Author Topic: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour  (Read 43764 times)

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Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« on: November 23, 2008, 03:33:55 am »
I recently had a mishap with an auto which totaled my Cannondale Touring Bike. Depending on what the drivers insurance will pay, determines the direction to go. I think this time around I may go steel. I was looking at a Surly LHT but my local bike shop suggested I upgrade to a Co-motion. There recommendation was the Norwester Tour. At 5'9", 157 lbs, and age 57 they felt it would be a better bike. I live in Florida. I want a true touring bike, that can carry larger rear/front panniers, feel comfortable, yet go at a decent speed. I would use the bike 30% for heavy touring, 30% lighter touring, and 40% for recreation riding. Can one have their cake and eat it too?

Is the Americano too heavy, slower, & overkill? Will the Norwester Tour work? Or should I stick with the Surly LHT?

I rode a LHT, the other day, with 700c wheels I really liked the way it road, very comfy. The Co-motions are fit, order, pay, and hope for the best. I hear they are great to deal with but..., I have never purchased a bike without a test ride. Any direction or comments would be most appreciated.
              Thanks Tourista829


Offline bagoh20

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008, 09:09:25 am »
I have just over 300 miles on my new LHT.  I really like it.  It is comfortable and seems really smooth to me.  It is very often recommended in touring circles.  That influenced me.  I have no experience with other touring bikes though.  I like the Surly company too.


Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008, 09:24:55 am »
Thanks, what size is yours? What size rims? Do you like them? Any additional items to add?


Offline driftlessregion

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2008, 08:26:42 pm »
If you're considering the Co-Motion, consider the Waterford Adventure Cycle.
Both are top notch bike companies making top tourers. You can't go wrong with either.


Offline RussellSeaton

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2008, 07:54:17 am »
"The Co-motions are fit, order, pay, and hope for the best. I hear they are great to deal with but..., I have never purchased a bike without a test ride."

I presume you've been riding your Cannondale touring bike for awhile.  Why would a new bike built with similar dimensions ride/fit any different?  Assuming it fit you, you have more than sufficient knowledge to order a custom frame.  Just get one similar to the one you had.  Only someone who has never ridden a bike and does not know what size frame they need should never get a custom frame.


Offline paddleboy17

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008, 10:29:19 am »
Any touring bike that you look at in the sub $2000 range is a light weight touring bike.  Heavy touring bikes start out at around $3000 (I think you can still get a Bruce Gordon for that).  A good metaphor would be Ford pick up trucks.  The Ranger and 350 are both trucks, but you get some added capabilities with the 350.  Only you can decide if you need a heavy touring bike.  Like the Ford 350, the heavy touring bike can carry more weight over longer distances.

I would classify the Norwester as a light weight touring bike, and the Americano as a heavy weight touring bike.  If you are able to spend that much money on a bike, I would get the Americano.  It will be more expensive, but better able to handle anything.  The Norwester could be more nimble, but I doubt you could tell in a test ride.

As for the custom bike experience...

I have buddy who bought a Serotta touring bike for his wife, a friend that bought an Americano, and I recently bought a Waterford Adventure Cycle. For any custom bike, your experience will depend on the dealer.  

The Serotta fits its rider really well, but was a disappointment on many levels.  The dealer knew nothing about touring bikes, but liked working with Serotta.  Serotta thought they could just add brazons to a frame and it would all work.

The Co-Motion Americano was a total success for its owner.  He worked directly through the factory.  I think you need an experienced dealer to get all the details right, but that is your decision.  At least with a dealer, you have someone to scream at when there is a complication.

My Waterford Adventure Cycle was a total success for me.  The dealer did an amazing job on getting a frame that fits me.  I am very happy with all of the component choices we made.  For start to end, it took 7 months.

Danno
Danno

Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008, 03:44:38 pm »
Thank you for your input. Let's hope that the Co-motion Americano doesn't handle and ride like a Ford 350 truck. However I do understand your anology. I will look into Waterford as well. Which frame did you end up purchasing? What size wheels? Tell me about some of the components you chose. Thanks Bob




Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008, 04:02:28 pm »
Thanks for the info. I have been riding the Cannondale for awhile. I pretty much know the fit.
It rode a harsher than a steel bike. Newer geometry may fix this.

I liked the new Cannondale and I rode one. I was concerned the insurance company said they did not want to repair aluminum and was worried about the stuctural integrity of the frame, if hit by a car. I also wasn't thrilled with the color selection. White and jungle green. I could blend in with the vegetation in Costa Rica.

