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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 09-26-05, 05:01 AM   #1
ElRey
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Co-Motion steel/ S&S couplers/BUshnell??

Thinking of getting a CO-MO Supremo frame with the S&S couplers. Any observations to make? I'm used to travelling with bikes, so assembly/re-assembly shouldn't be trouble but give me some experience with teh cable couplers if you can.... How about actual on-the-road performance for this frame? How's that Reynolds 631 tubeset feel? SHould I just save some extra cash and go to a carbon? I've liked steel in the past for racing, but that's been a while. Maybe steel is "real" for tandems???? BUshnell is in the race... anybody have anything to say about that?
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Old 09-26-05, 06:40 AM   #2
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The air hardened steel sets from Co-Motion are awsome; however, they don't use it on their S&S equipped tandems. The Supremo S&S, as well as the Speedster, uses a custom drawn, heat-treated tubeset that is specifically butted for use with the coupler installations. However, the couplers add back any perceived loss of stiffness and the weight difference is minimal as all of the other gram-saving components on the Supremo are still used (including the Ralph wheelset -- er, uh Rolf... sorry, not a fan for everyday use or touring).

The S&S disassembly / assembly / packing is one of those things that you either don't mind or dread. Me, I loved errector sets and plastic model kits as a kid and tore apart bikes, motorcycles, and cars for fun so the S&S is a piece of cake in my book. The cable splitters are slick as can be; if you can thread a bolt through a nut you can easily master these things. Moreover, they allow you to use two standard length brake or derailleur cables vs. the super-long tandem specific models.

If you were considering an exotic material for travel, I'd also look at Titanium, e.g., a Seven Axiom 007, a Ti Cycles custom, or Santana Ti-700 (Note: Litespeed installs S&S couplers). The beauty of ti is the finish; very travel resistant. If you can avoid a glossy paint scheme on a carbon frame and go with nude or matte, then it would probably be about as scuff resistant.

Finally, as for the Bushnell tandems... Dennis does a great job and can build a tandem any way you want it., to include specifying your steering geometry, how stiff you'd like it to be, etc.. The cost is very competitive and perhaps a bit less than many of the comparable travel tandems from the more recognizable builders, assuming you don't go nuts on custom paint and boutique components.
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Old 09-26-05, 07:05 AM   #3
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Thanks T'geek. I've got a bid back from Spicer on a Ti/S&S travel model; I assume the ride quality with a zonally butted steel frame like teh CoMo would be better. You're sure right about scratching paint: I travelled with my C40 and shuddered every tiem I got a small knick on that fancy paintjob.
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Old 09-26-05, 07:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
You're sure right about scratching paint: I travelled with my C40 and shuddered every tiem I got a small knick on that fancy paintjob.
Travelling with a painted S&S tandem isn't a big deal, but it takes a lot more attention to detail in how you pack it, being careful during assembly / disassembly, and how it gets handled at logding facilities or when your travels put you and the tandem on public transit... things not normally encountered on daily loop rides. Everyone we ride with who has a travel tandem is riding painted steel and despite some pretty regular travel domestically and to Europe by many of the folks as far back as '98, I think only one of the tandems has really seen any travel damage; a compression dent in the side of a downtube. The airline paid for the repair.
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Old 09-26-05, 07:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
I've got a bid back from Spicer on a Ti/S&S travel model; I assume the ride quality with a zonally butted steel frame like teh CoMo would be better.
Hard to know for sure without taking a test ride, but in general I guess that the Spicer would excel relative to "comfort" whereas the Co-Motion -- like all Co-Motions -- would excel in stiffness and responsiveness, noting that the addition of couplers tend to make tandem framesets more rigid than uncoupled framesets.
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Old 09-26-05, 09:30 AM   #6
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We ave recently been on a tour with our new Co-motion Mocha Copilot that we had custom made for us. We bought it from Mel at Tandems east who showed us the best way to pack the bike.
We have been very happy with the handling of the bike compared to our Santana Sovereign ('91model) A pic of ho useful couplers are on tour is shown here.
As we are in Aus we didn't have the opurtunity to go for test rides and just went on recommendation and we couldn't be happier.

Cheers

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Old 09-26-05, 11:45 AM   #7
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Thanks geoff...
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Old 09-26-05, 11:48 AM   #8
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To avoid scratching pretty paint jobs when packing S&S in a case, put piping foam around all the tubes. Light, easy and you can custom cut foam to fit each tube. Your local plumber shop should handle the piping foam in different sizes/diameters.
Rode some of the first S&S equipped tandems and was way impressed! It may pay to check fittings with supplied tool every month or so 'just in case' but doubt that'll really need tightening. Great product!
There are newer/shorter Ti fittings on the market that may even save a few grams.
If you intend to to do a lot of air travel, the fittings will give you a 'quick return' on your investment. Bushnell, Co-Mo, Seven, Bilenky, 'tana, etc will do metal frames.
Calfee and ariZona c/f both do S&S, either Ti or stainless.

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-27-05, 10:08 AM   #9
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One tip we learned from some friends is to buy an extra cable splitter and throw it in your tool kit. They managed to damage one buy getting it pinched between tubes while trasporting it in a hard case.

