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  1. #1
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    Hi Saviours

    Still on my quest to purchase this elusive tandem for my wife and myself here in Australia I need to ask you all a question regarding the two tandems mentioned in the subject line of this thread.

    Given the fact that it is nigh impossible for me to "test ride" any of these tandems where i live i seek your feedback please.

    Given that both of these tandems, Santana Soveriegn (steel version) and the Co-Motion Speedster had identical gruppo, wheels and brakes etc. That is to say all things being equal - which bike would you purchase and why?

    Thank You in Anticipation.

    Jeff
    Brisbane, Australia
    Last edited by jrisles; 08-04-04 at 08:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Jeff!
    Put 57,000 miles on our Co-Motion custom tandem; excellent machine! Have ridden Santanas (about 3,000 miles) steel to titanium, good tandems but a wee bit overpriced.
    Speedster should cost less than the Sovereign and you'll have every bit as good of a tandem in our opinion.
    We feel the Co-Motion is also a bit more responsive/quicker handling.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/Arizona

  3. #3
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    Thanks Zona

    What if both tandems were also priced the same?? Would you still opt for the Co-Mo?

    cheers
    Jeff

  4. #4
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrisles
    Given that both of these tandems, Santana Soveriegn (steel version) and the Co-Motion Speedster had identical gruppo, wheels and brakes etc. That is to say all things being equal - which bike would you purchase and why?
    I suspect the models you are trying to compare are the Co-Motion Speedster and the Santana Arriva; here goes:

    My Pick: To me, the Co-Motion Speedster is a better value and a tandem tailored for teams who want lively steering with handling that is more like a personal racing bike than the Burley, Santana, or Trek tandems which feature more conservative steering geometry. Co-Motion also offers a transferrable frame warranty, which can be an attractive selling point to a potential buyer if you ever decide to sell the bike. There are also some technical details that also make the Co-Motion more attractive to me which I will outline below.

    About us: We are mid-40's, 275lbs, and enjoy fast spirited descents and aggressive cornering. We will occasionally put a rear trunk bag and rack on for supported tours and "smell the roses" but tend to run with the front of the pack.

    Detailed comparison and selling points for Co-Motion.

    Co-Motion Speedster = $3,620 ($275 less than Santana)
    Frame contruction: New TIG process introduced that is unparalleled for weld finish quality
    Frame performance: Having ridden both, IMHO Co-Motion produces a more rigid frameset than Santana.
    Steering Geometry @ 2.125" (more lively than Santana @ 1.89")
    Rear Stoker Compartment @ 28.5" (.5" longer than Santana)
    Drop Bars for Stoker @ No Charge (Depends on dealer for Santana)
    Rear Spacing @ 145mm (More hub options, better chainline vs Santana's 160mm)
    Headset @ 1 1/8" (Santana uses 1 1/4", which is not as common)
    Custom Sizing @ $385 (May be negotiable) vs. $600* for Santana
    Upgrades Less Expensive, e.g.,
    - Avid BB Disc = $165 (vs. sub-optimum Formula @ $399* on Santana)
    - Carbon Fork = $370 (vs. $399 for Reynolds Ouzo Pro on Santana)
    - Special Paint = Varies, but generally less than Santana*

    *Santana will often times have "special deals" where these items are either discounted when purchased with the tandem and last year I believe "your choice of special paint or custom sizing" was also offered by some of the dealers... must assume Santana was backing the promotion. Santana's custom sizing is $200, but they also list a "special processing fee" of $400 for SE & Premium level tandems.

    Counterpoint....

    We purchased a '96 Santana Arriva as our first tandem and absolutely loved it, our dealer, Santana, and the people behind Santana. To this day, none of that has really changed. Great products, great people, albeit their marketing approach and literature is a bit over the top and not always credible.

