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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 10-12-17, 12:49 PM   #1
joeruge
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Co-motion Speedster 2005?

Hello All,

Been 'lurking' for a while, getting a lot of good information.

I got my first tandem, a Santana Sovereign back in 1981, but hadn't been riding two-up all that time. About 4 years ago we got a decent deal on a late 90's Cannondale. It's been a solid bike for us and I'm guessing we've logged over 5000 miles on it in that time.

About a month ago I noticed a Co-motion on our local Craigslist. The nice folks selling it didn't really know what they had - they were selling it for their daughter. They said it was a 2007 Roadster, but after a little research (and a check of the serial number on the BB shell) I've come to conclude it is a 2005 Speedster. Mostly, it was the hint that it was a steel frame and not aluminum, and oh yeah, it had a 'Speedster' decal on the top tube!

After adding pedals, swapping out handlebars, stems and seats, adding some new rubber and chains, we've got it pretty much dialed in.

The ride of the Speedster seems 'smoother' and faster (or is this just because of the 'Speedster' name?). The handling feels a good deal lighter, more like a single (or is this my impression just because I have read this is what Co-motions feels like?)

The bike does feel a bit more 'whippy.' It seems that every move my stoker makes translates into a steering adjustment. This feeling will likely go away as I get more used to handling this bike. But it does lead me to one concern and I am wondering if any of you have something to say about it.

The Cannondale has been rock-solid, very predictable if a bit truck-like in its handling. We have made some long fast descents (55 MPH+) with it with never a sense of instability.

So far so good on the Speedster. But we haven't approached those speeds on our rides as of yet - maybe 35-40 or so. Does anyone out there have any experience with fast descents on this frame, or any thoughts or have any advice they'd care to share?

Thanks

Joe R
Tucson AZ
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Old 10-12-17, 03:39 PM   #2
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We have a 2005 Speedster. Bought it new at the beginning of 2005. We've hit 70mph going downhill and over 60mph numerous times. It's rock solid. Has Wound-up CF front fork and King Headset. Everytime we think about buying a new Tandem - we simply go ride the CoMo and enjoy every minute.
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Old 10-12-17, 05:19 PM   #3
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We have a 2005 Speedster. Bought it new at the beginning of 2005. We've hit 70mph going downhill and over 60mph numerous times. It's rock solid. Has Wound-up CF front fork and King Headset. Everytime we think about buying a new Tandem - we simply go ride the CoMo and enjoy every minute.
We have the 2003 version of this bike and love it. Very fast on twisty descents. We've hit 60, no problem. I agree with the OP's assessment. Stoker can move the bike, but it feels fast and goes well, more single-like than a Cannondale we rode for a while. We camp-toured on it with only rear panniers. We couldn't stand and pedal because of frame wiggle, but if we sat it handled just fine. We only dropped ~1/2 mph on the flat with the rear panniers.
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Old 10-12-17, 05:19 PM   #4
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Our '04 has maybe seen 40-ish, and that was at a GTR in Athens several years back on less than ideal pavement. As far as the basic Speedster goes, I've always found it pretty agile, one of the things that sold us on the bike. I will say that with upgrades -- namely a Wound-Up carbon fork & a Cane Creek hs -- that the bike has a better turn in at the expense of being a little nervous (pay attention to what you're doing, and you'll be fine). I would also take a look at what you're using for brakes if you're going to be riding a lot of VERY FAST descents.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:22 PM   #5
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We made a similar transition, in our case from a 2005 Trek T2000 to a 2005 Speedster. The Trek is a very stiff and predictable aluminum frame, perhaps similar in some ways to the Cannondale. It was a great bike for learning how to tandem, and we've ridden it all over the world. As a captain it felt like I was standing on solid ground at any speed, although my stoker has an emotional speed limit of about 45 mph (and she controls the drag brake!)