Since you are from New Jersey I will assume you are dealing with Mel and Barbara at Tandems East. A big advantage with dealing with Mel is the time he spends with you. When we picked up our Co-Motion from him it was dissassembled in the case. Mel spent about an 1-1/2 hours with my wife and I assembling the tandem. Each tube of the frame had a special piece of padding cut for it. As we took each part out and unwrapped it we took a white paint marker and marked each pad so we would know where it goes. i.e. RST = rear seat stay. FTT = front top tube ... We also took 4 - 5 digital pictures as we removed parts so we could see how they were arranged to fit.
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Old 09-28-05, 08:04 PM   #10
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I'll just throw in my 2 cents and mention that I'm a big fan of titanium. Not worrying about paint is a plus. We haven't travelled with our tandem yet, but when we take it off road, we don't worry about scratches.
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Old 10-03-05, 04:10 AM   #11
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Well, got the Speedster. Mel at Tandems East hooked me up nicely. The steel tubeset is air hardened - Mel said he's asked that alot and is assured by Co MO that's the case. It isn't the same tubeset as the regular frames for the reason T'geek suggests: can't use ovalized tubes with the S&S. Having said that, it is a great ride. Handles realy well and has that great steel feel. Much more lively than the Cdale. My stoker still wanted the shockpost.....
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Old 10-03-05, 06:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
The steel tubeset is air hardened - Mel said he's asked that alot and is assured by Co MO that's the case. It isn't the same tubeset as the regular frames for the reason T'geek suggests: can't use ovalized tubes with the S&S.
Is your Speedster coupled or rigid? The only reason I ask is, I'm curious if Co-Motion has "changed its mind" on using the air hardened steel tubeset on the Speedster and Supremo travel bikes, as when I last asked for clarification the information contained in the following post was provided by Dwan:
Santana Soveriegn v's Co-Motion Speedplay

If they have "changed their mind" and now use the air hardening steel with couplers it wouldn't be the first time they've flipped on a design approach. For example, we had a good laugh this weekend talking about Co-Motion adopting front discs for use on their tandems as one of our friends/dealers has an Email from Co-Motion in which one of the principles stated "we will never put a front disc on our tandems." Never is apparently not all that long. So, things do change in the tandem biz, which is why it's always a good idea to check with the manufacturer whenever there is a question regarding what they are currently offering. Heck, Burley changed steel frame materials 3 times in 4 years not too far back and really surprised everyone when they began to offer their "race package" with more aggressive steering geometry last year.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-05-05 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 10-05-05, 04:43 AM   #13
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I couldn't answer that except to say that Mel@Tandems East chuckled when I asked: I suspect from his response that this was a misconception that is very common. I pressed him about it and he was emphatic. It certianly isn't exactly the same tubeset as the boom is not ovalized but round.
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Old 10-05-05, 09:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
I couldn't answer that except to say that Mel@Tandems East chuckled when I asked: I suspect from his response that this was a misconception that is very common. I pressed him about it and he was emphatic. It certianly isn't exactly the same tubeset as the boom is not ovalized but round.
I'm not sure it's a misconception when the company that designs and produces the products a dealer is selling is the source for that information via their Web site spec's http://www.co-motion.com/specs/speedstspecs.html and when specifically asked the question. Again, perhaps Co-Motion has changed the way it refers to it's tubing such that the air hardening steel is being used for S&S frames. I guess I'll just have to call Dwan and confirm... again.

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Old 10-05-05, 11:21 AM   #15
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From Reynolds' website:

(631, which is what's used for air-hardened tandems) "Like 853 it is suitable for TIG welding and brazing and in the heat affected joint areas will gain strength, to ultimate tensile strengths in excess of heat treated chrome molybdenum."

A cursory review of teh S&S website will reveal that the couplers are silver brazed in place, hence no technical incompatibility exists. I have no reason to suspect that I've been misled but anything's possible. The table your data comes from is a very general equipment list- even the gear mentioned is not always accurate. I had a lugged/brazed 853 frame once....
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Old 10-05-05, 03:36 PM   #16
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The information I passed along from our good friends at Co-Motion in August of '04 remains unchanged:

Paraphrased from Dwan's feedback just a few hours ago.... Standard non-coupled Speedster/Supremo tandems use Reynolds 631, air-hardening tubing. Co-Pilot versions of these same tandems use Reynolds 725, heat treated tubing specifically designed for use on Co-Pilot tandems. Reynolds 725 is also used as the standard frame material for the Primera. Although Co-Motion makes incremental and unannouced changes all the time, there have been no big changes to tubing in the past year.

Feel free to pass this along to Mel and tell him Mark from Georgia says hello...

Last edited by TandemGeek; 10-05-05 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 10-06-05, 04:30 AM   #17
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I'll let you pass it along since the two of you know one another. Interesting to note that 725 has a uts more closely aligned with 853 than the 631 tubeset= more strength at equal weight. I'll confess that the coupled Speedster rode better than the non-coupled Cappuccino.
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Old 10-06-05, 05:29 AM   #18
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Nearly anything rides better than a Cappuccino if you -- and more importantly your stoker -- are not accustomed to the Alsop Softride Beam. In fact, when you mentioned in another thread that your stoker got sea-sick riding a daVinci I had wondered if you weren't referring to a beam-equipped Co-Motion Cappuccino. Like the daVinci tandems, the beam-equipped tandems don't work well for everyone but enjoy a very loyal and committed following: its good to have lots of choices.

Note: For readers of this thread, the Cappuccino also uses the 631 (air hardening) tubeset for non-coupled versions while the S&S coupled versions use the 725 (heat treated) tubset.
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Old 10-06-05, 06:34 AM   #19
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No, she liked the Cappuccino well enough but not nearly as well as the Speedster: we were in 100% agreement that it was the best of the lot. And, surprising enough, it was the only one with couplers installed.
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