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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!

View Poll Results: Poll on my next bike
Santana Team Niobium 4 17.39%
Co-Motion Speedster 18 78.26%
'99 Santana Team Titanium 1 4.35%
Voters: 23. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-14-07, 07:42 AM   #1
Xanti Andia
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Poll: Help me decide on a bike

I don't have the luxury of testing a bike before I buy, so I am asking for a poll, what would you buy. We ride a Trek T100 so any of these are a quantum leap. Similar amounts of money $ 5000-6000 range, the '99 Team TI at the bottom of the range, The Team Ni at the top.
  • Santana Team Niobium
  • Co-Motion Speedster
  • '99 Santana Team Titanium
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Old 02-14-07, 07:46 AM   #2
Xanti Andia
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Oops, forgot to mention all three have S&S couplings, otherwise you will question the price range
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Old 02-14-07, 07:48 AM   #3
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And the travel cases!
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Old 02-14-07, 08:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
I don't have the luxury of testing a bike before I buy
I hesitate to suggest a vacation to California, but spending that kind of money on something you have not ridden is not recommended. As to price, Co-Motion has all their prices on the web site, and I'd estimate that a Speedster with couplers and two cases will be closer to $6,500 ++, depending on options, sales tax if applicable and shipping.
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Old 02-14-07, 08:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
Similar amounts of money $ 5000-6000 range, the '99 Team TI at the bottom of the range, The Team Ni at the top.
I'm sorry, but you haven't provided nearly enough information to go on.

What are the model years of the other tandems as there's no way a new Speedster is any where close to the price of a new Niobium, with or without couplers. Moreover, assuming none of these are new except for perhaps the Speedster, what type of equipment do the two Santana tandems have, and what kind of shape are they in?
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Old 02-14-07, 09:43 AM   #6
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You know, folks say "test ride before you buy" all the time on this forum and Tandem@Hobbes... but it's not only darned difficult for most teams to do, but also -- IMO -- an over-rated exercise. I and my partners have test-ridden _none_ of the six tandems we've owned over the past thirty years, yet we've been happy with all of them. Three of the six were custom bikes, which could not be test ridden. In a custom situation, you have to trust the builder and/or dealer to guide you to the correct geometry and configuration for your team's skills and needs. And, really, a stock bike is not that much different: As long as the bike fits you, you can trust a mainstream builder to have gotten it close enough to "right." All of the tandems that Xanti cites are general purpose bikes. With a little tweaking (gearing, saddles, 'bars, rider position), any would work for his team. The handling differences are subtle and unlikely to make or break the team's long-term satisfaction. With that in mind and assuming that they all are the correct frame size for his team, I voted for the Co-Motion. It uses conventional rear hub spacing and a standard rear BB, front derailleur clamp, headset, fork and h'bar stem -- all of which will make tweaking and upgrading that much easier. Now, the unique-to-Santana features may influence Xanti in the other direction, but no amount of test riding would change that as they are NOT things that the average team is likely to feel on a test ride (though I suppose a discriminating stoker might feel the increased Santana pedal width -- if he or she were attuned to it).
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Old 02-14-07, 10:01 AM   #7
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I won't vote because I do not have nearly enough tandem experience to suggest a bike. I would suggest taht you choose one that has the better support in Argentina. You have a number of posts expressing frustration at parts availability in your locale. My guess is the Co-Motion would be a little easier to find parts for than the Santana.
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Old 02-14-07, 11:22 AM   #8
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Co-Mo is more mainstream and has none of the idosyncracies that Santana espouses; as stated, upgrading/swapping parts can be easier.
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Old 02-14-07, 11:23 AM   #9
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Just to answer some of your questions.

Support in Argentina is irrelevant, either the Santana or the Co-Motion will be the only ones of their kind here, so I'm not considering it much, will have to manage with LBS and get parts in the US when I travel. It would be nice to have 26" wheels rather than 700 c, so I could find rims and tires, but 26" on an S&S coupled bike for touring/road is just not out there, I'd end up looking for a custom.

Try before you buy would me nice but not feasible, I buy now and pick up in May when I am scheduled to travel.

Like I say, coming from a Trek T100 all of these bikes will be big improvements, and I am not qulified to discriminate on the subtle points. My road bike is a Schwinn Fastback Comp, carbon fork and stays, Shimano 105. Ride maybe 5000 km/year on the two bikes. Look forward to supported and unsupported tandem trips.

