Tandem Diversity News
December 31, 2019: Year in review!
I've just closed out the year by compiling a few memories of 2019, a very good year. Happy New Year!
December 15, 2019: Great news from Rohloff - brake rotor redesign!
For those of you riding bikes equipped with Rohloff hub and rear disc brake, up to now, to pack the bike for travel, you've had to remove the axle plate in order to slip the rotor off (see service notices below - December 6). Well, it appears Rohloff has redesigned the rotor, precluding the need for the axle plate removal step. So, in the future if you replace your rotor or buy a new Rohloff bike, you'll find packing much quicker and easier! To see what the new, redesigned rotor looks like, go to the Rohloff rotor removal procedure.
December 6, 2019: Holiday pricing!
Everything in the shop (new bikes, accessories, everything) is priced 15% off retail for the Holidays. Just get your order in by the end of the year to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
December 6, 2019: Important service notices!!
For those of you with Rohloff-equipped bicycles, there are 2 issues to be aware of, both of possibly critical importance to the safe and proper functioning of your bicycle.
First of all, if you have a Rohloff hub with the new threaded carrier/lock ring for cog retention, be aware that during the first several miles of riding, while the carrier threads become seated against the hub, the lock ring may loosen. This can result in drive train noises, variability in belt tension, and possibly cog damage. If you suspect your lock ring has come loose, take the bike immediately to your Rohloff service shop to have it checked. During the first few hundred miles of riding on the hub with this new system, it is advised that you take the bike to your shop to have the lock ring checked and tightened, if needed. It might not be a bad idea to have the ring checked once in a while anyway.
The second has to do with the procedure for removing the rear disc brake rotor for travel. I have posted an important update to this procedure. Please read carefully so you can avoid any potential problems with your hub resulting from improper technique.
October 29, 2019: Used Travel Cases
Demand for Co-Motion travel cases has remained high. They are a safe and convenient means of traveling with your S&S tandem. A bit pricey at $395 apiece, the cost can be ameliorated by finding used ones. We've been doing that for several years now, finding used cases and passing the savings on to customers who are first time travelers, or those upgrading from hard-side cases. Anyway, we now have a pair of the newer model, used, blue Co-Motion travel cases in the shop, priced at $250 each. These have been on a couple of trips and have a few minor scuffs as well as one missing pocket zipper pull, but otherwise are in great shape and have no outer or structural damage. Let us know if you would like to start your tandem travels with these very reasonably priced, used cases. email@example.com
August 16, 2019: They're Back!!
Racktime products are back in stock, including rear racks and Talis Plus rack trunk bags. We're excited to be able to continue to offer these excellent products to our customers - racks and bags that are especially well suited to travel.
August 5, 2019: Racktime products sold out
We are temporarily sold out of all racktime products, including rear racks and Talis Plus bags. We'll get them back in stock just as soon as possible!
July 10, 2019: Northwest Tandem Rally
We've just returned from the NW Tandem Rally in Boise, Idaho. It was super fun to reconnect with old friends and to make many new ones. We spent quite a lot of time in our vendor display but still managed a couple of rides. The vendor area was outside in Julia Davis Park - very pleasant. Our favorite ride was along the Boise River Greenway. Thanks Boise! We look forward to NWTR 2020 in Spokane, Washington!
March 28, 2019: More on the Rohloff Hub and Gates Carbon Drive Lowdown
Our article on advice about the Rohloff and belt drive has been published in the Spring 2019 issue of Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine. We have a scan of the article in our Knowledge Transfer Section, but also encourage you to subscribe to RTR Magazine, a great source of information on tandems and recumbents.
March 23, 2019: Spring Sale!
Everything in the shop (except Racktime products) is 15% off during our Spring Sale Event. This includes all new bikes! Don't miss out. Take a look at the stunning tandems we have on offer and take advantage of this amazing offer. New tandems are listed on our Co-Motion tandems page. And you can get in touch to arrange test riding. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 23, 2019: They're here!!
Our new 2019 model tandems are finally here and ready for riding How exciting! In our view, this is the best selection of new tandems we've ever offered. Please take a look on our Co-Motion tandems page!
