Despite their somewhat ungainly appearance, tandems are faster than most single-seaters. "You've got twice the power with two riders, but the wind resistance is the same as it would be for one rider," Hakken says. Going downhill is even faster because of the extra weight of the bike and riders. Hakken says he once rode a quad downhill and hit fifty-seven miles an hour.
While everybody pedals, it's the driver up front who normally steers, shifts gears, and brakes. But not always. Hakken says, "I've outfitted tandems where the wife has an override brake on the rear handlebars. They'll say, 'You're going too fast,' and clamp down on it." It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "backseat driver."
Tandems don't come cheap. Hakken's entry-level tandem runs around $1,600, and his top-of-the-line quad-a Co-Motion prototype featuring a distinctive, torpedo-shaped frame-is $6,500. Hakken sells a lot of Co-Motion bikes, and now he's designing a bike for the company. His goal is to make a tandem that's under twenty pounds-no easy task.
Co-Motion hopes to build a prototype in time for a huge industry show in Las Vegas this fall. The finished product should sell for around $16,000 and delight tandem enthusiasts. "Everyone likes a lighter bike," Hakken says-especially since "tandems are notoriously slow climbing hills."