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  1. #1
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    Any opinions or advice on Hokitika?

    Hi, first post on a great forum. First I want to thank the many folks here who have taken the time to share so much about tandems. I've spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun lurking,reading and learning as much as I can. We are going to get a tandem, have taken test rides to confirm it's something we can learn and enjoy. I'm a pretty big guy, 6'-6"+ and 260 lbs with a pretty normal-sized stoker wife. Been looking at Santana, Co-Motion, Rodriguez, and Hokitika from Tandems East. I haven't found many opinions on Hokitika, and most seem to be from this forum and none recent. I'm checking to see if, hopefully, there are more folks with advice/opinions. They seem to be about the lowest-priced tandem that would fit us, with their custom sizing. I'm in Indiana, and no good tandem shops within reasonable distance so whatever we get will be via phone order. Co-motion dealer close by but prefer the Hokitika price. So I guess a question is what is it about the Co-Motion Speedster that makes it worth over $2,000 more than the Hokitika? Both chromoly frames with (I think...) a bit better components with CM. I guess I'd have the same question about Rodriguez, i.e. what, if anything, makes it worth over $1,000 more than Hokitika? Thanks for any advice.

    -sheesh, sorry so long.

    Leonard

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    The Hokitika is a frame that Mel Kornbluh at Tandems East developed to fill the "best value" gap when Burley went out of business. It's intended to provide his customers with a premium quality, conventional tandem at a price-point that his brand-name builder tandems don't include in their product line. The frames are hand-made here in the US to Mel's specs and have many of the same design features that you'll find in a Co-Motion or Santana. The price point is heavily influenced by the component selection that customers want. For an entry-level Hokitia, Mel has a best-value build kit where many of the components are very good quality, durable house-branded parts made to Mel's specs. If you have a good eye you can usually figure out the other better known brands that use these same components.

    Best bet is to make a weekend trip to New Jersey and test ride several different tandems; I think Mel keeps about 50-70 tandems on hand at any one time. That's the best way to learn a lot in a very short period of time to support an informed decision vs. taking a best guess based on feedback from strangers who may or may not have similar expectations about how a bike should feel and look or cost.

    Rodriguez and other bikes are typically more expensive because they spend more time laying down or cleaning up the welds, finishing/painting the bike and with the other features / component choices they've made in how they spec. the bike.

    All of these are excellent tandems, but they all have unique features and components that drive their cost point. To get down to an apples to apples comparison of cost you'd have to go to the frame-only price, as the components are the wild card that drive both the overall cost and weight... which is true of all tandems.

  3. #3
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    Based upon nothing other than surmising, I would guess that Hokitika frames are likely made by either Rodriquez or Bilenky. I'm not sure how many other framebuilders in the USA have the capability of producing decent tandem frames in any sort of volume to sell under a private label.

  4. #4
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    Good to see someone from Indianapolis interested in tandems. Matthew's Bicycle Shop has one of the best tandem mechanics in the country. They have sold several new Co-Motions this year and usually have at least one Co-Motion in stock. Ask for Steve and give him a chance to help you with a new tandem.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Paul J's Avatar
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    We live on the east coast and purchased our Bushnell from Mel. We looked at the Hokitika at the Tandem Expo this past March and it is a nice bike. A little heavier then the Speedster (a couple of pounds) but significantly lower cost. The cool think about that bike is sizing and component selection, I'm sure you could tweak the components if you wanted. if you aren't in a rush you could make the trek out to NJ for the Tandem Expo and see a ton of bikes at one time. Rodriquez had an awesome big build on their Facebook page a few weeks ago which would was amazingly unique for a tall captain small stoker. have you talked to Mel yet? He is great to talk to and really knows his stuff, it was funny our Bushnell was tucked away in the back of his shop and was like it had been custom built for us, tall front with extended head tube and small/med stoke. So you never know what he might have around not listed. good luck on your quest!
    1982 Merckx Campy Super Record, 1995 Merckx Campy Centaur 10, Bushnell Tandem

  6. #6
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    If you haven't already, you should check out the HOOTS (Hoosiers Out on Tandems) section of the CIBA website. Registering for the HOOTS section will allow you to post questions. Don't know if anyone will have any direct knowledge of Hokitika - all I know is what I've seen in the Tandems East catalog - but there could be some helpful feedback.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. TandemGeek, I appreciate the additional details and all of your posts; I've spent some quality time on The Tandem Link and your blog, great stuff. I agree a weekend trip to NJ would be ideal, if we can figure out a way to make that happen. Tandem Rider, are you a member of HOOTs? I joined at end of year but didn't make it to any meetings; hopefully in spring with our new tandem. I haven't made it back to Matthews after checking out their display tandem, but will make an appointment to give Steve an opportunity to convince me. I test rode a CoMo at another Indy dealer and not impressed at all with the sales person. Very friendly but no tandem knowledge. Co-Motions are very nice, no doubt. My main concern, I guess, is the significantly higher cost, $6k+ for custom Speedster vs. <$5k for custom Rod. and <$4k for custom Hokitika. I love supporting the lbs and think Matthews may be the best of the bunch in our great city, but tough for me to rationalize $2k for nicer welds and paint. Also, at my 260 lbs, I'm not concerned at all about a 2 lb. frame-weight penalty with the less expensive bike. Paulj, I did see that big-build Rodriguez (blue fade?) and agree a very cool bike, unique design. I'm going to try to call Mel next week to talk tandem. He gets many props here and sounds like a great guy who knows about that which he speaks.