    However, that said, if I was going to buy a tandem for a couple that was returning to cycling after several years of raising kids where neither rider was what I would call an avid rider, the Santana would most likely be on my short list of tandems that they consider. If they were budget constrained, I would probably steer them towards a Burley Duet which would handle very much like the Arriva but costs nearly $1,500 less. The Trek T1000 ($2499) and T2000 ($3300) would also be high on my list of tandems to test ride for this type of team since it also uses the same conservative geometry. The primary reason for recommending the Santana -- price independent -- is brand-name recognition, resale value, and a strong demographic tie between Santana and the more mature couples who take up tandeming as they become empty nesters or approach retirement. Santana KNOWS how to cater to successful mature adults and offers excellent (albeit high-priced) tours and rallies that are a good match for their strong demographic target buyers. Ultimately, I believe the Santana ownership would possibly draw a new tandem team with the time and resources to travel further into the tandem lifestyle than if they purchased another brand because Santana does an excellent job of staying in touch with their customer base.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-04-04 at 10:22 PM.

  5. #5
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    WOW!! What can i say LG .. as always your response is very comprehensive, informative and on the face if it your advice appears to be well researched. Can i ask what tandem you are riding these days?

    Whilst i did err and state that i wanted a comparison between the Santana Sovereign and the Co-Motion Speedster i did actually mean a Sovereign (Aluminium) & Co-Mo Speedster (apologies here). You may recall i was picking everyones brains about a Cannondale Tandem that was for sale on ebay recently and i thought it may have been a bit too small for me. As it turned out someone else bidded on this before i was able to satisfy in my own mind that it was a right buy for us.

    Now there are 3 decent tandems up for sale on ebay;

    1. 2003 Co-Motion Speedster $3200.00

    2. 2000 Santana Sovereign $2000.00 &

    3. Co-Motion Speedster - Year Unknown $1700.00

    Now #1 Tandem sizes is the exact same sizes that my wife and i use for our singles. I am a 59cm she is a 47cm. This tandem is the most expensive out of the 3 but it looks to be well spec'ed. I wouldn't need to do much more to this i don't think.

    #2 - The C'dale Sovereign is an Aluminium tandem and is $3695.00 new and the price of a Co-Mo Speedster new is $3620.00. So there is not alot in it. Just that the #1 Co-Mo is pretty highly spec'ed with the Carbon Forks and disc breaks etc. So this type of setup would cost quite a bit more than the stated $3620.00 if bought of the rack like this.

    My other option is to opt for the cheaper tandem - tandem #3 and use the money "i save" to upgrade some of these components and i may come out in front? However, this tandem is about 5cm (2") less than my single frame but is still the same size for my wife.

    So i turn to you again good people to advise me what do you advise i do. Make NO mistake about it - I am going to buy a tandem sooner rather than later and given that i still have not been successful in finding a good second hand tandem for sale here in Australia the purchase is likely to come from the States or Canada.

    Just a bit of profile about us - we are both mid-30's and with a combined weight of 140kg (317lb). I am a very good cyclist and have been cycling for about 20 odd years. My wife on the other hand is relatively new to the sport. I own several singles. A Colnago MXL (Steel) a mid 80's Klein (harsh Aluminium) & a Vitus 979 (lugged Aluminium) and a Lemond Zurich (Reynolds 853 Steel). We are both considering getting involved into some audax events. So hopefully armed with this info this may assist you with your advice to me. It is a bit of a risk purchasing a tandem without a test ride .. but short of spending a small fortune and coming to America to do a test ride i have no other alternative. Also given these two models that i have just mentioned how would you advise if there was a Cannondale in the mix to choose from as well?

    I know i am asking alot. But i need to sound out as many forums and people as possible before i hand over what i consider to be a considerable amount of money for a bike that i have never ridden before. I am hoping that with all the advice likely to come my way that i should be able to make a very sound and educated purchase.

