Can you name 130 brands of tandems?

Our consumer mailing list here at Santana recently passed 7500 addresses. These are retail "tandem enthusiasts" who have contacted Santana within the past 2.5 years. Most are direct factory contacts by phone or mail, but a few were gathered when customers filled out a survey at a consumer expo. In addition to name, address, zip, etc., one of the "fields" on our list is reserved for the answer to: "What brand of tandem do you own?"

From 7,511 records--- created from April, 1995 to Novemebr, 1997:

2,509 No answer (usually indicates a failure to ask)

2,386 Own a Santana

1,041 Not yet a tandem owner

1,518 129 brands other than Santana---all listed below:

57 Unspecified brand (i.e. homebuilt, old, recumbent)

Everyone will recognize the 10 most popular brands. I've listed these (plus the raw number and % of owners) in order:

295 7.4% Burley
218 5.5% Cannondale
203 5.1% Trek
95 2.4% Schwinn
49 1.2% Rodriguez
48 1.2% Ibis
34 .8% Belinky / Sterling less than 1%
33 .8% CoMotion
31 .8% Yokota / Dirt Research

Missing the "top-10" while earning a spot in the "top-25":

30 Fisher
30 Nashbar
28 Jack Taylor
28 Kuwahara
24 Gitane
17 Lippy
15 G.T.
14 Bushnell
14 Motobecane
14 Specialized
13 Borthwick
12 Motiv
12 Peugeot
11 KHS
11 Univega

The next "baker's dozen" (ranked 26-38) may include an unfamiliar brand or two:

9 owners: Bob Jackson, Davidson
8 owners: Assenmacher, Franklin, Osell, Roland
7 owners: Montague
6 owners: Ritchey, Dawes
5 owners: Columbia, Counterpoint / Opus, Fuji, Green Gear

Brands receiving 2-4 mentions (ranked 39-75) include two brands that are unfamiliar to me:

4 owners: Erickson, Mel Pinto / Le Tandem, Mikkelson, Miyata, Moseman, Ryan, Timberland

3 owners: Bradley, Cignal, Colian / Colin Laing, Dale Saso, Mercian, Paterek, Pogliaghi, Potts, Tango

2 owners: Bill Boston, Boulder, Bruni, Claude Butler, Crestline, Fat Chance, Fiore, Gottfried, Iron Horse, Jeffrey Lyon / Lyonsport, Landshark, Melton, Nishiki, Orbit, Padgett / Saturn, Rattenborg, Stephenson, Trailmate, Ventana, Worksman, Yamaguchi

The final 55 responses (including fourteen brands that are unknown by me) were provided by only one owner:

ABM, Andy Gilmour, Body Glove, Bradford, Bruce Gordon, BSA, Butterfly, CAS, CBC, Cherubim, Cinelli, Clark Kent, Colson, Dunigan, Fastab, Filliab, Gillot, Giradingo, Grove Innovations, Harry Quinn, HH Racing, Icycle, Iglehart, Infinity, J.C. Penney's, Jeffrey Richman, Lazer, McLean, Mountain Goat, Oasis, Otis Guy, Parsons, Penine, Plantenga, Rans, Ravelin, RBC, Relax, Rene Herse, Roberts, Rotator, S-and-B, Salsa, Schauff, Serotta, Steve Cooper, Steve Rex, Stinsman, Sycip, TCC, Teesdale, Thorn, Top Gear, Wards, Western Flyer

Obviously, this survey, while entertaining, is both unscientific and inaccurate. Primarily, it understates older brands (Melton, America's second largest builder of tandems as recently as 1983, received only 2 responses) as well as brands found primarily outside North America (the absence of Follis---a French company that has produced tandems continuously since 1948---is amazing). It also overstates Santana ownership---we haven't built 60% of all enthusiast-owned tandems.

Besides the 130 brands listed, there are probably another 50 builders who produced a half-dozen or more tandems within the past ten years. And maybe another 50 builders who produced more than a handful of tandems during the four decades prior to that. This means Follis has watched over 200 brand names come and go in the 50 years they've produced tandems.

Bill McCready

909/ 596-7570

P.S. I was happy to find a Parsons tandem on our list. My first tandem, bought in 1966, was a well-used "T. Parsons" road racing bobtail with sew-up tires. Because a short-wheelbase tandem and expensive tires were a bad combination for a kid with a paper-route (a rear "del Mondo" would only last 600 miles), I got a job at a college-town bike shop in 1967. I married my favorite stoker in 1972, received my B.A. and bought the bike shop from my boss in 1974, and started writing about and road-testing tandems for BICYCLING magazine in 1975.

P.P.S. Jan and I still own Bud's Bike Shop and the sewup-shod Parsons. I resigned my Associate Editor position at BICYCLING, however, to start Santana in 1976.

By Bill McCready, President

Santana Cycles, Inc.
Sales and Customer Service

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