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  1. #1
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    1st (& 2nd) rides on our Speedster

    After 2+ long months, our tandem finally arrived on Thursday and was ready for delivery on Friday afternoon. Here it is, Sunday evening, and we already have 75 miles on it! Here are my impressions after 2 rides (I'll try to keep it short):

    First, a little background: My wife and I are both strong cyclist. I had always thought about getting a tandem, but we really enjoyed riding our singles together and with friends. Having a daughter, now 4, required more horsepower than I had, so I started thinking more seriously about a tandem.

    Our time for test riding was limited and I wanted something before the end of riding season. We took one test ride on a Co-Motion Primera and about all I could say is we didn't hate it I assumed if others enjoyed tandem riding, we would learn to like it as well. My wife wasn't as confident, but she went along knowing we would ride more as a family.

    After consulting here (thanks for all the input), we went ahead and ordered a Co-Motion Speedster with a few upgrades (Sunrise/Passion pearl fade, DA shift levers, 36 spoke wheels, Wound-Up fork, matching pump and a suspension stoker seatpost). The guys at Budget worked hard to get it to us late on Friday.



    Buyers remorse started to dampen my excitement. Initially, the colors didn't look as good under the shop lights, our LBS didn't have time to properly fit everything, the handle bars felt different than my single, etc.

    On Saturday, we arranged for the neighbor girl to watch our daughter as we made final adjustments and took our first test ride. A crowd at the garage sale across the street watched as we attempted our first "launch". It was shaky at first, but we were moving. The crowd cheered. Thanks Mark for the links to articles on riding double!

    We were both uneasy and tense for about 10 miles. We stopped, made a few more adjustments and were off again. It started to click after that We climbed a half mile long hill on our loop and my wife thought it was easier than doing it solo. Shortly after, she suggested taking the tandem on a 50 mile group ride we had planned for Sunday...she was starting to enjoy it We kept it in the big chainring for the rest of the way home, ending up with a ~17.7 average for 22 miles, slower than riding solo, but not bad! Rounding the corner to home, a felt a rush; my buyers remorse was gone and I knew our cycling together had changed forever!!

    Sunday morning we loaded up the car for our 50 mile group ride. A new bike at our group rides usually draws more attention than a new baby and I soaked it up like a proud papa The pace wasn't too fast as we found ourselves at the front most of the time. I really started to appreciate the handling of the Speedster on some curves and corners. It was a windy day, but two engines really help break the wind.

    Other than sore bottoms from new saddles, fit, etc., the first two rides were complete successes! Here a few more quick comments:

    -The flight deck computer works great! A necessity for tandems AFAIC.

    -I've got major toe overlap on the front wheel (21/18 size). This shouldn't be a problem, but do others have this?

    -Great handling!

    -The water bottles are a bit difficult to reach. I used a camel back on the long ride so I wouldn't die of thirst.

    -Why are these called "divorce machines"? I felt closer riding with my wife as a team rather than trying to coax her up a long hill!

    -Our climbing isn't great, but we'll pass a lot of singles along the way.

    -At speed, it feels more stable than my single.

    Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions!

    -murray

    For more pictures, go to http://homepage.mac.com/mcmurman and click on Tandem Pics.
    "I feel more now like I did than when I first got here"

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    Initially, the colors didn't look as good under the shop lights
    IMHO, tandems just scream for fades and I think the paint scheme you went with is spectacular. Not necessarily colors that I would have thought to combine, but the end result really works great with the carbon fork, black components and black handlebar tape.


    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    I've got major toe overlap on the front wheel (21/18 size). This shouldn't be a problem, but do others have this?
    Oh yea... big time toe overlap on both road tandems (and a little on my 1/2 bikes). The only time I think about it is when we make U-turns. Just remember to point your outside foot down while working the turn and it won't be an issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    Great handling!
    Co-Motion owns the road when it comes to high-performance handling; longest-steering trail and about the stiffest frameset you can find from a production builder.


    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    The water bottles are a bit difficult to reach. I used a camel back on the long ride so I wouldn't die of thirst.
    If your frame is too small to allow for a water bottle on your internal (like mine), then you do have a long reach to that 2nd bottle since it ends up being placed in a lower position due to the internal tube. The larger tandems don't usually have this size constraint for the primary Captain's bottle and end up with a shorter reach than a 1/2 bike. As for the stoker, they too usually have a longer reach for the bottles on the internal tube. But, like a lot of things you'll experience for the first time on a tandem, it won't be as awkward feeling after a few rides.