    Thank you all in aniticpation.

    regards
    Jeff
    Brisbane, Australia

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrisles
    Can i ask what tandem you are riding these days?
    We have two Erickson road tandems -- a '98 Signature & '02 S&S Custom travel tandem -- and an '02 Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas full-suspension off-road tandem.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrisles
    The C'dale Sovereign is an Aluminium tandem and is $3695.00 new
    Sort of, but not exactly. The Santana Sovereign on Ebay is outfitted with similar components to the Speedster (e.g., Ultegra, etc..), less the carbon fork and disc brake. However, a new Sovereign is about $4,695 - $4,895 (don't have my catalog here with me to double check). What you're probably thinking of or seeing priced at $3,695 is what Santana calls a Sovereign SE. The SE (Special Edition) models use the same frames as the more expensive models with the same name, but the SE means you're getting Shimano 105 level shifters and other less expensive components/wheels. Just wanted you to be clear. Apples to apples, you compare a Santana Sovereign to a Co-Motion Roadster (both are aluminum) OR a Santana Arriva to a Co-Motion Speedster (both are Chromo). Regardless, I'm with you on what you're looking at and comparing visa-vie the Ebay links.

    All of that said, I would still select the Co-Motion based on everything you've said. The bid start price is pretty close to what he would like to get, and as equipped and with the transferrable warranty, it's not a bad deal for what appears to be a very nice tandem. I'm not a fan of the Race Face cranks, but that's about the only weakspot in the component package I can see and that's a personal taste thing -- they're stiff and light but look butt-ugly on a road tandem and will take a nick out of your ankle if you clip one of the arms.

    The Santana Sovereign match-up against the Co-Motion would not change much from what I previously outlined relative to the pros and cons between the two brands/bike, new-purchase options excluded. IMHO, the Co-Motion chromoly frames are the stiffest and most responsive available from any production builder and are perhaps as stiff as the Santana Aluminum models where it counts the most -- never seen any measured data, but that's my impression having ridden examples of these various tandems (let the flames begin).

    The #3 Co-Motion appears to be a mid-90's model ('95 - '96 ish) and is, at least in my estimation (and based on my handy-dandy used tandem pricing tool) over-priced by several hundred dollars even on it's best day. Also, the Speedsters being made today feature improved alloys, longer stoker compartments, and of course the componentry is all current vs. what was "good" back in the mid-90's (mostly MTB stuff).

    As for throwing the C'dale into the mix, again, it's hard to find a better value -- more bang-for-the-buck, if you will -- than the '04 RT1000. But, it's a completely different ride than the Co-Motion. It is very, very stiff and has sportier steering than the Santana, Burley or Trek, but not as sporty as the Co-Motion. Again, it's really a test-ride and decide thing OR, trust your instincts. I'm a "steel is real" guy when it comes to road bikes (OK, Ti is pretty nice too and Calfee makes a nice carbon bike), so I've always been biased towards steel when it comes for anything that's not a race-specific bike. Put another way, I love running around on 600cc - liter Sportbikes, but when it comes to taking a long ride or putting Debbie on the back, I prefer the longer wheelbase of a GT bike like our Honda CBR1100, a Kawa ZX-11, or BMW K1200GT.

    Parting shot: If the Co-Motion is the right size for you two, you'll most likely be able to ride this tandem for many years without ever being tempted to upgrade (except maybe for a set of better looking Ultegra cranks). There's just not a lot that you would need to improve upon as the next step up from a Speedster is a go-fast tandem like the Supremo or a custom. The other two tandems -- even if they fit -- would likely be ones that you would outgrow quickly if you decided that tandeming is your bag.

    In closing, you might want to drop a note to Dwan Shepard at Co-Motion (Co-Founder & Co-Owner) with a link to the '03 Speedster ad on Ebay to see what he thinks of the sizing (include your personal data para from your post to the list) and to be sure there's not any "history" behind the bike, e.g., lost by UPS and bought at auction, etc... Heck, he may even offer you a great deal on a demo (you never know). His Email is Dwan@co-motion.com It may take him a day or so to get back to you, depending on how covered up he is with work. Dwan's a great guy, he has a great partner, a great company, and they make great products.

