Co-Motion FAQ

Here at Co-Motion Cycles, we’ve always been quick to point out that we’d like you to consider us your live resource for information about our bicycles. The invention that we’ve all grown to love takes many forms and our staff takes pride in being well informed on topics encompassing virtually every incarnation of the bicycle.

Within these FAQ pages, we’ll make an effort to present common questions and thorough answers. Maybe we’ll save you some time or get you out of a squeaky situation. By all means, if you don’t find the information you need on our website, please contact us. We can usually answer your questions quickly by phone or by email.

Don’t forget, your Co-Motion dealer may be more readily accessible, especially on weekends. Your dealer may also be able to offer personal assistance- something we can rarely do from here.

Help! How do I pack my S + S bike in its case?

Booklet for Packing your Co-Pilot (pdf) Booklet for Packing your Co-Pilot Tandem (pdf) Packing your Co-Pilot single bike: S&S Single Bike Packing from Co-Motion on Vimeo. Packing your Co-Pilot Tandem: Packing your Co-Motion Co-Pilot Tandem from Co-Motion on Vimeo. Here’s an older video on packing your Co-Pilot Tandem: S&S Tandem Packing from Co-Motion on Vimeo.

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Can I order a disc brake for my new bike?

Disc brakes have become increasingly popular for all kinds of cycling due to their impressive power and ease of control. They are now standard equipment on a number of Co-Motion models. Disc brakes are nearly impervious to moisture and mud, and minor wheel problems have no effect on disc performance. Tandem Disc brakes are an excellent choice for tandem use. Here at Co-Motion Cycles, we use the best disc brakes available from makers such as TRP and Avid. We believe strongly that your equi...

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What’s the difference between the Americano, Nor’Wester and Cascadia?

A little history of the development of these models may help in understanding their design goals. The Americano’s heritage initiated in the early 1990’s, when we first began experimenting with applying tandem-duty components and tubing to touring bikes for heavier riders or heavy loading. We didn’t consider the possibility that it might have broader appeal than we originally envisioned. By the mid 1990’s, we began to grow a reputation for building very solid touring bikes. We often...

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What measurements do you need for a bike order?

When it’s time to get a really fine bicycle, the process requires more than getting it down from a hook, throwing a leg over and calling it good. We start with a detailed questionnaire that allows you to tell us about your riding style, what you like or dislike about your current bike and all of your most important body measurements such as femur length, arm length, foot size, height, weight and so forth. We call this form our Fitting Guide. You can fill out our fitting guide with the help ...

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Why are bikes made from the same materials so different?

It continues to amaze us that people want to lump bikes of similar material together. Why? For instance, we know that Wolfgang Puck can prepare eggs better than the fry cook at Denny’s. And that Monet does a better landscape than the kiosk artist at the mall, though the materials are roughly the same. Perhaps you prefer Van Gogh’s landscapes, but again the use of similar materials produces an entirely different result. Have you ever compared the differences in the sound and interpretation ...

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Touch-Up Paint Q & A

Sooner or later, that beautiful Co-Motion paint finish is bound to suffer a scratch here and there. We know you want to keep your bike looking as good as possible and protect it from corrosion to ensure its longevity. We now offer touch-up paint righ here at Co-Motion Cycles, and will soon have all colors available for one-click ordering in our online store. Until then, you may simply call toll-free: 1-866-282-6336 or email sales@co-motion.com. Before you call for your touch-up paint, you’...

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Do S&S couplers require maintenance?

We’ve found S&S couplers to be extremely reliable, perhaps more reliable than any other bicycle component ever made. They are virtually trouble-free, but it is possible to encounter a problem, especially if your bicycle is exposed to heavy dust or grit while uncoupled. If you think you may have some dust or grit on your S&S coupling, do not try to thread the couplings together until you’ve removed the grit or dust. Use a soft cotton cloth to wipe the threading thoroughly on the fem...

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Which travel case should I buy?

With several S&S travel bike cases available it may be hard to choose the right one since they are all made to carry your bicycle and protect it in transit. We sell a lot of travel bikes equipped with S&S couplers and for many years we had just two choices for cases, the original Hard Case and the Backpack Case. Since introducing our Co-Motion Co-Pilot Case (formerly called the Co-Motion Co-Pilot Hybrid Case) in 2007, it’s more clear to us than ever what the best choice is, and this...

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The Gates Carbon Drive Timing Belt System:

The Gates Carbon Drive Timing Belt System: Incredibly smooth and more efficient power transfer, immediate response and an incredible weight savings of 283 grams/10 ounces (compared to top quality chain and chainrings) makes the Gates Carbon Drive a natural choice for our top race tandems. The Carbon Drive lasts as much as 10 times longer than traditional chain and chainrings, and never needs oil [Note: Gates’ official word is to expect 2-3x normal chain life- we find this very conservative]....

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How do cable separators work?

Cable separators work by coupling together two complete brake or shifter cables. The first cable, from your brake or shifter, terminates in the male end of the coupler, and is held fast with two, 2mm setscrews. Then a second cable is sent out the female end of the coupler and on to the brake or derailleur. The head of the second cable is captured by the female end of the coupler. We position the cable separators a few inches ahead of the frame couplers on a single bike and, on a tand...

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When is your bike most vulnerable to rust? Here

When is your bike most vulnerable to rust? Here’s how to prevent corrosion problems Summertime is the time most of look forward to great weather, long rides, and minimal bike maintenance. After all, the cold and wet of winter presents the roughest conditions for bicycles, right? Actually, no. Water in itself is not a problem. The leading cause of corrosion on bicycle frames is perspiration. A few times a year, we’ll hear from a Co-Motion owner in distress about corrosion appea...

