Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: Tourista829 on November 23, 2008, 05:33:55 am

 
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 23, 2008, 05:33:55 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

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: bagoh20 on November 23, 2008, 11:09:25 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.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 23, 2008, 11:24:55 am
Thanks, what size is yours? What size rims? Do you like them? Any additional items to add?

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: driftlessregion on November 23, 2008, 10:26:42 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.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: RussellSeaton on November 24, 2008, 09:54:17 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.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on November 24, 2008, 12:29:19 pm
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
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 24, 2008, 05:44:38 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



Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 24, 2008, 06:02:28 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.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on November 24, 2008, 08:54:07 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
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 26, 2008, 09:27:48 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

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: bagoh20 on November 26, 2008, 02:38:52 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.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on November 26, 2008, 05:41:14 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
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 26, 2008, 09:25:52 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

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 27, 2008, 01:05:18 am
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

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: whittierider on November 27, 2008, 03:09:42 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.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 27, 2008, 10:30:10 am
Thanks for the input. I will go with the S&S couplers. I wonder how much disassembling it requires?
Then I suppose a hard case is inorder. Logistics on a long trip must be a nightmare. (Where do I ship the case to) I guess one could ship it to a motel to hold or carry a soft case. We have a tandem, can't imgine how to travel with it. Next Tandem couplers a must.

On our tandem, we have a simple third brake. Arai drum with an old index thumb shifter. When loaded up and descending down hills we dial it in. Works well.
You are probably correct about the disk brakes on an Americano. My dealer felt I should consider it since the upgrade price is only $100.00. I asked if any of them have ever gone touring. 100% said never. I had asked six people. This is reflective of most shops in Tampa that are within a reasonable distance from my home. I like working with them because I know they will stand behind everything we do. I can not say that about every shop. I also like the free lifetime tuneups and their exchange program. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving.



Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on December 01, 2008, 12:35:45 pm
My buddy with the Americano ordered his bike with S&S couplers.  They have been a mixed blessing.  Yes you can ship the bike for a lot less.  Yes you can take it on an airplane.  Yes shipping is really expensive.  So couplers help with all that.  If you envision lots of shipping, then get the couplers as they will save you shipping costs.  There is a down side to couplers--the couplers can come loose.  So you have to check them every ride.  Here is what the Americano owner did.  Once he got the coupler tight, he put a hash line across the top of the couplers.  If the has marks line up, the coupler is tight.  I don't remember if he scratched the marks or did it with a pencil.

I ordered my Waterford with cantilevers as the primary braking system.  Here is my rationiale:  I was concerned that sudden application of disk brakes would shear spokes on a loaded touring bike.  Cantilever and linear pull brakes have their issues too.  Sustained braking will heat up the rims, and the rims could overheat and dimount the tire.  The brake pads could also glaze.  East coast mountains are straight up and straight down, and present a problem for cantilever and linear pull brakes on a touring bike.

My Waterford has a secondary disk brake on the rear, to act as a drag brake for mountain descents.  It is gradually applied, so I don't have to worry about shearing spokes, and I still have my primary brakes for added stopping power.

Waterford will do any kind of custom framework you want, as long as you agree to pay for the setup charges.  The extra bosses for the disk brake had a $200 set up charge (the actuator is a down tube shifter, and it needs a boss too).

Was this all overkill?  I would have loved to have had the setup on a trip to Cape Breton Island.  In the summer of '07 I was charting a trip in Pennsylvania that followed the old Pennsylvania Canal, and I would want that setup on 12% grades.

You West Coast riders have switch backs on your mountains, and probably don't have to worry about your brakes.

Danno
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: whittierider on December 01, 2008, 01:51:33 pm
Quote
There is a down side to couplers--the couplers can come loose.

According to the dozens of reviews at http://www.sandsmachine.com/coment_o.htm , they don't creak, flex, or come loose.  I was on the T@H tandem forum for years and kept hearing people rave about the S&S couplers and they always said the same thing, so I have to wonder if the Americano owner you mention was doing something wrong.
Quote
You West Coast riders have switch backs on your mountains, and probably don't have to worry about your brakes.

I've climbed a lot of roads in the 10-20% range in California, but they're always out-of-the-way roads.  I understand Colorado limits the roads to something like 6% because they don't want cars sliding off in the ice.


Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 01, 2008, 01:54:33 pm
Thanks for the input and the link.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: MRVere on December 01, 2008, 02:26:48 pm
Tourista829,
If I didn't know any better, I'd think I was the one writing your post.  I am in very much the same position as you. I am waiting for a settlement for a work injury and have been looking long and hard at heavy duty touring bikes. I'm 225lbs right now.  Gained alot of weight from bad back and not working.  Hope to get down to 200 pretty some with 180 or so my goal. LOL. The Americano is at the top of my list right now. Waterford and Independent Fabrications are #2 and #3.  I'd love to talk to you more about Co-Motion and touring in general. I don't know if my email showsa up on this post of not.  Let me know if not and I'll get it to you.  Hope to hear from you soon>  Michael

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 01, 2008, 05:58:37 pm
Michael,

I was very happy with my Cannondale until it took a direct hit from a car. They advised not trying to repair aluminum. I think this time around, I may go for a steel bike. My dealer suggested the Co-Motion. He wants me to go with a NorWester Touring Bike, but I am leaning more towards an Americano. I haven't ruled out the Cannondale or even a Surly Long haul Trucker. It all depends on the settlement.

Paddleboy17 likes his Waterford. He has been extremely helpful. I think it is even more than the Co-Motion. I will call them. The reason that I am leaning towards the Co-Motion is my excellent dealer support. He has reduced the price, free lifetime tune ups, and an exchange program if I want to trade up. I want the support. Others are happy to go direct to the company. I am trying to locate an Americano, close to my size that I could test ride prior to purchase. He is getting in two Norwesters this week.

I am doing a little light touring but my knee's, lower back and shoulder are still hurting. We will see what the insurance company will do. If you would like to write my email address is:  
        robertschneck@tampabay.rr.com

FYI, I started this year close to 220 and am now down to between 157-161. I am 5'9" and 57 yrs. Also lost 18% in body fat. Prior to the accident, I was really doing well especially on my long distance riding. I have a program that really works and is not a diet. It does involve portion control, reduce fat %, and exercise. If interested, let me know.