February 25, 2019: The Low Down on Rohloff Hubs and Belt Drives
I've added an illustrated article to the website, summarizing some important things to know about Rohloff hubs and Gates Carbon Drive belts, especially as relates to use on tandems. Too often we encounter tandem riders/customers who get their information about these systems from others who haven't used them and only know what they've read or what someone told them. Sometimes their information is correct, but sadly often not. We figure you should 1) get your info from people who actually are experienced at using and selling these systems (that's us), and 2) you should ride them yourselves and make decisions about them for yourselves (it's the test riding of Rohloff-equipped tandems that you can do here at Tandem Diversity). At any rate, we're happy to share our take on the Rohloff and belts. And as always, we're happy to help you in any way we can with your research, your riding, your traveling, your maintaining your tandem, or anything else you need to further your tandem journey together. Be sure to let us know how we can help. email@example.com
January 1, 2019: Articles in Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine
From time to time we write for RTR Magazine. With the permission of the publisher and whenever possible, we'll make copies of these publications available for you to read here on our website. You can see what's currently available on our Knowledge Transfer Page (Tips and Trips).
January 1, 2019: 2018, The Year In Review
December 31, 2018: We offer our first gravel bike
We have in stock our first gravel bike offering. This stunningly beautiful Co-Motion Klatch Di2 Hydro is ready to take home for the New Year! Take a look on our Single Bikes Page.
September 26, 2018: Tandem touring around Lake Michigan
August 23, 2018: We get to meet a tandem touring couple in person!
We love tandem touring. We love knowing and talking to tandem touring couples. For about 10 years we've been following the adventures of Mike and Bern Miller on their Crazyguyonabike journals. Well, finally a tour brought them to Bellingham so we jumped at the chance to host them for dinner. What a delightful evening we had! You can follow Mike and Bern on the Crazy Guy website:
July 12, 2018: Racktime products almost sold out again
Demand has been high for the excellent rack and bag from Racktime. We are down to just one set remaining. For more information on this excellent product (especially good for traveling), check them out in our accessories:
June 30, 2018: Bike Expo and Tandem Rally special pricing expires in July
We extended the special pricing (15% off) on in-stock bikes through the NW Tandem Rally. That special pricing expires July 31, at which time new tandem prices go back to MSRP. Don't miss your chance to ride away on a brand new Co-Motion at the lowest price we've had this year!
April 28, 2018: Bike Expo special pricing extended
Seattle Bike Expo special pricing (15% off) on in-stock bikes will be extended through the month of May. Take a look at the tandems we have in stock. Now is the time to pick out your new tandem for the riding season!!
April 28, 2018: Racktime products sold out
We are currently all sold out of Racktime products (racks and rack trunk bags) If you would like to be notified when these are back in stock, let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 24, 2018: Special Bike Show Pricing On Tandems and Accessories!
To celebrate the 2018 Seattle Bike Show (be sure to come see us in the Co-Motion booth at the show March 3 and 4), we're having a beginning of the season sale with unbelievable prices on tandems and accessories! For the month of March, 2018, all new, in stock tandems are priced at 15% off MSRP. All accessories (except Racktime products) are priced at 10% off retail. Don't miss out on this incredible sale!
Browse the stock of new tandems on our New Tandems Page.
Take a look at our Accessories Page.
February 24, 2018: 2018 New Tandems Are Here!!
For 2018 we have the most new tandems in the best variety ever. There is sure to be a tandem for every team in this great selection of new bikes, ready for immediate delivery. Have a look on our New Tandems Page!
February 22, 2018: Used tandem for sale
The list of used tandems for sale has changed (one has sold and another one has come in). Take a look at what's available on the Used Bike Page.
February 22, 2018: Upgraded tandem rental fleet
The Tandem Diversity fleet of rental tandems has undergone a significant upgrade for 2018. Check out the fleet at our Tandem Rental Page.
January 18, 2018:Expanding selection of accessories
In addition to starting the 2018 tandeming season with an excellent selection of new tandems to choose from (keep watching this news page for notification of new arrivals), we are also expanding our offerings of tandem accessories/gifts. The latest to be added is a really cool Tandem X-ing Sign. Make sure to check it out on our Accessories Page, along with all the other excellent accessories and gifts we offer. And keep checking back as we add more cool items!
January 7, 2018: The Tandem Year in Review, 2017
2017 was quite a year for us, with lots of tandem touring and other tandem activities. We had four international tandem tours and sponsored the NW Tandem Rally in Seattle. Read all about our 2017 on the Year in Review page.
December 19, 2017: Racktime products almost sold out!
The Racktime rear racks and rack trunk bags have proven very popular and are selling fast. Only one is left. Get yours now in time for a Holiday gift. Don't miss out! Go to the online shop and look at the Accessories Page.
December 1, 2017: Holiday Special Pricing on Bikes and Accessories!!!!
We're so excited about having the Racktime products and the Co-Motion Stoker bags back in stock that we want to do something special to mark the occasion. How about special sale pricing on everything for the Holidays? Sounds like a good idea to us. Between now and the end of 2017 all currently in stock bikes and accessories are 20% off. Take a look around our Online Shop and let me know what interests you. Email me at email@example.com.
