Phoenix area Tandem MTB riders?
GF and I are thinking about tandem riding.
Is there anyone in town that rides one so I/we can check it out?
Really don't want to shell out the $$ to find out we are not that enthused about it.
Vincit qui patitur
2012 GT Karakoram 3.0
2012 Salsa Spearfish 2
2013 Giant Defy
I'm not in PHX but, in view of the paucity of response to your query thus far, I'll tell you a little about our experience tandem mountain bike riding.
Originally Posted by owtdorz
We've owned a mountain bike tandem since 1997. A Specialized Deja Tu. We've ridden it a lot over the years, all over AZ, even including one multiday trip to Moab, with a lot of other tandem couples. One relevant observation: There are two kinds of couples that ride tandems. Those that get along while doing it, and those that don't. My theory is that those who get along are comprised of a captain with a lot of experience riding, and a stoker with far less experience. Tandem teams who have two experienced members tend to be a lot more challenged by the experience of riding together. I think this is because, for the former sort of team, the less experienced stoker is able to put her trust (one presumes) in the more experienced captain, whereas the latter team's often struggle because what one rider (likely the captain) is comfortable riding, the other, in her own experience, may be less comfortable riding. I have observed that this can naturally produce heated disagreement between the members of such a team.
The neat thing about mountain bike tandems is that they really do have very few limitations. They can go almost anywhere a single bike can go, save for very technical trails where the likelihood of high-centering is exacerbated. Otherwise, tandems are a great means for getting your otherwise non-mountain biking spouse out on the trails you enjoy. Without our tandem, I would never have had the chance to take my wife (and now my kid) to many, many of the places I love dearly. However, you must instruct them in how to spin at minimum, and ideally to truly stoke the tandem, or their contribution to the effort will be severely limited and cause you to blow-up a lot earlier in a given ride... 'cause your petite wife ain't so petite after just a few minutes if she's fighting your every pedal stroke.
Tandem mountain bikes are incredibly stable and cannot be endo'd (unless ridden off a cliff, perhaps) and they climb especially well, too (assuming your stoker weighs more than 50 pounds). They descend with great flare and handle with the stability of a loaded semi-truck on rails. However, a good suspension fork is a must, because you cannot lift the front end over things, and, when descending, you will often plow over/through obstructions to save your stoker from a terrible bump. A suspension seatpost is a nice addition as well.
I have never returned from a ride on our tandem, whether with my wife or my daughter (now 7) and thought "I wish I'd gone on a real ride." Every ride is just as interesting, just as challenging, just as fraught with the potential for mechanical breakdown, discovery, and revelation as any good ride. And on the tandem I get to share it with those that I love.
So, in summation: unless your wife shreds and hates riding down scary stuff that you think is rad, you'll probably love riding a tandem together. Spend the money and don't look back.
Hope this helps.