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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 07-13-17, 10:20 AM   #1
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New Tandem

Got the Co-Motion Java, that we've had on order for awhile now, last night.

Took it on a quick ride with some pavement, some gravel, and some grass ( Golf course in the neighborhood).

Several initial impressions: 1) it's heavy, 43 lbs with bottles and cages; 2) it's a comfortable ride, with steel frame, and 2" tires; 3) 2" tires with a bit of tread give a lot of rolling resistance, 4) it appears to be sufficiently stiff, without a lateral tube.

The bike will get used mostly for gravel grinders, and maybe some light single track.

Looking forward to taking it to the local MTB trails tonight.
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Old 07-13-17, 10:24 AM   #2
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What type of shifters & brakes?
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Old 07-13-17, 10:37 AM   #3
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What type of shifters & brakes?
Ultegra brifters, Ultegra front derailleur, XT rear derailleur.

TRP cable disc brakes.

The brakes may not be fully bedded in, but so far I am not impressed with the stopping power.
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Old 07-13-17, 10:40 AM   #4
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So - shifters are mechanical (2 rings)? TRP cable discs are cable with hydraulic at the caliper?
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Old 07-13-17, 10:41 AM   #5
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Very nice!

If you want slicks as an option, I have Kojaks on my 26er and they're going great, the 29er version should too. Big Apples no better or worse, I just liked the slick look.
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Old 07-13-17, 10:43 AM   #6
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So - shifters are mechanical (2 rings)? TRP cable discs are cable with hydraulic at the caliper?
https://co-motion.com/bikes/java
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Old 07-13-17, 10:49 AM   #7
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It's a triple mechanical shifting

Brakes are all cable actuated no hydraulics
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Old 07-13-17, 11:15 AM   #8
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Congrats! Don't let the weight of it get you down. That bike is all about bombing descents on the steepest gravel roads you can find.

I'd get rid of those tires in a hurry, though. To me they look like the worst combination of mountain and road technologies. There are so many wide, supple tires to choose from -- you practically get to pick your own tread pattern.
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Old 07-13-17, 11:33 AM   #9
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I'd get rid of those tires in a hurry, though.

Depends on how we end up using it.


The bike is going to mostly stay at our second home in Asheville NC. We already have a Co- Motion Robusta there.


If we hang on to the Robusta, I'll likely put some more off road specific tires on the Java.


If we sell the Robusta, then I may get a second set of wheels, and keep MTB tires on one, road slicks on the other.


Then again the Vittorias that are on there may not be a terrible compromise for loops that are mostly pavement with some gravel.
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Old 07-13-17, 01:25 PM   #10
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We really liked the Schwalbe Thunder Burt (2.1") on wet gravel roads and easy trails. Unfortunately, our old tandem could only fit it in the front, so we paired it with some theoretically slower rolling tires. In dry weather, the Panaracer Pari Moto is pretty amazing on and off pavement -- Compass Snoquamie Pass would be a comparable 29er option.
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Old 07-14-17, 08:30 AM   #11
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TRP cable disc brakes.

The brakes may not be fully bedded in, but so far I am not impressed with the stopping power.
You would get far better results with TRP Hy/Rd (cable actuation with hydraulic calipers) than the Spyre. I can't think of a high-end single bike that's sold with cable disk brakes (eg. Spyre or Avid BB7), and tandems need more stopping power.
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Old 07-14-17, 09:34 AM   #12
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You would get far better results with TRP Hy/Rd (cable actuation with hydraulic calipers) than the Spyre. I can't think of a high-end single bike that's sold with cable disk brakes (eg. Spyre or Avid BB7), and tandems need more stopping power.

I may look into that. When I ordered the bike from Co-Motion, they were a bit resistant to changing components out.


I raised the issue of doing hydraulic discs. Their point was that many of their tandems are traveled with, and many have couplers, making cables easier than hydraulics. They also claim that the trp cable brakes are more than adequate.


I'll see after they're fully bedded in and we have the chance to ride in some hills.
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Old 07-14-17, 11:02 AM   #13
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I can second the Hy/Rd cable/hydraulic brakes. Much better feel and stopping compared with the Avid BB7s that were originally on my Co-Motion.
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Old 07-14-17, 12:21 PM   #14
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Having ridden it for a few hours now on pavement, and some easy mtb trails a few more observations:


1) I don't think the rolling resistance/weight makes it as slow as I thought at first. Obviously not as fast as the Calfee, but not terrible to ride on road at a decent clip;


2) it's sufficiently stiff that we can climb out of the saddle without it feeling whippy.


3) comfortable ride, but I think that is largely from the size of the tire, and inflation pressure.


4) Steel is meh. For years, the steel is real crowd has maintained that Steel has a special ride, and lively feel, while CF feels dead. To me, I don't get a lively feel out of this bike, but that may be have a lot to do with tires. It doesn't feel nearly as lively as our Calfee, but that's likely not a fair comparison, given the different price point, intended uses, and tires.


5) handles pretty well off road, but 1.9" wide hybrid tires are not the best choice for deep sand.


