Author Topic: Circe Tandems  (Read 3472 times)

Fructify

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Circe Tandems
« on: 12 May, 2023, 10:42:16 am »
I'm off tomorrow to visit Circe over in Longstanton.  I'm looking at getting a tandem for myself and my 5 year old son.  This will be our first test of any tandem though we have had a FollowMe for a couple of weeks which has proved to be quite fun.

Has anyone got any advice before I go of things I should think about beyond Alfine, Rohloff or derailuer or is there perhaps a better type of tandem that would suit us?

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #1 on: 12 May, 2023, 07:42:14 pm »
I've had my Helios for about a decade now.

Mine's got SRAM dual drive for the gearing, but they don't make those any more. Hub (or combo) gears are ace - makes shifting at the lights an option. I chose the SRAM because I wanted shorter cranks for both me and the stoker (smallest was about 6 when we got it, and with standard length cranks would probably have needed shorterners, and I'm a shortarse with cranky knees) and the dual drive had them as standard. I bought mine from Cycle Heaven in York, but I think Butterfly occasionally OTP got hers direct from the source, and then took it back for an electrification a few years later, and had only nice things to say about them.

It is, I think, the second most expensive thing I have ever bought, still one of my favourite things I have ever bought, and will be going to live with my small niblings soon so they can discover the joy of tandemming.

Adam

  • It'll soon be summer
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Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #2 on: 12 May, 2023, 09:14:23 pm »
I'm another one with a Circe Helios with SRAM Dual Drive.  Having 20" wheels with a lower centre of gravity makes it much more manoeuvrable than a normal tandem.  Initially you think it feels a bit twitchy, but it soon feels normal.  Mine hasn't in fact been in tandem mode for nearly 10 years as I just use it as a cargo bike, but I enjoy hopping onto it.

I'd go for the 11 speed Alfine unit if I was buying new, for ease of gear changing as CrinkLion said, and a better gear range, plus there's less to get damaged if the bike falls over.

When you're having your test ride, make sure your son doesn't lean over too much!
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

Fructify

  • Bewildered at times.
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Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #3 on: 12 May, 2023, 10:40:14 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions. 

I'll try and keep my son on an even keel.  He is very, very excited about going to try out a tandobike.

Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #4 on: 12 May, 2023, 11:04:43 pm »
Have fun tomorrow whizzing up and down the busway!

We were fairly early adopters - got our Circe from Longstanton about 14 years ago. I'm on my second Alfine hub; Madison were nice about replacing the first when it failed horribly. I can't remember what went wrong except that the freewheel was not free and not very wheely and that cycling it the 16 miles to Longstanton was deeply unpleasant. Richard or Al might remember what went wrong. The Circe is a terrific bike - we have done many slightly barmy tours with it! Mostly what it does best, though, is being a brilliant family bike around town. Dropping off a four year-old then collecting a ten year-old? Riding it solo into town to collect an adult? No problem, anyone fits fine. I find it rides more like a monster Brompton than a regular tandem - which makes it really good round town. With your son aged 5, he's a great age for getting into the Circe - you'll get the use out of it. Ours has rim brakes and a disc brake that Al added - it's on a friction lever, so is useful as a drag brake or parking brake when we visit places with hills.

There are lots of them in Cambridge these days! It used to just be us and Al, but now we often see two Circe triplets of a morning. Sadly my kids are a bit older than Al's, so their triplet wasn't in production soon enough to be useful to us and we went down the Thorn triplet route instead.

I hope you have a super time tomorrow!  :)

Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #5 on: 14 May, 2023, 11:26:08 pm »
I loved mine. Mini-me and I had many adventures on our Circe (before it was stolen)

It was also really nice to ride solo (I often did the school run on the tandem and then rode on to work). You just have to remember that the back end is a 'bit light' when no one is on it.

We now have a Ridgeback Panorama, which is great, but no where near as great as the Circe.

Get a Brompton Luggage block and rear rack - It makes a great work horse for shifting stuff.

Fructify

  • Bewildered at times.
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Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #6 on: 16 May, 2023, 01:06:39 pm »
I loved mine. Mini-me and I had many adventures on our Circe (before it was stolen)

It was also really nice to ride solo (I often did the school run on the tandem and then rode on to work). You just have to remember that the back end is a 'bit light' when no one is on it.

We now have a Ridgeback Panorama, which is great, but no where near as great as the Circe.

Get a Brompton Luggage block and rear rack - It makes a great work horse for shifting stuff.

I'm sorry to hear that your Circe got pinched.  It was really fun to try one out on Saturday, we took it from Longstanton to St. Ives and back along the guided busway. 