Bob

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: DaveB on December 01, 2008, 06:03:55 pm
Quote
There is a down side to couplers--the couplers can come loose.  So you have to check them every ride.

That's not correct.  If you torque them properly they do not loosen ever.  I have a Co-motion Co-Pilot (a single bike) with S&S couplers and once they are tightened they never loosen on their own. I do check them periodically but they never need to be tightened once they are assembled.  

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 01, 2008, 07:31:29 pm
You are the second person with a favorable comment. How tough is it to break the bike down and reassemble it? When touring, what do you do with the case? Ship it home or send it to a future location, ie, motel to hold? Bob

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on December 02, 2008, 12:49:55 pm
I did not want to start an argument over if couplers can come loose or not.  My point was, here is this cool thing you can do with a coupler to give you a visual indication if the coupler ever loosens up.  I think we all can agree that a loosened coupler would be really bad.  

A Co-Motion Americano frame and fork is $1835.  A Waterford Adventure Cylcle TIG welded frame and fork is $1750, and a lugged frame and fork is $2150.  So the frames are comparably priced, but you can buy a fully kitted bike from Co-Motion.  I am sure that Co-Motion buys their kit parts directly from the manufacturers.  Your Waterford dealer puts the kit together, and he has to buy from QBP or some other distributor.  A fully assembled Americano will be cheaper than a similarly equipped  Adventure Cycle.

I almost bought an Americano.  I live in the Detroit area.  The Waterford dealer is in Hazel Park, and the Co-Motion dealer is in Ann Arbor, and I live halfway between either.  I had an existing relationship with the Waterford dealer, so I went with the Waterford dealer.  We did review the kit list for the Americano in chosing parts for my Waterford.

If you can swing the Co-Motion, I am sure you will be happy with it.  I don't know anyone that owns an LHT, but my dealer sells a lot of them.

Danno
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: MRVere on December 02, 2008, 02:40:10 pm
From what I heard/read, the S&S couplers actually make the frame more rigid than a frame without them.  And, I have never heard of them getting lose.  You could always use a medium strength "loc-tite" on them. You could still get them apart when needed.  As for STI versus Bar-Ends, I've always thought, WHY NOT BOTH. If the bike is spec'd with bar-ends and you are thinking about STI you might get a credit of $40-$50 to upgrade. So just keep the bar-ends installed in the bars with cables removed, use STI's and if you have a major failure just pull a set of cables out of you bag and installl them on the barends. VIOLA.  You could even use one bar-end as a drag brake controller while using the STI's.  All you would need is a clamp-on stop for the cable or even have one brazed on while building a new frame.
What do you all think?

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: whittierider on December 02, 2008, 04:22:57 pm
Quote
and you are thinking about STI you might get a credit of $40-$50 to upgrade

Dura Ace bar-end shifters cost about $75.  Down-tube shifters are $10-15 less.  Simple brake levers are about $30.  STI levers however start at around $200 or $250 and go up to $500.  There are of course eBay and super-sale exceptions; but on new bikes, most people don't realize how much of the price of the price of the bike is right there in those brifters.  Having both kinds of shifters is an interesting idea, but adding STI will definitely cost a lot more than $50.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: DaveB on December 02, 2008, 07:18:26 pm
Quote
You are the second person with a favorable comment. How tough is it to break the bike down and reassemble it? When touring, what do you do with the case? Ship it home or send it to a future location, ie, motel to hold? Bob

Disassembling and packing an S&S bike is about a 30 minute job if you are experienced and a lot longer the first few times.  The actual couplers come apart in seconds and, assuming you have cable splitters for the shift cables and rear brake, they disconnect very quickly too.  You also have to remove the pedals, rear derailleur (let it hang from its cable)and the bars/stem assembly.

The slow part is padding each frame tube with the Velcro-fastened padded wrap that comes with an S&S equipped bike.  Cutting them to custom length for each tube the first time takes quite a while but you only do that once.  

Once the padding is in place, the various parts are placed into the case in a specified order.  The tires of a 700c bike have to be deflated (not removed) to get the wheels in and the whole case closed on the resulting jig-saw puzzle.

Reassembly is a bit faster but still a 20-30 minute job. Be sure to pack a good frame pump or strong mini-pump.  The Topeak Road Morph pumps are particularly good for this.  

I've never traveled point-to-point with my bike so the case remains at my starting point and I pick it up for the return trip or I just take day trips. I use mine only for vacation and business trips.

I think if I were going to tour so that I couldn't return to the start, I'd either not bother with the couplers and pack the bike in a cardboard bike shipping box from an LBS or disassemble it but use a disposable packing carton that was smaller than a bike box.

Note to MRVere: NEVER Loctite the couplers.  S&S recommends a teflon based high-pressure DuPont grease which works very well and absolutely prevents seizing and galling of the coupler threads.  As I said above, tighten them properly and they stay tight until you want to uncouple them.  

This message was edited by DaveB on 12-2-08 @ 4:23 PM
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: MRVere on December 03, 2008, 07:22:51 pm
Thanks for the info on using, or rather NOT using, any type of loc-tite.  I got and therefore gave bad info.
As far as the STI upgrade, I didn't mean the upgrade would cost $40-$50.  I meant that if the new bike has Dura-Ace Bar ends and you are thinking about upgrading to STI, KEEP the bar ends rather than trade them in for STI because you would not get very much ie. 40-50 at the most in trade in value for the bar ends. Then just buy STI's. And yes STI's are very expensive.
Thanks for keeping me straight.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: cyclesafe on December 05, 2008, 05:53:15 pm
I have 12k miles on my disk brake and STI equipped Americano Co-Pilot (S&S couplers).

A disk brake for the front wheel allows for sure stopping while barreling downhill with heavily loaded front panniers.  Yes, they weigh a bit more but so what.  They are easy to adjust and brake pads are readily available.

S&S's plus the bag are really too costly in today's airline fee environment.  If I were to do it again, I'd forgo the couplers and use a bike box instead.  Figuring out what to do with the bag before you start your trip is a PITA.  Actually, for my last trip, I just used the bike box and paid the fee.

STI couplers are for sure more complicated than bar end friction shifters, but they have never caused me any trouble.  Tuning for cable stretch is no big deal.

After selling my carbon bike, I bought a 11-21 cassette and 28mm tires for my Americano to use while not touring.  OK, I now have a heavy road bike, but I smoke just about everybody but the Lance wannabes along Pacific Coast Highway here in San Diego.

