1972 Schwinn Paramount, Raleigh Pro (will be buying a tandem soon)
Opinions Wanted, want a coupled tandem - thinking Santana / Co-Motion
Not wanting to start a war (ie: Chevy vs Ford)... but we are interested in your thoughts and prejudices. We have been out of biking for about 15 years (was a racer in 60's early 70's) and wish to return to tandem riding. We owned and long ago sold, one the the better Schwinn tandems (for the time) that was built approximately 1991. Our plans for tandeming include, training rides, rallies, and tours. We have been watching and enjoying this site for many months and have been reading all we can find. Custom frame does not appear necessary (6'-0" c & 5'-4" s)
I currently have three tandems on my "list" (with my current thoughts):
Santana Team Scandium coupled (like the idea of the sweet 16 wheels, lightness of frame, familiar with company name from years ago, LBS is a dealer)
Co-Motion Supremo co-pilot (major tandem supplier that seems to be highly respected, nice wheels)
Santana Team Niobium coupled (for comparison to the Co-Motion since Co-Motion does not put couplers on their aluminum frames)
I'm thinking I would be happy with any of these tandems, but would enjoy hearing your comments.
My wife and I bought a Team Niobium with the fork and brake upgrade last August. It does not have the coupler option. We could not be happier. This is our first tandem. I have raced in the past and currently ride a Cervelo R3 on my own. The wifey only rides the tandem. The Niobium is strong, fast, light enough for hill climbing around the Bay Area (i.e. 4000' assents). I doubt that you would be dissatisfied.
Just finished the Solvang double on our Santana Team Scandium. Girlfriend and I both love the way the bike rides. Did see a number of Comotion tandems out and they look to be an equally nice choice. I can't imagine anyone being unhappy with either, but some things to consider...
Santana tandems have some exclusive options that don't seem to be available on other tandems, like the 10" rear disc rotor, for example, but that does limit some options, like wheel choice. The only "race" wheel option appears to be the Shimano "Sweet 16s" but it is a nice wheel set. Don't expect to ever be able to switch out to newer/lighter two piece design crankets ever since the spindles will be too short. Since they are attached to the crank, it's not just a matter of having someone make you a bottom bracket with a longer spindle.
If you like the design changes Santana made and don't care that about the few component selection limitations then it's a good choice, other wise you can go with a Comotion and have a few more wheel/crank set options.
Our Santana Team Scandium weighed in at about 32 pounds with pedals and H2O cages. This is without the coupler option.
Have ridden 30+ brands/models of tandems in 33+ years of tandeming.
Several thousand miles on various model Santanas; 57,000 miles on our custom Co-Motion + other Co-Mo's including the Robusta.
Both are great tandems/companies.
Santana has 'innovations' that are well hyped like 1 1/4" headset, 160mm rear spacing, 10" discs, etc but that can limit later choices/changes.
Co-Motion is more standardized in their equipment; their bikes are not quite as pricey and are (in our opinion/experience) more 'race oriented' with some of their models.
We may be a bit judgemental, but we prefer Co-Motion.
Currently we own a full carbon fiber Zona tandem (with 18,000 miles on it), something that neither company offers.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
If you are considering a coupled tandem, there is one major difference between Santana & Co-Motion. The former has front couplings behind the pilot's seat tube; the latter has front couplings in front of the seat tube.
Implications: for quick dismounting, Co-Mo will allow you to quickly demount front end with one tool and without touching any chains. On Santana you need to remove front chain, loosen all six couplers, and use two tools to decouple the front. (Bottom coupler is an somewhat fiddly allen key arrangement.) However, if you are only occasionally going to decouple, for packing into two cases, Santana arrangement has advantages: the middle bit is just three tubes, and the front and back bits are very stable triangles. There is a lot of useful information on the website of S&S, the makers of the couplers: http://www.sandsmachine.com/
My wife and I are both licensed racers and compete in races on our single bikes and on the tandem.
We own a Santana 2006 Aluminum Sovereign with 4700 miles with Sweet Sixteen wheels, a carbon fork and the Winzip disc brake. This is our second Santana. We like it a lot and have no regrets with the purchase. We race ours in TTs and last year we participated in 8 TTs and 1 TT this year with several more planned. We race our tandem stock. Racing is all about the engine and at races we see many different engines and tandems including other Santanas. Another couple in our Racing club has a Santana Team Scandium.
We took our tandem to Italy last year (we do not have couplers) and plan to go to Mallorca this year - both were Santana tours. We ride ours in the bay area mountains and do long technical descents with braking and handling not a problem.