    Have a great day, sunny and cold here in Indy -- got to get out for a ride...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    If you haven't already, you should check out the HOOTS (Hoosiers Out on Tandems) section of the CIBA website. Registering for the HOOTS section will allow you to post questions. Don't know if anyone will have any direct knowledge of Hokitika - all I know is what I've seen in the Tandems East catalog - but there could be some helpful feedback.
    Hi JanMM, I have talked with a HOOTs member who gave good advice. Good idea about trying their forum.

  9. #9
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    Yes, I am a member of HOOTs. They are a great group and already have several activities planned for 2014. As to the price of Co-Motions, the Primera and Mocha are $3900 if one of those will work for you. My experience has been that tandems are different from singles and an experienced tandem mechanic makes a big difference. I have talked to Mel and bought components from him. He is a great guy, honest, and highly respected in the tandem community. If Mel were closer to Indy I would encourage you to talk to him.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Co-Motion Periscope (large) may fit the bill for you.
    Ultra-adjustable for pilot/ stoker with the 'seatpost-within-a-seatpost' standard setup.
    Optional adjustable PILOT stem would take car of a tall person for extra reach. By getting leaving steerer tube uncut should give you the height you need as pilot.
    May be worth looking into . . .
    May still be a bit pricier than Mel's housebrand; having said that, have know Mel for decades.
    He is a great/knowledgeable guy to deal with!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  11. #11
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I have noticed that most budget steel singles and tandems use thicker walled tubing than his more expensive bikes. This approach both saves on the cost paid for tubing to build the bike and makes the it easier for the builder to weld the frame, saving construction time and waste.

    I have owned a CoMotion Speedster which used butted 8/5/8 tubing and I suspect that Hokitikas may have followed Burley in using 10/7/10 tubing which basically has walls that are about 20% thicker. The increased weight is probably not an issue but tubing thickness also effects the stiffness of the frame and therefore the feel and ride of the bike. Actually since you seem to be a good sized team you might prefer the heavier frame. I am just pointing out that there may be a different feel in the bikes.

    The diameter of the tubing can also drastically effect the ride qualities of the bike so a test drive is a great idea. That being said if cost is really an issue, you can easily spend the price difference in the bikes with a trip to NJ to test ride the bikes.

    I would also suggest talking to Percision Tandems in the Kansas City area which is also a good dealer that may be a easier trip for you. He does not sell Hokitika tandems but has a wide selection for you to test drive.

    http://www.precisiontandems.com/index.html

    Good luck and welcome to tandeming where everything is twice as complicated and twice as much fun.

    Wayne

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    Thanks Rudy; according to their website, I'm quite a bit too large for the large-sized Periscope. TR, I hadn't considered the Primera, but will. Different frame layout than Hokitika and Speedster, which seem like they would be more stout, important for this 380+ lb team. Wayne, good info. I did find Precision and considered a road trip there during my son's college visit to St. Louis, but didn't make it. Honestly, although I'd love to be able to ride a bunch of different tandems to experience their qualities firsthand, I'm sure we will adapt to and be happy with the handling, etc. of whichever bike we end up buying. I wouldn't be surprised if you are right about the tubing on the Hokitika. Again, I really appreciate everyone's input.

  13. #13
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    It appears the Santana Arriva is now at that $3k price point and I think a local shop sells Santana. If custom sizing is available, that may become the preferred option.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    We rode a Hokitika when Mel first had them at his expo about 5 years ago, the Hokitika was a contender, but at the time Mel still had a couple of Burleys and we ended up with one of them.

  15. #15
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfonsejr View Post
    It appears the Santana Arriva is now at that $3k price point and I think a local shop sells Santana. If custom sizing is available, that may become the preferred option.
    We have ride an Arriva and are very happy with it. Santana as well as other major brands make quality tandems. They have a slightly different steering philosophy than most other brands that I like. It would be good to put it on your test drive list to see if you like it or not.

    There are a couple nonstandard specifications used by Santana like special sized stems and rear hubs but I have found that they do not present much of a problem. There are high quality choices available in components but not as wide a selection as with other brands.

  16. #16
    Pic
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    For you, you need to check out this ad I found on tandemclassifieds.com. Excellent first time tandem bike and sounds like it might be the correct fit.