    Yes, I'm an unabashed fan of Co-Motion, even though I don't own one. Pretty interesting, eh? It even baffles Dwan.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 08:04 PM.

  7. #7
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    Yes, I'm an unabashed fan of Co-Motion, even though I don't own one. Pretty interesting, eh? It even baffles Dwan.
    Now that is baffling. Any reason why you don't own one?? Well then i guess your opinions about Co-Mo are unbiased then considering that you don't own one.

    Code:
    In closing, you might want to drop a note to Dwan Shepard at Co-Motion (Co-Founder & Co-Owner) with a link to the '03 Speedster ad on Ebay to see what he thinks of the sizing (include your personal data para from your post to the list) and to be sure there's not any "history" behind the bike, e.g., lost by UPS and bought at auction, etc... Heck, he may even offer you a great deal on a demo (you never know). His Email is Dwan@co-motion.com It may take him a day or so to get back to you, depending on how covered up he is with work. Dwan's a great guy, he has a great partner, a great company, and they make great products.
    I am going to do exactly that.

    Given that so many people say that C'dale is such good value for money if i intend to spend $3200.00 on a well equipped Co-Mo Speedster imagine the type of C'dale tandem i could have for the same dollars. Well i really couldn't do much more to it to make it a top notch tandem. After upgrading a few bits and pieces i'd probably still fall short of the $3200 asking price for the 2nd Hand Co-Mo.

    Again thanks a heap for your advice and such comprehensive responses LG and Zona. I think that your advice is valuable and as such i have made a voluntary donation to the bikes forum. You should see a little red star next to my name in the not too distant future.

    I am torn between a brand new C'dale or a second hand Co-Mo.

    cheers guys

    Jeff
    Brisbane, Australia

  8. #8
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrisles
    Now that is baffling. Any reason why you don't own one?? Well then i guess your opinions about Co-Mo are unbiased then considering that you don't own one.
    Yes, there's a very good reason and it's not unusual either. Like most first time buyers, the initial test rides are a bit shakey. We started out on a properly fitted Santana Arriva and it felt very unusual at first - barcons made it all that much more awkward as I was a long-time downtube & STI guy. The only Co-Motions available for test rides were a Co-Pilot that was too big and a Cappuccino (Softride Beam) which stoker's either like or don't -- Debbie didn't. There was no way to get a favorable impression from either of these two bikes, even though the Co-Pilot was fitted with Sach's Ergo's (Campy Chorus w/Shimano 8 speed shift disc). We also test rode a Bilenky, a Cannondale, a Santana Sovereign, a Santana Arriva Stow-away, a Burley Duet, looked at an Ibis EasyStreet frame, and then re-rode the Arriva towards the end of the day. Alas, there was no properly fitting Speedster on the premises to compare the Arriva against. So, the best of the bunch was the only tandem that really fit properly and it felt rock solid to boot. I helped my dealer change out the barcons & Diacomp brake levers for the Sach's Ergo shifters (ca-ching), and we took it home that day in August '97. I changed out the rims (Araya for Mavic T217) and tires (28's to 23's) the next week and we proceeded to ride the wheels off that bike. The following spring we read a tandem review in Tandem & Family Cycling Magazine http://www.tandemmag.com/roadtest/erickson97/. The comments about stoker fit struck a chord with me as I was never happy with Debbie's riding position on the Santana as well as some handling issues that I discovered as we began to push the upper end of the performance envelope (hard cornering and high-speed, e.g., 40 - 55 mph descents). After talking to Glenn, seeing an Erickson and talking with owners we ordered our first Erickson in June '98 and took delivery in December '98. Simply awesome is the only way to describe how that tandem fit and handled. A few months later I finally had a chance to ride a Co-Motion Speedster that fit. Damn, it handled a lot like the Erickson! And, the more I looked at it and fiddled around with it the more I liked it.

