Review: Co-Motion Equator Tandem Frameset

When we were researching tandem bicycles, a lot of resources pointed in the direction of Co-Motion. This is for good reason, these guys know tandems better than almost anybody!

Co-Motion are everything from organised tandem events, to being at the forefront of tandem frame and parts design. It is our guess that they have built more custom tandem frames than any other.

Co-Motion build frames to suit the parts we like for long distance touring: Rohloff hubs, disc brakes and Gates Carbon Belt Drive. They can insert S&S frame couplers at an additional cost, which break our tandem into three parts, making the bike easy to fly with.

Our frame geometry is designed around our specific body lengths and desired riding style – when we ride our tandem it really feels the case. We honestly don't think there is a better tandem frame for touring than our Co-Motion.

The Why:

– Arguably the best touring tandem frame/fork on the market.

– The frame construction work is impeccable.

– The frame is incredibly stiff (laterally) by any standard – with a very heavy front load we experience no speed wobble or twisting, even at high speeds on rough roads. We have been testing every tandem that we come across on the road, and it's safe to say nothing comes close.

– Co-Motion have been building tandems for 25 years and have always been at the forefront of tandem design and innovation.

– Most of the frame is made in-house, including the dropouts and eccentric bottom brackets, giving Co-Motion more control over the quality of their product.

– The frame is compatible with all of our favourite parts including our Rohloff hub and Gates Carbon Belt Drive.

The Why Not:

– The frameset price is not cheap ($3000 USD + $450 USD for custom geometry if required).

– If you want to break your frame into three pieces, S&S couplers will cost you approximately an arm and a leg ($2000 USD for six).

– The Co-Motion seatpost collars don't have the firmest grasp on the seatpost.

– The eccentric bottom brackets can be noisy (creaky) and the bolts are hard to access, although these are problems with most EBBs, not just Co-Motions!


Frame and Fork: From $3000 to $5500 USD. Price is dependent on whether you want an off the shelf frame, or a fully customised frame with fancy paint and S&S couplers.

Similar Products:

– Thorn Raven Twin

– Anyone on our List of Custom Tandem Builders


  1. Hello Alee!

    Thank’s very much for your review!

    I’m going to build up a tandem for my girlfriend and me and found this incredible equator-frame. But I’ve a question to tyre clearance. You seem to ride with 26″ rims in an 28″ frame, is that right? Did you have any problems with the clearance between your cranks and the ground (You should have 2″ less clearance)? What’s the dimension of your tyres? Am I right with the assumption that I shouldn’t try mounting some fenders and large tyres on a 28″ rim in the equator frame because there isn’t any clearance at all?

    I’ve another question (and hope you don’t feel too much disturbed). Co-motion builds a 29″ Java Rohloff frame, which would be able to take really large tyres and fenders. Allthough I would prefer 26″ for touring, I wanted to ask you (and your experience ;-), if you would take a Java Rohloff frame with 28″ rims and large 28″ tyres, if you had to buy another tandem frame.

    In expectation of your opinion
    and with kind regards to you and Kate
    and in apology for all mistakes in the text above
    Bertram, Austria

  2. Hello Bertram

    We ended up with the Equator because we wanted to use a Rohloff hub and Gates Carbon Drive. As Co-Motion custom builds their tandems to ANY specification, we were able to request a frame designed around 26″ wheels. Co-Motion then built the frame with the right tyre clearances, bottom bracket height and frame geometry to match.

    You’re correct that the Java is capable of running wide MTB tyres on 29″ wheels, but as Co-Motion is able to build custom bikes, you can request the Java with 26″ wheels for touring. 🙂

    If we were to make the purchase again for the trip we just did, we would stick with 26″ wheels due to the additional strength that they provide for our bike which is so heavily loaded! If we could’ve packed lighter, and spent more time on rough roads, we would opt for 29″ wheels though.

    Have you seen our tandem FAQs? https://www.cyclingabout.com/tandem-tech-everything-you-ever-need-to-know/


  3. We bought our second Co-Motion after riding a used Mocha for a year. Before buying that second, but new tandem, we test rode a few including a Speedster which was pretty much an Equator without the Rohloff internal hub. So we were measured up and put our money down waiting for delivery. Natural, spending that kind of money, we were looking forward to something special.

    The bike arrived and we test rode it for fit and initially, all was good. Our first 80 km ride went well and so we were looking forward to our second ride when 2 kms in, we broke the drive belt and walked the bike home. Oddly enough, the following weekend we had the old Mocha out and broke its chain which I fixed on the side of the road in 15 minutes and we were on our way and with that, the decision was made to convert to a chain drive on the Equator. Yeah, I know a belt is not supposed to break, but I don’t trust what I can’t see and with a chain, regular maintenance and a chain length gauge, I can tell when a chain should be swapped out. Turns out the Mocha had a broken rear axle which stressed and broke the chain! I had a friend who does stress analysis for a living analyze the belt and he suspects that the carbon threads through the belt were likely broken before final assembly.

    After converting the tandem to a chain drive we continued to ride the bike as much as were could and soon discovered that, well, some of the measurements were for not or just never considered. My right hand did not fit on the handlebar comfortably so I often positioned it on the curve in the bar. The handle bars were just too narrow with the Rohloff gear selector installed so a few weeks later, the bars were changed out for a larger 44. Another issue was the rake on the fork, another miscalculation! With the inclusion of a full fender on the bike, during a slow speed short radius turn, the fender and my foot would make contact. My fix for that short of bending the forks was to move my shoe cleats all the way forward! The last issue was the length of the fork, the crown of the fork is so short that it provides very little clearance when installing full fenders with a large 700c touring tire such as a Specialized Infinity 700 x 32.

    The belt I can excuse and my decision to go to a chain drive was personal but then my background is mechanical. What bothers me about the bike and its design are that the issues with the handle bars, fork rake and tire to fender clearance are all simple design problems that should not even exist on a bike with that kind of price tag!

    We have toured with the bike and aside from compensating for what the designers failed to consider, the bike has been a good bike to ride. The Rohloff is nice in that you don’t have to worry about derailleurs and the SS couplers too added to the price, but I don’t think that the bike is worth what it retails for.

    Seriously think about parting with that much money before you put it down on an Equator. I don’t mind parting with money if it’s worth it but I don’t think the Equator is. Aside from that, I for one will not likely buy another Co-Motion.

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