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  1. #1
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    So What's so Great about a Santana, Co-Motion....

    Okay I have to ask... it seems when people are talking a bout the high end tandem brands everyone goes gugga over the bikes. My wife and I ride a 2007 C'dale which we love, it fits our style of riding very well. I will admit it was the only one we rode prior to making the purchase, it fit out budget but the ride sold us immediately. We like going fast and to date our maximum ride has been 50 miles.

    So tell me What's so Great?

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemnh View Post
    So tell me What's so Great?
    ... that as consumers we have the ability to choose from a wide variety of well-designed, expertly hand-crafted tandems that can be tailored to suit our preferences and biases with respect to frame materials, frame construction methods, the aesthetics of the frame's tubing, joints, welds and finish, the component offerings, at prices that represent a good value for the quality delivered.

    Moreover, there are the personal relationships that typically develop between enthusiast-level consumers and their authorized dealers as well as the owners and tightly knit bands of employees who work in what are typically small businesses.

    It's these things taken in aggregate plus the value added of typically dealing with an experienced, authorized tandem specialty dealer or directly with the aforementioned principles of the companies that build these bikes to meet our specifications that typically endear pride of ownership and a loyal following that you will find with many, many different brands of hand-crafted tandems from the likes of Stephen Bilenky, Dennis Bushnell, Bob Brown, Craig Calfee, Glenn Erickson and the list goes on.

    There are also devoted fans of the more or less batch-built tandems from Cannondale, Trek, Burley and a few other firms who have a similar bond with their brand for various reasons, some of which are common to the more specialized brands, e.g., quality and product support.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 03-11-10 at 06:45 PM.

  3. #3
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    That sounds pretty great.
    Not saying that I don't like our KHS. But not like that.
    Last edited by JanMM; 03-11-10 at 07:09 PM.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  4. #4
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    If your team is happy with the C'dale, that's great!
    However until you test ride other brands you'll never be able to tell what sets your bike apart from other brands. Are they worse, equal, better or even 'great'?
    In our 35+ years of tandeming we have ridden over 30 brands/models of tandems.
    Have ridden a few brands you may never have seen or heard of; some better than others in varying respects and a few were 'great.'
    However, we do have a fit problem due to stoker Kay being 4'10 1/2" 'tall' . . . few production bikes fit her and for that reason we've designed our own tandems and had them executed by a builder of our choosing.
    Some of the lesser known brands that we've ridden include some you may never have seen or even heard of . . .
    Assenmacher, Berry, Borthwick, Bruno, Counterpoint, Follis, Gilmour, Gottfried, Kuwahara, Montague, Mercian, Osell, Roland, Serotta, Velo Schauff among many others.
    Have also ridden the brands you mention, including 3 months testing the Cannondale prototype (2 years before it hit the market).
    The brands we had built to our specs: Assenmacher, Colin Laing, Co-Motion and now our c/f Zona.
    So see if you can get to ride a few different brands/models and find out if they are 'great' or if it is more hype than substance..
    The frame material (steel, alu, ti, magnesium, c/f, bamboo or combinations there of), geometry, finish, components all will influence your decision whether a tandem, in your estimation, is 'great.'
    In the meantime . . .
    Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    .

  5. #5
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    + 1 to Tg and Zona. We also ride a cannondale, thought it was great till we rode a davinci. We fell in love with the bike and Todd, now have a c/f on order. R&J

  6. #6
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    In some cases the difference between a Cannondale and the like and Santana, Co-motion or the many others listed above boils down to things like
    - fit: more choice in sizes, including a custom option
    - couplers: if you want S&S couplers, you can get any steel frame and have it retrofit, or get pretty much any steel frame built custom with them, or get an aluminum frame or CF frame, from one or two places that will actually do those materials with CF.
    - design specifics: we were looking for a bike designed for loaded touring. This narrowed it down substantially.

    To the original question, Santana and Co-motion make many models, in a relatively large range of sizes, and they both offer custom frame sizing for a relatively modest up-charge. We considered them but concluded we could get full custom for the same price or thereabouts by going with either Rodriguez or Bilenky. And Bilenky is a tenth as far away.

    If I had found a Cannondale that fit all my requirements, I'd have probably gone with it. And saved a pile of money.

  7. #7
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    Cannondale makes a good tandem for the money. It's extremely stiff and efficient and not real heavy.
    For most of our tandem life we have ridden a Santana Sovereign which is also an aluminum bike, but the commonality ends there.
    We have rented a Cannondale on several occasions while on vacation in Maui and road around the island with some pretty steep climbs.
    The Cannondale was one size too big and the cranks too long so this may not be a fair comparison, but the ride was much harsher than our Santana and the bike felt awkward when standing during climbs.
    We recently built a new Calfee tandem it makes the Santana feel like a rough ride and weighs 6 lbs less.
    So its all relative. If you like the Cannondale, and it sounds like you do, then keep it and save a bunch of money. Maybe upgrade some parts if that makes sense.
    If you think you might want to explore something different and possibly better, then go test ride a Santana, CoMotion or whatever else you have access to and then decide if you want spend a wad of cash.
    My recent purchase was motivated by reading what other other Calfee owners experienced and talking to some of them. Also I am 52 and this will be the last and best tandem I will ever own.
    I took a leap of faith and ordered it without even a test ride (because it was not an option) and even though it was an ordeal and expensive was glad I did.

  8. #8
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemnh View Post
    So tell me What's so Great?
    Nothing. We should all ride Cannondales. In whatever color your's is.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    . Also I am 52 and this will be the last and best tandem I will ever own.
    Don't count on it!

