Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Which Tandem?

We'd been debating getting a new tandem for a few years. While the Burley Duet was nice, getting on it always felt like a step down from our single bikes (Giant TCR Team Advanced, and a Canondale CAAD 7 with Ultegra.) To get something that would be asunstantial improvement on the Duet was going to be expensive, and we questioned whether we'd use it enough, and the improvement would be enough to justify the expenditure.

Once we committed to doing EC, the answer was clear, we had to get a new tandem, but which one? I had been researching it, looking at catalogs, asking advice in the tandem forum on www.bikeforums.net, looking for deals on Ebay, etc. for a couple of years.

There are several established companies that focus on tandems, most notably Co-Motion, www.co-motion.com, and Santana. Of the two, it appeared that Santana tends to be aimed a little more toward tourists, and fast recreational riders. Conversely, Co-Motion markets several tandems specifically intended for racing. Consistent with this, the general consensus seems to be that Santanas tend to be stable bikes that like to go straight, and that Co-Motions have quicker steering. Thus Co-Motions may feel unsteady at first, and to less experienced teams, but will corner more like a single racing bike. Given that we wanted a bike that road like a single racing bike as much as possible, Co-Motion was the best choice for us. (Also, we were just a touch put off by Santana's marketing hyperbole.)

Our priorities for the new tandem were: 1) lower weight, 2) stiffer, and 3) quick precise handling. For our criteria, the choice was between the Co-Motion Robusta, and the Macciato. Both are made of oversized aluminum tubing; the principal difference being that the Macciato is an open frame design with no lateral tube. Consequently the Macciato is 2.7 pounds lighter.

While saving 2.7lbs was seductive, we were concerned that the Macciato would not meet our desired stiffness requirement, with our team weight of 350lbs. When Gary at Co-Motion told us that a number of Co-Motion employees chose Robustas, that he was about my size and was getting a Robusta, and that he reccommended the Robusta for our size and use, the better part of valor prevaled, and we opted for the Robusta.

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