A Taste of Skyline Drive on the Co-Motion Java Tandem

The past two out of three weekends, Felkerino and I have headed out to Skyline Drive to test out the Co-Motion Java’s feel on long steady climbs and to condition our legs for summer rides ahead. Felkerino has a great write-up of Sunday’s ride on this other blog I know called The Daily Randonneur.

Co-Motion Java

Even though it has been cooler than my druthers on Skyline, I’m sure that one day soon, say today or tomorrow, I’ll be remembering these recent rides fondly and wishing for the milder temps we’ve had lately.

We are gradually settling into the Co-Motion Java. It does not handle or move as quickly on descents as our previous Co-Motion, and Felkerino and I both wonder if it’s because the bike is slightly taller than our Speedster was, or if it is due to a larger front bag that sits on the bike’s front rack. On the Speedster, Felkerino’s bag of choice was a small Berthoud bag that fastened directly to the front handlebars.

Co-Motion Java with Sackville Front Bag
Co-Motion Java with Sackville Front Bag

Both Felkerino and I love how the Java climbs, and these rides on Skyline Drive have solidified our affinity for it as a good hill-climbing steed. It is stiffer than the Speedster and less noodly at slower speeds, not that we’re trying to become slower. I actually think we are climbing a pinch faster because of the Java’s superior uphill handling.

Felkerino is still getting a sense for how the bike moves on fast downhills. It is not as agile through turns and does not pick up the same momentum the Speedster could. In that regard, I miss our Speedster.

As an all-around tandem, the Co-Motion Java is a better bike for our needs. It is sturdier, takes wide tires, feels good on gravel, and as I previously noted, it’s a fun bike for climbing.

Skyline with Felkerino

We still await the verdict on how the Java will fare with a significant load. Since we do not do any camping when we tour and years of practice have taught us the art of paring down our crap, we will not carry a load larger than our clothes, tools, bike essentials, and pre-prepared snacks. Even so, additional weight can alter how the bike rides so we’ll have to get back to you on that.

I continue to be pleased with our change in Co-Motion tandem models after our unfortunate discovery of the crack in the Speedster seat tube. The Speedster’s noodly climbing was a real annoyance, and having a solid versatile bike like the Co-Motion Java that easily transitions from pavement to gravel and eagerly marches up a hill is a really good feeling.


  1. That’s a lovely tandem — the silver w/silver components is elegant! Is that a custom stoker stem? Can you post a closeup of it, please? Thanks!


      1. Thanks — a riser makes sense — it looks like that’s obscured in the photos by a bento bag?


    1. Felkerino and I just discussed your question. I say the Speedster is a better brevet tandem than the Java. He was undecided.

      I voted for the Speedster because I think it is a slightly faster ride that rides well without a load, which is what you want on a brevet. Like I said, though, we climb better with the Java.

      Overall, I think the Java is the better all-purpose bike for us because we want a tandem that we can use for touring, brevets, and riding dirt roads. If we wanted a dedicated brevet tandem, I would have have wanted to purchase another Speedster.


  2. It’s time for a confession. I’ve been following your posts for a few months now and your posts helped us decide a Java would be our next ride. Been waiting weeks, bike shops says it should be here soon. So thanks for the continued good feedback on the bike. We’re hoping our experience is as good as yours! By the way, we’ve been riding a Cannondale “lead sled” for several years and I’ve enjoyed reading your comments about that bike as well.


    1. That’s exciting news– New Bike Day! I really hope you enjoy your Java as much as we have ours. The lead sled is a great backup tandem and super for gravel, but I LOVE the Java!


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