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Thread: Bad Purchase?

  1. #1
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    Bad Purchase?

    I am looking at making my first tandem purchase, and found an attractive second hand co-motion that has a Softride beam for the stoker.
    After some research on Softride, I have some serious doubts whether it is worth purchasing given replacement parts are extremely hard to come by. I imagine the pivot pin would be the least of my problems (it will come with 1 spare pin, and future ones can be machined), but other parts in the Softride 101 kit such as washers, parts, etc. would be more difficult to come by.
    Aside from replacement parts, I would imagine reselling this bike in the future would be even more difficult: 5-10 years down the road parts will be even more rare!

    Still, finding a used, S&S frame, in a large/small (6'2/5'3), can be a real challenge. But if anything happens to that softride system, it could be useless frame in the future!

    Advice from the experts here?

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sold several Softride equipped tandems . . . Co-Motions and Burleys.
    Never saw or heard of a failure of these beams on those tandems, even with extensive and many years of usage. Maintenance on beam is minimal.
    And have heard of a frame that was built whereby the beam could be removed and with minimum work a standard seatpost could be installed.
    Indeed finding a large frame with S&S and a beam is is a rarity.
    Go for it!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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    enter user title here
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    Thanks for the quick reply Rudy. Having read many of your quality responses in these forums I really value your opinion.

    I'm less worried about major failure, and more worried about replacing bits and pieces as I tend to hold onto bikes for a while (eg. getting a screw frozen into a custom fitting, etc).

    Worst case scenario it can be converted into a lumbar carrying cargo bike, right?

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    If the beam failed Calfee would probably build you a new one, or repair the old one. Also Black Sheep would fabricate a ti beam.

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    PMK
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    Myself I wouldn't be too worked up over it. If the bike fits, and is what you would like, and the price is in line, my opinion is go for it. Maybe you could bring tools and ask the seller if you can loosen and verify nothing is seized or going to create issues later, or better yet, bring the tools and make seat adjustments for your stoker, while you are turning screws to adjust fit, ask if you see the condition of the front fastener.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dietzpa View Post
    Advice from the experts here?
    Call Co-Motion and ask them what kind of support they can provide for the tandem you're considering; they're the OEM. They'll be honest, really....

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    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    If it is steel then you have additional options. As a last resort a fixed beam could be attached by a local framebuilder even if he doesn;t build tandems. Bike friday made a few csutom "Air Tandems" that used metal fixed beams to add a small amount of compliance compared to a normal seat post.

    If you like a beam then it seems like a good deal. My stoker doesn't like them but that is just her preference.

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    Riding Heaven's Highwayson the grand tour
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    I have a less popular take on Tandems with the soft-ride stoker set-up. I'm sure it is a fine tandem and will give you good service. It is also logical that the longer you keep and use it the better the dollar value it will be for you.
    However, when you question resale value, I think you are 100% right in that the bike will be harder to sell than a non-beam Tandem. I also agree with the fact that the longer those beams are out of production the less likely people will be to want to buy a tandem with one....look at you...you are rightly questioning that package right now on an otherwise perfect Tandem for you. You are not alone in questioning it. While searching for our last two used Tandem purchases in 2010 and 2009 I came across two very competitively priced Soft-ride Tandems and never gave either one of them more that a passing view. My logic was, why have that out of the ordinary characteristic become my problem to evaluate now, then hope it lasts, then hope I can find parts for it and then hope I can sell it one day...why? I'm not saying a soft ride Tandem is not a good bike, only that it is way different than today's Tandem and will get more different/rare with each passing year. Unless I was planning on keeping that Tandem for a very long time, I would pass and get a more traditional one instead. Best of luck.
    Bill J.

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    dietzpa:
    Holding on to bikes for a while . . . ?
    We hold on to tandems for quite a spell, all of them with custom bits.
    Custom tandem #1 we rode for 64,000 miles; #2: 56,000 miles, #3: 57,000 miles.
    Current tandem only has 33,000 miles on it, barely broken in!
    Agree that Softride tandems or suspension tandems are not everyone's choice. Heck, tandems in general are still a bit of a rarity!
    Yes, custom tandem #3 was a Co-Motion.
    Most of the things we worry about never happen . . .

