21 November 2014

Co-Motion Americano Touring Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and belt drive


This Co-Motion Americano was displayed in our booth at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) last March in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is equipped with a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and Gates belt drive, as well as a full compliment of racks and panniers for loaded touring. Co-Motion Cycles – a company who specializes in building bikes for touring, commuting, tandems, and other unique bikes at their factory in Eugene, Oregon – lent us this bike to showcase an example of a fully loaded touring bike equipped with a SPEEDHUB. It attracted plenty of attention among show attendees; a crowd made up of handmade bike aficionados, many of whom travel from all over the world for a chance to see these bikes in person.



Co-Motion’s Americano model is designed primarily for long distance touring and is made from custom Reynolds steel tubing. The frameset is designed to be extremely robust, with large diameter tubing ensuring that the frame won’t feel soft or flexy when heavily loaded. The geometry is fairly typical for a touring bike, with medium-long chainstays for a more stable ride and improved heel to pannier clearance. The seated riding position is somewhat more upright compared to a typical drop bar road racing bike for increased comfort during long days in the saddle.

This is the Rohloff-version of the Americano, which is built specifically to accommodate the Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Gates belt drive system.  It features a Rohloff OEM left side dropout, Rohloff-specific cable routing, and an eccentric bottom bracket. Co-Motion also offers the frame in a more travel friendly version with S&S couplers for packing into a smaller case, dubbed “Co-Pilot”.



The wheels feature Velocity Dyad rims, a versatile option which is popular for commuting and touring applications. Velocity rims are a favorite at Cycle Monkey because they are made in the USA, are high quality, and offer a wide range of options. These Dyad rims were laced to a DT Swiss 540 front disc hub and a Rohloff SPEEDHUB in the rear. Sapim Race spokes and Brass nipples were chosen for their quality and strength. Once the wheels were trued, tensioned, and stress relieved, we mounted Schwalbe’s Kojak slick tread tires.



The Rohloff hub and belt drive configuration was a hit among the visitors at the hand-built show. Many of the NAHBS guests are early adopters for new and unique components like the SPEEDHUB and belt drive system. The SPEEDHUB and Gates combo has earned a reputation as the most favorable drivetrain solution among adventure and trekking tourists. On a long trip, a robust drivetrain is paramount, since a rider may be far from the nearest bike shop for long periods of time. Racking up miles day after day can put a lot of wear and tear on a drivetrain and cause it to fail much sooner than it would under more typical riding conditions. The SPEEDHUB uses a series of hardened steel gearwheels that can easily withstand such high volume use.  Likewise, the Gates Carbon Drive belt system offers a noticeable improvement in lifespan over a metal chain, making it a great compliment for unsupported trips.



Since this bike is designed for long days in the saddle, many of the components were chosen for their ergonomics and durability. Selle Anatomica’s Titanico X leather saddle has a cutout that creates a flexible “hammock” design which flexes to conform to a rider’s body and is comfortable to sit on with or without padded shorts. Co-Motion's own Rohloff-specific twist shifter, mounted on the flat section of the drop bars, allows for shifting from a more upright position. Co-Motion created this shifter specifically to fit the top section of drop bars, since Rohloff's shifter must use an adapter to fit on the ends of drop bars and requires the rider to reach down to shift. Shimano’s SPD Trekking pedals, which have one flat side and one clipless side, ensure that the bike can be pedaled comfortably with or without clipless riding shoes.



As a touring bike, the Co-Motion is also equipped with Tubus front and rear racks and Ortlieb handlebar bag and panniers. These bags are all made from high quality, tear resistant fabric and are water proof in case of wet roads or rain. The racks position the weight in a balanced orientation that won’t negatively affect the bike’s handling – especially on the front, where mounting the weight low improves stability. Together, the bags’ capacity is large enough to carry all your gear for a multi-week trip.