I think the choice between the Americano and the Norwester really hinges on whether you think that your touring will challenge the latter.  If you are a clydesdale, carry more than 50 lbs in panniers, AND will find yourself on rough roads, the Americano might be the better choice.  OTOH, if most of your time riding will be unloaded on asphalt, the Norwester might be the better option.    

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: driftlessregion on December 06, 2008, 10:53:52 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. "

After 30 years on a Brooks Pro I bought a B-17. It broke down in 2 years so I put back on the old Pro for 2 more years. I bought a new  titanium Pro weeks before the price went up (yea!) and will ride it until I die probably.

If my frame wasn't 64 cm I would definitely have had Waterford build it with S&S. Mine won't fit in the box.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on December 07, 2008, 03:10:16 pm
Tourista829 wrote: "...He is getting two in next week for another customer. I will get a chance to look at them, possibly ride one."

Hello Bob, I highly doubt the dealer will let you test ride someone's bike like that.  I mean, if I dropped over $4k on a bike, waited nearly 3 months for it and then
found out the dealer let some other customer take it for a test ride, I'd be a little pissed, but that's just me.  You're better off doing some research, asking a lot of
questions, and then take the plunge. Call Co-motion direct and see what they say.  :)

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on December 11, 2008, 06:21:57 am
Oddly enough my wife and I picked up two NorWester Tour Co-Pilots last night.   ;)

We plan on doing a short (~140 round trip) fully loaded (tent, stove, sleeping bags, etc...) two nighter this weekend. However, last night we rode them around the
neighborhood (unloaded) and mine felt very solid and smooth. Of course, this was around the block and unloaded, so we'll see how they feel once we're on them for a
couple hours with a load. After this weekend I'll be able to give a better report. Both bikes weighed in with racks & fenders installed at 28.03 and 28.04 pounds.

It's been a long journey just to get to this point, but I'm sure we're going to enjoy these bikes for several years!

Many thanks to my LBS and Co-Motion for helping us put this together. The bikes look freaking AWESOME!!!

Stay tuned for the full report...

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 11, 2008, 06:51:19 am
Congratulations, you certainly did your homework. I actually saw your bikes. They looked awesome!! Were you colors pearlized? You can not appreciate how beautiful the Comotions look and attention to detail, until you actually see them. I realized for my weight, type of touring I will be doing, and the clearance for SKS fenders/Tubus racks, the Norwester Tour may be the way to go. I appreciate your update and look forward to your further reports:)

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 11, 2008, 07:10:27 am
Sorry this took so long to send back. My Apologies, you are correct and I agree with you. If there is interest, I would like to correspond with you by email. My address is: robertschneck@earthlink.net. As you know by my posts, I am about to decide on either a Comotion or Surly LHT. Due to my accident, I thought I would replace my bike with the Surly, get better, and purchase the Comotion later. However, by the time I upgrade the crank, handlebars, and a few other things the Comotion is pretty much within range. I am looking for racks and panniers and have narrowed them down to Tubus, Arkel, and Ortlieb. Any feedback, would be appreciated.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on December 11, 2008, 08:25:12 pm
Hello Bob,

No worries, it's all good; however, I would have been a little upset if Manny let you ride my bike without my ok and I'm sure you & everyone else can understand that.  

Yes we went with the Pearl colors (TruBlue & Cinnamon), Tubus racks (rear = Cargo, front = Tara),a full setup of Ortleib panniers (rear = Bike Packer Plus, front = Front Roller Plus, & handlebar = Ultimate Plus w/ map case), & SKS P-45 ChromoPlastics fenders. Next week we'll be taking them back over to UBC, so Manny can put them on display for a couple weeks and hopefully snag a few more people into the touring world. They'll be setup complete with panniers installed and our Bob Ibex trailer, so you can get a good look at them then. No rides though! ;)

Next week I'll post up a link to some photos of our little trip from this weekend.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 11, 2008, 10:34:21 pm
Thanks for understanding and the information. We know you will have a blast. Manny Jr. is great. When we came by yesterday, Manny Sr. was having a melt down. It didn't matter, our mouths dropped when we saw your bikes. Drop dead gorgeous!

I am in the final stages of deciding on a touring bike. I would be very interested in your evaluation, when you do your fully loaded shake down tour. If you ever want to do some touring let us know. Regards Bob & Dottye :)

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on December 14, 2008, 10:29:31 am
The bikes seem to ride great with a decent load; however, the BOB Ibex trailer has to go! I barely had anything in it (gallon of water, 1.5 liter of wine, 2 Therm-a-Rest Pro 4 rolls, 1 pair of shoes) and it made the whole bike wobble. Noticable while sitting and extremely noticable when standing to stretch, almost uncontrolable! BOB says it's rated to 75 lbs but .... there is no way I'd try that.

Anyone have any thoughts about the trailer issue?

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 14, 2008, 06:27:08 pm
I have a trailer. It is a Nashbar that I purchased for next nothing. I use it for touring and errands. It has a capacity of 45 pounds max. I used it for a trip from Sunrise to Wesley Chapel. It worked fine. Very stable and I never knew it was there. Weight 38 pounds + trailer. I find I have to do a couple of things to work with my bike. It must be balanced, front to back and side to side. Couplers at hub equal distance. It works best between 45-85% weight capacity. It would feel more stable with a wider handle bar. I need a 44c. I never felt stable hunking up hills with the trailer.

Jack Goertz, of Tandems Ltd., Birmingham , Ala.
(205) 991-5519. He is a Comotion dealer for single and tandems and tours with a Burley Nomad two wheel trailer. He has been doing this for 25+ years, very knowledgeable, nice guy, and could help you. I may purchase my next tandem from him. (We have a Santana)

How do you like your Ortlieb bags? I am also in need of new bags. I like the Ortliebs, compact, clean looking, and should provide enough wheel clearance. My older Kirklands had lots of outside pockets. Manny say I could purchase an additional small bag to attach to the outside.

