Are you like most tandem owners who transport the tandem with the wheels off? The problem with this method of transport is storage of the wheels. The brake rotors, spokes, skewers, and dirty tires are constant hazards to the tandem frame, components, and the vehicle itself.
Taking a page from the professional cycling teams we decided to test a pair of wheel bags. There are multiple options available on the market including single wheel, dual wheel, and fully padded bags. For this test we selected the branded single wheel nylon bags offered by Bike Nashbar.
The bags immediately impressed as they were able to easily contain both 26 inch mountain and 700c road wheels with the skewers still mounted. The bags also readily accepted the front or back wheel.
The benefit of a bagged wheel was immediately and surprisingly apparent on our first road trip. Loading the tandem was much quicker as we simply sat the bagged wheel on the frame sans the normal layers of towels and straps. The bags provided enough cushioning and scratch resistance to protect the frame while the contour (of the filled bag) held the wheel in place during transport.
Arriving at the destination the wheel bag openings offered ample clearance for the tires to quickly be removed. The bags then folded into a small size for storage.
In conclusion we found that a basic wheel bag is a must for any tandem team that transports their bike sans wheel. At a sale price of $10 the Nashbar wheel bag is a no brainer.