I feel great today. Really really great! Yeah, a DMCA notice caused me to lose a lot of stored good times, but you know what? Shame on me for spreading the love of an artist on a label who doesn’t want me to love on their artist (Mmm… sexual chocolate). No, all the anxiety and annoyances have been washed away when I got a Fedex notice late yesterday that our new bike had arrived!
Our (plural) bike (singular)??
Yep. You see, baby & I, for a while now, have been on the hunt for a tandem bicycle because 1) we love to ride our bikes together, 2) since I can’t do a group ride with a tandem bike in the group without spending the entire time coveting the ride, and 3) since I love to go 20mph, she rather be attached to me than bother to keep up! TsuruBride keeps her pretty busy, she can’t spend the too many hours I spend on my bike, so a tandem was the perfect way to take all that and go riding.
For those who don’t know, a tandem bike is a bike built to allow two or more riders to climb aboard and actively “ride”. They come in all shapes and sizes, from old school cruisers:
To fancy road bikes:
To the ever classic penny-farthing (aka, the “p-far” to the uber-hip):
Hell, even recumbants have got in on the act:
And whatever the hell this is (just watch for splinters):
As you can imagine, tandems are or often lead to romantic interludes… I mean, two seats that close together excerting that much energy, phew, I’m getting all frothed up just thinking about it! But you have to be careful, the wrong coupling can lead to some pretty scary results, like this (proof again that recumbants and real bikes should NEVER be left alone together):
Or worse yet this…. thing:
Dear god. An abomination of nature and machine! Not only does the one going backwards have to put a lot of trust into the captain, the captain can’t really see where he/she’s going! Oyf.
Of course, people who really, really, REALLY want a tandem, often resort to selfish desperate measures! Unfortunately, the results of that can lead to excess which only adds more strain to the burgeoning neocyclopopulation:
Couldn’t they have just rented??? Sigh.
So…. we began the search. I know a thing or two about bikes, built a few up, maintain a couple, and have ridden the hell out one or two, so I’m not going at the search completely ignorant, only partially, which is just the way I like to jump into new things! HA!
First up was looking at new bikes. Holy shitake mushrooms! A “good” one, according to the enthusiast of this sub-culture of cycling, will START you at 2Gs, large, yo! Ouch. Too rich, too much for something we just want to give a go.
Next up, good ol’ craigslist & ebay. I’ve found many a good bike this way (including my beloved Kapu) so it was a natural hunting ground. We quickly found some hiccups with this, 1) they are still very expensive for a “good” one or 2) the cheap ones are either complete crap or scooped up within the day (and, you know, I DO have to work) or 3) they just don’t fit (remember, you need to find a bike that fits both of you)!
We found one, a vintage Bob Jackson, but the guy had it double posted, on Craigslist AND ebay, and we were willing to buy it, but with under 12 hours left on the auction, it would have cost him to pull it and he wasn’t will to do that. We test drove it, loved the hell out of it, giggling and laughing like mentally challenged chimpanzees on a tire swing the whole two mile ride! Oh man, we wanted this…. So, with about 6 hours to go on the auction, we got home, “watched it” and at the 30 minute mark put our highest bid in. 30 minutes to go, “We got it….” 5 minutes to go, “we got it!” 1 minute to go, ” WE GOT I—— SHIT!!!!” Someone just super-outbid us! Of course we put in a fresh bid with seconds to go, beyond our budget, but no, their top bid was just too high and we lost.
So it goes and so it goes. Feeling hurt and sad, we were lost and confused, but then we remembered something, there was something out there, an inexpensive new tandem on Amazon, I think, yeah, Amazon…. A “Lamborghini” Viaggio or something something! Aluminum frame, integrated (albeit cheap ones) shifters, “road wheels” and for a relatively low price was all starting to sound pretty good. Here’s their product photo (not too shabby, eh?):
I head over to the bike forums, where there is never a shortage of expert advise just waiting to be given out, where I’m told it’s fine, it’s crap, it’s a good starter but upgrade the parts, it’s only good for 10 miles at 10mph, that I should just spend $2000 and get a real one, and that I should go back to craigslist or ebay. It seemed like two folks on the board may actually own one, one of them was possibly a “shill”, only there to encourage the sale of the bike (people get paid to cruise bike forums?), and the other didn’t really give much detail, so it was time to just give it a go or let it go!