December 1, 2017: Co-Motion Stoker Bags Are Back!
Even more great news - Co-Motion stoker stem bags are also back in stock, in time for the Holidays. We think these are the best in stoker bags: large, light, sturdy, and securely attached to the bike so they can be operated with one hand - very convenient for the busy stoker! Check them out at the Stoker Bag Page.
November 20, 2017: Racktime Racks And Bags Are Back!
Great news - we now have rear racks and rack trunk bags from Racktime back in stock. The folding racks are a breeze for travel and the bags are large and versatile. Check them out in our online shop on the Racktime page.
September 30, 2017: Tandem Tour of Albania Completed.
Just yesterday we arrived back home from Albania after riding a tour there with TourCO, to evaluate the country as to its suitability as a tandem touring destination. Our findings isn short summary: By all means consider going, but be advised you will face challenges not seen in some other international destinations. Email me for further info. Also, take a look at our 2017 tours page for a summary.
July 22, 2017: Pinion Drive Arrives at Tandem Diversity!
We now have our first Pinion drive bike in stock and ready for test rides (it's a single, as this technology has not yet arrived in the tandem world). The ride is so smooth and supple, you won't believe it! You can have a look at this new arrival on our Co-Motion Single Bikes Page.
June 19, 2017: Co-Motion Single Bikes in Stock
Although our main focus is on tandems and tandem cycling, there are some single bikes from Co-Motion that we consider to be worthy of our attention, and we want to have select examples of these available for our customers to see and test ride. Check out single bikes in stock on our Co-Motion Single Bikes Page.
June 11, 2017: More from The Group Ride Podcast
Wes and his wife came up to visit our shop in Bellingham and to try out tandeming. They did a podcast episode on the experience (Episode 12) and plan to do more on tandems this summer, including a visit to the NW Tandem Rally in Seattle.
April 23, 2017: Seattle Bike Show Podcast
As noted below, I helped to staff the Co-Motion booth at the Seattle Bike Show back in March. While there I was interviewed for a podcast by Wes Salmon of The Group Ride. Wes and his wife are going to visit us here at Tandem Diversity to catch our spiel on tandeming and to try out tandem riding; they plan to have more segments about tandems in future podcasts, including about the NW Tandem Rally, coming up in Seattle over the July 4th Holiday. You can catch the Bike Show interview. Go to 18:03 in this podcast to hear it. Thanks. Can't wait to have more fun with The Group Ride!
April 17, 2017: Tandem Diversity service menu
We now offer a limited service menu for your tandem. We are providing hub oil change service for your Rohloff hub, and we also offer upgrade from the stock Rohloff shifting system to the new Gebla Rohbox shifting system. For information about hub oil change, or to schedule an oil change, go to our oil change page. For information about the new Gebla system, or to schedule an upgrade, click on the link to our Gebla page.
March 6, 2017: Racktime racks and rack trunk bags
We now stock for retail sale the rack and rack trunk bag system from Racktime, a German company. This is an excellent, sturdy, and practical rack and bag system. Check it out in our Online Shop!
February 28, 2017: Seattle Bike Show
I will be at the Seattle Bike Show this coming weekend, March 4 and 5, 2017, working in the Co-Motion booth. If you attend the show, please stop by the booth. Hope to see you there!
February 20, 2017: Revised summary of our tandem tours
I received some excellent suggestions from my stoker and a friend to revise the descriptions of our tandem tours over the years, to make them easier to navigate and more user friendly. Thanks for these suggestions! I've implemented them and I really like the result. Please check them out at the Our Tours page.
February 7, 2017: Tandem Touring in Vietnam
We spent the better part of January touring and tandeming in Vietnam. We found this to be a beautiful country with warm and welcoming people, perfect for tandeming. NZ Pedaltours, the tour company we used to organize and conduct our tour, was excellent. For a thorough evaluation and photos, check out our Facebook page. For questions about tandem touring in Vietnam, send us an email.
January 4, 2017: 2016 - The Year in Review
To enjoy a brief visual review of the highlights of the tandeming year here at Tandem Diversity, visit our 2016 - Year in Review page.
December 10, 2016: Gates belt coil and uncoil
I've put together a short video illustrating how to safely coil and uncoil a Gates belt. This is a useful skill for traveling with and/or storing a belt. The link to the video is:
October 2, 2016: Rohloff hub disc brake rotor removal
We recommend that, for disc brake-equipped bikes, the disc rotors be removed to pack the bike for travel. Removal of the rear rotor on a Rohloff-equipped bike, may be slightly more complicated than for an ordinary wheel, but still straightforward. See our clear and simple directions for Rohloff rotor removal and reinstallation.
