This is a review of the best tandem bikes 2023.
On flat terrain, a tandem bike is much faster than a touring bike and in many cases faster than a gravel bike. A combination of two people pedaling and extra aerodynamics make them a great option, but all that extra weight makes them a bit slower climbing up hills.
With so many options for a tandem bicycle, I have researched and reviewed the best tandem bikes on the market for 2023, and in this article, I’ll be sharing my honest reviews on them with you. Let’s take a look at the tandem bike reviews.
Table of Contents
- Best Tandem Bike Reviews 2023
- Best Tandem Bike – Overall
- Best Budget Tandem Bike
- Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process
Best Tandem Bike Reviews 2023
The Best Tandem Bike reviews 2023:
- Thorn Raven Twin S&S Mk3 Tandem
- Schwinn Twinn Tandem
- Santos Double Travel 2
- Co-motion Java
- Co-Motion Mocha
Best Tandem Bike – Overall
> It’s customized to your specific requirements!
> One of the strongest tandem bikes on the market
> All the components are of very high quality
> Two great color options to choose from
> Variable price depending on specs
I wanted to make this my number one pick because of just how customizable it is – you can choose your own personal specs!
When you go to the manufacturer’s product page, you can download even more details than what you find here, and a form showing what details are required from you to produce your specially customized tandem bike.
Rest assured, however, every single component on-board will be of the utmost quality, including the chains, brackets, tires, and tubes. And in fact, you just can’t find better quality chain rings anywhere else.
It’s available in a choice of two color schemes, namely pure orange and gunmetal. And you can choose between 4 different sizes, namely S/S, L/S, S/M, OR M/M.
So long as you remain the original owner, you will be covered by Thorn’s lifetime warranty. And there’s also a 100-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
Best Budget Tandem Bike
> Very Reasonable Price
> Quality Front and rear brakes
> Plush seats for both riders for ultimate comfort
> The step-thru bar between the two seats is extra low
> I wish it was better equipped for steep slopes
I’ve said elsewhere on my website how much I love the Schwinn brand, they’re all-American and have been doing their thing super well for over a century.
This tandem bike has some really great features – there’s a speed shifter that can do a 21 different speeds, there are front and rear mechanical disc brakes that provide supreme stopping power in all kinds of conditions.
I love the ergonomic grips on the handlebars, and especially the plush seats for ultimate comfort.
But my favorite feature was the rear derailleur, which enables the captain and the stoker to pedal at different speeds.
It’s perfect for taking a child with you somewhere, because you can have two different seat heights, and the step-thru bar between the two seats is extra low.
It’s available in two color options, namely gray and blue (my favorite is the blue). And there are two sizes of bike frame to choose from, namely medium and large.
Please see the product page to find out which would be the best size frame for you.
> You can customize so much on it!
> Strong 26-inch wheels & wide tires
> It has a strong, stiff, and stable frame
> Rohloff hub with 14 different speeds
> It offers excellent braking power
> You can even convert it to an e-bike
> It has a slightly higher handlebar
> Variable price depending on specs
This is an excellent tandem bike for two people who like to go on adventures off the beaten track.
It has super strong 26-inch wheels and wide tires, and plenty of space on and around the frame for water bottles and luggage. And there’s a comfortable seating position for riders who like to sit deep.
It also has a strong, stiff, and stable frame, keeping the two of you in complete control, even on tough turns.
It has a reliable Rohloff hub that has user-friendly internal gears, and allows you to shift between 14 different speeds. It has excellent braking power, even on long descents, thanks to the Magura hydraulic rim brakes.
If you decide this is the bike for the two of you, you can use the Santos Technical Customizer to make your own choices on everything from the drive, and the brakes all the way through to the handlebars, the tires, and the saddle. You can even add headlights!
What’s more, you can even convert it to an e-bike if you wish, with a strong motor and a big battery.
There are 24 different color options to choose from.
> It features big 700c wheels and wide tires
> It has proven bike frame geometry for touring
> Quality dual disc brakes
> You can have the bike made to your specifications
> You can choose a Shimano, Rohloff, or Pinion shifter
> There’s a relatively high starting price (not too high in my opinion)
Now, this is what I call an excellent tandem bike for adventuring on an off-road tour – it offers unbeatable handling on any terrain – even with a full touring load.
It features big 700c wheels and wide tires, and has a proven bike frame geometry for touring, with oversize tubing and head-tube, and a uni-crown touring fork. All are complete with rack and fender mounts.
The headset has lateral stiffness to withstand high loads, cornering, braking and potholes, and at the same time it’s rotationally free for steering.
It has dual disc brakes for effective slowing and braking, and super safe thru-axels to prevent the front wheel coming out of the dropouts as you ride.
What’s more, you can make the bike unique to the two of you, by choosing your various custom features and having the bike made to your specifications.
You can choose such things as the handles, mountain / trekking handlebars or road drop bars. And you can choose your own top of the range drive trains, such as popular Shimano, reliable Rohloff, or Pinion.
There are some amazing paint options to choose from, including (but not limited to) premium paints, metallic ones, custom name decals, and my personal favorite, a two-color fade.
