Because most tandems are developed by single-bike racers whose tandem experience is limited to captaining, the resulting designs are often simplistic, built to mimic a solo bike’s quick steering and spirited responsiveness. That may explain why literature from other builders rarely discuss a tandem’s comfort and stability (safety)—issues of far greater importance.
At Santana, where every member of our design team spends an equal amount of time captaining and stoking, we realize the limiting factor of a tandem’s performance, and how much it will be enjoyed, is more often than not determined by a stoker’s comfort or the captain’s ability to maintain control during demanding situations.
A point of agreement between Santana and other builders is the desirability of frame stiffness. While racers value stiffness for its competitive advantage (pedaling energy that bends or distorts a frame is mostly wasted) a discerning captain will also discover that a twisting frame is hard to control. Unfortunately, frame stiffness—a prerequisite for efficiency and stability—makes a tandem less comfortable, especially for the stoker. This conflict puts two desired qualities (stiffness and comfort) at odds.
While others favor one attribute over the other, Santana believes this unfortunate compromise is avoidable. To make both ends of our tandems efficient and comfortable, Santana’s comprehensive solution includes tandem-specific geometries, superior materials and exceptional craftsmanship.