With the dreams and giddiness of tandem cycling still fresh in our hearts and souls, and with the worse case scenario being we either return it or resell it whole or in parts, we did it, we pulled the trigger and bought ourselves a “Lambo”(free shipping too)! Then yesterday…. it showed up, I put it together, gave her a rough tune, test drove it, tuned it some more, hollered for baby to stop sewing and went for a little spin around the neighborhood.
Okay, what I’d like to do now is give an honest to goodness review of the Tonino Lamborghini Viaggio (if you are here for music, it’s down at the bottom of this post). Now, why give a review? Well…
1. We are not just an art & audio site, we are also cyclists and want to spread the love of cycling to all 9-10 corners of the world (9 for English, 10 for metric) and as a cyclist, I feel quasi-justified to give an honest & somewhat-educated opinion on a bike.
2. Outside of Amazon’s “reviews” and one other page I found, there seems to be a severe lack of information on this bike, and the bits and pieces that are out there, like in the forums, can you really even trust that? I had no clue. Tandem shopping is dire & dangerous! We at TSURURADIO saw an opportunity to give you as much information & knowledge as possible… because knowledge is power!
3. So that you, our dear readers who are also cyclist, or want to be cyclists, and have considered hopping on the two+ headed monster called tandem cycling, can judge for yourself if this is the way to give it a go.
Okay, here we go…. excited? I am.
A Review Of The Tonino Lamborghini Viaggio Tandem Bicycle!!!
A note: I was not paid nor was I given this bike free (I WISH) or even at a discount to review. This is review comes from someone who dropped 5 Benjis, money that was saved for this reason (well most of it, the rest will be paid back in the used bike harem I will be selling soon (after I figure out what parts I want to keep)). Nope, this is just me reviewing a bike we bought….
First, the source… The bike was made by Tonino Lamborghini which, from what I can tell, has no or very, very little relationship to the car that is fodder for many teenage boys fantasies (it’s how they would score the chicks, man).
If I’m wrong, and they are in fact the same company, someone over at Lamborghini really needs to hire a cyclist to give them a bit o’ advice, because this bike, though a sturdy aluminum frame, has more in common with a slightly better than Target department store bike than it does to some I-talian sportscar that cost more than a couple times our house.
It is sold through Amazon, and really there’s nothing to say about that. Amazon is really the best online department store, they are quick, have a great system for checking on your status, and in past experiences when I had to return something, it was completely painless. They once competed with The Man and now they are The Man, but whatever. I love Amazon because even if you want to help the little guy, you can just buy through their zhops!
The name…. ugh. Tonino? Fine… Lamborghini? Laughable… Vaggio? Sounds like vagina. ‘Nuff said.
Next up, the packaging…. okay, here’s where Lamborghini really screws up. I heard online about people with untrued wheels, a few bent things, and almost everyone had a broken spoke. Well I see why, this bad boy comes packed in a box with basically NO cushioning (unless you consider the box a cushion?), and the front wheel is deftly positioned so the front pedal arm is going through the spokes, so just like all the Amazon reviews you read, I too had a broken spoke:
Well, I’m not too worried, I have other wheels to get me started, and after I get this fixed, I’ll report this to Amazon for to get my repair money back, but that’s me. For someone who had no spare wheels lying about and doesn’t have a lot of time to go to a local bike shop, this must really suck. Packing foam ain’t expensive, Tonino, learn how to pack and protect your fucking wheels man!
Well, like I said, this was not a huge set back for me, so I carried on. The bike frame was covered from head to toe with something like a paper towel roll of cardboard wrapping. I guess it would protect the paint job, but if the box got hit, it’d do nothing for potential dents. After pulling it all off (and the kick-stand, dead weight man), I’m happy to report it was dent and, for the most part, scratch free. Here it is with the handlebars on and most the paper-towel-roll-wrapping protection pulled off:
Look at the dings in that box… could’ve been worse, eh?