    2007 Cannondale Road Tandem 2

    November 14
    We purchased this tandem NEW from Tandems East in 2011 and have ridden it, trouble free for about 1000 miles. The bike is in excellent condition. This tandem is an Extra Large/Medium and is a little too big for the 5ft-9in captain. This is a solid ride and one of the last USA made Cannondale bikes.
    We posted the measurement chart from the Cannondale catalog and many detailed pictures on Flickr
    SPECIFICATIONS

    • 2007 Cannondale Road Tandem 2 (RT2)
    • Frame: Road Tandem
    • Fork: Fatty R Tandem
    • Rims: Mavic A719 w/Eyelet and Machined Sidewall 40 hole
    • Hubs: DT Swiss 540 Tandem Disc
    • Tires: Continental Ultra Gatorskin, 700 x 28C
    • Crank: Truvativ Elita Tandem 30/39/52
    • Chains: Drive KMC 9 Speed, Timing KMC 9 Speed
    • Rear Cogs: 9 Speed
    • Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GigaXPipe
    • Front Derailleur: Shimano Ultegra Triple
    • Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT (Mountain)
    • Shifters: Shimano Ultegra (Flight Deck Compatible)
    • Handlebars: Front - Drop 31.8mm, Rear – Tandems East Configuration
    • Headset: Cane Creek S-1
    • Brakes: Avid BB7 Road Disc 203mm with Travel Agents
    • Brake Levers: Shimano Ultegra
    • Seatpost: Stoker – XLC Shock Absorber
    • Rack: Topeak Explorer 29er Tubular Rack w/disc mounts easily accepts Topeak or other trunk bags
    • Mirror: Mirrycle
    • Color: Gloss Navy with White Lettering

    Asking Price: $2350.00
    Location: Downingtown, PA
    Please Send an Email with any questions or to arrange a test ride.

  17. #17
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pic View Post
    For you, you need to check out this ad I found on tandemclassifieds.com. Excellent first time tandem bike and sounds like it might be the correct fit.

    2007 Cannondale Road Tandem 2

    November 14
    We purchased this tandem NEW from Tandems East in 2011 and have ridden it, trouble free for about 1000 miles. The bike is in excellent condition. This tandem is an Extra Large/Medium and is a little too big for the 5ft-9in captain. This is a solid ride and one of the last USA made Cannondale bikes...
    My wife and I own a Cannondale. Like the advertiser quoted above, I'm 5ft-9in. Our bike is a medium/small, and I would say that a Extra Large / Medium frame would DEFINITELY be too big for me. Will it fit a 6'6" captain? That's tough to say, but I do know that used Cannondales can be great values.

    Best wishes!

    Disclaimer: I run the http://TandemClassifieds.com website.
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

  18. #18
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    Hey, I just placed an order with Mel for a new custom sized Hokitika tandem. Decided to go ahead and get a new custom build that will actually fit me/us, and Mel's price is pretty good compared to the big names. Now the waiting begins, and dreaming of warmer weather, and riding twogether. Thanks again for the advice.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfonsejr View Post
    Hey, I just placed an order with Mel for a new custom sized Hokitika tandem. Decided to go ahead and get a new custom build that will actually fit me/us, and Mel's price is pretty good compared to the big names. Now the waiting begins, and dreaming of warmer weather, and riding twogether. Thanks again for the advice.
    COOL! Hope you enjoy your new ride. Perhaps we will see you at this year's Midwest Tandem Rally in Fort Wayne. Registration is now open. MTR2014.org

  20. #20
    Senior Member Paul J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfonsejr View Post
    Hey, I just placed an order with Mel for a new custom sized Hokitika tandem. Decided to go ahead and get a new custom build that will actually fit me/us, and Mel's price is pretty good compared to the big names. Now the waiting begins, and dreaming of warmer weather, and riding twogether. Thanks again for the advice.
    That is awesome! Now give us all the details on the build and of course pictures when it arrives.
    1982 Merckx Campy Super Record, 1995 Merckx Campy Centaur 10, Bushnell Tandem

  21. #21
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Hope to see the Hokitika on a HOOTS ride this year........if Winter ever loosens its grip on Central Indiana.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  22. #22
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    Hoping and planning to attend the MTR in Fort Wayne, should have enough miles by then to be comfortable riding in a group. Tandem is the 2-Be-One from TandemsEast and only "upgrades" are 48 spoke rear wheel, Brooks saddles (good price for Brooks, which I like so a spare for me if stoker Tracy doesn't like), 200mm cranks on front with 11.5" high bb for clearance, and 30.5" stoker tt. A little scary doing it all sight unseen, but figured wth, go for it and see what happens.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Hope to see the Hokitika on a HOOTS ride this year........if Winter ever loosens its grip on Central Indiana.
    That's definitely the plan. I joined the group last fall anticipating the bike and we will join as many rides as we can. Hope you all will be gentle with us tandem newbies.

  24. #24
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfonsejr View Post
    That's definitely the plan. I joined the group last fall anticipating the bike and we will join as many rides as we can. Hope you all will be gentle with us tandem newbies.
    You shouldn't have any trouble keeping up with (or ahead of) me and my stoker! Although we do fly downhill.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  25. #25
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    Well, the Hokitika is supposed to arrive on Monday. Excited to get it on the road and learn to ride a tandem, get some miles in this summer and be ready for MTR '14. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning -- a 52 yo kid...

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