    Bottom Line: If we had been given an opportunity to test ride a Speedster in our size back in Aug '97, we would have gone home with a Co-Motion and would probably be riding one to this day... albeit a custom with an extended stoker compartment. So, my default recommendation for folks who are in my estimation predisposed to be performance riders is the Co-Motion. I have other default recommendations as well, all tailored to budgets and how the tandems are likely to be used. However, all of them are tempered with, test ride before you decide and if at all possible, test ride a Co-Motion.


    Quote Originally Posted by jrisles
    I am torn between a brand new C'dale or a second hand Co-Mo.
    Don't get me wrong, a Cannondale is a fine product... best value by a mile. It's my default for value-shoppers looking for a first tandem who want a new tandem with "the good stuff" as well as for teams who are above average in weight or who are pedal mashers who just want to go as fast as possible all the time: they're the sturdiest lightweight production tandems on the planet. However, IF you:
    a). Consider yourself to be someone who is sensitive to how different bicycles "feel" and know what 'good flex vs bad flex' is as well as what 'stiff and too-stiff" feels like, and
    b). Have developed an affinity for higher-end bicycles, and
    c). Are an accomplished cyclist who logs a lot of miles each year, and
    d). Have a permanent riding partner who is enthusiastic about trying this tandem thing, and
    e). Are not necessarily budget constrained and look at this purchase as an investment in your relationship....

    ...my personal belief is you will be better off on the Co-Motion. But, that's just one man's opinion... and I'm a beer lover who rather drink water than Budweiser. So, take it for what it's worth.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-06-04 at 08:04 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Jeff!

    Whoa, you are getting a load of info! Here comes some more:
    All things being equal, including price, we most certainly would get the Co-Mo.
    Perhaps we are a bit prejudiced, but we have been riding 'in tandem' for over 200,000 miles (that is the right amount of zeroes). We are ages 71/69, and yes, we still get in a hundred+ miles a week, albeit at a much slower pace.
    We do a bit of freelance writing/testing on the subject and have ridden over 30 brands/models of 2-seaters. Some were great, others were not. Have ridden steel, alu, titanium (Santana and Serotta) and carbon (Calfee and ariZona) tandems.
    Did 3 months test riding for C'dale (back in the 80s); we had one of their 2 prototypes and that was 2 years before a C'dale tandem frameset was available to the public. We felt heat treated alu. was a bit harsh riding and extremely stiff, especially for the stoker (that was before the introduction of shock absorbing seatposts). Also tested a couple other prototypes.
    Have owned 5 tandems since 1975; 4 of them 'steel' and the last 4 were custom. We do tend to push the envelope a bit when designing a new bike for ourselves. Back in '77 we were riding a custom Assenmacher (Reynolds 531 double butted single bike racing tubing) that weighed in at 34 1/2 lbs, when other tandems were still 10+ lbs heavier.
    Currently riding an ariZona custom carbon fiber, actually it is the 2nd prototype built. Has amost 5,000 miles on it now.
    Agree with Mark on Co-Mo; would suggest a carbon fiber fork as an upgrade if you decide with alu. and even on the steel; it is great.
    Service and warranty work by Co-Mo is exceptional; Santana can be a bit spotty. Transferable warranty is a definite plus.
    Knew the Co-Mo folks way back when there were 3 guys working out of a garage; they've come a long way and their good reputation is well deserved.
    Sorry about the 'rambling'! G'day!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/Zona tandem

  10. #10
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Sorry about the 'rambling'! G'day!
    Your rambling is music to my ears since our Speedster should be in any day now!

    I feel humbled by your experience and embarrassed that I criticized your advice in another thread

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    Your rambling is music to my ears since our Speedster should be in any day now!

    I feel humbled by your experience and embarrassed that I criticized your advice in another thread

    -murray
    Same here, only a Co-Mo Supremo.

    We did get the chance several others including a Santana, Burley, and Trek. I agree with Mark, if you like "Road Bike" performance, and handling, the Co-Mo is the way to go. There were times on the test ride that I swore I was on my single, that was until my stoker would try to look over my shoulder. Strange feeling!