TGeek: Both Co-Mo and Team Niobium are new stock bikes prety much as described in the manufacturers websites. Co-mo would be 07, Not sure if Team Ni 06 or 07.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek
I'm sorry, but you haven't provided nearly enough information to go on.

what type of equipment do the two Santana tandems have, and what kind of shape are they in?
Santana Team Ti-700 with S&S couplers. Low mileage and excellent condition. Frame is polished titanium, size large, 1999 model. All original premium equipment, including: Ultegra STI controls, fr. derailleur, cranks (175/170), 9-speed cluster; XTR rear derailleur, Avid front brake with Travel Agent, Formula hydraulic rear disk brake. Plus: Shimano Flight Deck computer, Terry Fly & Butterfly seats (both with titanium rails), Santana SafeCase with pads, crank shorteners (for small stoker), SPD pedals.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:51 PM   #11
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Co-Motion Mocha offers 26" wheels and S&S option for about $4,770 in the USA.
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Old 02-14-07, 02:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
Co-Motion Mocha offers 26" wheels and S&S option for about $4,770 in the USA.
I had not considered the Mocha, I am more atracted to the performance of road bikes, the T100 we have is a hybrid and seems to get some of the not so nice features of both worlds. Once I convinced myself that we should drop that sort of money I started to think of a performance bikes with less compromises, but perhaps I should consider the Mocha. The money is dictated by our world traveler state, which calls for S&S couplings forcing us to discard most of the used offering. Once we resigned ourselves to dropping $ 4-5 K, dropping 6 K is in the same ballpark. Looks like the Mocha does strike some compromises, though I wonder how much they would actually affect us. We will never race nor enter into any beauty contests but look forward to loaded touring in Europe, and unloaded road. For trips involving gravel roads in Argentina we might just keep the T100, don't need the S&S for travel here. Any thoughts Zona (the team which seams to have tried it all)?
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Old 02-14-07, 03:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
It would be nice to have 26" wheels rather than 700 c, so I could find rims and tires, but 26" on an S&S coupled bike for touring/road is just not out there, I'd end up looking for a custom.
Not on your list but DaVinci's has a 26" coupled road tandem. I think until this year, 700c was not available. It is a different beast than the Co-Motion or Santana.
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Old 02-14-07, 04:04 PM   #14
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I've been going through the Co Motion vs Santana decision. What I keep hearing is that Co Motions are very responsive, and that people that ride agressively tend to like them. Kinda like Co Motion as Sports Car, Santana as luxury SUV. The couple of comments you make regarding Performance, and not liking some of the tradeoffs of the Trek, make me think that a Co Motion might be more what you're looking for.
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Old 02-14-07, 05:45 PM   #15
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Both the daVinci and Co-Mo Mocha
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Old 02-14-07, 05:45 PM   #16
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Both the daVinci and Co-Mo Mocha
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Old 02-14-07, 06:08 PM   #17
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. . . .continuing that post . . . (sorry for the glitch!)
Both the daVinci and Co-Mo Mocha would fit the bill, in our estimation. Both offer drop bars, 26" wheels, and S&S options.
daVinci has independent coasting, a feature that may, or may not, appeal to your team. daV uses 4 cogs instead of 3 chainrings and through the use of a 'doubler' and 3 bottom brackets achieves more gears than Co-Mo. A possible advantage touring in very hilly terrain.
Frames from either company are extremely well built/finished and offer very good componentry and will lend themselves easily to touring, on-road or off-road (no single track). By swapping out smooth tires to a bit more agressive tires, pavement/off-pavement riding should be easy.
Either company will do some part swapping (drop/flat bars, appropriate shifters, etc) for a slight charge.
Have ridden the daV and Co-Mo (although not in the S&S version).
Perhaps some other Mocha or daVinci owners will chime in?

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Old 02-14-07, 07:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
daVinci has independent coasting, a feature that may, or may not, appeal to your team. daV uses 4 cogs instead of 3 chainrings and through the use of a 'doubler' and 3 bottom brackets achieves more gears than Co-Mo. A possible advantage touring in very hilly terrain.
The Independent Coasting can be disabled if you do not like it.

The gearing has quite a range on it. I don't appreciate it as much as I could though because 1) I have not frequently needed the highs and lows 2) I do not have experience on the traditional tandem gearing setups. I rarely use my 32 that I will probably mount a 12-27.
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Old 02-14-07, 07:41 PM   #19
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We just bought a da Vinci with 26 inch wheels and S&S couplers, I am not as experienced as Zonotandem but I sure am happy, the gear range is great if you want a bike that can handle loaded touring or go fast empty. I think it is a good all around bike, ours has drop bars but I would have no hesitation touring gravel roads with it. Give them a look we found Todd a great man to deal with, answered all our questions did all the stuff we asked and gave us good information. We thought we would buy a Santana but after going to California and talking with them and watching the action at the shop both on the phone and in person my stoker and I thought we should look elsewhere. I agree that its good to test ride but I think that your right, given that its the correct size you should be fine. Through this site you can find out how each rides in comparison to each other.
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Old 02-14-07, 10:01 PM   #20
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Given a team weight in the 310-330 lb (yours from previous posts) range I would be inclined to consider a stiffer-than-steel aluminum frameset, and your stoker's inseam of 29" (?) suggests an overall height of 5'2"-5'4", perhaps best fit to the stoker compartment with bottom bracket spacing of 30-31". How about paying the custom frame dimension surcharge and/or getting an aluminum tandem from your preferred builder?
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Old 02-15-07, 06:39 AM   #21
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A custom builder would generally choose tubesets according to a teams weight and intended use of the bike. A steel bike can be made as stiff as any aluminum bike out there.