Getting there… From here, building it was pretty basic. If you have ever built a bike for yourself or a kid for xmas, you should have no problems with this (hell, I didn’t even mess with the instructions). Something to note, I read that a few people blew out the tubes the first time they pumped it up due to pinching, so before filling it with air, I took off the tires and put them back on, nice and easy, with a little bit of massaging, just to be safe. From there, filled ’em up with no problems! WOOT! Finally, about 10 to 15 minutes later, I had a us a tandem bike! HOORAY!
Yes, yes, tandem folks… I know that front wheel isn’t good for a 40lb tandem carrying two adults, but it’s what I had immediately available and it was FINE for neighborhood cruising!
The parts….. okay, THIS (and the packing) is why the bike is $500. Yes, the frame is aluminum, relatively light, and sturdy, and that’s awesome, but that’s about it. The integrated shifters are from “Microshift” and feel cheap compared to my Shimano Integras on Kapu and the 105’s on baby’s Dolce. The seat posts, handle bars, cranks, etc, all felt like cookie-cutter cheap metal, and the wheels seem like bad knock-offs to nice road bike wheels, but you know…. for the money, just twice as much as the “nicer bikes” at your local Walmart, I really expected nothing more.
And you know what else? They all worked juuuuuust fiiiiiiine. Yes, tuning the bike took a little more patience than it would on a fancy bike, but it shifted (pretty smoothly, I might add) correctly, and it stopped when I pulled the breaks, also pretty smoothly, and the chain went around and around when I pedaled, and the pedals stayed on, and nothing broke, died, or even exploded! Granted, it’s only got a few miles on them, but I’ve ridden very, very far on much, much worse, you know??
Man, I used to commute on that?
Just know what you are getting and know it may take a little more love & attention…
Okay folks, finally…. the ride. What can I say? By the time we were done cruising the neighborhood, our faces were hurting from smiling and giggling so much! We laughed when we sped up, when we slowed down, when we u-turned, when we stopped at a stop light, when everyone who we passed couldn’t help but smile themselves! Basically, all I CAN say is that it’s a blast. It only vague resembles riding a single bike for me (the captain) as the handling and pull is so different and for her (my adorable stoker), she was just pedaling along, enjoying the view of, not just my ass, but pretty much everything! The only negatives, besides noticing the cheaper parts as a spoiled cyclist, was the noise from the chain tensioner (sounds like the bike wants to shift, not bad, just not quiet). It could probably use some faster gear ratios to get some good speeds, but really, I can’t think of anything else to complain about!
I.e and simply, it’s just fun.
Look, expectations play a big role in this kind of purchase. If you expect to hop in the Tandem De France (great name for a race, by the way, my gift to the people of France) with a $500 tandem, you will be sorely mistaken (and very tired)… if you hope to have some wonderful rides with your baby, maybe to a local farmer’s market about 30 miles out in Granville for a mid-ride picnic??? Eh??? Baby???? I think you be in good shape!
So to wrap up and quantify……. My rating, out of a possible of 5 wheelies?
I tell you… if they just packed the thing better, it’d get 4.5! You just can’t beat the value and fun factor of this bike… and from here, if we need a better bike, we can easily upgrade the parts on this one! It’s really a good deal, just KNOW what you are getting and don’t expect anything more!!!!
Wow, my first bike review. That was fun, long, but fun. Hope you enjoyed it and if you see the silly little couple in the first photo of this post out on the road with a shit-eating grin on their faces, feel free to smile along and shout out a hardy, “ALLOOOO!”
But our “Lambo” is not the only reason I’m in a good mood, though it certainly ignighted it, on top of that, I had a GREAT ride in (where I cranked up the last few hills at 20mph when I saw that a cyclist may be coming my way… when did I get so competitive??), which gave me a “rider’s high” for sure. But on top of all of that, I tossed on Family by Think About Life!
Though they should probably already win some awards for worse album cover (seriously, what the fuck is that? Irony, I guess?), Family, and it’s dance-tastic funky good times, hit a perfect chord to my silly grin-tastic mood! At first listen, the whole thing was a bit cheese, but after a few times through, it settled in as just a fun & funky, dance & “indie-rap” album (and their Canandian, wheee!). Not sure if I had put them on on any other day what would’ve happened, but for today, for now, I’m feel like shakin’ my boo-tay…. Uh…. huh.
F A C E B O O K
OU R S O C I E T Y
& yes, even TWITTER