On the whole I thinks its going to work well as a gravel grinder, light off road use, and still be up to moderately fast on road riding, particularly with faster tires for road rides.
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Old 07-14-17, 12:28 PM   #15
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Nits to pick with Co-Mo's specs for the bike.


1) cable actuated disc brakes as spec'd above. Full hydraulic would appear to be a much better choice with the non coupled version, and if brifter choice was an issue, you could still go with the hybrid hydraulic cable mentioned above.


2) not sure I'm sold on Boost 148. At a minimum it requires a new adapter for the bike rack, and for now limits hub choices.


3) no QR for the thru axle. The thru axle screws into the fork with a 6mm allen wrench requiring a tool to remove a wheel to mount on a rack, or to change a tire ( unlike the thru axle on my MTB, which use a QR lever to screw in the axle.) Apparently the QR Thru axle mechanism on a FOX boost fork has the same thread pitch that Co-Mo uses, so it's possible the Fox thru axle may work, but Co-Mo isn't sure, given the design of the fork dropout.
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Old 07-14-17, 12:33 PM   #16
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Yeah, MTB's are stiff as F and have big poofy tires, any ride quality imparted by the frame material is probably imaginary. I can feel my Burley flex but we aren't skinny people.
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Old 07-15-17, 11:10 AM   #17
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Nice! Have fun with your new bike. This is sort of what I was going for with our Cannondale T2. This bike has huge clearances, at least laterally, for what is ostensibly a road bike, so I built a set of 650b wheels and use Compass Babyshoe Pass extralight. It's all about the tires. We do a lot of gravel and unmaintained roads and these have been great. At some point, may try WTB Byways that I have on another bike, or perhaps the Switch Back Hill. The fit will be close.

Other thoughts-
Not to turn this into a brake thread, but from what I've read, not sure there is consensus on whether going from cable to cable hy/rd would bring about significant improvement, mtseymour's and jbhardy's remarks notwithstanding. (Regarding jbhardy's remarks-not clear how much the improvement was due to TRP vs Avid, rather than the cable vs cable hyrd.) No personal experience here though. On the other hand, I noticed a marked improvement upgrading brakes from BB7 to Spyre, rotors to ice tech, and compressionless housing on our bike. We seem to have all the power we need, on some pretty sick grades, albeit with more force at the levers than I imagine we would need with hydro.

As far as the ride of steel vs whatever-again, it's all about the tires, especially when you get into tires this wide. Note that there are differing opinions on whether knobs are of any benefit on dry dirt and gravel. I've not formed an opinion yet, hence the WTBs. At any rate, I would definitely take OneIsAllYouNeed's advice and try the Compass 700c 44 tires.

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Old 07-15-17, 03:28 PM   #18
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^ thanks for the tire info.

Did a fast group road ride on it today. Not the bike of choice for that purpose but it did ok. Sprinting out of the saddle the frame was fine stiffness wise.

I think with two sets of tires, you could do most anything you wanted with the bike from road rides to touring to gravel, to light single track.
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Old 07-15-17, 05:47 PM   #19
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Enjoy the new ride TWOgether!
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Old 07-17-17, 01:18 AM   #20
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Not to turn this into a brake thread, but from what I've read, not sure there is consensus on whether going from cable to cable hy/rd would bring about significant improvement, mtseymour's and jbhardy's remarks notwithstanding. (Regarding jbhardy's remarks-not clear how much the improvement was due to TRP vs Avid, rather than the cable vs cable hyrd.) No personal experience here though. On the other hand, I noticed a marked improvement upgrading brakes from BB7 to Spyre, rotors to ice tech, and compressionless housing on our bike. We seem to have all the power we need, on some pretty sick grades, albeit with more force at the levers than I imagine we would need with hydro.
I don't want to turn this into another disc brake thread, but the consensus is pretty clear if you pay attention to extensive results from mtn biking and the recent push to hydraulic brakes on road bikes. Mtn bikers have used full hydraulic disc brakes for about 30 years, and would be incredulous to learn that tandems (at least 100 lbs heavier) would still use mechanical disc brakes or V-brakes on challenging rides (50 miles+ with grades of 8% or steeper). The vast majority of new single road bikes ($2,000 or more) are spec'd with full-hydraulic disc brakes.

Some tandem teams don't seem to realize that the TRP Hy/Rd and Shimano R785 disc brakes are self-centering (due to open hydraulic system) and are quiet and easy to maintain. Another inherent benefit is mechanical advantage (due to size of master cylinder relative to the reservoir). Unlike a mechanical disc brake (eg. BB7 or Sypre), the Hy/Rd and R785 amplifies the pressure from the brake lever to the brake calipers. This means that that 1-finger braking is possible with the Hy/Rd or R785 (like hi-performance mtn bikes). The result is less hand fatigue on long, demand descents.