September 25, 2016: Lands End to John o' Groats
A couple of days ago we returned home from riding the LEJOG (Lands End to John o' Groats, also known as End To End) ride in the UK. This had been a dream for us for some time. We rode it on a Co-Motion Primera tandem, with performance enhancement features. I will put a summary of the ride and of the tandem's performance on our Facebook page soon.
August 7, 2016: Lycra and the washing machine - an update
A couple of years ago I wrote a short piece on my progress with trying to figure out how to best launder lycra, and sport clothing in general. This is an ongoing quest, but I am pretty happy with the laudering procedure I've worked out so far, so have put up a brief update on lycra and the washing machine.
June 27, 2016: San Juan Islands Tour
Registration is closed for the San Juan Islands Tour. We can arrange a custom tour in the San Juan Islands almost anytime. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about your custom tour.
May 3, 2016: Tour de Lopez and more!
The link below is to a Youtube video Chris put together from our weekend adventure to Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. We journeyed there for the Tour de Lopez with a small group of friends/clients. Enjoy the video.
Now that you've watched and have seen a sample of this cycling utopia, wouldn't you like to experience the San Juans also? These islands are a place to step back in time a bit, slow down, relax, ride some of the best cycling (tandem cycling) routes in the world, and, if you tour with us, take it all in while being pampered on a luxurious, personalized tour.
We travel all over the world. We lead and facilitate tandem tours all over the world. But where we are specialists is in treating tandem cyclists to the best in tandem cycling and relationship enhancement right here in our own back yard - the San Juan Islands. Come join us! There's still room on our 2016 tour.
And while I'm at it, I might mention we have among the best selection of new and used tandems on the West Coast. And also the most extensive rental fleet of top quality road tandems. Check 'em out. Better yet, make an appointment for a test ride and tandem lessons.
We have the travel experience necessary to help you with tandem travel needs. And we are especially experienced at traveling with and servicing the Gates belt/Rohloff hub drive train. This is an excellent drive train for worry free and hassle free travel. Gone are the days of greasy hands and tricky derailleur adjustments!
Get in touch to find out how we can help you to realize your tandem dreams!
April 12, 2016:100 Facebook likes!
Great news - we've hit 100 Facebook likes. I have to admit I'm not really sure what that means, but thank you to all of you who have "liked" our page! If you haven't already done so, you can go to our Facebook page to have a look around.
March 9, 2016: 2016 San Juan Islands Tour donated to Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County
2016 Interfaith Benefit Tandem Bicycle Tour to the San Juan Islands
We (Mark and Chris Owings, owners of Tandem Diversity) have made the decision to donate the proceeds from the sale of spots in our 2016 San Juan Islands Tour to Interfaith Coalition here in Whatcom County.
We are very pleased to support Interfaith Coalition and their programs. This is a coalition of local member congregations working together to eliminate homelessness and poverty in Whatcom County. To learn more about Interfaith Coalition, go to the Interfaith Coalition website. To learn more about the tour, or to register, visit our 2016 San Juan Islands Tour page.
Thank you for joining us in supporting Interfaith Coalition. We hope you will choose to be one of the pampered couples on our tour!
And for those couples who want to join us on the tour but do not (yet) own a tandem bicycle, a rental tandem and tandem riding lessons will be included free of charge!
March 7, 2016: Bicycles in stock for the 2016 season
What kind of riding interests you for the new riding year? For your new or continuing journey together through your tandem life? Do you want to travel? Race? Ride local centuries? Tour? Ride together for fitness? All of these at various times? No matter the riding style, Tandem Diversity has the right machine for you in stock, or can help you order what's just right for you. For the 2016 riding season we have a wide variety of tandems and single bikes for test riding, chosen carefully to help you decide, in one test riding visit, what is best for you as a starter bike, or upgrade. Take a look at the Co-Motion bicycles we have in stock. Check back often. Let us know how we can help.
March 1, 2016: 2016 NW Tandem Rally
Scheduling conflict with another tour means we will not be able to attend the Northwest Tandem Rally in Klamath Falls, Oregon this year. We are definitely looking forward to NWTR 2017 in Seattle!
January 25, 2016: 2016 Tandem Tour in the San Juan Islands
Final preparations have been completed for our 2016 Tandem Diversity tandem tour in the beautiful San Juan Islands of Washington State, set for August, 2016. Registration is now open. For further details click on the 2016 San Juans Tour page. To register or to get additional info, click on the Contact Us page.
