What are the differences between all of Co-Motion’s touring models?

A little history of the development of these models may help in understanding their design goals.

The Americano’s heritage initiated in the early 1990’s, when we first began experimenting with applying tandem-duty components and tubing to touring bikes for heavier riders or heavy loading. We didn’t consider the possibility that it might have broader appeal than we originally envisioned.

By the mid 1990’s, we began to grow a reputation for building very solid touring bikes. We often used one tandem design element, such as a tandem fork or rear wheel to answer the concerns of individuals who wanted to solve problems they had on other touring bikes.

By 1997, the Americano began to take shape. We began to put together all the parts that had proved successful in our earlier nameless touring bikes. We used large diameter tandem tubing, tandem forks, and we built frames to accept a 145mm dish-less rear wheel. We had a recipe for success and soon would be ready to give the bike a name and produce it in a range of sizes. For the next two years, we produced it simply as our tandem-like touring single, or “half tandem”.

Structurally the Americano is designed to carry more weight- the advantages to the tandem-sized tubing and tandem fork are clear design attributes. Less obvious is the Americano’s rear wheel spacing of 145mm (typical spacing on road bikes is 130mm). The advantage to a wheel with 145mm axle spacing is that it allows for symmetrical wheel construction with equal tension on all spokes and no dish. If you’re among the thousands of bicycle tourists who have experienced the disappointment of a collapsed rear wheel, you know the weakness of a dished wheel. A wheel with no dish is structurally superior and if you’re carrying 100 lbs of equipment in the middle of South America, that’s good.

Surprisingly, all these design elements borrowed from tandems did something unexpected: The result is, we are able to build lighter touring bikes than what many other respected builders can offer, yet with much more capability. The traditional approach of using small-diameter heavier tubing, thick spokes and heavy rims is trounced by the Americano’s lightweight muscle. Our intent never was to make the Americano lighter than the other so-called “expedition touring” bikes out there. It just is.

In 1999, we introduced the newly-named Americano and put into our 2000 model year catalog. It has been a stunning success with appeal to anyone who enjoys self-contained touring, or at least dreams of such adventures! We designed the Americano’s size range to accommodate a heads-up position, superb weight balance, plenty of clearance for big tires and large capacity panniers, a lightened version of our unsurpassed tandem fork, everything a touring cyclist could want in a bicycle. Little did we realize that we were soon to meet a lot of folks for whom the Americano seems to be too much bike!

Not long after the Americano’s introduction, we found ourselves accepting scores of orders for a bicycle that was sort of a cross between our Americano and Espresso, a nice, clean and lightweight steel road bike we’ve been constructing since 1991. When we would describe the capabilities of the Americano, we would often hear, “well… I’m not doing anything that extreme”. We found ourselves making a lot of lighter touring bikes, and in 2002, we named it the Nor’Wester.

The original Nor’Wester came equipped either with a touring kit or a lighter road kit for club/century/sport cycling with refined road manners and a fit and comfort no racing bike could match. But just a couple of years later, we found that there was enough demand for a lighter road-oriented model with a carbon fork to refine the line even further, and then introduced the Nor’Wester and Cascadia (formerly the Nor’Wester Tour).

As our reputation for superb touring bikes has continued to grow, we found ourselves fulfilling orders for a 26”-wheeled version of the Americano, an option which grew in popularity enough to create a new model in 2009: The Pangea. The Pangea has virtually all of the Americano’s attributes, but retains the original MTB standard 135mm axle width (145 optional), enabling frustrated MTB owners a chance to transfer their components to Pangea frame to create a real touring machine.

In 2010 we responded to increasing demand for internal gearing by developing new dropouts especially designed for the unsurpassed Rohloff 14-speed hub. We created Rohloff-specific Americano and Pangea models, including Gates Carbon Drive belts and special frame accommodation for removing or replacing the drive belt when needed. We have continued improving our entire touring bike line with better tubing, improved forks, better dropouts and evolving frame design every year. It’s no wonder we’re thought of as much a touring bike company as we are the tandem people.

Currently, Co-Motion’s extensive touring bicycle line includes the ever-popular Americano and Cascadia models for expeition touring, and the Nor’Wester and Camino models for lighter tour duty- all four of these with 700c wheels. The Divide is equipped with 29” wheels, while the Siskiyou has 650b wheels, and the Pangea’s wheels are 26”. We offer transmission choices from derailleur systems to the amazing Rohloff hub and in 2015 we introduced a Pinion gearbox drivetrain that we now offer on several models.

Below are a few salient points from each or our touring bicycles to help you narrow down your choices…

AMERICANO FEATURES

  • Can carry as much weight as you can stand to load onto it
  • Larger tubing keeps your load steady and sure
  • Tandem wheel-set will never strand you
  • 3 x 10 derailleur system, Rohloff 14-speed hub and Pinion 18-speed gearbox drivetrain options!

PANGEA FEATURES

  • Perfect for the Great Divide and the most challenging terrain
  • 26” wheels becoming the international standard
  • Carries as much as you can stand to haul
  • 3 x 10 derailleur system, Rohloff 14-speed hub and Pinion 18-speed gearbox drivetrain options!

DIVIDE FEATURES

  • Perfect for the Great Divide and the most challenging terrain
  • 29” wheels are wonderful for rolling smoothly over anything
  • Carries as much as you can stand to haul
  • 2 x 10 wide-range Adventure derailleur system, Rohloff 14-speed hub and Pinion 18-speed gearbox drivetrain options!

SISKIYOU FEATURES

  • Excellent for adventure touring and challenging terrain
  • 650B (27.5”) wheels are an excellent choice and becoming a new standard
  • Smaller size range than the larger-wheeled Divide
  • 2 x 10 wide-range Adventure derailleur system, Rohloff 14-speed hub and Pinion 18-speed gearbox drivetrain options!

CASCADIA FEATURES

  • Can carry plenty, but if you carry camping gear, cooking gear, geological samples, a laptop, hairdryer and barbell set, you should be on an Americano, Divide or Pangea model
  • Uses the MTB standard 135mm rear hub/axle
  • Don’t underestimate this bike! Although it’s not built for the heaviest loads like our Americano, Divide, Sisjkiyou or Pangea, its capability surpasses other makers’ top “expedition touring” models.

NOR’WESTER FEATURES

  • Carbon fork, room for fenders and bigger tires than your road bike
  • Caliper brakes
  • Can carry a rear rack with a light to moderate load.
  • Great for shorter inn-to-inn tours, century rides, supported tours
  • Lighter weight than our dedicated tourers, with road-oriented components, but
  • with friendlier positioning and balance than the typical road bike

Camino FEATURES

  • Dual disc brakes
  • Carbon fork, room for fenders and bigger tires than your road bike
  • Can carry a rear rack with a light to moderate load.
  • Great for shorter inn-to-inn tours, century rides, supported tours
  • Lighter weight than our dedicated tourers, with road-oriented components, but with friendlier positioning and balance than the typical road bike.

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