Since we travel a lot, I decided to move to a coupled frame. Not on a budget, I was focusing in on Calfee, Santana, custom, etc., when we stumbled upon a 2005 coupled Speedster for sale near us in our size. For the price, I couldn't pass it up. The 3X9 drivetrain, Arai drag brake, and other features were also advantages over modern drivetrains and brakes in my mind, as we've ridden hundreds of miles on tandems with DI2 and discs and ended up with reservations about these innovations.

We love this bike. It rides at least as well as the most expensive bikes we've tested. On a quest to make the most comfortable bike for light touring, I switched to Spinergy wheels, gates belt, C/F bars, etc. (the bike came with C/F fork and cranks.) I feel that it is a less fatiguing experience than the T2000 over longer distances.

The handling is a bit more sensitive than the T2000 to stoker input, but the adjustment period was short and I'm now as confident under any speed and conditions as I've been on the T2000. I predict that you will soon become addicted to both the handling and comfort of the Speedster.
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Old 10-13-17, 07:10 AM   #6
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We went from a late 90's Cannondale to a high quality steel tandem and loved the transition. We have 2015 Speedster and enjoy the ride. Our other bike is a Bushnell from about 2009/10 which rides very similar to the Co-Mo. Question for the group, when did Co-Motion move away from the pinch-bolt captain's bottom bracket shell? I've seen some older Speedster with the pinch bolt BB shell. What's on your 2005?
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Old 10-13-17, 11:08 AM   #7
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We went from a late 90's Cannondale to a high quality steel tandem and loved the transition. We have 2015 Speedster and enjoy the ride. Our other bike is a Bushnell from about 2009/10 which rides very similar to the Co-Mo. Question for the group, when did Co-Motion move away from the pinch-bolt captain's bottom bracket shell? I've seen some older Speedster with the pinch bolt BB shell. What's on your 2005?
Our 2005 Speedster does not have a pinch-bolt. It uses the tightening bolts on the faces of the EBB. Only disadvantage is that access to the bolts next to the captain's timing wheel is tight.
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Old 10-13-17, 12:56 PM   #8
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2005 (?) Speedster

Thanks for all the replies and tips.

I don't specifically intend on doing lots of 60MPH descents - we do have to go up occasionally! Was just wondering about the handling characteristics of this frame as we approached those speeds. I realize that there is a lot going into what causes a 'high speed wobble'; tire pressure, hub and headset bearings, fork. I suppose even the stem and handlebar make up and certainly skill of the riders.

I do have an Arai drum leftover from the 1980 Santana which is in fine shape and can be threaded onto the current Speedster wheel, and it might even get on there, eventually.

We looked at adding the Gates belt drive, even ordered a complete setup from Outside Outfitters for a about $220. They had a delay in shipping and after some additional reflection, I decided that we'd stick with timing chain for now. There seems to be some advantages to the belt, most of which are what I would call 'aesthetic'; the 'oooh factor' and cleanliness. The approximately 1/2 pound weight savings is nice, but it's hard to argue with the efficiency of chain drive and mid-ride repair. Besides, chain-ring 'tattoos' are cool, too

With regard to the pinch-bolts, this frame definitely has them. I 'assume' it is a 2005 mostly because the serial number is TS311705, but I could be wrong. Co-motion customer service did not respond to an email I sent them about a month ago. If anyone knows how to interpret these numbers feel free to explain.

Joe R
Tucson
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Old 10-13-17, 03:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by joeruge View Post
Thanks for all the replies and tips.

I don't specifically intend on doing lots of 60MPH descents - we do have to go up occasionally! Was just wondering about the handling characteristics of this frame as we approached those speeds. I realize that there is a lot going into what causes a 'high speed wobble'; tire pressure, hub and headset bearings, fork. I suppose even the stem and handlebar make up and certainly skill of the riders.

I do have an Arai drum leftover from the 1980 Santana which is in fine shape and can be threaded onto the current Speedster wheel, and it might even get on there, eventually.