January 9, 2016: Tandem Rentals and Test Rides - A Clarification
Please see the latest news on the home page for a clarification about our test ride/rental policy. In short, we believe you should be able to do a comprehensive test ride of a tandem without paying a rental fee, and it is also our policy that if you rent from us and then decide to buy a new tandem from us, the rental fee likely will be credited toward the purchase price of the new bike. We want you to be able to determine if a bike is really for you before committing to purchase. To see the bikes we have for rent, click on our rental page.
January 5, 2016: Rolf Prima Tandem Wheel Upgrade
Considering an upgrade to your tandem for 2016? Chances are the wheels are where you could get the biggest improvement in performance. We are proud to carry Rolf Prima tandem wheels. With the permission of the publisher, we have reprinted for your interest a review of Rolf Prima Tandem Wheels published in the Summer, 2015 issue of Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine. See the review here.
January 4, 2016: 2015 The Year in Review
To see a brief, visual summary of our tandeming year in 2015, click on Year in Review.
January 2, 2016: Update on our tandems and our tours
I've updated information about our personal tandems, including new additions to the family and latest mileage totals. That information can be viewed by clicking on the link to our tandems.
Also, I've updated the page about our past multi-day tours, including mileage updates and a brief summary of tours since the last update earlier this year. That information can be viewed by clicking on the link to our tours.
July 15, 2015: Tandem Diversity San Juan Islands Post-Rally Tandem Tour
At the conclusion of the Bellingham Tandem Rally (see below), Tandem Diversity departed for a 5-day, 4-night tandem tour in the spectacular San Juan Islands of Washington State. This was a very small tour for 2 couples, focusing on San Juan and Lopez Islands, basking in the beauty and tranquility of this remote archipelago. The tour was so successful we will likely repeat it next summer. To see photos from the tour, take a look at our Facebook Page. To see the itinerary from the tour, check out our Tours Page. If you want us to let you know when dates and itinerary are set for next year, drop us a note on our Contact Us Page.
July 15, 2015: Northwest Tandem Rally 2015 in Bellingham
Beautiful Bellingham, Washington, home of Tandem Diversity, hosted the Northwest Tandem Rally 2015 over the July 4th Holiday. We were the title sponsor of the rally, which was put on by Mt. Baker Bicycle Club, an organizing committee, a dynamite director, and an incredible staff of volunteers. The city showed its best to the more than 800 riders who came on more than 400 bikes, from 28 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Participants stayed in area hotels (the venue was the Best Western Lakeway Inn) or in WWU dorms, or camped at Civic Field. Four days of riding complimented all kinds of activities including a dinner cruise on Bellingham Bay, brewery visits, Tour de France viewing, and fireworks viewing from the top deck of the Bellingham Parkade! Find out all about the rally from the NWTR 2015 website and from the Northwest Tandem Rally Facebook Page.
March 29, 2015: Our Tours, Rallies, and Multi-day rides
I've written up a brief summary of our tours over the years, not to brag (well, maybe a little) but to let you know we have the experience and background necessary to serve as advisors as you look to bring your own tandem travel and touring plans and dreams to life. Read the summary on the page of Our Tours.
February 11, 2015: Seattle Bike Show
Be sure to look for our Tandem Diversity booth at the Seattle Bike Show February 28/March 1, 2015. We will be in Booth 1225. We will have some great items for sale, a raffle for a couple of pairs of Sock Guy Tandem Diversity socks, a show special on tandems, and a little surprise for you that you just have to come by the booth to see! See you in Seattle!
January 8, 2015: Year in Review
January 8, 2015: Post-rally Tandem Tour of the San Juan Islands
We certainly hope you are planning to attend the Northwest Tandem Rally in Bellingham over the July 4th Holiday in 2015. Why not extend your time and go on our small, personalized, B&B based tandem tour to the nearby San Juan Islands? The magic of these islands will light your memories for all your life. Let us take care of all the details while you just relax, enjoy being pampered, and ride your bike! Tandem Diversity's San Juan Islands tour, 2015. (As of February 10, 2015 this tour is sold out. Let us know if you want to be placed on a wait list).
December 3, 2014:Year End Inventory Clearance
Take a look at our remaining inventory of new 2014 tandems here. Our 2015 pre-season order has arrived so we need to make room in the shop and on the display floor for these new, incoming bikes. This is good news for you, our next potential tandem customers; we are ready to offer great deals to clear out this remaining inventory. Let me know by email that you are ready to find out the great deal awaiting you. It's not the best time of year to be thinking about riding your new tandem maybe, but I can assure you there will not be a better time to buy. Let me know:
October 9, 2014: Travel Pump and Mini Pump Follow-up
We previously reviewed travel pump and mini pump entries from Lezyne and Topeak (see Feb 3, 2014 and Sep 9, 2014 news entries below). We found all four pumps tested to be of good quality and we recommended all of them. We recently completed our tandems-only tour in Western Turkey (see tours page) and can now report follow-up on hands-on experience with both of the Lezyne pumps.