Manny is great!!! He found a custom show bike, Norwester Tour, that may fit me. It is a 54c with a 53c top tube. I am close to purchasing one and would like to talk to you. If interested, my mobile # is (813) 598-6741.  
Thank you for your forum updates, they have been very helpful. We are glad you both are enjoying your new bikes. Bob & Dottye

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on December 14, 2008, 09:38:52 pm
Hello Bob,

I'll try and give you a ring this week sometime. Right now we are still in Inverness camping, but we'll be riding home tomorrow. I took another look at the trailer today and noticed the rear end was a little loose, so I'm thinking that may be the issue. I tightened everything up today, so we'll see tomorrow how it handles. We really like the Ortliebs. They have plenty of room and yes you can order the pockets that attach to the outside of the panniers. I am carrying my MSR fuel bottle in one and bike repair stuff (tubes, patches, tools, air, etc...)in the other.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 14, 2008, 10:30:05 pm
Ron,

Wheel alighnment on bike, bike trailer, everything equadistant, tight, proper weight distribution, and correct tire pressures. Also keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Thanks for the info on the Ortliebs. Have fun and ride safely. Look forward to talking to you. Regards, Bob

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: don quixote on December 16, 2008, 10:17:20 pm
Amercano. You will not regret it. It is about as bomb proof as they come and certainly nimble enough. If you plan on flying with it, check the current extra airline charges for a bike (wow!!) then get the S and S couplers, but skip the Co-Motion soft case and get the S and S 10" edge pull hard case" with 4 compression members and the mesh bag. http://www.sandsmachine.com/ac_hard.htm If I am flying in and out of different cities, I just Fed-Ex Ground ship the empty case to the final city (friend, motel, bike shop, whatever). Co-Motion has a free fit kit instructions which worked well for me. Don't worry about never having ridden one. Here are 2 other articles to look at: http://www.sandsmachine.com/m_ac_1.htm and http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources/comotion.pdf

George
San Diego
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: centrider on December 24, 2008, 10:53:12 pm
I've owned a Norwes'ter co-pilot for about 3 years.  I bought it through a dealer which was able to put me on a bike measuring tool (for lack of a name).

This is the bike I call my, "Go Anywhere, Do Anything" bike.

It is the bike I take on trips which involve flying as I can pack it into a standard size suitcase.

Wait!  There's more!  I've done light touring (7L Carradice Barley bag and small Acorn handlebar bag.)

I've used tires from 25 mm to 35mm on it.  I've put it on roads and rail-trail conversions.

And More!  Because the bike has cable disconnects, I'm able to easily change for drop bars to flat.  I'm considering putting 'cross levers on the drop bars for the coming year.

I got a lot of bike for my 4 grand +.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 26, 2008, 02:04:56 pm
Yes you did get a lot of bike for the money! I purchased a Norwester Tour Custom. It was a show bike that they had at the bike show in Las Vegas. It was a custom frame 54c with a 53c top tube. Fit should be perfect, price was right, and I don't have to wait 8 to 12 weeks. It should be at my lbs early next week. Unfortunately, it does not have S&S but Bilenky in Pa. does it as a retro fit for maybe $450. So if I start traveling again, I will do it. Thanks to Robenne for ordering two beautiful Norwesters, that he has on display, at our local bike shop, I will get the Tubus racks. I still not sure which bags I will go with. I like the Ortleibs but I am use to bags with outside pockets. I like waterproof/resistant, clean lines, big reflectors, and may not need the raincovers on the Ortliebs. The color grey is perfect to go with my lusty red bike. "Sort of" an Ohio State undergrad color scheme. I plan to take it on a trip to Bradenton, Fl. between Xmas and New Years, approximately 135-150 miles round trip. My girlfriend and I plan to ride from St. Augustine to the Florida Keys on the Adventure Cycling route. Thank you for your input and send me a picture of your bike. Please have a happy and safe riding New Year.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: centrider on December 27, 2008, 10:33:02 am
Sounds like you got a good one.  I think that the NW is less a touring bike and more a road, tho mine came with the Shimano XTR grupo.

Now I'm looking to put 'cross levers on the drop bars.

I'm looking to do the the top half of the UGRR this summer supported by my wife.

I'd send a pict but don't know where to send it.

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on December 27, 2008, 11:08:28 am
Centrider - do you own the NorWester Tour or just the NorWester? I don't want to disagree with you, but my NorWester Tour handles nothing
like my road bike. I've only done one weekend trip so far on mine, but I estimate I was carrying about 65 lbs of crap plus me and the bike
handled very, very nice. In fact, if I didn't have to return home and to my job, I would have just kept going and going. There is no way I could
have done this with my Merlin, which is designed for very long road rides and/or credit card touring.

Tourista829 (aka Bob) - Thank you for the compliments. They do look a lot better in person, setup with the bags and trailer. Did Manny show
you the pics of the clearance between the Toe/Heel & panniers? There's plenty of room unless your sport'in a size 14" foot! :-)

 (http://gallery.me.com/ron.petra/100363/100_3805/web.jpg)


(http://gallery.me.com/ron.petra/100363/100_3812/web.jpg)


(http://gallery.me.com/ron.petra/100363/100_3849/web.jpg)

This message was edited by robenne on 12-27-08 @ 8:09 AM
Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on December 27, 2008, 12:05:27 pm
Ron,

Yes he did and I was glad that there was clearance on both ends. (toe and heal) What a great picture!! I like your racks and choice of bags.

How did you make out with your trailer? I thought of two other things that may help with the shimmy. Check your connections and torque with nuts and bolts. They must be tight and all there. The second thing I found is, that I usually tour with either bags or my trailer. When I am not balanced correctly side to side or front to back with both trailer and bags I do experience some shimmy. I am going to check with Manny to see if I can add a dual kickstand, where a kickstand usually goes. It weighs a little more but it may hold my trailer upright when I stop. I worry about breaking the pins. (I always keep extra ones on me)  

I should get my bike this week. Can't wait! We are trying a couple of new saddles from Terry. Liberator X & Y. They say for touring, in a more upright position, very comfortable. So far not all that comfortable. I am use to a Brooks Professional and my girlfriend a Serfas womans saddle. I have 30 days to test the Terry. The saddles on your new bikes, are they stock from Comotion or are they aftermarket? How do you like them?  

I will take my bike to our friends house off of Route 64 in Bradenton and back to Wesley Chapel. Approximately 135-150 miles. I will use my trailer until I figure out my touring bag situation. It should be very educational.

Although I had been advised to go with the Americano, I believe at my weight and the type of riding I will be doing, the Norwest Tour will be more than adequate.