> It’s designed for 650b wheels and super wide tires
> Excellent headset for ultimate control and handling
> Quality dual disc brakes, and super safe thru-axels
> You can choose a Shimano, Rohloff, or a Pinion shifter
> Amazing paint options, including club name decals
> Variable price depending on specs
This is the perfect tandem bike for going on dirt trails that go on for miles and miles. What’s more, it’s 100 % hand built and made to order, according to your preferred specifications.
It has a lot in common with the Co-motion Java I reviewed for you earlier, such as the proven bike frame geometry for touring, complete with oversize tubing and head-tube, and a uni-crown touring fork.
With a headset that provides lateral stiffness combined with rotational freedom for ultimate control and handling.
And it also has the same dual disc brakes for impeccable slowing and braking power, and super safe thru-axels. And the same amazing paint options to choose from
But where this tandem bike truly differs from the Co-motion Java is that’s been specially designed and optimized to take 650b wheels, and tires up to 50 mm wide. This makes it quite the off-road beast.
And all without compromising those all-important comfort features that make long off-road touring together so enjoyable.
As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let me walk you through the key points to consider when shopping for a tandem bike.
The whole point of a tandem bike is to spend quality time with one another in the great outdoors, preferably for several hours at a time.
But if either one of you isn’t sufficiently comfortable, you could end up bringing this quality time to a close sooner than you would have preferred.
The key to comfort on a tandem bike is firstly, to get the right size of bike, and secondly, to choose a bike with plush, comfy seats.
You may also want to consider a tandem bike with a low step-thru bar between the two seats, especially if the stoker is a child.
One of the best upgrades you can do to a tandem bicycle is to replace the standard seat post with a suspension seat post. Especially for the rider on the back, the stroker, who often will not see bumps and not be prepared for them when the bike hits them. There is a reason almost every tandem bike for bike touring uses a suspension seat post.
Quality And Reliability
The last thing you want when you’re miles from home, or out in the middle of nowhere, is for your bike to break down. To prepare for such an eventuality, you can of course ensure you have bike repair tools and spares with you when you ride. A better strategy would be to invest in a bike of the utmost quality, made with only quality components.
You can rest assured that all the tandem bikes reviewed here meet my high standards in this regard.
If any of the trails elsewhere on my website have taken your fancy, you may be interested in a tandem bike with off-road capabilities, which would require such things as big wheels, wide tires, and good wheel clearance. A tandem bike will never be as good as a fat bike, Bikepacking Bike, or gravel bike when traveling off-road.
If this is of interest to you, I would recommend the Santos Double Travel 2, the Co-motion Java, or the Co-Motion Mocha that I reviewed for you earlier.
Tandem bikes are much faster than normal bikes on flat roads. The simple idea of two people pedaling is more aerodynamic. This alone is a good reason to choose a tandem bicycle. But that speed will not continue when cycling uphill, generally, it will be slower.
Out of the 5 tandem bikes in this review, the ones with the best aesthetic (in my opinion) have to be the Co-motion Java, and the Co-Motion Mocha, because you can choose metallic options, custom decal options, and much more.
Total Maximum Weight
When there are two people riding the same bike, you have to consider how much weight the bike can handle. For that reason, I’ve tried to include the maximum weight of each tandem bike I reviewed for you earlier. Also keep in mind that many of these bikes can be used for bike touring and are suitable to carry not only the riders but Panniers, handlebar bags and all your bike touring gear.
Value For Money
If you haven’t looked into it just yet, you’ll likely be really surprised at just how much tandem bikes can vary in price.
You can get some used ones for less than $100, while at the other end of the scale, you get some retailers selling their tandem bikes for over $3,500.
So in some instances you can get a tandem bike for less than the cost of two separate bikes, which is one way tandem bikes may appeal to some.
But good value for money does not mean cheap. The better quality your tandem bike, the less money you’ll have to spend on future maintenance and repair.
As you may have noticed from my reviews, you can have your very own tandem bike that has been customized especially for you and your requirements.
Several of the bikes I reviewed offer this option, including the Thorn Raven Twin S&S Mk3 Tandem, the Santos Double Travel 2, the Co-motion Java, and the Co-Motion Mocha.
This is quite a fancy feature, and from the customer reviews I’ve found, it has proved particularly popular with heavier tandem bike riders, teams of riders, and those who want the name of their club emblazoned on the bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tandem bikes are generally more efficient than regular bikes, because with two people on board, you can have double the pedaling power, but the weight is rarely doubled.
If one of you wants to go cycling, but the other doesn’t, I wouldn’t recommend riding it alone. It requires a great deal of technique to ride a tandem, and it’s quite unlike pedaling a regular bike.
It works out best if you have the heavier person as the captain or pilot at the front, while the lighter person can be the stoker at the back.
It’s also better if the captain is the one with the greatest upper body strength since they will be taxed with steering the bike.
The brand Specialized did make a tandem bike at one point, as a one-off limited edition, but I’m afraid that this has since been discontinued, and you’re only likely to find used ones by this point.
BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process
The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.