Lezyne travel pump: This pump packed easily in with the tandem in one of the Co-Motion travel cases. In our review we had commented on the universal head wanting to pop off the valve stem during inflation; on this trip we just threaded the pump hose directly onto the valve stems and this worked quite well. The pump worked flawlessly and during the trip quickly became the pump travelers sought out to initially inflate their tires, and for later top offs. No problems whatever with the pump.
Lezyne mini pump: This little guy was selected to go with us because it fit into the bottom of our rack trunk. We had one on-the-road flat, so had occasion to use it just that once. It also performed flawlessly. I had not checked the number of strokes needed to inflate a 26 x 1.25 " tire prior to the trip, so on the road I guessed at 275 strokes. This actually over-inflated the tire by about 15 psi, so 250 woud have been fine. One of the things I really like about this pump is that, as you approach final inflation, it does not get more difficult to push the handle down. The pump is very smooth and consistent throughout inflation.
Final analysis: The Lezyne pumps performed flawlessly. They are light, sturdy, and well designed. Based on real use, we can confirm our original recommendations of both pumps.
The travel pump MSRP is $99.99. It can be purchased on Amazon right now for $79.92. The MSRP for the Micro Floor Drive (without gauge) is $44.99. On Amazon it now lists for $39.98.
September 9, 2014: Mini Pump Review
Mini pumps serve a very useful purpose for on-the-bike inflation devices in instances where alternatives such as CO2 inflators are not practical (international travel, for instance). We took a look at two of these. Both are great pumps. See our evaluation here.
September 9, 2014: Tandem travel and climate change:
We wanted to work out if our desire for and advocacy of tandem travel could be squared with our desire to also be good global citizens. Short answer: Yes, we think so. Long answer; Read the article we wrote summarizing our findings here.
August 22, 2014: First ride on the Cascadia Alfine:
Granted, this is a single bike, but we do singles as well as tandems, and also I am quite interested in the performance of this drivetrain, and how it compares to the Rohloff drivetrain. So, we ordered up one of these, assembled it, and I just took it for my first ride this morning. My first impressions are quite positive. In fact, this may very well be the ultimate bike of the future. Let me start off my saying that, even though Co-Motion touts this as a touring bike, there is no doubt it also is a capable recreational/club/century ride bike. The frame is a Cascadia frame, 58 cm for me. I put Panaracer Pasela Tour Guard 700 x 28c tires on, and I'm running those at 110 psi. Also, Co-Motion specs the bike with a 110 mm stem, and I dialed that back to 100 mm, partly because I wanted to accommodate my age-related neck and back issues by sitting more upright. The ride is quite comfortable.
I am a bit at a loss for words to describe the ride. It was so very nice. I can't remember ever before getting on a bike and having such a pleasant first ride. Not only is the Cascadia itself a sweet ride, but the drive train just makes it even better. It is smooth, quiet, clean, and trouble free. Shifts are delicate and without any grinding or hesitation, though it is better to let off just a teeny bit on down shifts. Of course, the hub can be shifted while stopped. Performance was flawless at all speeds and under all conditions, including aggressive climbing and sprinting.
This most certainly must be the future of bicycling, once costs can come down to a more conservative level (this bike retails for about $4795.00). Here at Tandem Diversity the belted Rohloff drivetrain has become somewhat our signature product; it is very possible the Shimano Alfine Di2 will supplant the Rohloff for us - we'll see.
Things I like about the Alfine:
It is quiet and smooth, shifting is flawless, the gear range is pretty good, and the shifter is superb. I love the brifter mounted shifter and the electronic shifting.
Things I would like to see in the Alfine:
I wouldn't change much - maybe a little lower low gear. Also quick release would be nice, for fixing flats.
What about comparison to Rohloff?
Things I like about the Rohloff:
Excellent gear range, durability, evenly spaced gears, quick release wheel super easy to remove and re-install.
Things I would like to see in the Rohloff:
Quieter operation, brifter mounted shifters, electronic shifting.
I'm also wondering if the Alfine with belts and Di2 is a tandem rated drivetrain. This is something I plan to review with Co-Motion right away - if this can be installed on a tandem, it becomes a dynamite tool, in my opinion, for the general tandem population. Not necessarily for weight weenies and testosterone laden go fast teams, but for most of us the smooth, quiet, clean, essentially maintenance and adjustment free operation will be of far more significance than minor weight issues.