Just got two maps from Adventure Cycling of Florida. Maps are great, easy to read, bicycle touring oriented, and have lots of detail. Can't wait to use them. If I had more time, I would consider a transcontinental trip or the new Underground Railroad route from Mobile to Owen Sound Ontario, Canada. I have toured in Europe but not that much in the U.S.

I know you have been busy. I would still like to talk to you, if interested 813 598-6741. Happy New Year  Bob

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: ondowntheroad on January 01, 2009, 07:16:44 pm
I own a Norwester and am planning to use it on the Trans Am this summer. There is not actually that much difference between the Norwester and the Americano provided you have the tour model of the Norwester. The Americano is a little stronger for extreme conditions - dirt roads and super heavy riders and loads.If you are an average size rider and carry less than 60 lbs, the Norwester should be fine. I have put 5000 miles on mine and it hasn't been to the bike shop once. I do not have the SS couplers - didn't think it justified the cost. I usually box and ship my bike UPS - never had any problems. I think most people fret a little too much over equipment choices. I think it is better to be familiar with what you have before the tour begins so you don't have any surprises.Co Motion is a great bike, Surly is a great bike, Waterford is a great bike, Trek 520 is a sturdy performer. Whomever you talk to, they usually always like their bikes. Those that don't are the ones who bought the bike days before the tour and are still making adjustments. So .... buy a good bike then put enough miles on it to become comfortable ....then head off on down the road!!!

Title: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: centrider on January 01, 2009, 07:43:38 pm
Huh.  How did you upload your picts?

I have the tour model (just checked CoMotion's specs, and sure enough).

The problem with this type of communication is that, "nuances" get missed, or never explained.

I have a Giant TCR and you're right, the Nor'wester handles nothing like the TCR.  Unlike you, I've never loaded my bike, leaving it to my wife and the Prius to carry my stuff.

As I've pointed out, the CoMotion has a lot flexibility.  Right now I'm running 32 mil tires.  I've had Schwalbe Marathon XR 35's on it, and down to Conti 25's.

I've been off it since Oct, but rode it today and will probably stay on it through June-July.  

My friends call it, "The Yellow Beast."  But I call it, "My go anywhere-do anything" bike.

Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on January 11, 2009, 05:33:07 pm
I took delivery on my Lucious Red (Burgundy) Norwester Tour this past Monday. I already have 125 miles on it. Yesterday I rode 72.4 miles round trip from my house Wesley Chapel to Plant City and back. I left at 8:15, stopped at Power On Cycling, (great shop for touring gear) had lunch, and was home by 2:15.  The ride was so comfortable, I could have continued riding all the way to San Diego. I like how well it handles, agility and speed. I am looking forward to riding it with full bags or my trailer.

I would like to thank all who have participated, in this forum, for your advise and comments. It was really helpful.
I would also like to thank University Bicycle Center in Tampa, Fl. Manny and his staff were great, I was not the easiest customer to work with. They were there from start to finish.  Manny found me a custom show bike that fit me to a T. I am now considering a Comotion for my girlfriend.

I also would like to thank Robenne and his wife for having their Comotion Norwester Tours on display at our bike shop. I believe looking at their bikes, the workmanship, and components, helped me make my final decision to purchase.

I was concerned about purchasing a bike without having a chance to ride it first. I was wrong, if fit correctly, it is not an issue, atleast not for me.  I believe that for my weight and the type of touring I will be doing, the Norwester Tour was the correct choice. Bob
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: MRVere on January 24, 2009, 01:19:58 am
Congratulations on your new Co-Motion NW.  I'm sure you will love it.  Now, get out there and ride.  I don't want to see you logged in here any more >>>>WINK WINK  Seriously, I am really happy for you.  I had a bit of a back related set back and am unable to sit on a bike and bend forward right now. I have put my little nest(bike) egg away for now.  Right now it's stretching, pain killers and PT for me.

Keep us posted on how you like/change the new bike.

Michael
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on February 20, 2009, 10:52:28 am
525 miles later I still love my Comotion Norwester Tour. It is balanced in so many areas all I want to do is ride it. Very little frame flex when I get out of the saddle and the bike is extremely stable under load. I tested it out Wednesday with 60 + pounds of groceries, including a 28 pound container of cat litter. If it rides that well with only the rear bags, I can't wait to pick up my Tubus Tara racks and ride it with front bags. Longest ride 72 miles in one day started at 8:15 home by 2:15 and stopped at a bike shop and had a very long lunch. It is very fast too. I rode it on 5 miles of hard packed gravel and the 700X32 worked admirably. I truly am blessed to have this bike. I am going to take it out with my trailer, over the weekend. I am curious to see if the double kickstand I have will keep the trailer upright when at rest. Bob
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on February 23, 2009, 09:46:52 am
Michael,

Thanks, for your kind thoughts. I was in a store that sold recumbents and tri's. The folks I spoke to loved them. They would never go back to a regular bike. I was truly amazed, one of the owners, a female, rode in a race and did 170 miles in 12 hours, on a recumbent. Worth a look. They are www.poweroncycling.com. I hope you feel better soon. 
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on February 26, 2009, 12:28:03 am
FYI, I had my first flat today, with the Comotion Norwester Tour. Roofing nails, nasty. I was amazed, how easy the tire came off and went back on. Love the Velocity Dyad Rims. Took me longer to pump the tire up than to change it.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: centrider on February 26, 2009, 01:24:43 am
FYI, I had my first flat today, with the Comotion Norwester Tour. Roofing nails, nasty. I was amazed, how easy the tire came off and went back on. Love the Velocity Dyad Rims. Took me longer to pump the tire up than to change it.