    Ref. the photo of our travel tandem below, I "own" the cage that sits on the down tube and the first bottle cage on the internal behind my seatpost, whereas Debbie owns the second bottle on the internal and the one on her seat tube. When my first bottle is empty I just hand it back to Debbie and she swaps it out for the full one: yet another of the many benefits* of having a navigator on board! Oh, here's a stupid tandem trick that may come in handy: If I want to I can also bite the valve on my empty to hold it out of the way while I coast and reach between my right leg and the seat tube to grab the bottle from the cage behind the seat tube. I just move the full bottle up to the downtube cage, and then put my empty in the cage behind the seat tube. I don't recall when I realized it could actually do this, but it comes in handy when you know your stoker is either preoccupied in a discussion with another stoker or is toasted and not really looking for any "extra duties" beyond pushing your butt up the next hill. Note: This is often the stoker's view of the world as it were and there is a captain's equivalent related to dragging her butt up the next hill. The truth of the matter is, both of you are right and wrong but you dont' always know when it's just plain hard on both of you or when you're not 100%. Thus, good Captains and Stokers always suck-it-up because, after all, riding together is still better than not riding together.

    *Stoker Benefits: Oh yeah, your rear jersey pockets belong to her too but it's a minor sacrifice for having someone who can pass you a Goo or an energy bar when you need it, or who will automatically pull your arm warmers off if you swing an arm back with one pulled down to your wrist. Of course, for all of this great support you're expected to be mindful of what you eat before and during rides. No Denver omlettes for breakfast, no bean burrittos for lunch, etc.... Oh yeah, and always warn your stoker before riding no handed to stretch or to get bugs and debris out of your helmet; it really freaks them out once they realize neither one of you can steer or stop the bike at that particular moment. This is where the stoker benefits become a double-edged sword since that close proximity to your backside means they can also slap you with relative ease and blame it on a bee or a wasp that doesn't really exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by Murrays
    Why are these called "divorce machines"?
    Thankfully, I have no idea either. In fact, tandems also go a long way towards dispelling that other cycling myth; the one about too much time in the saddle leading to male impotency... Ha! Those clinicians obviously didn't include couples who tandem in their research.


    Keep us posted on your progress.
    Last edited by livngood; 08-22-04 at 11:23 PM.

  3. #3
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    Wow, nice ride. Nice to hear the praise for the Co-Mo. Ten days and counting until Supremo time.

    Our dealer did warn me about the toe overlap. I was pretty used to that from my cross bike, so it was no biggy. After you rub a few times, you'll learn to keep your feet out of the way on sharp turns.

    Glad to hear the + feedback on the Flight Deck. That was one option I added, but was not to sure about. We use Polar on all of our other bikes, so the Flight Deck seemed a little redundant. I guess the gear indicator will be very useful though.

    Well congratulations on the new tandem, it's a beauty.

    Chris

  4. #4
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottodog
    Glad to hear the + feedback on the Flight Deck. That was one option I added, but was not to sure about. We use Polar on all of our other bikes, so the Flight Deck seemed a little redundant. I guess the gear indicator will be very useful though.
    Yeah, the gear indicator is very nice, though you could use the orange ball in the tube indicator that Shimano has. I like having the cadence as well since I tend to spin faster than my wife. As for the buttons on the shift lever, that's not a big deal. I will say navigating through the screens is a bit clumsy compared to my Avocet 45 computer.

    Another disappointment with our LBS, they wrapped our handle bars before we got there so I had to unwrap/rewrap the bars after installing the Flight Deck. Not too big of a deal in the end, though.

    You’ll love your Supremo.

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

  5. #5
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    I ordered a primera the 3rd week in July. I am dying during this wait. Co-Mo said that it was only a 6-8 week wait...hmm somhow I think it will be a tad longer.

  6. #6
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paednoch
    I ordered a primera the 3rd week in July. I am dying during this wait. Co-Mo said that it was only a 6-8 week wait...hmm somhow I think it will be a tad longer.
    We ordered ours on June 11 and received it on August 20. Apparently, it was held up waiting for the cranks Our LBS suggested shipping the frame and components they had, but I don’t think they did.