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    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    All valid comments. To muddy your thoughts further... a tandem puchase doesn't have to be a 'business' decision. Some of the fun of riding a tandem is that it always invites friendly conversation. If you're planning to do social rides and other non-competitive events with your wife, then it may be fun to have an unusual tandem that represents a past trend. Especially the older ideas that worked pretty well but didn't survive because of outside reasons. If you love the way the bike rides, and think that you'd keep it a long time, then you may one day have pride in showing off a well-maintained tandem with an unusual design.

    I took a quick look and it appears that parts may occasionally show up on ebay. There are outer seat washers and a carbon fiber beam on ebay now by searching "softride". Perhaps searching "softbeam" or "Allsop" would also be useful.
    Last edited by wheelspeed; 12-20-11 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Found that some ads for new spare parts were outdated.

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    You guys have been really helpful in clearing everything up actually, not muddying at all!
    I think as has been pointing out, if the bike fits, and is in great working condition, this could be a perfect bike for me, and I might not see something like this for a long while (on the used market).
    I'm going to see it tomorrow, and as recommended do a very thorough investigation of the softride system, as well as a test ride.
    I definitely thought it was a cool relic of past engineering, a very worthy conversation piece (although it may be poo-poo'd by the racing crowd!)
    If I purchase it first thing I'll do is stock up on spare parts (after posting an update on this thread with photos, obviously, TTIWWP), because if I want to match your mileage Zonatandem, I'm going to need about 10 of those pivot pins!!!
    Hopefully I'll never have to resell. Otherwise I'm headed to the local frame builder and making a frankenbike.

    You guys are awesome, thanks for the help getting me into tandem biking.

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    Just a quick search last night showed at least two beams for sale so you should be able to stock a few spares for the future for very little money. go for it if it fits, we love having a tandem with couplers for travel.

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    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelspeed View Post
    All valid comments. To muddy your thoughts further... a tandem puchase doesn't have to be a 'business' decision. Some of the fun of riding a tandem is that it always invites friendly conversation. If you're planning to do social rides and other non-competitive events with your wife, then it may be fun to have an unusual tandem that represents a past trend. Especially the older ideas that worked pretty well but didn't survive because of outside reasons. If you love the way the bike rides, and think that you'd keep it a long time, then you may one day have pride in showing off a well-maintained tandem with an unusual design.

    I took a quick look and it appears that many parts and also entire kits can still be found. You could get parts now and just keep them somewhere.

    Very good point.

  14. #14
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Ooo. Where is it? Do want!
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

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    We have good friends that we have been riding with for years. They have a CoMotion with a beam for probably around 15 years. It is old enough to have origionally been 8 speed. They have had no problems with it (even after having been hit pretty hard by a car) and, even though I think that the stoker bobs up and down a bit, they really love it. They are serious riders and have done a good deal of miles on it. We have ridden very close together over railroad tracks and bumpy roads, and she does seem to get a really smooth ride.
    Steve
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    Due Ciclisti Pedalare itchyscratchy's Avatar
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    There are postings regarding Softride beam issues online, but as with any product (you name it) there are always problems with something (except for anything that Rudy is familiar with). Mostly issues with the beams seem to refer to Carbon versions on single bikes. Otherwise it's the pins and seatmount that appear to be the pesky bits.

    Email from co-motion:

    We stopped making bikes with Softride beams because the beams are no longer made. Softride is still around as a company but they only make bicycle racks. We some stock of replacement parts and rebuild kits but none of the actual beams. If there are specific parts you are looking for, let me know and I can see if they are available.
    Best regards

    IMO, unqualified suggestions that something could be feasibly reproduced and of equal performance characteristics are likely wishful thinking. Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited by itchyscratchy; 12-22-11 at 01:40 PM.

  17. #17
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    The thing with the Softride is that it would have to awful repetitive to answer questions about it from each an every person that gazes upon it.

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