  10. #10
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    What's so great about (your choice of leading edge builder here) is they push technology and innovation which eventually trickles down to mass producers and there for more affordable products.
    If you are willing to wait you get dependable products at a great price, if you lack patience you pay dearly for products who's worthiness and dependability may be unproven. If you choose one of the larger builders pushing the leading edge (Santana and Commotion) you stand a pretty could chance the dependability will not be an issue.
    Sounds like a great system to me!

  11. #11
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Don't count it . . . +1!!!
    After age 52 (that was 25 years ago!) we got a new Colin Laing, then a new Co-Motion, then a new Zona . . .
    Stoker Kay feels that at our age now (77 and 74) this *may* be our last tandem . . .
    Usually after we hit the 50,000+ mile mark on a tandem we design a new one. Well, our Zona is now past the halfway mark . . . 25,000++ miles.
    Yes, we've really seen the technology change for tandems since we first rode as a duo in 1975!
    Never say never!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Don't even count it . . . +2!
    At 64 and 60 we are just starting our tandem life. We're starting to get out on hilly rides, just created a tandem riding group, want to get up into the mountains, maybe even do RAMROD, do some touring, supported and unsupported, and in general get in a lot of quality time together. Or should I say TWOgether?

    It's not just a river in Egypt . . .

    What's so great about our CoMo? It's just a perfect bike for us. It's a racing limo. It's smooth, goes where it's pointed, accelerates, dives into corners, and has that wonderful feeling that our effort is making it all the way to the asphalt. All the components work well and work well together, have a convenient upgrade path and don't break. It's a very sophisticated piece of equipment. I haven't had a single complaint about something not working right that turned out to be the bike's fault. I lurked here for quite a while before deciding to buy and then spent two years waiting to find just the right used bike. Couldn't afford new.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    An 89' Burley, 95' Cannondale to a 07' Co Motion. I couldn't imagine it any better, mabey Co motion could do another ti tandem, it may suck me in.

  14. #14
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    Great feedback.

    I can imagine in the future changing out our ride and definitely trying others. Now we love to ride fast and climb hills and the C'dale does great for us. The bike fits us very well 6' and 5' and make for a comfortable ride for how we ride today.

    Money did playa big factor in getting this ride as we have 3 kids in college. Hopefully we can save lots of money and treat ourselves some day.

    Out of curiosity, where do you look for one of the specialty brands that are used?

  15. #15
    Senior Member brewer45's Avatar
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    The conversation makes me smile. We thought our Diamondback Westwood was a pretty decent tandem--until we tried to ride the thing on a 50-mile course. At a rest stop about 25 miles in, another cyclist looked at our ride and said, "Man, that's a lot of bike!" Ding. We understood immediately that we were pushing a tank. Then came the Burley Duet. Marvelous. About half the weight of the Westwood and with real components designed to work on a tandem. Put about 1500 miles on the Burley, then understood that we really are a tandem team, so started looking for a cycle that solved the fit problems (the whole setup was just a bit small for us). That's when we landed on the Co-Motion Speedster with some minor customizations to fit the captain. And we're still riding.

    Cheers!
    2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
    2009 Surly LHT (captain's commuter)
    2009 Surly Crosscheck (stoker's road bike)
    2007 Giant FCR2W (stoker's commuter)
    1980's NOS Legnano (stoker's toy)
    1970's Stella rebuilt as fixed-gear (captain's toy)

  16. #16
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemnh View Post
    Great feedback.
    <snip>
    Out of curiosity, where do you look for one of the specialty brands that are used?
    I found ours here:
    http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

    There's also craigslist and ebay, but those places make me just a little nervous. I wanted to buy from an enthusiast if possible and one connected to a LBS.

  17. #17
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandemnh View Post
    Great feedback.

    Out of curiosity, where do you look for one of the specialty brands that are used?
    Once or twice in a blue moon someone mentions one here they noticed on Craigslist or Ebay. Craigslist much more often than ebay. Often folks deciding to sell who frequent Tandem@hobbes will tell the list first. Beyond that, there's just watching craigslist (but you need to use an aggregator, since often there may be only one or two within a several hundred mile radius). Following this forum and reading on Mark Livingood's site (tandemlink.com) will make you familiar with the names - beyond Santana and Co-motion. So you have a way of knowing what you're seeing advertised.

  18. #18
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    When we bought our tandem, we looked at a Santana Arriva and a Co Motion Primera. The salesman described them as a BMW vs a Mercedes. We liked them both but bought the Santana because we felt it was a little more comfortable. After learning more about tandems, I think it's more proper to describe the two bikes as a Honda Accord vs a Toyota Camry (with a good accelerator). Both are very good performers and very reliable. If you want a better (Beemer or Mercedes) bike you can spend big money and get a very high end competition level bike. Re the Cannondales, on paper they seem to be an excellent value. If you like the ride, it makes sense to go with it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    At our stage in life, our question was:
    "Are we gonna wait 'til we get older?"
    N-a-a-a-a-h!
    We are just fortunate to still be out there pedalin TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  20. #20
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    So are we saying that the bikes are more comfortable, better handling, less weight, etc? What difference would be notice moving from C'dale to a...

  21. #21
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Comfort first, the Supremo handles great, it's 32lbs and the quality's amazing. we rode our Cannondale for 10 years and went back to steel just for the sake of comfort,

  22. #22
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    So it sounds like you would have rated comfort over weight/stiffness as a key factor in your decision. Would your riding style be more heavily favoring enjoying the ride vs. speed and maybe distance/time?

  23. #23
    Senior Member mkane77g's Avatar
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    Comfort for sure. Most of our rides are between 70-200 miles and if were not comfortable, were not happy. The Cannondale was a great bike, fast, light but when you hit a bump it bounced 13 times. The Comotion's like riding on a cloud. The comfort factor alone makes this bike much faster over the long haul.

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