My dealer is pushing me to go with Co-motion.
When spending $4000 plus, I would like to ride the Norwester and the Americano and then decide which one I liked better. I may get a chance to ride a Norwester Tour after Thanksgiving.


Offline paddleboy17

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2008, 06:54:07 pm »
The Waterford Adventure Cycle replaced a Bianchi Volpe.  My biggest issue with the Volpe was frame flex.  The frame was Reynolds 520, which may not have been a good choice for a touring frame.  I might also add that there are things about me that lead to frame flex.  At your weight, I don't think frame flex is a going to be a problem for you.

My bike expectations were set by a trip 8 years ago to Cape Breton Island.  So I wanted low gearing for hauling stuff up and east coast mountain and a braking solution for descending down once I am up there.  I also wanted a lugged frame because they are really pretty.  You hear stories about how you should buy a steel frame so that when your frame cracks in Mongolia, the local welder can fix it for you.  In all likely hood, the local welder does not have a clue how to weld thin walled exotic chromoly tubing.  They might know how to silver solder though.

I really took advantage of the custom frame.  My Waterford has rear spacing for a tandem wheel.  It has cantilever brake bosses, and a rear disk brake that can be used as a drag brake.  The actuator is a down tube shifter.  Component wise, the bike is all Shimano XT except for the crank which is Shimano LX (XT has an aluminum small ring and a carbon fiber middle chain ring, both of which I thought were stupid).  I also went with White Industries hubs, and the same 700C dymo rims that Co-Motion uses.  I might add that tandem wheels are really expensive.  My delivery price was $5200.  Waterford supplies a frame (and fork if you want one), and both were $2200.  The other $3000 was for everything else, including Tubus racks.

When all was said and done, the Waterford rides similar to the Bianchi Volpe, only it fits me a lot better, and it is delitefully stiff under load.  My other road bike is an old Series 3 Paramount, and it rides differently than the Bianchi and the Waterford.  My dealer did some magic when he worked up the frame specs for the Waterford.

I really do think that the ride on the two Co-Motion frames will be the same.  I still think for the money, you might as well get the stronger frame and tandem wheels that come on the Americano.

I also think that if you are easy to fit, that you should consider spending that money on getting both a long wheel base touring bike and a short wheel base critereumn bike.  That will cover both touring and rec riding.  

So you have lots of possibilities for your budget.

Waterford also does a tig welded frame if that is what you like.  Indepenent Fabrication is another frame builder that you should consider.  So are Bruce Gordon (steel) and Litespeed (titaniam).  I did not like Rivendell, but they are popular too.

How do you feel about your dealer?  

Danno
Danno

Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2008, 07:27:48 am »
Danno,

Thank you so much for your excellent feedback. I always loved the Canadian Maritimes but have not bike toured it. My brother-in-law, Bill Taylor, biked toured there years ago said it was not easy. He went to the U of M. I graduatef from OSU and try not to hold that against him. We use to vacation in Bar Harbor Maine and go over to Halifax, NS.

Thank you for the info on your Waterford. I will investigate them further. I believe they are out of Wisconsin. I also did speak to Bruce Gordon. He is an interesting guy who knows his craft well.

The reason I was leaning towards the Co-Motion was that my local dealer has worked with them and has had great success and feedback.

He is trying to get me into a Norwester Tour but I want a real "heavy duty" touring bike. He thinks the ride will be too sluggish and heavy. If it goes faster than my Breezer Uptown, then I will be happy. The Americano may fit the bill. I like to do self supporting tours. I am use to a longer wheelbase bike, in the Cannondale Tourer, and it is fine with me.

I also am a fan of tandem wheels and spacing. It would give me a third wheel or other braking options like I have on my Santana Tandem. I wish I could correspond with your friend who purchased an Americano. If that is possible please let me know.

Fit and comfort are very important and if I get as close to your success, I will be happy.

As to my dealer, top notch, very friendly and professional. I know his dad better than him. He came over from Cuba in 1949 and built up quite a business.
My only concern is, they like most dealers, are not versed in touring bikes and touring in general.

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Bob


Offline bagoh20

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008, 12:38:52 pm »
My LHT size is a 56 with 700c rims I think.  It comes ready to tour.  You need all the normal accessories, but nothing really needs changed out.  I opted for a Brooks B17 saddle, which I love.  Incidentally, I had a nice foamy saddle with another foam slip over on top of it because my crotch was always sore.  I'm talking 3" of foam.  That all did nothing to help.  The Brooks saddle with no cushioning material at all is much more comfortable and I have no more pain.  One of those great designs like the paper clip that just can't be improved.


