, you could store your tandem using bike hooks. You would need to be able to hoist the front wheel of the bike up onto the hook, but it will keep it off of your garage floor and out of the way.
Transporting your tandem is a whole ‘nother beast. The good news is that there are bike rack manufacturers out there who specialize in creating vehicle racks for long bikes, including tandems. While these will usually cost you a pretty penny, it’s worth it for folks who plan on taking their tandem with them on camping trips or to other destinations to ride.
Something we have heard time and time again is, “are tandem bikes even safe?” And the answer is, yes. They are….BUT (you had to know there was a ‘but’ coming), both riders need to be open with each other as they’re riding. You cannot have a safe tandem bike ride if the front rider is not letting the rear rider know what is happening in front at all times. In order to have a safe ride, both riders need to be openly communicating with each other at all times.
Tandem bikes are longer than single-rider bikes. That much is obvious. But this is something that may take a while for some people to get used to. Because they’re longer, they are sometimes more difficult to steer in some situations and they also need to take corners a little wider.
So, are tandem bikes safe? Yes. But riding in one means following proper tandem etiquette and giving yourself a lot of time to practice before taking them out into traffic.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are the benefits of investing in a tandem-style bike?
If you’ve ever wanted to create a scene from a corny romance movie, a tandem bike is for you! In all seriousness, though, there are a lot of benefits for people who choose to invest in this style of bicycle. First of all, they’re fun to ride. Coordinating your movement with another rider might sound like it would become a test of your relationship, but it’s actually quite fun. If you have any mobility concerns or disabilities, a tandem bike might be a great investment for you. You can have a fit and able-bodied person in the front seat who can do the majority of the work while you do what you can and enjoy the scenery along the way. If the idea of flying down hills at top speed gets you going, you’re going to love how fast tandem bikes can get. Because they weigh more than standard solo rider bikes (and have an extra person on top to boot), you can expect a tandem to be faster on flat surfaces that a regular bicycle and a heck of a lot faster on the descents. It isn’t unusual to hit over 50 miles per hour on a downhill. Hold on and have fun!
q: There is a whole world associated with tandem bicycling. What are some of the key terminology I should know?
You’re right, the tandem cycling world is rife with terminology. You might not be expected to know any of these terms right out the gate, but you’ll become more familiar with them the longer you ride and the further you go down the tandem cycling rabbit hole. The two most important terms you should know refer to who is on the bicycle.
Captain/Pilot – this is the person who rides in the front seat on the bike. They are in charge of steering, balancing, gear changing and braking. If you’re going on a difficult, hilly ride, the captain will need to be able to call out any necessary commands to the stoker (see next term) so they will know what’s ahead of them.
Stoker – this is the person who rides in the back seat of the bicycle. The person who chooses to ride in the rear seat needs to be able to relinquish control. They have to feel comfortable with putting all of their trust in the captain. When it comes time to take corners, the stoker will need to lean with the bike, try and keep it balanced and pedal when necessary. The stoker also has the important task of being the photographer, food passer, singer and entertainer.
q: Is it better to sit in the front or rear seat?
This depends entirely on you and your abilities. The captain needs to be confident in his or her skills as a cycler as they will be doing the bulk of the work. They cannot be afraid of the bike, traffic or terrain they’re traversing or the power that they hold in that front seat. The captain also needs to be able to communicate efficiently with their stoker. The stoker needs to be able to listen and take commands as called out by their captain.
q: Can you fly on a plane with a tandem?
Some airlines will allow tandem bicycles so long as you are within their weight restrictions. As we mentioned in our Portability section above, if you have the money to invest in S&S couplers, they will enable you to break your bike into a few different pieces. These couplers are going to cost you, though. At time of publication, six couplers are around $2000 USD.
q: How do you make sure you’re getting the right size?
The sizing for your bike will rely mostly on who is going to be the captain. They will use the same position as they would on a regular bicycle so knowing the measurements of your road bike will be helpful when choosing the tandem bike size.
q: Can we stand on a tandem bike?
You can definitely stand while riding a tandem bike. The captain needs to announce his or her intent to stand, however, before even attempting this feat. We recommend upshifting before you try standing because as you get out of the saddle, you’ll have more force than you would if you were seated.
q: Should we get any accessories for our bike?
This ultimately comes down to your personal preferences. A horn or a bell could be fun. People on the street love seeing tandem riders, so a friendly ‘honk’ or ‘ding’ might even make someone’s day. Water bottle holders and bike racks come already equipped on some of the bikes on our list, but this might be something to consider if you’re going to be going on longer distance rides. If you're interested in having some real time feedback about your speed and distance, maybe a little handlebar computer would be worth the investment for you.
q: Can we put this together ourselves?
You definitely can put together the tandem bike yourself. If you’re not an avid cycler and don’t have a lot of knowledge about bikes to back you, though, we would recommend taking your bike to a professional shop to have it put together. The people who work in these shops have years, sometimes decades, of bike installation and maintenance under their belts and will be able to ensure everything is put together right the first time.