Tandem bicycles require a bit of practice to master, but the fun of riding around with a partner can be well worth the learning curve. These bicycles are designed with stout frames and wheels to handle the weight of two riders and can accelerate to higher speeds with greater stability than a bicycle with a single rider, since they have twice the leg power. BSA’s Tandem Duo is perhaps the only Indian manufactured Tandem bicycle. I got the opportunity to test ride this with another fellow rider and here is what I thought.
The frame of the BSA Tandem Duo is made of steel. The frame strength compensates for two riders and a substantial increase in power, so this frame has thick tubing and struts to reinforce both seat tubes and the front head tube. This heavy-duty frame has a slanting top tube, which makes it a step through frame. This makes it easier for women riders as well.
The suspension on the Tandem Duo is a basic component just enough to tackle the smaller bumps and speed breakers. The rider at the back called the ‘Stoker’ will not benefit from this front suspension and will continue feeling the bumps of the surface which is generated from the back tire mainly.
The Tandem Duo we test rode came in a blue and white colour. Both these colours were used half and half on the bicycle. The frame design was simple with a slanting top tube. The mudguards at the front and back gave the bicycle a sporty look. The gloss paint job on this cycle was basic and simple. This blue/white colour combination has been a standard on the Tandem Duo since its inception and it could do with different colours and variants to give the rider more choices.
The Tandem Duo is a single speed bicycle. The single speed drivetrain makes this bicycle simple to ride. For long distance touring a minimum of 21-speed gearing would have been useful but the Tandem Duo is more of a recreational bicycle. The turbo drive chain wheel did feel a little hard to pedal but with 2 riders pedaling this shouldn’t be a difficult task. The extended chains and 2 chain wheels work well together and will last longer.
The Tandem Duo is equipped with V-brakes at the front and back. The Sypo branded brakes are same ones, which are used on the Mach City iBike range. These brakes worked well during the test ride when braking on both wet and dry surfaces. The long brake pads ensured the braking was smooth. Jamming of these brakes aren’t that effective but interval braking will get the job done. The rider at the front called the ‘Captain’ has complete control of the brakes.
There are 2 handlebars on a tandem. One at the front in the usual place and the 2nd one for the ‘Stoker’ is right behind the ‘Captain’s’ saddle. The 2nd handlebar’s stem is attached to the front saddle’s seat post. For taller riders this handlebar could feel a little low if the seat post of the Captain is kept at the minimum. The handlebar lengths for both were perfect for a comfortable riding posture.
The Tandem Duo rolled on a pair of 26 inch Metro tires. These tires looked more like an entry level MTB tire which were wide and had good treading. The tires took the weight of the bicycle and the 2 riders well and kept us balanced during the test ride.
There are 2 saddles on this bicycle, one for the Captain at the front and one for the Stoker at the back. Both these tires are of the same length and width with enough cushioning to give you a soreness free ride. The overall ride quality was balanced and comfortable on urban roads.
This Tandem Duo is more a fun to ride bicycle than a functional one. With basic components and a single speed drivetrain this bicycle is simple to ride as well. Maneuvering through city traffic is a difficult task but the riders can get better at it with more practice. If you are looking to get a fun experience out of a tandem bicycle the BSA Tandem Duo 2017 is surely a great choice.