glenn
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Old 02-15-07, 09:05 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
It would be nice to have 26" wheels rather than 700 cso I could find rims and tires, but 26".[snip]

Look forward to supported and unsupported tandem trips.[snip]

Both Co-Mo and Team Niobium are new stock bikes prety much as described in the manufacturers websites. Co-mo would be 07, Not sure if Team Ni 06 or 07. [snip]

Santana Team Ti-700 with S&S couplers. ... Formula hydraulic rear disk brake. Plus: Santana SafeCase with pads, crank shorteners (for small stoker), SPD pedals.[snip]
How about "none of the above?"

If someone was willing to sell you a new S&S Santana Team Niobium for the same money as a new S&S Co-Motion Speedster, I'd buy the Niobium, then I'd re-sell it for a profit and pocket a few bucks. My gut tells me that something's just not quite right with those cost numbers as an '07 Team Niobium with new cases would have an MSRP around $8k, i.e., a base model Team Niobium without couplers is ~$6,000 + $1,200 for couplers, and then add your cases. Now, if a dealer was selling you one at HIS cost, that's another story.

As for the Ti, good frame material for a travel tandem but you'd need to get rid of the Formula rear disc brake and replace it with something that will work better for world travel, like cantilever rim brakes and possibly a supplemental Avid 203mm rear disc. If it was me, I'd also sell the SafeCase and get a smaller hardcase + one softcase to make travel just a bit easier. The SafeCase is a neat concept developed before 911 that would usually go unnoticed as it was just a bit over the maximum size for checked luggage and would come in just under the 75# weight limit. As it is today, it's just a big heavy case that will carry your tandem and that's it. No room for helmets, shoes, racks, panniers or anything else that could be more easily accommodated in a pair of S&S cases that each came in under the 50# limit.

As for other comments about Santana's unique stuff, you answered those questions the way that I would have. 145mm vs 160mm rear hubs aren't commonly in stock in remote places and sealed headsets aren't problematic, nor are bottom brackets.

However, all of that said, what you've outlined for your requirements and druthers in your subsequent posts does suggest that the right tandem something along the lines mentioned by zonatandem... the 26" Mocha Co-Pilot. To me, a 26" model sounds like the ideal tandem for what you've described and meets your budget. As for taking a performance hit by not going with 700c, poppycock. That's just another myth; spec the right gearing and the differences in performance vs. 700c is negligible. We and most other "roadies" ride 700c because that's what has become popular, what consumers have come to expect, and what the manufactures logically offer. For an "uber tandem" that will be used throughout the world, 26" makes far more sense for the very reasons you mention: rims and tires are easy to come by so long as you stick with the more popular rim width and spoking.


http://www.co-motion.com/Mocha.html

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Old 02-15-07, 11:41 AM   #23
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Seems like your search will be broading out a bit from your original quest . . .
Picking between Co-Mocha and daVinci would be logical. Either tandem would be up to the task of on/off-pavement + loaded touring/club riding. The primary differences is in gearing and independent coasting (which can be 'disabled' as masiman stated). Either Todd at daV or Dwan/Elayne at Co-Mo will be glad to explain things further, if need be.
Decisions, decisions . . .
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Old 02-15-07, 12:56 PM   #24
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I don't know how is it in Argentina but in Mexico we did not have any problems finding 700 tubes and tires even in the smallest of towns. Tandem specific rims or wheel sets is another mater... But how hard is it to get on the internet and order parts from american distributors? Maybe it is harder for Argentina since it is not part of NAFTA.

You may have problems getting a specific brand/model of tire, but something that will get you out of a pinch should not be a problem.

There is a lot of road bikes being sold in Mexico. American brands... made in China.
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Old 02-15-07, 03:01 PM   #25
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I don't know how is it in Argentina but in Mexico we did not have any problems finding 700 tubes and tires even in the smallest of towns. Tandem specific rims or wheel sets is another mater... But how hard is it to get on the internet and order parts from american distributors? Maybe it is harder for Argentina since it is not part of NAFTA.

You may have problems getting a specific brand/model of tire, but something that will get you out of a pinch should not be a problem.

There is a lot of road bikes being sold in Mexico. American brands... made in China.
Shipping into Argentina is a hazard, sometimes things get though and sometimes they get snagged in customs, adding costs which between duties and fixed handling charges charghes by the shipper can tripple the cost of a small order. I have not been able to find quality 700 c tires wider that 25 mm. Mountain bikes outnumber roadbikes by far and hybrids are rare, the only riders of 700 c road bikes are the road race community, and they don't consume anything wider than 25 mm. Many of the road racers have an MTB as a trainer. I suspect the rest of South America is similar. Mexico might be whole different ball game I suppose, it is after all North America, have not been there in 30 years.
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