Still not convinced? Here are 3 typical reviews on the Hy/Rd:

TRP HY/RD road disc brakes - First ride review - BikeRadar

Review: TRP Hy/Rd mechanical interface hydraulic disc brakes | road.cc

https://www.cxmagazine.com/trp-hy-rd...oad-cyclocross


The R785 is even better than the Hy/Rd, but requires compatible Shimano shifters (eg. ST-R8020-R).

Since I like safety and fast descents, it's an easy decision to spend an extra $60 per wheel (from Spyre to Hy/Rd) when a new tandem cost $6,000-12,000.
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Old 07-17-17, 03:10 AM   #21
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I don't want to turn this into another disc brake thread, but the consensus is pretty clear if you pay attention to extensive results from mtn biking and the recent push to hydraulic brakes on road bikes. Mtn bikers have used full hydraulic disc brakes for about 30 years, and would be incredulous to learn that tandems (at least 100 lbs heavier) would still use mechanical disc brakes or V-brakes on challenging rides (50 miles+ with grades of 8% or steeper). The vast majority of new single road bikes ($2,000 or more) are spec'd with full-hydraulic disc brakes.

Some tandem teams don't seem to realize that the TRP Hy/Rd and Shimano R785 disc brakes are self-centering (due to open hydraulic system) and are quiet and easy to maintain. Another inherent benefit is mechanical advantage (due to size of master cylinder relative to the reservoir). Unlike a mechanical disc brake (eg. BB7 or Sypre), the Hy/Rd and R785 amplifies the pressure from the brake lever to the brake calipers. This means that that 1-finger braking is possible with the Hy/Rd or R785 (like hi-performance mtn bikes). The result is less hand fatigue on long, demand descents.

Still not convinced? Here are 3 typical reviews on the Hy/Rd:

TRP HY/RD road disc brakes - First ride review - BikeRadar

Review: TRP Hy/Rd mechanical interface hydraulic disc brakes | road.cc

https://www.cxmagazine.com/trp-hy-rd...oad-cyclocross


The R785 is even better than the Hy/Rd, but requires compatible Shimano shifters (eg. ST-R8020-R).

Since I like safety and fast descents, it's an easy decision to spend an extra $60 per wheel (from Spyre to Hy/Rd) when a new tandem cost $6,000-12,000.
To be clear, I was not arguing the benefits of full hydro vs cable, but simply that the benefit of going from full cable to cable actuated hydro like the hy/rd is not so dramatic. These brakes have been in use for years since the initial reviews you reference (one of which concludes merely that the hy/rd are better than "most rim brakes"), and my impression from what I've read is that the gains are marginal and can mostly be had from using high-quality compressionless housing and brake pad choice. Even with full cable Spyres, I've never been limited by my brakes on descents. I've read reviews that talk about "one finger braking", but I dont mind using two fingers to brake instead of one, and it's certainly no compromise in safety, even on the 10-15% grades we ride on. That said, I will probably try the hy/rd at some point.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:16 AM   #22
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Love your new bike, my favorite color! We've been using the Spyre's on our Co-Motion for the past year+ and have had good results. We were coming over from our other tandem which is V brakes and drag and have felt very safe with the Spyre set-up. I'm sure the full hydraulic or the HY/RD would be a step up but we've been fine.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:19 AM   #23
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On a recent tour the last day was a big descent: from 10,800' to 5,600' in 19.7 miles. While this was only an average of 5.4% grade, there were sections that were much steeper and we were rolling over 35 mph for a long time. Our bike has Dura-Ace rim brakes. I never felt uncomfortable in the descent or had any inkling that the rims would overheat. I'm still unconvinced what problem is being solved with disc brakes on tandems.

My single mountain bike has hydraulic disc brakes. However, I use the brakes A LOT and sometimes in wet conditions. There I can see the advantage.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:49 AM   #24
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+1 on the TRP Hy/Rd brakes over Avid BB7. We've logged 3 rides with the Hy/Rd after a few years with a BB7 up front. With the same wheel, tire, brake rotor, and lever, the power and modulation feel much better with the Hy/Rd -- it feels like twice as much power. I appreciate that both pads move and that the system compensates for pad wear. My stoker noticed the extra braking power too -- her Thudbuster seatpost rocks forward when I hit the brakes.
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Old 07-17-17, 08:26 AM   #25
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On a recent tour the last day was a big descent: from 10,800' to 5,600' in 19.7 miles. While this was only an average of 5.4% grade, there were sections that were much steeper and we were rolling over 35 mph for a long time. Our bike has Dura-Ace rim brakes. I never felt uncomfortable in the descent or had any inkling that the rims would overheat. I'm still unconvinced what problem is being solved with disc brakes on tandems.

My single mountain bike has hydraulic disc brakes. However, I use the brakes A LOT and sometimes in wet conditions. There I can see the advantage.
On this very same descent, add some loose gravel in the corners and some slow vehicle traffic that you cannot pass. Your fast descent will turn into a slow descent, and your rims will likely overheat. I have experienced a tire that got blown off the rim and we are not a heavy team. For the peace of mind I think it's worth it, to have at least one disk on the bike. On our new tandem build we have a caliper front and a disk back. I use only the disk for 99% of the time.
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