We still feel the belted Rohloff hub drivetrain is the best all round on the market now, but this system will give Rohloff some very stiff competition.
Details of this machine can be found on the Co-Motion website here.
Gear ratios can be seen at that link as well.
Photos of our Cascadia Alfine, in Light Toreador Red, are here.
We will keep you posted on any progress bringing the Alfine hub, belt drive, and electronic shifting to tandems. In the meantime, let us know when you want us to build your Cascadia Alfine!
August 19, 2014: 1000 mile review of our Co-Motion Passport Tandem:
Well, ok she has 1142.8 miles on her as of this morning, to be exact. We took a bit of a flyer last year in ordering up a new Co-Motion Mocha, with Rohloff hub and fully belted drive train. Our thought was this would be an ideal travel bike: smaller wheels easier to pack; belts and enclosed hub easier to maintain and keep clean. We had some experience traveling with a belted Rohloff tandem (a Speedster AKA Equator), but had not ridden a bike with 26" wheels. So, this was a project based a bit on faith: faith in Co-Motion's quality and faith in our adaptability. Turns out Co-Motion's quality is spot on, but we needn't have worried about adapting.
We are now about a year out and about 1000 miles. I just changed the oil in the Rohloff hub for the first time yesterday. The old oil that came out was pretty dark, so I'm glad I did that. Otherwise, in terms of maintenance, I had to tighten up the rear wheel just a bit but there hasn't been anything else over the year.
Here's what she's done in that year: she's served off and on as our daily morning ride machine; she's ridden local club and century rides; she's been borrowed by friends for a tour in the San Juan Islans (that mileage not included in the above total); she's gone to the San Juans on tour with us, pulling a Bob trailer; she's flown to Hawaii and pulled the prototype Co-Motion trailer around on the Big Island. She's performed admirably in all these endeavors. I was a little concerned about the handling of the small wheels, but I have to tell you that I like the handling - with the 26 x 1.25 Panaracer Pasela tires I put on in place of the stock tires.
Some other captains have tried her out and said they don't like her handling, and some have tried her and like her. I guess it's a matter of personal choice. I like the ride and I like my position on the bike. In terms of fit and feel, she's my favorite of our bikes right now.
I also like the lower center of gravity; mounting and dismounting is a breeze and I can put a whole foot down at stops, not just a toe. We have to be a little careful to not drag a pedal in corners, partly due to the tires I use having a fairly low profile.
She's been as easy to travel with as I thought. So I really feel it would be a good idea for Co-Motion to accept our proposal for this model to have its own name designation, and we feel the Co-Motion Passport is the right name. The name Passport tells much about the strengths of this bike, though I must point out, it's a great machine for everyday use, at least for us.
Finally, it probably is worth commenting on our sense of efficiency and speed of the bike. Specifically, do we think the belts, Rohloff, and small wheels mean the bike has a speed and efficiency penalty relative to comparable machines equipped in a more conventional way. Completely devoid of any data or science, here is our reply: yes, a little, probably noticeable, but not enough to change our overall impression of the bike. We've done lots of group and club rides now, and we hold our own just fine in groups of tandems and singles. Anytime we find ourselves drifting off the back, it's due to us, not the bike.
In summary, a year and about 1000 miles have definitely validated our initial hypothesis that this bike, the Co-Motion Passport, is an excellent all round tandem for couples who envision diverse experiences with their tandem.
Let us know when we can build one for you!!
August 12, 2014: Tandem bicycle rentals, that is good quality road tandems, not beach cruisers or beaters, are hard to find and expensive. But there are many situations in which you might find yourself needing a rental. For example, you might be wanting an extended test of a particular machine, for example a Gates belted/Rohloff hub drivetrain. Or you might want to travel and don't want to spend the money for a coupled bike until you've tried it. Or maybe you need to ride recumbent for a while due to an injury or surgery, or perhaps you would like to test out recumbent riding before you lay out the big bucks for a recumbent machine. No matter your needs, the new Tandem Diversity tandem rental program can help you. Check out details of the program here.
July 19, 2014: One of the questions we get asked most often about the Gates carbon fiber belt/Rohloff hub drive train is about the gear ratios and range. People are curious to know if the system offers an adequate range and sufficient low and high gears. Briefly, yes, the gear selection is good and considering our aging bodies, for us is better than the gear selection on most of our derailleur equipped bikes - the Rohloff gear range is shifted to slightly lower gears, giving us good low climbing gears, but still offers for us plenty of high gears for knee mashing on flats and for descending. But, judge for yourself. Take a look at charts of gears here.