Yep.  An easy bike to fall in love with.  I think however it's the tires also which determine how easy they mount.  And for that matter how strong your fingers are to get those tires on.  Doesn't matter what I'm running on, a tire change takes me 1/2 hour.  So, blame it all on you!  Congrats - also on your new CoMotion.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on February 26, 2009, 09:41:53 am
Thanks, but trust me, I never have been able to change a tire, especially a rear tire, in less than a half an hour without tire irons. In Tampa I will make sure I keep atleast two spare tubes on me. WIth the econmy the way it is, there is no street cleaning and the roads have really deteriorated.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on February 26, 2009, 09:53:54 am
FYI, I couldn't believe my eyes, Walmart actually now sells a 700cX28 tire tube. I think $3.29, I picked up two. LOL
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on March 04, 2009, 12:20:48 pm
I used my Nashbar Trailer* this weekend with my bike. It rode great. It is limited to under 45 pounds but I felt like it was well balanced. I also think that the width of my handlebars helped too. My dealer exchanged out, the ones on the bike, to a 44cm width. It is also a modified shorter rams horn that I really like. The double kickstand actually worked, but used the advise, of a fellow forum participant,  to strape the front tire to the frame. (*I picked up a Nashbar Trailer, bag, and netting for under $100. I wanted to see if I liked it, before I spent $300+ dollars. I know someone who is a welder and beefed it up a little. I could actually live with the 45 pound weight limit)  Since I use panniers more than a trailer, this works for me. Not sure I would trust the Nashbar Trailer for a TA. For Florida and bulky items it is nice. Has any one ridden with a combination of panniers and trailer? I was thinking of that for our tandem.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on March 05, 2009, 10:16:07 pm
Since I have had such good luck with my bike, I am thinking of a Comotion Norwester Tour for my girlfriend. It would have to be custom. She has an 83cm inseem and a short torso/arm length. 112cm  Are there any women out there that have a custom bike either Comotion, Waterford, Sweatpea, etc and how do you like them? Any tips woman specific?
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on March 06, 2009, 12:46:05 pm
I think the critical item is getting a dealer to come up with a fit for her.  The bike companies will basically build whatever frame the dealer can come up with.  Serotta has a test buck for frames, and if you go through a dealer that has the test buck, they can mock up the frame and let your girl friend ride the test buck.  At least my dealer had one, and I found it really useful to confirm what I was getting.  There may be other test bucks besides the one that Serotta makes.  Here is a URL to pics of one:  http://www.serotta.com/fit/history.html (http://www.serotta.com/fit/history.html).

That said, don't buy a Serotta touring bike, as that is just not what they do well.  My dealer (Continental Bikes) sold Waterford, and that is what I bought. (We just used Serotta's test buck).  My dealer does sell Serotta bikes, mostly to people who race or go on club rides.  The dealership was originally owned by Mike Walden, a legendary coach in road racing up until is death in the mid 90's.

General guidelines.  If you get another Co-Motion, you will have common maintenance for both bikes.  You have an existing relationship with a dealer, so maybe you should start there.  Your gal's legs are long enough, 32 inches, that is should be easy to get a frame with enough stand over to support 700c wheels.  I just don't have an appreciation for her torso and arm length to talk much more about fit.  I would be rigid about either giving her the test buck experience or a frame close to that size before I would invest any money with Manny.

My dealer has a sizable client list of Hispanic women, and has placed most of them on Gunnar bikes (Gunnar is a subsidiary of Waterford).  I would get a Waterford over a Gunnar because Gunnar does not have a touring specific bike frame.   I have no idea why there would be a lot of Hispanic women looking for nice bicycles in Detroit, or why all of them go to Continental Bikes.  Life is full of mysteries.

If fit turns out to be a total nightmare...The historical answer has been to look at a Terry.  Georgina Terry stretches the frame out and uses a really long rear wheel stay for a 700C rear and a small (24"?) front.  I don't know if Terry has a touring bike, but maybe there is something woman specific that would work for her.

Good Luck and post details about the shopping experience.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on March 06, 2009, 03:02:06 pm
Her reach is 585mm So technically she needs a 54c frame with a 515mm top tube and a 100mm stem. Comotion's custom frame will fit her. What is neat about the top tube and the stem are, they are on a slant, which brings the combo down to the above dimension.Terry does not make a touring bike. I will check out Waterford. I will probably go for another Comotion. Have you heard of a company called Sweetpea, out of Portland Oregon? Does anyone out there have a bike by this company? They had a feature in Outside Magazine. Hope you are doing well and thanks for the info.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on March 09, 2009, 09:28:36 pm
Paddleboy, thanks for the info. Question, is that your picture? WOW!!!! How did you get a picture in there?
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on March 10, 2009, 12:30:14 pm
No, that's a young Bruce Campbell.  If you go to your profile, there is a way to pick an icon.  Bruce was there, and I have always loved his movies.  We are the same age, but I think I have aged better than he has in some ways  ;)

Good luck stimulating the bike economy...

If you buy a big three car, you could help stimulate Detroit...I think we are worse off than South Florida.   All of are retirees with pensions moved to Florida.  We have had a nastier than usual winter, so I don't think there are any homeless bike people here either. 
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on March 21, 2009, 10:45:16 am
Well here we go again. We were out for a ride, and on a bike path, no less,  with occassional breaks for cars to come out of their housing developments. My girlfriend was ahead of me when a car, runs a stop sign and she hits into the side of the car. She was ok but the bike was totaled. So we are definately in the market for a new bike for her. She is very light 106 or 107 pounds and almost 5' 7". I am thinking of a Comotion Norwester Tour but if any women, out there, are enjoying their bicycles, we would love to hear from you. Thanks Bob P.S. No we do not do this for a living!!! We ride in Florida and that says it all.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: scott.laughlin on April 24, 2009, 12:16:29 pm
I can't add any bike comparisons, but I can vouch for Co-Motion customer relations. 

A few years ago I dropped by their factory in Eugene, Oregon, arriving unannounced.  They dropped what they were doing and took me on a tour.  I saw a few frames that had yet to be painted.  Their attention to detail was impressive. 

My bride and I were looking for a touring tandem.  The cost was of a Co-Motion was beyond what we could afford and I've always regretted that.

Scott
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pax78 on May 31, 2009, 04:13:54 pm
This reply is late, but I just registered....
In 2003, I replaced my totaled 30 year old beloved 10 speed with a Norwester, with couplings. My LBS did a fabulous job, and so did CoMotion. I live in Florida as well. I have over 5000 miles on my CoMotion, and am finally preparing for my first "long" tour this summer (after numerous multiday rides). The couplings are great, easy to use, have never been a problem. I keep my bike indoors, BTW. If you haven't purchased yet and would feel more comfortable seeing (riding?) this bike, send me a message (I think you can do that with this forum?). Oh, I am 5'7 and 122 lbs.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on May 31, 2009, 10:18:13 pm
Too funny I thought I was going to have to search for this thread, so I could post an update about our Co-Motions.