We looked at adding the Gates belt drive, even ordered a complete setup from Outside Outfitters for a about $220. They had a delay in shipping and after some additional reflection, I decided that we'd stick with timing chain for now. There seems to be some advantages to the belt, most of which are what I would call 'aesthetic'; the 'oooh factor' and cleanliness. The approximately 1/2 pound weight savings is nice, but it's hard to argue with the efficiency of chain drive and mid-ride repair. Besides, chain-ring 'tattoos' are cool, too

With regard to the pinch-bolts, this frame definitely has them. I 'assume' it is a 2005 mostly because the serial number is TS311705, but I could be wrong. Co-motion customer service did not respond to an email I sent them about a month ago. If anyone knows how to interpret these numbers feel free to explain.

Joe R
Tucson
That's pretty wild. Our bike's S/N is TS321705. According to Co-motion web site: "The serial number is stamped into the bottom bracket shell on Co-Motion single bikes, and into the front bottom bracket shell on Co-Motion tandems. The last two digits of your serial number indicate year of manufacture- example: SH12397 would indicate 1997. However, since we change model years each fall, bicycles manufactured in September through December can have the next model year’s color. Our serial numbers do not include a month-day code."

Our bike does not have pinch bolts on the BB shell, so perhaps they made that change starting September 2005.

My motivation for going to a belt was for cleanliness when transporting the bike inside our SUV. The other features are nice but not essential certainly. I definitely do not feel we've lost anything in efficiency.
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Old 10-13-17, 05:28 PM   #10
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My motivation for going to a belt was for cleanliness when transporting the bike inside our SUV. The other features are nice but not essential certainly. I definitely do not feel we've lost anything in efficiency.
While cleanliness was a mild issue, we went with the Gates drive based on the input of Ric at House of Tandems. He told me that the Gates would be smoother, and with less drivetrain shock while pedaling. It also has been considerably quieter the original timing chain.
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Old 10-15-17, 06:16 AM   #11
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We have a 2005 coupled Speedster with Wound Up carbon fork. Our other tandem is a 2015 Cannondale T2. Our experience is similar to other posters. I find the bike much more sensitive to stoker movements and is a little flexy. There is a reaction to sharp steering input from the rear. I dont dive into corners on this one. It was unsettling for me the first time we rode it-and this was before we had even bought the Cannondale. Since then it's been fine and plenty stable. We certainly are not limited speed-wise because of stability. Stoker says sometimes that it feels more solid and stable than the C'dale. For me, these are just different bikes that handle differently.
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Old 10-15-17, 12:43 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input from all. The more we ride the 2005 Speedster, the more comfortable I feel handling it. The difference in 'twitchiness' between the Co-motion and the Cannondale feels somewhat similar to when I went to a Trek Madone from my old Trek 5200. Now, getting used to it, it just feels 'faster' and smoother, though I'm sure most of that is all in my head!

The question now is; what to do with the Cannondale? Sell it? Keep as an around town cruiser or a touring bike with wider tires and heavier rims...?
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Old 10-15-17, 03:41 PM   #13
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Keep it for now, get fully used to the Co-Motion and then you will see what place the Cannondale could take. If the Co-Motion can fulfill all your desires (maybe with a second wheelset?), then sell your Cannondale.
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Old 10-16-17, 06:33 AM   #14
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Thanks for the input from all. The more we ride the 2005 Speedster, the more comfortable I feel handling it. The difference in 'twitchiness' between the Co-motion and the Cannondale feels somewhat similar to when I went to a Trek Madone from my old Trek 5200. Now, getting used to it, it just feels 'faster' and smoother, though I'm sure most of that is all in my head!

The question now is; what to do with the Cannondale? Sell it? Keep as an around town cruiser or a touring bike with wider tires and heavier rims...?
We have two tandems which came in handy this summer when our Co-Motion went back to the factory for repair and was gone for a couple of months. If you have the room, keep it and put wider tires and use it for riding bike trails etc.
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