We also gave the Morpheus a go whilst we there.  Mr. Small Person liked the view up front but found his feet slipped off the pedals.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to try the Morpheus out for a longer ride.

At the moment I'm steering towards the Helios being lighter and a bit less expensive but Mr. Small Person is telling me that he really prefers his FollowMe on the back of my bike.


Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #7 on: 16 May, 2023, 01:24:08 pm »
I'm not under Circe's employment, but this might swing it for you:



Kim

  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #8 on: 16 May, 2023, 07:51:46 pm »
We also gave the Morpheus a go whilst we there.  Mr. Small Person liked the view up front but found his feet slipped off the pedals.

There's a reason recumbentists tend to use clipless pedals.  (Toestraps are a lot better than nothing, but inferior in this application, as gravity will tend to pull the foot out.)  It's actually quite hard work to keep your feet in place when gravity and every bump in the road surface are trying to pull them off.  I don't know if the Morpheus's stoker pedals freewheel like on the Pino, but if they don't that's going to make things even more difficult.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #9 on: 16 May, 2023, 08:59:21 pm »
Some recumbent folk used to use heel slings in place of toeclips, due to the different orientation. Less common since SPDs became popular.

https://tadpolerider.com/tag/heel-slings-for-pedals/
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #10 on: 16 May, 2023, 10:05:22 pm »
We use ordinary toe clips on the tandem and triplet with the kids, pedals whacking shins is not a fun experience.

I often find my kids get cold when stoking - they don't tend to work very hard, for the most part. Maybe it's just my guys, but would getting cold be more of a problem on the Morpheus?

Fructify

  • Bewildered at times.
  • Hello, it's me hurrah!
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #11 on: 16 May, 2023, 11:11:28 pm »
I'm not under Circe's employment, but this might swing it for you:



 :thumbsup:

She seems to be a very happy customer.  That's certainly selling me that small people like tandems. 

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #12 on: 16 May, 2023, 11:27:38 pm »


Not sure if images from fb work....

Fructify

  • Bewildered at times.
  • Hello, it's me hurrah!
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #13 on: 16 May, 2023, 11:28:25 pm »
We also gave the Morpheus a go whilst we there.  Mr. Small Person liked the view up front but found his feet slipped off the pedals.

There's a reason recumbentists tend to use clipless pedals.  (Toestraps are a lot better than nothing, but inferior in this application, as gravity will tend to pull the foot out.)  It's actually quite hard work to keep your feet in place when gravity and every bump in the road surface are trying to pull them off.  I don't know if the Morpheus's stoker pedals freewheel like on the Pino, but if they don't that's going to make things even more difficult.

I believe that the Morpheus's stoker pedals do freewheel.

On Saturday he was using half clips rather than toe straps out in front on the Morpheus.  Mr. Small Person is only 5, so the explanation of why a clipless pedals clips in can wait for a while, until at least I come up with a way to answer his question today on how were there frogs eggs before frogs.

If I do start him down the route of going to the darkside then perhaps I should try toe straps.

Fructify

  • Bewildered at times.
  • Hello, it's me hurrah!
Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #14 on: 16 May, 2023, 11:29:37 pm »


Not sure if images from fb work....

They do.  :thumbsup:

Your picture has given me an inspiration on where my son's Tiger might enjoy the ride from.

Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #15 on: 17 May, 2023, 10:42:19 am »
Due to the (slightly) shorter wheel base (compared to a normal tandem), they don't mind a bit of off roading too. I have been know to (before it was stolen) take it for a spin around the mountain bike trails at the Olympic park (don't tell anyone, I never asked for permission - they wouldn't have given it)


Re: Circe Tandems
« Reply #17 on: 06 October, 2023, 10:52:26 am »
Coming to this thread very late.

We have had a Circe Helios for 5 years now, and highly recommend it.  My eldest is now 13 and we still use to constantly to get around Edinburgh.  It's particularly useful for taking the kids to and from their various after-school activities.  Lovely and nippy compared with a full size tandem and fine to ride solo as well as others have said.

We've also done some longer adventures:  100km Audax rides, overnight bikepacking/touring trip, and a two week trip to The Netherlands and Belgium.  On that particular trip we had the Helios and a kids bike and had the children swap over every hour or so.  One of the nice things about it being slightly shorter is that it's easier to get on/off trains and roof racks.

I have a pair of BMX tyres that I put on it when doing some light off-road riding.  It's a lot more versatile than one might expect.

Despite having N+1 bikes, I still reckon it's the bike I have the most pure fun on.