    The only tandem we couldn't find to test ride was the C'Dale. I have a pretty good idea how it rides though. My training sinlgle is a 2002 CAAD 5 frame, and it can be harsh to say the least. There's days I think I need to get my fillings checked after rides. Of course tire size/pressure can have alot to do with that.

    That being said, after 2 full days of test riding, our opinions were as follows:

    1) Burly Steel (don't recall model) - Handled great @ slower speeds. Component package just ok. Overall less than impressed. In all fairness this bike was way too small.

    2) Santana Sovereign/Arriva - Handled much like the Burley, and Trek. Great @ slower speeds, a little to vauge @ higher speeds. Nice component package.

    3) Trek - Overpriced when compared to the C'Dale. Look to be very simularly-sp equiped. If this would have been our price point, I would go with the C'Dale.

    4) Co-Motion Speedster/Roadster - Total road bike feel. Pretty unstable @ lower speeds, but handles like it's on rails @ higher speeds. Nice component package. Can swap out Ultegra cranks for the vile RF cranks at no charge. Stoker drop bars @ no charge.

    We were pretty much sold on the Co-Mo geometry, so the remainder of our test rides were to decide between steel and aluminum. In all honesty it was very difficult, if not impossible, for me to differentiate between the two. So at about $1k difference, we decided on steel. We actually had decided to go with the Speedster, but by the time I started upgrading some things, the Supremo seemed a better way to go. I believe the Supremo uses a different frame, but someone a little more knowledgable would have to confirm this.

    These are just our opinions YMMV.

    Now for the hard part, waiting for the darn thing to arrive.

  12. #12
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottodog
    Co-Motion Speedster/Roadster - Total road bike feel. Pretty unstable @ lower speeds, but handles like it's on rails @ higher speeds.
    It's probably an overstatement to say the Co-Motion geometry is "unstable" at slower speeds in much the same way it is to say that the Burley, Santana, or Trek tandems are "unstable" at high speeds.

    Not to put words into other folks mouths, but having read how various folks have attempted to put riding impressions into words over the years -- myself included -- I think a more accurate way to characterize it is....

    A Co-Motion demands more attention and steering control by the captain at speeds under 10 mph and is very sensitive to weight shifts or movement by the stoker. This is sometimes disconcerting to new teams during initial test rides or even experienced tandem teams who have ridden tandems with less steering trail when they first ride a Co-Motion. However, it's also something that almost any but the largest teams or teams with stokers who move around a lot will assimilate into their normal riding experience in short order (like a couple rides). The other, shorter trail models (Santana, Burley, Trek, Bilenky, and most others) have a more refined feeling at slow speeds and are less sensitive to weight shifts or minor movements by the stoker. The Bilenky is perhaps the most refined in this regard as it has very short steering trail. At the opposite end of the performance spectrum, the Co-Motion comes into it's own as it is very responsive to leaning inputs for directional control and does not exhibit any oversteer throughout the speed range. The tandems with less steering trail will begin to exhibit understeer at higher speeds and do not inspire aggressive cornering as much as the Co-Motion. In the mid-range, the Co-Motion is a livelier ride than any other the others, whereas the Santana and Bilenky are perhaps the most refined. In short, comparing tandems is like comparing fine wines (or coffees and cigars, noting that is what Co-Motion names its tandems after). Some are more sweet, some have more body, and some are just plain awful. Everyone's tastes vary, so you try to find a good match.


    Quote Originally Posted by ottodog
    I believe the Supremo uses a different frame, but someone a little more knowledgable would have to confirm this.
    No, the frame used for the [Primera,*] Speedster and Supremo is the same, as is the frame used for the Roadster and the Robusta. The difference is the component groups which is also where the weight savings come from. And, yes, Co-Motion is able to produce its steel and aluminum tandems with very similar degrees of stiffness and the discriminator is the weight savings achieved on the Aluminum models; something on the order of 1.7lbs. Of course, lighter weight tandems will also "feel" less harsh but it's the weight difference that is at the root of the differences. This is the same for the effect that carbon (or titanium) forks, frames, and bars have on ride feel; it's the elimination of mass that alters the road feel more than anything else.