    It seems Co-Mo likes to wait for everything to be ready and make only one shipment. For example, our LBS was going to build custom wheels and Co-Mo was to supply the hubs, but they wouldn’t ship the hubs ahead for some reason. They ended up shipping the wrong hubs and our LBS lent us some wheels until they come in. Co-Mo probably has fewer problems shipping everything at once rather than shipping parts here and there.

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

  7. #7
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    I spoke to our LBS last week. He had just received 3 from Co-Mo, and they were right at 8 weeks.

    We will be at 7 weeks this thursday. We are dying also!!

  8. #8
    Stoked
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    We are dying also!!
    I feel your pain, we're waiting on a 2005 Trek T2000. I'm trying not to count the hours.

    My LBS was pretty vague about the expected date of arrival, which at this point seems to be a blessing. That and the fact that I broke my S-Works M4 Road frame last week and the replacement frame is here so I have something to do (and shortly, a new bike to ride).

  9. #9
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    I don't think I can handle the wait.
    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

  10. #10
    Year-round cyclist
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    We have a Co-Motion Primera (basically same geometry as the Speedster), but it's a 23/18. I think there is some minor toeclip overlap with fenders, but I tend to pedal almost with the toes.

    In front, I do have a bottle on the lateral tube. The 800-mL bottle is a tight fit, so I don't think you would be able to fit one in your frame. The stoker was a bit more challenging, as my 8-year-old daughter can't really reach any of the bottles while riding. I solved the problem by adding a twin bottle holder behind my saddle.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  11. #11
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
    In front, I do have a bottle on the lateral tube. The 800-mL bottle is a tight fit, so I don't think you would be able to fit one in your frame. The stoker was a bit more challenging, as my 8-year-old daughter can't really reach any of the bottles while riding. I solved the problem by adding a twin bottle holder behind my saddle.
    Actually, I can fit the large bottles in all 4 locations without much trouble. It's reaching different spots that will take getting used to.

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

  12. #12
    Older Than Dirt
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    Oh Man! That is a beautiful bicycle! I hope you don't mind, but I just set it as my wallpaper.

    Doc

  13. #13
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocF
    Oh Man! That is a beautiful bicycle! I hope you don't mind, but I just set it as my wallpaper.

    Doc
    Thanks Everytime I go into the garage, I glance over at it and smile.

    Go ahead and use it all you want. I've had a picture of a bike with the same colors from the Co-Motion gallery as my wallpaper for several months now. I guess I can change it now!

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

  14. #14
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    I broke a spoke yesterday so I went in to my local guy and he called CO-MO for me. set to ship the first week of sept. I too have a custom paint and await that. It looks like it is indeed right around 8 weeks. Isn't this the slow time of year for bikes? I assume last years models are moving faster but I am also sure some people are holding our for the 2005 models. Bike season in the midwest (madtown) included is entering the twilight this year. 2 more months and it will be cold....and early snowfall will begin too. I can't wait. I love riding my bike in the snow.....except when we get more than 6 inches then it gets tricky.
    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

  15. #15
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    Here is my paint scheme. I am sure it will look different in person



    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

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    Nice paint scheme. We ended up going with a Cranberry Red to Pewter Gray fade. They don't show a picture of it, so I hope it will look ok. It's kind of hard to judge from the sample at the dealer. We started with a Cranberry to Bright Silver fade, but when we took the samples outside in the daylight, we found the bright silver to be a little to "bright".

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    Quote Originally Posted by paednoch
    2 more months and it will be cold....and early snowfall will begin too. I can't wait. I love riding my bike in the snow.....except when we get more than 6 inches then it gets tricky.
    Being in Colorado, I can relate to the snow. The problem I have is not riding in the snow, it's riding in all the crap they put on the road to melt the snow. Being that this is our first steel framed bike, it makes me wonder if they are more prone to corrosion than say an aluminum framed bike. I'm sure if you keep them clean, there's probably not a huge difference. Hmm, maybe I need a "beater" tandem to ride in the winter, like I do with my single. Now if I can just sell the idea to my stoker.

