Rover Tandem vs Tandem Pro

Looking for advice/input on deciding between Rover Tandem vs Tandem Pro. I will be the captain, and my 18 year old developmentally disabled son will be the stoker. He can pedal pretty well, but we will definitely need the IPS. We are large guys, but will fit within the weight limit of either bike. My goals in getting a recumbent trike are exercise for him, enjoyment of cycling (he loves to go fast), and just having an activity that we can do together that is active and outdoors. I anticipate short rides (an hour) up to some long ones (4-6 hours).

We live in Cheyenne WY, near the front range of CO, which has a fair amount of hills around our neighborhood. I am concerned that I may need the extra gears of the Pro, but it's not something I can wisely afford. If the Rover wasn't geared low enough, I would probably try some of the modifications discussed in the forum.

I have tested out the Pro and we loved it;it worked really well for us. There are no dealers I can find that have a Rover Tandem that I can test out to compare.

Questions:
1) The crank axles of the Pro are a lot higher relative to the seat, compared to the Rover. Does having lower pedals (less hip flexion) give you less of an advantage when riding the Rover?
2) How does gear range (1-8) of the Rover compare to the Pro? About in the middle?

Appreciate any experience, advice, input anyone has. If money were not an issue, I think I would get the Pro. If I knew the Rover would suffice, even with some mods, then I would be happy.

Comments

  • rover tandem comes with a 20-62 gear-inch nexus hub. a $300 patterson crankset would change that to 17-85 g.i. while tandem pro is posted at 18-90 g.i. this translates to the modified rover doing 15.3 mph in 16th gear, the tandem pro doing 16.2 mph in 30th gear with both trikes churning the pedals at 60 rpm.

    whether first is low enough for happy hill riding is another matter. if you can arrange it, try taking the pro up some decent hills and see how much of a climbing challenge you face - gearing is easily modified if needed.

    other than stock gearing differences, the pro is posted as having a 36-foot turning circle, the rover tandem a 16-foot circle. i suspect doing a u-turn on a narrow 2-lane road with the pro could be a bit awkward.
  • JamesR thanks very much, that is super helpful. Am I correct that the patterson crankset would only change the g.i. for the captain, but not the stoker?

    I had forgotten about the turn radius; that is a good selling point for the Rover Tandem, for my purposes.

    thank you
  • the timing chain couples front and rear rider effort - whatever gear the pilot selects the copilot shares.
  • I have a TerraTrike Rover tandem and the tandem is not a very good hill climber. The tandem is not very fast and both myself and stroker (wife) are in good shape. Average speed for a ride is about 12 MPH over a 10 to 20 mile course. I do not have the Patterson transmission. I also have a Catrike recumbent which is considerably faster, but also lighter and not a tandem. I researched both the Pro and Rover, and could not justify the price of the Pro. The Pro is just about as heavy as the Rover! I like the Rover tandem, but it is merrily a cruiser. Of note - there are used ones and Facebook has a recumbent classified page where you might find a value.

    Rover traits - frame requires frequent tightening; front handlebar grips are worthless, I bought a set of ergo grips which make the ride much better; the i8 hub is relative maintenance free with periodic adjustments; the tandem is difficult to transport (10 feet long). Bottom line - the Rover tandem could be more refined, yet it is the better value of the two choices.
  • Thanks eric1963 for your input. I'm leaning toward the Rover because of the value. Thanks.
  • JamesR wrote: »
    rover tandem comes with a 20-62 gear-inch nexus hub. a $300 patterson crankset would change that to 17-85 g.i.

    JamesR- there's a store in CO which sells their Rover Tandems with Nuvinci hubs, and they advertise a 20-72 gear inch. If adding a Patterson drops the low end by about 15% and raises the high end by about 37% (just extrapolating from the numbers you gave me), then would it be logical that a Nuvinci with a Patterson crank would achieve 17-98 gear inches? That seems like a decent range, but I may assuming something in error.

    Thanks
  • edited June 11
    close enough (16-95 g.i.) with a 16-tooth sprocket.

    good place to plug in numbers for gearing combos and speeds at various rpm:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

    nuvinci is no longer made so dunno about warranty coverage.
  • If you go the Rover tandem route, I would strongly encourage you to seriously consider an electric assist motor. Any of them will help, but I am partial to the Bafang BBSHD. Several of us here on the Forum have such a motor mounted on our Rover's and Rover tandems, so there is help here if you need it. A good local bike shop can probably do the install if you aren't mechanical enough to undertake the install. Motor, battery, controller, wiring, etc. will probably cost you close to $1200 if you do it yourself, and closer to $1500 if the local bike shop does the work. Best of luck!
  • Hello from NJ WYKen. I too have a disabled 20 year old son and debated, searched, read, measured and thought about your very dilemma from every angle. I searched for a used tandem pro for quite a while and the only one I found that was within driving distance was gone before I could even inquire. I finally gave up and called the dealer about purchasing a new rover tandem. Then just for the heck of it I asked if he would sell me the store model. We worked out a fantastic price (less than 1/2 of a new one) and when I went to test ride it again, the bike shop next door had a used tandem pro for sale. Unbelievable. I confirmed with a bike friend fanatic of mine and he said you really get what you pay for with bikes. The rover truly felt so very basic. If I was buying this to ride with a partner who wanted to get the same benefits and enjoyment as I did then it probably would not matter and the rover tandem would work out just fine. The tandem pro felt like a much more substantial machine. I plan to ride for many years, I was not sure my son would even pedal at all, and as the saying goes you are never unhappy when you buy the very best...so I bought the tandem pro about a month ago for less than 1/2 the price of a new one and it only needed a tune-up.