July 9, 2014: There is really big news about Tandem Diversity and the NW Tandem Rally 2015 in Bellingham - we are the title sponsor! Read all about that here.
July 9, 2014: Tandem Diversity had a thoroughly enjoyable and very productive time at the NW Tandem Rally in Pendleton. Read about it here.
June 2, 2014: Look for Tandem Diversity at the Northwest Tandem Rally in Pendleton, Oregon over the July 4th Holiday. We will be there as riders, but also will be spending time at the vendor displays. Our friend Charlie Buchalter, owner of Atoc and Draftmaster racks, will not be able to attend the rally and he has asked us to staff his display at the vendor fair. We're honored and pleased to do so. Not sure yet what the display will look like; we probably will have Atoc and Draftmaster racks on display on our van, in addition to whatever Charlie has for an indoor display. Anyway, we hope you have plans to attend the rally, and we hope you will stop by the Atoc/Draftmaster display to have a chat with Tandem Diversity!
May 19, 2014: Brand new 2014 Co-Motion tandems are now in stock and ready for test riding/immediate delivery. Check them out here.
April 5, 2014: Our bike order from Co-Motion is set to arrive in May. Watch this News page for information on the new arrivals. Also, tour offerings for 2015 are beginning to take shape, although only in the formative stages just now. We are in talks with the organizers of Tour TK, who have opened up a new area of touring focus - Colombia. Initial reports are of challenging yet beautiful rides with stunning scenery, and friendly, welcoming people. Again, watch this News page for updates. Also, the owners of Bike & Barge Holland have agreed to work with us to make one of their Spring tours in 2015 a tandems-only trip. This would begin and end in Amsterdam, starting in early April, 2015, date to be determined. We need to have at least 14 couples commit by early May, 2014 (about a month away) to make this trip viable. We encourage you to contact us soon to put your names in for this trip, that promises to be memorable. To learn more about these experiences, check here, or let us know of your interest by contacting us here.
March 3, 2014: We are continuing as a dealer for Co-Motion Cycles in 2014. Our 2014 bike order will go in soon. This is exciting news for us here at Tandem Diversity, as we really enjoy working with the folks at Co-Motion and we very much enjoy putting our customers on these excellent machines. Look for more details soon. In the meantime, check out the Co-Motion Cycles website here.
March 3, 2014: I've posted a listing of the tandems we've owned over the years, including those that remain in our current fleet. We feel our credibility as advisors and problem solvers for tandems and tandeming rests heavily on our experience. Our experience as tandem owners and riders can be reviewed here.
February 3, 2014: Our travel floor pump gave up after a long and productive life. In searching for a replacement, we compared two travel floor pumps. A review and comparison of those two pumps is here.
February 2, 2014: We at Tandem Diversity have been fans of professional bicycle racing for many years and have had the very good fortune to experience and share very intimate, inside looks at the sport over the years. I've summarized our years spent as racing fans, including close looks on the inside, in an article written to reflect on what the most recent revelations about drug use in the sport mean to us. Read it here.
January 23, 2014: Check out Issue #45 of Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine, Winter 2013/2014. It hit mailboxes just a couple of days ago. Our report on Interbike 2013 is in this issue. Visit the RTR Magazine website to sign up for a subscription or pick up a free copy at your favorite local bike shop and read all about our time at Interbike. RTR Magazine website is here.
January 20, 2014: Check out our year end close outs on tandems! These are Co-Motion tandems, hand built in Eugene, Oregon. Co-Motion has been building tandems for more than 25 years. We have ridden their tandems for 20 years. The Belted Rohloff Mocha listed in the year end clearance sale is a machine specially built up for travel, to specifications of Tandem Diversity. You are not likely to find better tandems or better prices. See them here.
January 18, 2014: Whew! We finally have something to offer in our online shop. Today we have a selection of ATOC racks listed. You can see the Online Shop here.
December 15, 2013: See a presentation on Tandem Cycling and Travel here.
October 24, 2013: The tandems-only tour of Turkey in the Fall of 2014 (see Turkey tour page) is now full! We will start a wait list. If there is enough interest, Tour TK may add another tour immediately following ours, but that second tour would not be guaranteed to be tandems-only. For any questions or to be placed on the wait list, contact email@example.com or contact Tour TK directly at www.tourtk.com.
October 24, 2013: See an update on changes and future plans for Tandem Diversity here.
September, 2013: See an article about our Counterpoint triplet here.
September, 2013: See an article about starting and stopping a tandem, and about on-bike relationships here.