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What is a Tandem Bicycle? – Facts You Need to Know

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

what is a tandem bicycle

Have you ever wondered what is a two person bike called?

The answer is obvious if we define tandem, a term that often refers to bicycles for two riders. This unique vehicle is commonly used for people who want to cycle together, especially couples.

A great way to literally stay connected, right?

It is simply a two seater bicycle that is attached to one another by means of a second seat behind the first one.

Continue reading this article to discover more about what is a tandem bicycle!

Facts You Need to Know About the Tandem Road Bike


#1 What is a Tandem Bicycle

While scrolling through your phone and looking for unique physical activities that can be done by two people, you might’ve stumbled across this double bike called a twin bicycle.

Upon closer inspection, you may notice something different about a tandem bicycle. Apart from the two wheels, even the seats and the pedals are in pairs!

This kind of design has been around for a long time since the 19th century, but it has become more popular in recent years, especially as more people realize how beneficial it can be.

#2 Design and Components

Tandems are basically regular bikes purposely elongated to fit 2 seats (or more). In other words, they’re meant to be multiple rider bike.

The main design of this double bicycle usually includes a longer wheelbase and frame than single-wheel models; this feature provides enough space for multiple riders to pedal at the same rate, making it easier for them to move forward on the road.

There is a driver’s seat to which the back rider’s handles are usually attached and a rear seat for the stoker to sit on. Moreover, tandems have two pedals in the front and back with an extra timing chain that synchronizes the crankset.

For older frame designs, manufacturers used a lot of tubing to ensure the bike can withstand usage, but thanks to modern technology, bike makers no longer need to do this.

#3 Purpose

A dual drive tandem bike gives you an opportunity to learn how to ride with someone else and deepen your teamwork.

In general, this type of cycling is more fun because you get to share the experience together as opposed to being alone on your own bike.

#4 Types of Tandem Bike


Most tandems are built for two people to ride together, but there are also tandem bicycles designed to fit 3 person and even up to 4 person.

Did you know!

The longest bike ever made is a 135 feet long tandem, capable of sitting up to 20 people at a time! This bike was made by a company named Santos and the University of South Australia; it was recognized by the Guinness World Record in 2015.

There are manufacturers like Vanraam, who create different types of tandem bicycles to fit various needs, unlike the conventional design. Some of their bikes are:

  • Twinny Tandem – For two adults, with an optional electric pedal assist.
  • Kivo – Designed for a kid and adult rider to use. The rear rider steers and the kid is sat at the front for the best experience.
  • Twinny Plus – A three-wheeled version of the Twinny tandem.
  • Kivo Plus – A three-wheeled version of the Kivo bike.
  • Fun2Go – A tandem bicycle where the chairs are positioned side by side as opposed to the front and back design.

#5 Cost


The price of a tandem bicycle depends on several factors, including the maker and model, size, and year it was made.

Tandems are available in a wide range of styles, from unisex to women-specific designs, and can be used for both recreational riding and competitive cycling events.

The average cost for a new tandem bike is as low as $680 and as high as $8,000, but the price may increase for a more personalized design.

Alternatively, if the cost is too much for you, there are bike shops and stores that provide rental services for a used tandem bike; you’ll pay as low as $40 for a half day ride.

How Does It Work?


When riding a tandem, you’ll typically want to start in a standing position. Decide on who goes in front as the captain and who gets to sit in the back as a stoker.

  • Captain – This person usually handles the steering of the wheels and needs a lot of power and stamina to pedal the bike. The captain, as the name implies, needs experience, since he/she will also manage the gears and brakes during the ride.
  • Stoker – The back rider needs to be good at navigating and aware of their surroundings at all times in order to inform the captain. The stoker also provides a crucial role in providing power and support, especially on uphill roads.

Often, the captain will climb on the bike first and the stoker second. On command, both riders should pedal, starting at the same position. Riders usually have their own keywords such as “On, Off, Bump, and Shift” in order for the ride to go smoothly, so we suggest you talk with your co-rider and decide on those things.

When you’re comfortable riding without looking down at your feet, you can look ahead while keeping your eyes focused straight ahead on the road ahead of you.

  • Remember: Communication is Key!


Who should use a tandem bicycle?

Two people bikes are useful for riding in groups and for older people who may have difficulty balancing on one wheel. They can also be used by disabled people and those who have physical limitations.

Bikes for multiple riders are also ideal for families with multiple children who want to ride together without having one child hold onto the back of the other.

Plus, they can be used for adults or couples who want to spend quality time together cycling.

Are tandem bikes easy to ride?

The main advantage of this type of bicycle is that it offers more stability and control than single-person bikes, making it easier to use. Although first-time users might feel fiddly at first, once they get the hang of it, riding a tandem bike is easy.

Why do people buy tandem bikes?

The main point of a tandem bike is that it allows you to ride with someone else and experience the sensation of being in sync with your partner on the road.

This can help build trust and confidence between you and your riding partner, making it a fun bonding activity for most people.

Does the tandem bicycle require a special area to be ridden?

You can ride the tandem bike anywhere, as long as there is a path for you to cycle on. Most tandem bike models are similar to their regular counterparts; thus, you can use tandems even on off-road paths.

But make sure that you are aware of the obstacles and that your skills, along with your partner’s skills, enable you two to ride in sync.

If you are just starting with tandem cycling and want to challenge hard courses, look for an experienced cyclist to act as the captain, so you can learn the how-tos before you drive as a captain the next time.

What accessories are recommended when using a tandem bicycle?

There are multiple accessories that you can use according to your and your other rider’s needs. These accessories range from items that provide cycling assistance to protective gear. Some of the most common choices are as follows:

  • Mirrors – A mirror is a common vehicle accessory, but many regular bicycles don’t have them. For safety and security when you are out and about, having vision of your sides and backside is a great assurance, especially if there’s someone else you are riding with.
  • Double Kickstand – Using a double kickstand on a tandem bicycle is wise, since the body of a tandem is longer than a normal bike. If you use the normal stand, it may not be effective in keeping your bike upright, especially in loose soil.
  • Backrest and Belt – A backrest is a great addition, especially for leisure bikers who want to enjoy cycling slowly while resting. Pairing this backrest with a belt will also provide added security during the ride.


To conclude this article, a tandem bike is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits of cycling with your friends or family. Whether you’re riding with a child or an adult, there is a tandem out there that will suit your needs.

If someone asks you what is a tandem bicycle, you now know what to answer.

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