  18. #18
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paednoch
    Here is my paint scheme. I am sure it will look different in person
    That's a great looking paint scheme as well

    I assume you live in Iowa City based on your profile. I grew up and lived in Iowa City/North Liberty for 31 years! I love the biking down there, but I have to say, Madison is better

    Good luck getting your Co-Mo soon. Which model did you get? I can't wait to get back out on ours, the weather this week has been lousy

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

  19. #19
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    I'm in Iowa City, too...is there a shop in town to see the CoMotion?

    Dan

  20. #20
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    Hey Murray I work for the University but have the priv of working off campus Like 65 miles off campus. To the west. I lived there for 10 years. I.C. is no Madtown but you would be aghast at the changes in that area. North Liberty, Coralville and I.C. are just one big town and there is an absolutly Gargantuan (sp) mall in Coralville that used to be farm field. Another Really good addition to the area (but put in after we moved out here) is the bike trails. They have really moved on with the biking. CIty busses all have bike racks etc. I guess you can just assumme that the type of people that live in I.C. are bicycle minded folks. I miss I.C. in some ways but I have the of miles and miles and miles of pristine blactop in all directions with almost no traffic. Long post sorry....Sunday afternoon I rode 23 miles on a county road (brand new asphalt) and saw not one (not even parked) car. I was is madison last year for the Iowa Game. I personally think that it is THE best college town in the country. Heck wisconsin is actually a pretty cool state. A very recreational minded state.. ....Including the kind that requires sitting on a bar-stool..LOL!
    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

  21. #21
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    I think world of BIkes In I.C. has them but I do know for sure there is a dealer. I Talked my LBS into getting a CO-Motion dealership. I was his first order. They require a 3 tandem purchase for a dealership so he is getting two periscopes. He is a burley dealer too but han't sold a tandem in a year (he just liquidated his side business called totally tandems). He is selling quite a few burley singles. I rode one (wolf creek) they are a very good ride.
    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

  22. #22
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    Oh Murry you asked what model I got. I just couldn't afford The higher end ones so we settled with a Primera.
    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by paednoch
    Oh Murry you asked what model I got. I just couldn't afford The higher end ones so we settled with a Primera.
    I wouldn't consider that settling. I don't think you can go wrong with any of the Co-Mo models. If you order any model of S&S, you are getting the Primera frame. I actually prefer the FSA cranks on the Primera to the Race Face, IMO. The 105 shifters, while not as refined as Ultegra or DA, are certainly more than capable. Plus that stuff wears out, and can be easily upgraded down the road. Velocity Dyad's are great rims. I run Aeroheads on my cross bike, and they are bulletproof.

    Wow talking like this really makes me question why I went with the Supremo. I guess the most important thing is to get out and enjoy your ride, no matter what model you have!!

  24. #24
    Touchdown Iowa!
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    There is however a difference in the primera frame..right. I am sure that Primera has heat treated 700 series tubing and the rest (non s+s) are 853 air hardened. I talked to a C0-Mo guy with this exact concern and he told me the geometry is the same and assured me that the Primera frame vs the air hardened frames are indistinguishable it the way they ride. he told me in basic the Primera is a super duper mega strong frame that is not expected to fail. And the 853 chromo stuff is a super super duper duper mega with sugar on top strong fram that is not expected to ever ever dever ever fail. I also think there is a difference is weight. Obviously the big difference is the componentry. If money was not in question I certainly would have gone the better
    I have a photographic memory....unfortunately I am out of film....

  25. #25
    Mad Town Biker Murrays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tornadobass
    I'm in Iowa City, too...is there a shop in town to see the CoMotion?
    FWIW, Budget Bikes in Madison has a couple in stock as well as Cannondale and a few others. They also rent bikes including tandems.


    Quote Originally Posted by paednoch
    I.C. is no Madtown but you would be aghast at the changes in that area. North Liberty, Coralville and I.C. are just one big town and there is an absolutly Gargantuan (sp) mall in Coralville that used to be farm field.
    Yeah, I know. My parents live in I.C. so we make it down there a couple times a year. We plan on bringing our tandem down in September and ripping up the Sugar Bottom loop or heading down towards Lone Tree and Hills.


    Quote Originally Posted by paednoch
    Sunday afternoon I rode 23 miles on a county road (brand new asphalt) and saw not one (not even parked) car.
    That’s great! The nice thing around Madison is there are NO gravel roads! Something about getting milk to market without shaking it up. There are lots of cars, but you can usually find low traffic roads.

    Drop me a message if you ever head up this way!

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

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