My wife and I are preparing for a trip this summer to Czech, so we've been kind of "training" for it. We will be self supported and camping for most of it, so we will be carrying a lot of gear. This weekend we decided to load up with everything we think we'll need for our Czech tour and head out. Friday night after work we rode 23 miles and camped. Saturday we rode for 32 miles and camped for the night and today (Sunday, right now) we rode back home (55 miles). The idea was to ride, setup camp, sleep, get up, pack, ride, setup, etc... (you get the picture). We rode on nice bike paths, paved roads, side walks, dirt roads and everything in between. I know it was only for the weekend, but it gave us a chance to pack and ride as though we were in Czech. 

With that being said, I have a question and hopefully someone can answer it. Will someone please explain to me why most (virtually all) reviews about the Norwester Tour say it is only good for "Credit Card" or light touring and the only real bike for touring is the Americano? I don't get it! My wife and I have taken ours out twice now, fully loaded (camping gear, cloths, food, water, Macbook, camera, wine, bike lock, etc...) and can't figure out what the problem is? These bikes ride great with a load! I can tell you, I had just over 50lbs on my bike this weekend and my wife had just over 32lbs and to be honest I can't imagine what else we could need and/or could be missing. Is 50lbs considered "Light"?

Anyway thanks for reading.





 
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: damselfli on June 01, 2009, 01:08:23 pm
I am wondering the same thing... maybe depending on road conditions. My Norwester is fitted with pretty decent wheels (heavy duty) and low gears, but I have to admit I haven't been on the 1000-mile tour ... yet!  

You might read this OLD post (from when I was searching for the answer to "which bike" question)...
I hope this link works for you. 
http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=2942.0

Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on June 01, 2009, 09:49:56 pm
Thanks for the response damselfli. Yeah I don't get it. The bike rides great under load, so that is all that matters in my book! :-)

 
Are you in Florida? If so, where?

We're up near Tampa.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on June 02, 2009, 12:14:55 pm
Talking about these two bike can invite criticism.  But I will give you my spin.

Officially, the Americano is a heavy touring bike.  It is really rugged.  Is it too rugged?  I guess it comes down to how rugged do you really need.

The Norwester is a lighter touring bike.  It is not as rugged.  Is it rugged enough?   I guess it comes down to how rugged do you really need.

I picture the Norwester being sold to someone that wants to do a lot of conflicting things.  They still want to do club rides, but their zippy fast criterium bike is not comfortable anymore.  They might want to do light touring.  They don't want to be slowed down by a really rugged touring bike.

For what you spend on a Co-Motion bike, I would get the Americano because it will be rugged enough.  Lots of people see it differently, because they sell lots of Norwesters, and people tour on them, and they are happy with their purchases.

I have a Waterford touring bike that essentially has the same build specs as the Americano.  An ex-girlfriend of mine spent the same amount of money on a Serrotta club bike and got a Ti frame with carbon fiber stays and a really pretty paint job.  Rugged is really expensive.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on June 02, 2009, 01:17:49 pm
Talking about these two bike can invite criticism.
  {scratching my head} Why?

I can't speak anyone else, but I bought my Norwester to tour and tour only (the US and Europe). I have my Merlin for everything else. ;-)

When I hear the words "Credit Card" touring, I picture a cute little day bag with a change of cloths and nothing else. All I'm saying is, I've loaded the bike down and it seems to ride great, so I don't know why the reviews say it is only good for Credit Card touring. Seems to be a little misleading.

I suppose if I was a bit heavier, I too would have gone with the Americano, but why had the extra pounds when it's not needed?
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: staehpj1 on June 02, 2009, 01:29:00 pm
How heavy is the Americano?
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on June 02, 2009, 10:22:47 pm
Co Motion does not publish specs.  I would expect the weight difference between the two frames to be less than a pound, and the weight difference between the two bikes to be less than 5 pounds.  Most of the weight difference is in the frame and the wheels.   The beefier wheels of the Americano will also slow accelleration.

I still have my Paramount, and she is nimble and fast.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: staehpj1 on June 03, 2009, 07:03:12 am
Thanks for the guess on the Americano's weight.  It sounds overbuilt for general touring with moderate loads.  I guess it depends on where and how you tour though.  On rough roads with heavy loads it might be just the ticket.  Personally I'd rather keep the load light enough to not require such a sturdy mount.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: RussSeaton on June 03, 2009, 10:05:01 am
Thanks for the guess on the Americano's weight.  It sounds overbuilt for general touring with moderate loads.  I guess it depends on where and how you tour though.  On rough roads with heavy loads it might be just the ticket.  Personally I'd rather keep the load light enough to not require such a sturdy mount.

I would also guess the frame weight difference between the Americano and Northwestern to be less than a pound.  I suspect they use tubes maybe .1 or .2 mm thicker on the Americano.  Like 1.2 compared to 1.0 thickness.  As you state the extra toughness may be nice if touring from Prudhoe Bay to Tierra del Fuego or in Asia.  Lot of unpaved roads there and it may not matter how light your load.  Of course for Asia Africa N-S America touring, the Americano has disadvantages that would rule it out for me no matter what the cost.  700C wheels instead of the easier to find 26" mountain bike tires.  Harder to find replacement tires.  145mm rear spacing, tandem width, instead of the common 135mm width for mountain and touring bikes.  Replacement wheel would be harder to find.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: grumblingcrustacean on June 04, 2009, 04:36:44 pm
How heavy is the Americano?

I do not know about full build.  But the "Comotion Bike Specifications" insert that was in the catalog I picked up today indicates that the following frame weights (they do not specify size):

Nor'wester:  3.8lbs
Nor'wester Tour:  3.85lbs
Americano: 4lbs

S+S couplings add 8oz.


I am actually looking at an Americano for myself after bouncing around the whole "will I use it for heavy touring" question, I would rather have the option than not.  I also like the idea of disc brakes (I have come to really like them on my mountain bike).

The only questions at this point are:

1)  What color?  (leaning towards Metallic Medium Blue)
2)  When to order?

