Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: WETstern Washington
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New tandem first impressions
After great anticipation our new CoMotion custom tandem frame finally arrived. The workmanship is beautiful and required minimal prep to assemble. The cable routing, eccentric, seatpost clamping, softride beam, rear disk mount etc details seem well thought out.
The components have been sitting ready in my basement for weeks. Phil Wood Hubs laced to Bontrager Clyde rims with DT spokes. I was very impressed by the Clyde rims, they built easily and amazingly true/round (like high end Mavics).
The drive train consists of:
Race Face Tandem cranks, robustly attractive in an instustrial kind of way. I like them.
The Race Face bottom brackets did not impress me. Rough feeling. For the $ I would expect at least Shimano Quality. We'll see how long they last.
XT rear dr and Ultegra front. Both excellent as you would expect. 11-34T Cassette 9speed (for the moment anyway) and SRAM chains. The shifting is done with good old fashion bar end shifters. Click, plunk, no brainer simplicity. A huge plus on a tandem IMHO.
Braking duty is handled by LX cantilever brakes and Shimano Road brake levers.
The odd sizing of the Co-Motion seat tube (propriatary?) left me with few choices for seatposts but luckily Thomson makes a beauty in that size. The Co-Motion supplied stoker stem is a nice piece of work too.
Our first ride we spent the first half dialing in our positions. Little tweaks but can make all the difference in the world on a long ride. I found my road position a little uncomfortable on the Co-Motion so it took me a while to find the sweet spot to drive the long bike.
My wife is the stoker and we are both new to the Softride beam. So far we like it better than our traditionally posted tandems but it does require some creative rack & saddle bag mounting. It does however have an amazing range of adjustability. The Stoker compartment is ROOMY and my wife felt much more comfortable than on our previous tandems. I was able to wear my Camelback Hawg without making her feel claustrophobic
We were a little disappointed that the Co-Motion required the Softride beam to be in it's highest position in order to fit my wife. I would have liked a mid range adjustment to accomodate taller stokers. Unfortunately I didn't make that clear to Comotion in the design process.
The ride was typical of Co-Motions I've ridden. Excellent. Once we dialed in our positions we were zipping along like this bike we've ridden the bike hundreds of times. Sure a few little tweeks are left and I'm not satisfied with my rack mounting yet but it's nothing a few dollars, a little creativity and some testing will hammer out. Good problems!
Oh, did I mention it how beautiful the bike is?