Rover Tandem vs 2 Rovers

I have a standard Rover with a Nexus-i8 which I love, despite wishing I had a lower low gear, and a higher high gear. There are many reasons why I have long wanted a tandem recumbent trike (TRT). One reason is I figured it would be easier for two riders to move a tandem along than it would be for those same two riders to each move along a trike of their own. This has been questioned by both TRT riders and those who haven't ridden a TRT but do ride a recumbent trike. But I don't understand the logic in it. What is wrong with my thinking?  

So, here is my current thinking - A Rover Tandem i8 weighs 70# and has 3 wheels, and 2 riders. So, in our case (wife & I), that's 370#, plus seat bag, lights, horn, lock, & tools ~ 10#, for a total weight of 380#. If we are each in our own Rover i8, we have 47# trikes, and we would each want seat bag & accessories, so another 10# each, we now have a total of 484# to move up and over the same hills plus we now have to move a total of 6 wheels up those same hills, rather than 3 with a tandem.  More wheels and more weight both require more energy.

So, can someone please explain to me why riding a recumbent tandem trike over a given moderate terrain, is harder than, each of those same riders, riding a trike over that same terrain?


  • Since you already have the Rover, it would be easy to buy the tandem attachment.  If your wife could no longer ride, you still have the standard trike.  The tandem extension does cost as much as a Rover external so you could go either way.

    The only question I have is how the single Rover can handle 400 lbs but a tandem, made from the same initial trike, can now hold 500 lbs.  No matter what, you're below the 400 lb max.  

    Go for it and happy triking!
  • I suspect the weight difference is due to some combination of:

    1: Weight is spread out over the frame on the tandem, instead of one fixed point.

    2: A longer frame allows some more flex, reducing the load's affect on other components.

    3: Tandems are heavier and tend to go slower, so dynamic forces tend to be weaker.

    4: The much larger turn radius on a tandem means roll overs are much more difficult. It more than counter-balances (pun intended) having a larger weight high up.

    Weight limits are about more than how much weight can the trike hold up. Other things like dynamic load stresses from bumps/curbs, the affect on handling, and their affect on rolling over or tipping are important. While it might not seem like they make much of a difference, there are also liability concerns. They (and other reasons I'm probably unaware of) are enough that TT feels comfortable making that claim. 

    - PaulNM
  • The tandem is a land barge, hopefully they are kept off sidewalks
  • I have a Tandem Rover and the tandem is rather clumsy. However, I think (but I can't prove) that two people moving the tandem is easier than each on a separate trike. Wife and I ride about 100 miles a week on it. We live in Dodge city KS (relocated from Inman KS) and Dodge is much more rolling than Inman was. I had to get a tougher rear wheel after my 12 year old son and I collapsed the factory 26 wheel". We have the 26" for better top end and it works well, at a sacrifice of low end power. We actually found a hill here in town where we stalled trying to go up. (5Th ave. by Boot Hill) But, 99% of the time we really like the 26" rear. I am 280 Lbs. and wifey is 150 so we don't overload the tandem. It does have an extremely large turning radius, I think my Ford Edge turns shorter. The tandem is a little over 10 feet long, we can't fit it in a long bed Ford pickup unless we leave the tailgate open. This is the only real drawback of the Rover Tandem. This all said, if you have questions just ask. The best thing about the Tandem? All the people who holler " LOOK AT THAT COOL BIKE!! I WANT ONE! -Or- THAT LOOKS LIKE FUN!" As we ride past.
  • edited July 2016
    So far we are running the factory tires on the tandem. I do have Slime filled extra thick tubes in the tires and run them between 50 and 60 PSI. Yeah, I know, too high pressure, but it works fine! We Really like the Tandem! I only wish my financial situation would have allowed the Tour II tandem (or which ever one it is)
    Yes TCEd, it is somewhat of a "land barge" but we ride sidewalks and bike trails and don't seem to have any troubles. If the sidewalk is narrow we give pedestrians the right of way but... The tandem is no wider than a Rover or Rambler, it is just longer, so you really don't take any more width than a normal trike! I tell my son that the Rambler is a sports car, and the tandem is a pickup as far as handling is concerned. Riding together with my wife makes up for all the shortcomings of the tandem.
    I also have a Rans VIVO two wheeler and a Rambler that I have "tricked out" so I get plenty of "bent time"
  • Do you have suggestions on where the heavier person should sit?  How de your front tires lean when no one is on the trike and when it's loaded?  I bought the wide handlebars and one loosened while riding.  It started rubbing against the tire which says my wheels lean in when I'm on the trike.
  • edited July 2016
    If the tandem is set up "as factory" I don't think it matters where the heavier person sits. I am heavier of course, and ride the captain position all the time, mostly because my wife doesn't want the responsibility of being captain. As to how the front tires lean? They look about the same as they look on the Rambler, when I am on or off of the it. However,, my left front tire wears different than the right front, and I don't know why. If it was an adjustment issue they should wear the same but they don't. If the tie-rod is adjusted correctly they should wear evenly. I suspect a king-pin issue but can't see anything obvious that looks out of spec. Since I don't have the wide handlebars I don't know of any excessive tire lean. I'll check it out and get back about the tire lean.
  • edited July 2016
    Thank you jamesr. I hadn't thought of that need to adjust the toe-in that way. I just figured the LBS would have done it right. I do have the factory tires on the front yet, but on the tandem I will not get anywhere close to the 2000 plus miles I have on the factory tires on my Rambler. One reason being that in a higher speed cornering situation on the tandem I notice more side slipping than on the Rambler, and another being the increased load on the same three tires... I.e. The Rambler has three tires, one person, the tandem has the same three tires for two people.
    Like my Mom used to say, "life is a trade off." Tandem== two riders, pleasant conversation and riding together with my wife, but more tire wear and a more clumsy vehicle. Rambler== solo riding, but better handling and longer tire life.
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