    *Erroneous. See note below.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-07-04 at 03:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    It's probably an overstatement to say the Co-Motion geometry is "unstable" at slower speeds in much the same way it is to say that the Burley, Santana, or Trek tandems are "unstable" at high speeds.

    Not to put words into other folks mouths, but having read how various folks have attempted to put riding impressions into words over the years -- myself included -- I think a more accurate way to characterize it is....

    A Co-Motion demands more attention and steering control by the captain at speeds under 10 mph and is very sensitive to weight shifts or movement by the stoker. This is sometimes disconcerting to new teams during initial test rides or even experienced tandem teams who have ridden tandems with less steering trail when they first ride a Co-Motion. However, it's also something that almost any but the largest teams or teams with stokers who move around a lot will assimilate into their normal riding experience in short order (like a couple rides). The other, shorter trail models (Santana, Burley, Trek, Bilenky, and most others) have a more refined feeling at slow speeds and are less sensitive to weight shifts or minor movements by the stoker. The Bilenky is perhaps the most refined in this regard as it has very short steering trail. At the opposite end of the performance spectrum, the Co-Motion comes into it's own as it is very responsive to leaning inputs for directional control and does not exhibit any oversteer throughout the speed range. The tandems with less steering trail will begin to exhibit understeer at higher speeds and do not inspire aggressive cornering as much as the Co-Motion. In the mid-range, the Co-Motion is a livelier ride than any other the others, whereas the Santana and Bilenky are perhaps the most refined. In short, comparing tandems is like comparing fine wines (or coffees and cigars, noting that is what Co-Motion names its tandems after). Some are more sweet, some have more body, and some are just plain awful. Everyone's tastes vary, so you try to find a good match.
    Well said! Thanks for clarifying. If I had to make an analogy, I would say Santana rides like a Lexus, and the Co-Mo more like a Porsche. Both have their advantages, and dis-advantages. Just depends on what you prefer.


    No, the frame used for Primera, Speedster and Supremo is the same, as is the frame used for the Roadster and the Robusta. The difference is the component groups which is also where the weight savings come from. And, yes, Co-Motion is able to produce its steel and aluminum tandems with very similar degrees of stiffness and the discriminator is the weight savings achieved on the Aluminum models; something on the order of 1.7lbs. Of course, lighter weight tandems will also "feel" less harsh but it's the weight difference that is at the root of the differences. This is the same for the effect that carbon (or titanium) forks, frames, and bars have on ride feel; it's the elimination of mass that alters the road feel more than anything else.
    Are you sure about this? I could have swore the dealer claimed they were different. It's hard to tell from the Co-Mo catalog. The descriptions are slightly different. Speedster - "Co-Motion designed zonally-butted air-hardening tandem tubing", Supremo - "Co-Motion designed air-hardening triple butted tandem tubing", Primera - "Co-Motion designed heat-treated zonally-butted tandem tubing". Could be a case of clever marketing. Give the illusion of different frames. Would be nice for Co-Mo to clarify the difference, if any. Would be interesting to know.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottodog
    Are you sure about this? I could have swore the dealer claimed they were different.
    Actually, I overstated my case (just being lazy minded).

    When last I paid attention the Primera used heat-treated not use air-harded steel, so the tubeset is somewhat different than the Speedster and the Supremo even thought the geometry is the same. The tubeset for the Primera is still zonally butted, but the tensile strength of the heat treated tubeset isn't as high as the air-hardened one used on the Speedster and Supremo.