Offline paddleboy17

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008, 03:41:14 pm »
You have not said if you are up for the custom frame or not.  If you go for that, then this is where the dealer has a chance to be a real magician.

It looks like there is only a $300 price difference between the Norwester and the Americano.  To get a symetrically built rear wheel and stiffer frame for $300 seems like an easy decision to make.

The geometry on both bikes should be the same, so  the dealer only has to get the fit right.  Could be a big if, as either Co_Motion is not a zippy fast race bike.  You are supposed to sit upright and the emphasis is cumfort.  So you may have to keep the dealer honest here.

The basic component from the factory are good, so the dealer has nothing to screw up here.

My buddy with the Americano is visiting relatives, I will see if can exchange email addresses when he gets back.

Danno
Danno

Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008, 07:25:52 pm »
I have a Brooks Professional. It is about 15 years young. I have stretched it out and conditioned it, and once broken in has served me well, but I fear it is at the end of it's life. You are the third person, I have come in contact with who raves about the Brook B-17. I will have to give it some serious thought. I really liked the Surly LHT. My problem with the Surly is I am truly a 54c which would require 26 inch tires. I could go up to a 56c but I will have to check the fit. The 56c top tube is a little long, it could be adjusted in stem length and the position of the saddle. I rode one and think it was great. Very smooth and comfy. My dealer is trying to get me into a custom frame Co-Motion. We will see. Depends on how much the insurance pays. What extra's did you add to get your bike ready to tour? Thanks again for the feedback. Happy Thanksgiving  Bob


Offline Tourista829

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2008, 11:05:18 pm »
I really have to wait for the insurance company to come back. I would like a custom frame but may have to consider other options. I am leaning towards the Americano. I know I will kick myself if I listen to my dealer. He has a bug about the Norwester Tour but does not have much experience about touring. He is getting two in next week for another customer. I will get a chance to look at them, possibly ride one. I know the grade of steel is better and lighter weight on the Norwester Tour. There are differences in the geometry and 16.7" chainstays are not as good as 18". I will make the final decision.

My mission is to have a comfortable more upright bike, built like a tank, capable of gong very long distances, loaded, with good heal clearance,and with a minimum of repairs. Stability and good braking are also critical especially on long descents fully loaded. I also know that with either Co-Motion, frame flex wil not be an issue. Speed is not paramount on a heavier longer wheel based bike but I don't want a total dog either.  

My continuing dialogue, do I really need the S&S Couplers? I think they would come in handy. I wonder how much I would use them.

For an extra $100 I can get disk brakes. What do you think? Too much extra weight, more complexity to go wrong with? I can tell you the brakes on the Surly was not good, and it was not loaded.

I was using STI's before accident, leaning towards them. However, I have had maintenance issues with them. They go out of sync I have to adjust cable tension or the stops. Using friction shifting, for a backup until I get to camp and can work on the bike may not be a bad idea. I have barcons on my Santana tandem. It is a toss up.

Thank you for your willingness to contact your friend when he gets back. I would love to write to him, if he is receptive.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input. You and others are helping me fine tune what is important to me and I am getting closer. Once I get the bike, I want to focus on the sights and riding, not the bike. If this was a Surly LHT, I'd buy it assembled for $1095, add a few things and if I made a mistake no big deal. Spend close to 5K on a bike, it better be near perfect.

You like paddling, I like airplanes. No matter what I read and what people say, I would not buy one or build one without getting to understand the flight characteristics of it. Now I realize, comparing an airplane to a bicycle may not be fair but both have important implications to health, comfort and safety.

FYI, I will call Waterford on Monday.

Have a good Thanksgiving

Bob


Offline whittierider

Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2008, 01:09:42 am »
Quote
My continuing dialogue, do I really need the S&S Couplers? I think they would come in handy. I wonder how much I would use them.

They add a lot of expense, but they're the only way you'll get the bike on smaller planes and on Greyhound.  I don't have S&S, but it sure looks attractive to me.

I'd skip the disc brakes.  Machined rim braking surfaces and the right brake pad compound will give you good braking even in the wet.  Our tandem's braking with mini-V's is excellent even when we're in water deep enough to cover the bottom of the wheel.