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Can I have couplers added to my old bike?

As the leading supplier of S&S coupler-equipped bicycles, we’re asked on a daily basis: * I own a Trek, Merlin, Huffy, Independent single bike. Can you add S&S couplings to my bike? * I own a Co-Motion single bike, can you install S&S couplings? * I own a Co-Motion tandem without S&S couplings. How much does it cost to make my tandem into a Co-Pilot? * Should we buy a Speedster today, ride it for a few years and then have the couplings added when we can afford them? * Why...

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How often should I replace my chain/cassette? Don

For the health of your bicycle it is very important that the chain-rings, chain and cogs are serviced or replaced regularly. The chain is really the main topic of discussion here as it wears more quickly than the larger and more durable chain-rings on the crank-set, or the cogs in the rear cassette. As the chain wears, the rollers or unions between the links gradually lose their cylindrical shape and take on the appearance of an hourglass, with a narrow waist where they engage the cogs and chain...

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What is the service interval for my DT hub?

The DT/Swiss hub is, in our view, the most reliable and easily-serviced hub available today. Whether your bicycle has the DT/Swiss tandem hub found in most of our tandems, and Americano Single Touring bikes, or Onyx hub found in our Nor’Wester equipped with the touring kit, all service manuals, data sheets, weight comparisons and technical drawings can be found on the DT Tech pages. All DT/Swiss hubs should be serviced at regular intervals. According to DT “Maintenance of the rear and ...

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What is Co-Motion Cycles’ warranty?

Warranty Information Co-Motion frames, forks and stems carry a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner of the bike. Any failure resulting from faulty material or manufacture will be repaired or replaced at our discretion. The components on our bicycles are warranted by their respective manufacturers. Your new Co-Motion Thanks for buying a Co-Motion bicycle! To register your new bike. Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name ...

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Find and stop that annoying noise coming from your tandem!

Creaks and squeaks that occur while riding can be very difficult to track down. Here is a list of some of the most common causes of these annoying sounds on a tandem, ordered from easiest to most complex to repair: 1. PEDAL/CLEAT INTERFACE- If you use a clip-in pedal system, such as Shimano SPD, check to see that the screws the affix the cleats to your shoes are tight. Apply a little grease or Teflon-based lube to the area where the cleat engages the pedal, and on the cleats themselves. Worn...

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What spoke length does Co-Motion use for its tandem wheels?

Rim Hub Drilling Lacing Spoke Length Model where used Dyad 700c DT/Swiss 540 Tandem 36H Front 36 3x 286 Speedster, Roadster, Americano, PeriScope Torpedo 700, Cappuccino, Custom Triplets, Quads, others Dyad 700c DT/Swiss 540 Tandem 36H Front DISC 36 3x 285/286 Dyad 700c DT/Swiss 540 Tandem 36H Rear 36 3x 285 Dyad 700c DT/Swiss 540 Tandem 40H Front 40 3x 284 Dyad 700c DT/Swiss 540 Tandem 40H Front DISC 40 3x 283/284 ...

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What’s best for tandems, 26 r 700c wheels?

With new wheel sizes seemingly coming out every year, choosing the right size for your tandem isn’t getting any easier. As a maker of primarily 700C-wheeled tandems, we’ve won a lot of converts to the traditional road-sized wheels for those who tandem on pavement. 26”, 650b (27.5” and 29”-wheeled tandems are a great choice if your goals are to ride both on and off-road, or you have specific fitting needs that can only be answered by goping to a different wheel size, ...

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How do I adjust my timing chain?

Most modern tandems have a tandem-specific crank-set consisting of 4 arms, with the left side arms connected by a chain. This chain is called the timing chain, because it keeps both riders pedaling in unison. When functioning properly, the timing chain is tight enough to run smoothly with no binding, yet not so loose that chain derailment occurs. One of the first tandem maintenance points that needs attention from new tandem owners is the adjustment of the timing chain. On Co-Motion ...

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How often should I replace my tandems chain?

For the health of your tandem it is very important that the chain-rings, chain and cogs are serviced or replaced regularly. The chain is really the main topic of discussion here as it wears more quickly than the larger and more durable chain-rings on the crank-set, or the cogs in the rear cassette. As the chain wears, the rollers or unions between the links gradually lose their cylindrical shape and take on the appearance of an hourglass, with a narrow waist where they engage the cogs and chain-...

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How do I shop for a tandem?

The best advice we can give to anyone exploring a tandem purchase for the first time is to try as many tandems as possible. It is unrealistic to assume that the most popular, most expensive (choose your category) or most available tandem is the best one for your needs. Active cyclists who have owned top-quality bicycles for years will be disappointed in cheap tandems, but first timers who are out for some casual recreation may not be. It doesn’t take an $8,000 tandem to make bike path tandem c...

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How old or how tall does my child need to be to get started on a tandem?

This depends on the bike. On our PeriScope 26” models, a child as small as 3’ 6” can ride without any special equipment. On a more traditional tandem frame, children as young as 2 1/2 have been started tandeming with child stoker kits. Yes, child stoker kits are available to fit on virtually any tandem. Here’s a photo of our Co-Motion child stoker kit: The geometry or size of the frame is not important when these kits are used. Typically, the tandem is fitted to the parents, and adap...

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Why do people ride tandems?

Are you leaving someone behind? Who’s the cyclist in your family? Chances are, it’s you. After all, you’re the one researching the web about tandems. Are there any other cyclists? Perhaps your husband, wife, kids, significant others? If you haven’t guessed what this is all leading up to, here it is: You could be alienating the other potential cyclist(s) in your family if you don’t have a tandem. You may already have experience trying to ride with people less experienced in cycling....

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