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    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    When last I paid attention the Primera used heat-treated not use air-harded steel, so the tubeset is somewhat different than the Speedster and the Supremo even thought the geometry is the same. The tubeset for the Primera is still zonally butted, but the tensile strength of the heat treated tubeset isn't as high as the air-hardened one used on the Speedster and Supremo.
    This confirms what my dealer told me. The main reason I wanted the Speedster was for the cantilever brakes (I like to stop when I want to), though you should be able to easily get these on the front (where it matters) by swapping out the Wound-Up fork with one with pegs.

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    This confirms what my dealer told me. The main reason I wanted the Speedster was for the cantilever brakes (I like to stop when I want to), though you should be able to easily get these on the front (where it matters) by swapping out the Wound-Up fork with one with pegs.

    -murray
    I thought both the Primera, and Speedster came with canti's. This was one reason I ended up with the Supremo. I really wanted dual pivot brakes (I hate canti's with a passion, but that's another discussion), and Co-Mo wanted $150 to add the DP mout point on the rear of the Speedster frame, although this did include Ultegra brake calipers. Even though I did add the Avid BB disc option to the rear, I still wanted the option to revert to DP at a later date.

    Needless to say by the time I finished adding all the options for the Speedster, I was only $500 from the price of the Supremo. This was the time when the dealer stated that you also get a "different" (he may have said better, but I can't be sure about this.) frame with the Supremo, over the Speedster. So I guess after all this my real question would be, What is the difference between the Supremo, and Speedster frames. The only thing I can see from the web site is, one states "zonally-butted", and the other (Supremo) states "triple-butted". I have no clue what that implies if anything.

    With that said, I still wish it was here, because I'm sure it's a lot more fun to ride than it is to talk about.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottodog
    What is the difference between the Supremo, and Speedster frames. The only thing I can see from the web site is, one states "zonally-butted", and the other (Supremo) states "triple-butted".
    Again -- and this time with my brain firing on all cylinders -- my understanding has been that the Speedster & Supremo share the same air-hardened (stronger & lighter than heat treated) steel frame. Zonally-butted and triple-butted are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing.

    However, just because I don't want to fall on my sword on this, I've sent a note off to Dwan to confirm what the differences -- if any -- are. Probably won't hear back from him until late Monday or early Tuesday if past history is any gauge. After all, everyone needs their weekends and by Monday AM his Email can be pretty full, what with folks out shopping for tandems over the weekend.

    Hang tight y'all. The definitive answer will be passed along.

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    Thanks Mark!

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    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottodog
    I thought both the Primera, and Speedster came with canti's.
    This is my understanding as well, but the Speedster and the Supremo share the same frame other than the canti mounts.

    Another clue is the difference in price between the Speedster and Supremo frames is exactly the cost of adding the WoundUp fork to the Speedster.

    We'll all find out for sure in a couple days

    -murray
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Murrays:

    Opinons and criticsms are never fatal, so fire away!
    . . . and enjoy that new 2-seater!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay

  21. #21
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livngood
    I've sent a note off to [...] confirm what the differences -- if any -- are.
    Here's the skinny....

    The Speedster & Supremo use the same basic air-hardened steel frames, differences being only the brake-related braze-ons / framework and, of course, the forks: Speedster = Co-Mo Steel fork; Supremo = Wound-Up Carbon fork.

    More specifically, the Speedster has brake bosses on the seat stays for cantilever brakes whereas the Supremo has none and, instead, has caliper brake framework. The Speedster also has additional cable guides and braze-ons to support the installation of the Arai drum brake which are not added to the Supremo.

    The same is true when you compare the Easton 7005 aluminum-framed Roadster & Robusta; same frames with different brake fittments.

    Now, it should be noted that the S&S Bicycle Torque Coupling (BTC) equipped Speedster (which is marketed as the Co-Pilot) and the S&S equipped Supremo use heat-treated tubesets instead of the air-hardened tubeset as the air-hardened tubing is not considered appropriate for the low-temperature brazing used to install the S&S BTCs, aka. "couplers". This would be the same tubing used on the Primera.

    So, there you have it.

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    Good info, Thanks Mark!

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