Transporting a regular bike can be considered relatively easy.
However, the same cannot be said for tandem bikes because their design allows for more than one rider thus they take up more space.
This article will provide viable solutions that will help you and your bike riding crew to transport your tandem bikes without a hitch.
The method that will be most suited to your needs will depend on a variety of factors such as the type of vehicle or mode of transport you intend to use, the size of the chosen mode of transport, and of course- your budget.
How to transport a Tandem Bike
1. Slide it into the back of the car
This is the first practical and cheap method that is probably every bike owner’s first consideration.
You’re probably wondering-
Will it fit?
Some people worry about the bike not being able to fit when actually, tandems will definitely fit in a large SUV and fortunately, it can also fit in the backs of most smaller vehicles.
You will first have to adjust the rear seats forward so that the bike will fit properly and then place the bike carefully such that the delicate bike parts are not squeezed onto the vehicle parts. It should be placed in a way such that it is easy to slide the bike in and out.
Some people opt to remove a wheel or two but this is sometimes discouraged unless you are highly skilled in removing one without damaging the bike.
Note: This method is more likely to work if you are traveling solo and you do not have a lot of luggage and bikes to be transported in the back. If this is not the case, consider a different method.
2. Dismantle the bike parts and pack them in a bag.
This method will require a lot of effort and skill but the payoff is worth it because it is very convenient. It is also a way of avoiding the bike dirt spreading in the car.
There are durable travel cases that will hold the weight and parts of the bike easily but the bike has to be fully taken apart.
You will have to go about it in a very meticulous manner.
Taking the bike apart
This might be tasking especially for beginners but if you are up for the challenge-
Here you go:
- Remove each of the pedals and the crank arms carefully using a wrench- preferably the Allen wrench or any other adjustable wrench.
- Remove the wheels carefully by unscrewing the bolts and make sure to remove the attachments on the wheels such as the bottles. The tires will have to be deflated so that they can fit and avoid damage.
- The chain is released after the wheels are removed and they can be removed and packed carefully.
- Dismantle the bike saddle and seat post by unscrewing the bolts and gently sliding them off.
- Remove the brake lever so that you can remove the brakes and bike handlebars easily. Don’t forget to pack the supporting pieces that can easily go missing.
- Unscrew and remove the fork, chain stay, and seat stay without losing any of the joining rings and parts.
- The triangles can also be placed into the case without dismantling them if the case is large enough.
To pack them more efficiently, start with the larger parts and put the smaller and delicate parts in another bag to avoid losing them. Place each of the parts into the travel case carefully and separately to avoid damage from contact pressure.
3. Use a roof mount rack
A popular choice for transporting a tandem bike without the hassle of taking the bike apart is using a roof rack.
Note: Ensure you abide by the bike rack legislation in your state before proceeding. The legislation may include restrictions such as the number of bikes you can put on a roof rack and the approved type of rack. If you are in line with the law, you can proceed.
First, choose a suitable rack.
If you do not have a roof bar on your car and you do not intend to buy one, you should use roof mounts that have suction cups to attach to the vehicle. They are highly secure and cause minimal to no damage to the car roof.
For cars with a bar, start by placing your roof rack onto the bar and ensuring that the bolts are properly fastened. The tandem bike will then be strapped securely and carefully in the middle and bolts will be used to ensure the whole mechanism is firm once it is assembled.
The drawbacks to using roof-mounted racks include wind resistance to the vehicle and the complexity of mounting and removing it.
Furthermore, if you are careless, you will easily damage the bikes or even your car.
5. Using a customized hitch rack
If you travel a lot with bikes, you probably have a hitch.
Unfortunately, your regular bike hitch won’t be of use to you here. A tandem bike will take up more space than a regular bike so your everyday hitch won’t hold the bike properly.
You will have to consult a professional who will customize a hitch for you, suitable for the size of your tandem bike.
Unfortunately, this method will dent your pockets and your bike will be more susceptible to accidents, damage, and dirt.
6. Using a trunk carrier or rack.
Trunk mount racks are better than roof racks in that they do not interfere with wind resistance and they are easier to mount and remove.
To use a trunk rack, bolt the rack properly onto the back of the car then set up the tandem bikes upright and strap them securely onto the rack. You may need to use several straps for more security.
The downside of this method is that you will be prone to accidents and damage attributable to the fact that it is mounted in the back.
We have listed the recommended options for transporting tandem bikes and while some of these methods have proved to be efficient, they have their downsides.
To choose a suitable method weigh your pros and cons and you will definitely make an informed decision.
I hope you are now less skeptical about transporting your tandem bike.