This eye-catching Co-Motion was a hit at NAHBS, and we fielded many questions from show-goers. If you are considering a touring bike of your own, contact us to see what we can build up for you.

Build Details:

• Frame: Co-Motion Americano
• Fork: Co-Motion Americano
• Headset: Chris King
• Stem: FSA OS 150
• Handlebar: FSA Omega Compact
• Shifter: Co-Motion
• Grips: Black Bartape
• Seat post: Co-Motion
• Saddle: Selle Anatomica Titanico X 
• Seat Clamp: Co-Motion
• Front Hub: DT 540
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim Race
• Nipples: Sapim Brass
• Rims: Velocity Dyad
• Tires: Schwalbe Kojak
• Cranks: FSA V-Drive
• Pedals: Shimano XT Touring
• Bottom Bracket: FSA
• Chain ring: Gates Carbon Drive
• Rear Sprocket: Gates Carbon Drive
• Chain: Gates Carbon Drive
• Brakes & Levers: Cane Creek SCR-5 levers, Avid BB_7 Road calipers
• Rotors: Magura Storm rear, Avid front
• Extras: Tubus Logo Evo rear rack, Tubus Tara front rack, Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic panniers, Ortlieb Barit handlebar bag


13 November 2014

Soma Rush Fixed Gear With Belt Drive



When a local customer contacted us about building a belt drive-equipped fixed gear for him, we were excited to execute his vision. He wanted a bike that would be simple, lightweight, and durable for commuting around town quickly. He gave us a few general guidelines for the build but asked us to make our own recommendations for parts that would fulfill his requirements. His primary requests were that the frame be chrome colored and that he could use a belt drive system. He planned to use the bike to zip around Oakland and commute across town to work - primarily short, fast rides without much climbing.


03 November 2014

Black Sheep High Light Titanium Belt Drive Single Speed with Faith Truss Fork

Black Sheep looking south from Albany Hill Park

This beautiful titanium bike from Black Sheep Bikes in Ft. Collins, CO came into the Monkey Lab for a Gates Carbon Drive belt conversion. While we are known best for our Rohloff Internal Gear Hub builds, we're big proponents of the Gates belt drive system, which is a fantastic option for single speed bikes as well as internal gear hub bikes. With Black Sheep's signature curved tubes, this bike is an exquisite example of the kind of creative fabrications that can be achieved by small custom frame builders. The whole bike weighs in at only 21 pounds but feels even lighter due to it's super light EDGE (now ENVE) carbon rims.


Gates Belt Drive with XTR cranks and Chris King single speed hub

28 October 2014

Merlin Roots Mountain Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB


This Merlin Roots came in to the Monkey Lab for routine service, and we were excited to check it out. Offered as a limited edition, the frame is modeled after the original west coast "Klunkers," the home-made dirt cruiser bikes that were ridden at breakneck speeds by the pioneers of mountain biking on the dirt roads and hiking trails of Marin County's Mount Tamalpais. Although the aesthetic of the bike is similar to early Klunkers, it's equipped with modern geometry, materials, and technology that didn't exist in the early days of mountain biking, including a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and hydraulic disc brakes. This bike's owner was initially drawn to the bike because of its form, but his first few rides confirmed it is also an extremely functional ride.



Calfee Design Bamboo Road Bike with Rohloff SPEEDHUB and Dynamo hub


Bamboo is an unconventional material to build a bike from, but it has become an increasingly popular option as more and more riders discover the unique ride quality that it offers. We built this bamboo Calfee Design frame for a customer who enjoys long organized rides like the Seattle to Portland event along with exploring back roads around his home near Seattle. He also planned to use the bike for his daily transportation needs, so it was designed as a sturdy road bike/light duty touring bike. All the components needed to stand up to heavy mileage, rough roads, and the Pacific Northwest’s infamously damp climate. The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub combined with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system provides a drivetrain that is nearly impervious to the elements, and the Schmidt dynamo hub-powered lights provide worry-free night time vision.