But that was over 20 years ago, and today, tandem bikes are a tad different than what we grew up with, not much. But I never could have dreamed that a full suspension machine is possible. Well, it is, and the minds behind the Symbiosis, da Vinci Designs Tandems, have unlocked the secrets to this sort of frame.
Yet, those secrets aren't cheap. With a price tag of around $8,300 (€82,150 at current exchange rates) for the standard machine, it's the sort of bicycle that isn't made for your average Joe. Instead, da Vinci describes the Symbiosis as the sort of tandem machine made to accommodate a "cruise down your favorite fire road" or to be "a bump-eating downhill racer." Honestly, those statements scare me a little because if you're hauling downhill with a partner on the rear, and either one of you makes a mistake, there may be a need for a tandem ambulance too.
Since this frame must support the weight of two riders, one way to distribute the weight so that both suspension systems are affected as equally as possible is to place the front rider a tad more towards the front wheel while the rear rider sits right over a DVO Topaz shock. The front fork is an MRP Stoke made specifically for tandem bikes, with your choice of 80 millimeters (3.2 inches) to 120 millimeters (4.7 inches) of travel.
I've never tested any of these two suspension systems before, but if this sucker is built to fly down trails with two people on it, even catching some airtime in the process, it has to be one heck of an experience. That alone makes me want to figure out a way to test one of these with a buddy of mine.
And still, this isn't the end of what the Symbiosis can achieve for lovers of cycling. While exploring the work this manufacturer puts into the world, I ran across an options page, and there, as plain as black letters on a white background, the words "Electric Assist with Shimano Steps E8000 motor" jumped out at me. This was all it took to get my wheels turning, and I even discovered an image with this setup. I simply have no words.
Listen, I'm not a tandem rider, but if a random someone came up to me with a Symbiosis and said hop on, I'd inspect the bike for a minute, lock eyes with the stranger, and simply do as I'm told. After all, who would try and kidnap somebody with a tandem bike? Better wear a helmet and hang on for one very interesting experience.