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Our Tandems

by Pamela Blalock

What do we ride?

We enjoying riding tandems together enough, that we now have three - one for touring, one for offroad, and one lightweight go-faster machine. Of course that doesn't mean we don't sometimes use a bike for a different than labelled purpose.

The Touring Bike

Our touring bike is a Co-Motion Mocha with S&S couplers, 26 inch wheels, racks, fenders, and lights.

We are using Paul's Neo Retro Brakes, DiaCompe BRS500 brake levers, DaVinci V22 Rims, Phil Wood rear tandem hub, Schmidt SON front hub, Ritchey tandem cranks (175 front, 170 rear) and a Shimano drivetrain: 9 speed DuraAce barcons, DuraAce front derailleur, XT rear derailleur, Ultegra 12-27 cassette. We have SKS P55 fenders, Tubus Tara front and Cargo rear racks, and Ortlieb panniers, bar bag and bike box racktop. We also have an Arai Drum brake operated by a barcon shifter on the stoker bars.

Contact points are very important and also vary according to personal preference. For the front, John has Nitto Dirt Drop Bars, a honey Brooks Pro Saddle, and SPD-R pedals. On the back, I have Profile Stoker bar, a Terry Butterfly Saddle on a Cane Creek Suspension thudbuster seatpost, and Speedplay Frog pedals.

We use Nitto Bottle cages, and a Topeak Morph pump. The Schmidt hub is our power sources for lights.

The photos are an attempt to show it fully loaded, with lights and packed. But actually I seem to be showing that we like to explore a lot with it!


The Offroad Bike

Our Offroad machine is an older Co-Motion Bofus. This frame takes a fork with a 1 1/4 inch steerer, which allows us to use a Zzyzx tandem suspension fork that we got through Santana. We aren't gonzo mountain bikers, but we do occasionally impress folks we meet on trails with what we can get over and through. It is great on really steep stuff, with almost no danger of doing an endo on a descent, and the front wheel stays firmly planted on steep climbs.

Aside from building new wheels (with bombproof Sun Rhyno Rims and Hope tandem hubs), we used parts we had lying around the house to build up this bike. The bike sports Specialized tandem cranks, Tektro linear pull brakes, with 287 V levers, an 8 speed Shimano drivetrain with barcons. We use the same type bars as on the Mocha I'm also using the Thudbuster suspension seatpost on this bike. We abuse this bike as a mountain bike should be abused, so parts are replaced as they are destroyed.

I have to brag a little bit and say we were the first tandem on the Rainbow Rage Adventure Ride in 2003, riding this bike!




The Lightweight Go-Faster Bike

We indulged ourselves a while back by getting a Co-Motion Robusta. We don't always need lights and racks and loads of gear, and decided to get a dedicated machine for supported tours and fast clubs rides. After having it for a year, we loved the way it flew up hills, and wanted to use it on supported mountain rides in places like the Swiss Alps, with very twisty technical descents. We wanted a third brake, and decided on an Avid disk. After a conversation with the folks at Co-Motion about taking apart and rebuilding the frame to take a disk brake, we decided it would be most economical to sell the one year old bike and just have a new one built to take the disk.

The Robusta comes with a Woundup carbon fibre fork designed for tandem use. It has mostly Shimano Ultegra parts: brake callipers, cranks, rear derailleurs, and cassette. We use a DuraAce front derailleur since it handles a wider difference in front chainrings. All our geared bikes have barcon shifters (might as well have the shifters where your hands expect them, plus they work!) John selected Campagnolo brake levers, since they have a quick release in the lever, and combined with the quick release in the caliphs, gives us enough quick release in the brakes to use wider tires. The Gold Chris King headset gives us a splash of colour on the pearl white bike. It has a Phil Wood rear hub, Avid disk brake, and Velocity Rim. The front wheel pictured is a Schmidt hub and DaVinci rim (from our old 700C touring bike). The lightweight front wheel sports an oh-so-boutique DuraAce hub and Velocity rim. Despite my saying we don't always need lights, we did put them on for ChCh to Nelson, and haven't actually taken them off yet!

My initial impressions of our first Robusta can be found here. We used that bike for PCT, and lots of fast club rides. The new bike's first real ride was Christchurch to Nelson. We love to find long steep twisty paved roads and put it through its paces. It is an awesome climbing machine.



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