    The bike came with a specially modified trailer which I was not interested in. NJ is a crowded state and between finding the time, getting my son and myself prepared to go and getting to the bike trail I just could not deal with the possibility of parking issues. My son is non-verbal and is unable to help me load or unload in any way. I knew it had to be easy for this to work for me.

    So I bought a 2017 Honda Odyssey to carry the tandem. This was the last model year that had a removable center console. Yes everyone told me I was crazy as I do not have little kids anymore but I have to tell you it is great. I stowed the last row and removed one captain and the center seat. I am able to lift the rear wheel into the van, then the front wheel section and push it to the front seats. Then I hop into the van and lift up the rear wheel section and wedge it between the two front seats almost touching the radio. It sits there secure and we are on our way. It just makes it.

    Although my son knows how to pedal and he did pedal the first couple times we went out, he has decided that he is not pedalling anymore. My guess is that he would rather watch a video and this is his silent protest. Too bad for him though because this was anticipated and I have plenty of gears to help me lug him along. After 20 years of walking I needed something different to do. I am not sure how it would have worked out with the rover tandem knowing there are less gears to work with.

    All in all I am thrilled, though it took me a while to get here. Good luck!




  • Thanks Island1110 for the great story and info. Yes, when we rode the Pro, it sure felt like a better machine, that's for sure. We did test out a RoverTandem also, and I decided to get the RoverTandem but am modifying the gearing to get a better range. My son will have a little easier time getting up/down from the higher seat too. But - I appreciate your perspective, and I'm sure you DO get what you pay for.

    So you must have the IPS, if you son can opt not to pedal? I was going to get the IPS, but changed my mind and am not. I think he will pedal continuously, but this way I can be sure, and feel how much he is helping or hindering. Also, I wanted to add a Patterson crank up front for more range, to that makes the IPS irrelevant.

    I don't think it's crazy to have a mini-van just for that purpose, sounds like a great investment into something you can do together, that adds some fun and quality.

    My son is also non-verbal. He's got Angelman syndrome. I'm really looking forward to getting the new tandem, and I'm pretty confident it will work well for us, and that he will love riding.

    Incidentally, my original home in NY (outside Buffalo), but I've migrated West and been here in Wyoming for 22 years now.

    Take Care
  • If you go the Rover tandem route, I would strongly encourage you to seriously consider an electric assist motor. Any of them will help, but I am partial to the Bafang BBSHD. Several of us here on the Forum have such a motor mounted on our Rover's and Rover tandems, so there is help here if you need it. A good local bike shop can probably do the install if you aren't mechanical enough to undertake the install. Motor, battery, controller, wiring, etc. will probably cost you close to $1200 if you do it yourself, and closer to $1500 if the local bike shop does the work. Best of luck!

    Thanks - that might be a modification I will have to make. I'm gonna try it without at first, but keep that in mind for future improvement. I appreciate the insight.
  • WYKen wrote: »
    JamesR wrote: »
    rover tandem comes with a 20-62 gear-inch nexus hub. a $300 patterson crankset would change that to 17-85 g.i.

    JamesR- there's a store in CO which sells their Rover Tandems with Nuvinci hubs, and they advertise a 20-72 gear inch. If adding a Patterson drops the low end by about 15% and raises the high end by about 37% (just extrapolating from the numbers you gave me), then would it be logical that a Nuvinci with a Patterson crank would achieve 17-98 gear inches? That seems like a decent range, but I may assuming something in error.

    Thanks

    JamesR- I purchased a Rover Tandem with a Nuvinci rear hub, and a Patterson front crank. When I engage the Patterson, it has no effect on the rear stoker, only on the front captain. Is there anything I can do to change that? I thought that if I did NOT have IPS, then the Patterson would affect both front and back, but that is not the case. If I engage the Patterson, the captain peddles at a slower cadence than the stoker. Thanks for any input. Ken
  • patterson affects both captain and stoker - the timing chain couples the power input from both and then transmits it to the drivechain.

    with non-ips, both captain and stoker cranks turn whether or not stoker is contributing to the pedal effort. if only the captain is providing input power, weight of the inactive stoker legs will act as a drag on captain efforts. ips allows the stoker to rest without impeding the captains efforts. amongst the tandem riders, ips is regarded as a marriage-saver.

    pedal rpm mismatch happens if captain and stoker timing chainrings do not have the same tooth count. am guessing the timing sprocket at stoker position is 32 teeth. if so, patterson has a 32-tooth sprocket [$50] that would equalize captain and stoker timing chainring ratios (the stock patterson has 28 teeth). however, a larger front sprocket would make hill climbing a tad more strenuous.
  • JamesR wrote: »
    patterson affects both captain and stoker - the timing chain couples the power input from both and then transmits it to the drivechain.

    with non-ips, both captain and stoker cranks turn whether or not stoker is contributing to the pedal effort. if only the captain is providing input power, weight of the inactive stoker legs will act as a drag on captain efforts. ips allows the stoker to rest without impeding the captains efforts. amongst the tandem riders, ips is regarded as a marriage-saver.

    pedal rpm mismatch happens if captain and stoker timing chainrings do not have the same tooth count. am guessing the timing sprocket at stoker position is 32 teeth. if so, patterson has a 32-tooth sprocket [$50] that would equalize captain and stoker timing chainring ratios (the stock patterson has 28 teeth). however, a larger front sprocket would make hill climbing a tad more strenuous.

    Thanks very much. For some reason, the way the Patterson was installed and is currently functioning on my tandem, engaging the Patterson only affects captain, and not the stoker. So it doesn't work like you are saying it should. I talked to the recumbent bike shop owner, and he is looking for a solution. I am going to copy your comments to him - in hopes it will trigger something that needs to be changed. It's like the timing chain isn't being affected by the Patterson properly. I appreciate the input and will keep pursuing!
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