-jim
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on October 17, 2009, 08:37:04 pm
Update on my Comotion Norwest Tourer. I know it has been some time since I have been on this forum. I now have 2,500 miles on it. It is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. I still can't wait to ride it. It reminds me of my BMW M3, it handles better at higher speed, this bike handles better when you load it up. I have the Tubus Cargo, in the rear and the Tubus Tara in the front. Great racks!!!! I am using a set of Ortlieb front and back roller classics. They are ok, waterproof, I liked my Basic Nashbar Waterproof ones but they didn"t hold up. Stable with up to 80 pounds on it. I am glad that I got the Norwester Tour vs The Americano. I weigh around 170 lbs and I usually never carry more than 50 lbs of gear. (Unless I carry groceries.) I realize the difference in the frame weight is minimal but unless you you weigh north of 200 pounds and carry 80+ pounds of gear, you don't need the complexity of the tandem rear wheel and the added cost. Maybe if I was going on a world tour, but if that were the case, I would have gone with the Pangea with a 26" wheel, like mosts Europeans. The only other thing I might have changed, and wish it was an option, when I purchased my bike, was a Rohloff rear hub. (I think it is more durable, but a little tougher to align when changing a rear flat) I thank y'all for your input, it was very helpful. The Norwest Tourer is a terrific loaded touring bike. I will write another review at 5000 miles.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on November 07, 2009, 07:47:17 pm
Hello Tourista829! Thanks for the update. Speaking of updates, my wife and I spent a few days touring around in Germany, (mostly) Czech, & Austria this past Aug/Sept on our Nor'Westers.

Here's a little something that I'm working on that I'd like to share and hopefully help promote touring in Czech.  It's still in the works but you'll get the idea.

Czech Touring (http://www.ronbennett.net/CzechTrip2009/Welcome.html)

I'm hoping to have it linked on this site soon.

http://pragueviennagreenways.org/

Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on November 12, 2009, 09:46:33 pm
Robenne, sign us up, the pictures of Prague look great! I sent you an email. How was traveling with your bikes? I remember seeing them at UBC? I believe you have S&S couplers. Did the airlines hit you up for extra charges? Bob
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on January 11, 2010, 03:43:16 pm
Robenne, stopped by UBC, saw Manny, the bike looked great. Saw the Schmidt Dyno Hub and liked the light from BM. I wish I had seen the Busch Muller E Werke Gizmo, sounds interesting. Maybe I will see it at the ACO Tampa Regional gathering. 
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: robo on January 12, 2010, 10:32:44 pm
I just read through all the posts on this thread.  Thanks for all the insightful comments.  Now, what do you think about this?  I tour on a 1985 Trek 620 (steel) with lots of loaded and unloaded miles on it, including a 1500 mile ride on the Great Parks Route a year and a half ago, and a couple weeks in Yellowstone last summer.  My old bike handled admirably.  And fits great.

I weigh about 130, and can get away with about 35 pounds or so on the bike.  I've invested in new 27inch wheels- the bombproof kind- a new crank and BB, and that's about it.  All the old components continue to work just fine.  The bike has lived indoors, except when on the road.

Here's the question- Should I trust that the frame can hold up under additional long tours, or is it time to put my beloved bike out to pasture?  Am I running a risk of having frame failure while bombing down a pass some where?

Thanks for your input.

Joan
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: pptouring on January 13, 2010, 08:21:45 pm
Hello Joan,

Well I'm no expert (but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express ;-) ), but I would say you are always at some risk of frame/fork failure regardless of bike age. Personally, I would stick with your current ride as long as it holds up, unless you're looking for an excuse to buy a new frame/fork. Inspect your frame and fork on a regular basis and look for small cracks starting around the welds. When we purchased our Co-Motions, my mind set was like, "We plan on keeping these bikes for 25+ years!", so I hope they hold up.

Hey Bob,

I plan on attending the Adventure Cycling meeting this Saturday at CBE in Tampa, so you can check out the E-Werk then. I've been running my Garmin eTrex & iTouch off it and I'm digging it. Also the lights (Lumotec IQ Cyo R Senso Plus & Toplight Line Plus) we got from Peter White are very nice. They're much brighter than I thought they'd be.


ron     
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on January 13, 2010, 09:18:36 pm
Ron,

We will see you there. Looking forward to meeting you.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: paddleboy17 on January 19, 2010, 12:07:43 pm
I just read through all the posts on this thread.  Thanks for all the insightful comments.  Now, what do you think about this?  I tour on a 1985 Trek 620 (steel) with lots of loaded and unloaded miles on it, including a 1500 mile ride on the Great Parks Route a year and a half ago, and a couple weeks in Yellowstone last summer.  My old bike handled admirably.  And fits great.

I weigh about 130, and can get away with about 35 pounds or so on the bike.  I've invested in new 27inch wheels- the bombproof kind- a new crank and BB, and that's about it.  All the old components continue to work just fine.  The bike has lived indoors, except when on the road.

Here's the question- Should I trust that the frame can hold up under additional long tours, or is it time to put my beloved bike out to pasture?  Am I running a risk of having frame failure while bombing down a pass some where?

Thanks for your input.

Joan

I would have to agree with robenne.  The duty cycle on steel bike is really high.  Cracks and loss of strength (which would show up as floppiness) are the indicators that your steed is ready for pasture.  I am sure your bike is fine.
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: Tourista829 on January 19, 2010, 02:26:40 pm
We met Ron and his lovely wife at the ACO regional meeting with Jim Sayer. I have to give a special thanks to the people at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, they did a great job as well as the volunteers for the beer and snacks. I also have to thank Jim Sayer, for an excellent presentation and staff for all they do for us.

I got to see Ron's Comotion Norwester Tour with the Schmidt hub, Busch Muller Lumotec IQ Cyo R Senso Plus, & Toplight Line Plus, and his Busch Muller E-Werke. This is an excellent set up. The hub had virtually no resistance, the lights were very bright and Dottye and I were fascinated with the ultra compact E-Werke. As stated above, it converts, electricity, from the Schmidt dyno hub  and allows you to run accessories, ie. GPS, Phone, etc. It has a switch, that you can change the current so you don't fry the device. Thanks again Ron, for hauling your bike to the meeting, if a picture is worth a thousand words, seeing it in person and your explanation is worth 100,000 :) Bob & Dottye
Title: Re: Co-motion Americano vs Norwester Tour
Post by: fjord on July 12, 2012, 06:31:26 pm
Hi,

Reviving an old thread, and wondering about the NW Tour.  It the evolution of Co-Motion bikes, is this bike now the Cascadia?  I see the NW on their web site, but not the NW Tour...
Mike