2010 Co-Motion Americano Rohloff/Gates Carbon Drive

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34 Responses to “2010 Co-Motion Americano Rohloff/Gates Carbon Drive”

  • Ari Hornick says:

    Rohloff/Gates. That sounds good like peanut butter/chocolate or nuts/honey. mmmmmmm

  • Chris says:

    I’m tired.. it’s Friday morning.. but why are there 4 lines off the handlebars? 2 for brakes, 1 for internal shift rear hub… what’s number 4?

  • Alan says:


    The Rohloff hub requires two cables:



  • Pamela says:

    I’m puzzled.

    How do they get the drive belt inside the rear triangle? Does it have a “master link” allowing it to be separated?

  • Alan says:


    The belt is one piece. The frame breaks open just above the right rear dropout. Take a close look at the bottom photo and you’ll see a small connecting bolt where the seat stay and dropout join.


  • bongobike says:

    I’m afraid to ask for the price…

  • Alan says:


    I’m pretty sure it’s a case of, “If you have to ask….”

  • Bob says:

    $5K, according the Co-Motion Web site. Derailleur Americano is about $1.5K less. If you need a bomb-proof drivetrain for crossing the Kyrgyz Steppe, I suppose you’re not going to ask about price.

  • Gavin says:

    Amazing. Co-Motion+Rolhoff+Gates=Ultimate Commuter/touring bike. Beautiful. Except the handlebars. Put some real bars on that thing, and WOW.

  • jay says:

    Dumb question, but would it be possible for Gates to manufacture a belt drive that *would* have something like a “master link”?

  • bongobike says:

    Jay, I asked about a master link here some time ago, but no one seems to have heard of one. I guess technically it is possible. If you can make one for a chain, I don’t see why you couldn’t for a belt, especially one as strong as this one.

  • Greg says:

    Oh dear, that’s just about perfect as a SuperCommuter during the week and a tourer the rest of the time. I’d probably equip it with drop bars and a dynohub in the front, but geez that’s nice. I know I had $5000 sitting around here somewhere. Now, where did I put it?

  • Rick Steele says:

    I may have to sell off my Lusty Red with Vanilla Shake paneled Americano for a Rohloff+Gates version with Drop Bars. Pretty sweet. From all I’ve read and heard is that the Gates belt drive is more efficient than a chain. Maybe make up for some of the losses of the Rohloff hub.


  • Larry Schneider says:

    Is it not the almost perfect bike? Internal gearing, bomb proof belt drive, and steel frame. For those queasy about the price, what is the cost of a car, the fuel, maintenance, the insurance. This could replace 2 bikes, or even better one car. Hopefully mine. I like it. Alot.

  • Molnar says:

    What happened to the commenters who used to say that it’s a waste of money to spend more than $500 (or some other low figure) on a bicycle? Have they gone away in disgust or been converted? This is a serious question.

  • Donald says:

    It is always fun to look, even if the price is so far out of my reach I could never consider owning something like this. The question is, would you park a $5000 bike out in front of your local market while you shop, no matter what lock system you used and how busy the traffic location is? Personally I think not. I love the idea that we are seeing new gearing and drive systems. I would think these belts will someday be quite common.
    Sacramento, CA

  • doug says:

    Well, the most I’ve ever spent on a bicycle is, in fact, $500*.

    Is this a nice bike? Yes. Does it do everything my $500* bike does? Yes. Does it do $4500 more than my $500* bike? Well, beats me. I’ve never ridden it, but I read somewhere, “It’s not what you ride, it’s where you ride.”

    If I had to guess, I doubt the extra $4500 adds significantly to the objective quality. But it must certainly feel great to ride expensive bikes around. I would certainly buy one if I could afford to “waste” $4500 on an expensive bike.

    Another consideration — If I could afford this bike, how much time would I have to ride it how it begs to be ridden? I would assume I would spend most of my time working. Currently I spend considerably less than half my time working for a perfectly comfortable life involving lots of bike riding.

    *With at least $1000 of parts and DIY work put into it — and another $500 planned in the short term, of course.

  • doug says:

    Sorry — one last addendum: Only an idiot would use this to commute to work. Sorry. I truly believe that. Save the money for your childrens’ educations or something? Right? A new house?

  • Molnar says:

    Doug, I take your point, but it seems to me that one’s view is determined to a large extent by one’s circumstances and tastes, as well as how the question is framed. Is it crazy to commute on a $5,000 bike when commuting on a $500 bike means your kids can go to college? Sure. Is it crazy to commute in a $25,000 car when commuting on a $5,000 bike means you feel better, are environmentally responsible, and your kids can go to college? Sure. Is it crazy to buy coffee at Starbucks when you can have much better and cheaper coffee at home? Sure. I very much admire those who have opted out of the rat race, and often regret that I didn’t, although some advances of civilization would be less likely (or at least much slower) if everyone did. But, ultimately, for me it boils down to the fact that I hate cars and monopolistic corporations, and I view bicycles as functional art, so I’m anti car and Starbucks and pro Co-Motion.

    Well, there is one other consideration: If I were to spend $5,000 on another bike, my wife would kill me.

  • mike says:

    “*With at least $1000 of parts and DIY work put into it — and another $500 planned in the short term, of course.”

    So did the bike cost 500, 1500, or 2000? Seems one can do the math in many ways.

    I lock my main long distance rig up at our local coop. It cost more than the CoMotion. I wish it had a Rolhoff though.

    Good on you for the lifestyle you choose. Different spokes for different folks though.


  • Alan says:


    It’s hard for me to bemoan any bicycle, regardless of price, when I see an endless stream of $30K SUVs with one occupant clogging the freeway and spewing pollution every morning and evening. If a person has the resources and chooses to make a lifetime investment in a $5K bicycle that replaces an automobile, I’m 100% for it.


  • Hercule says:

    I have some sympathy for Doug’s point of view, but have spent more than $500 on a bike. A lot more when exchange rates are involved. And I don’t regret it – cycling is my obsession (others are obsessed with golf, scuba diving, pornography) and I am entitled to spend my money on what to me is worth it. However, I am aware that the bike that gets the most use (running local errands rather than continent-spanning expeditions) is also the cheapest – because it’s the one that will hit me the least it it gets stolen. Horses for courses. The Co-motion is a great bike, definitely outperforming my bottom of the heap Giant, but for one thing – mine will still be chained to the lamp-post after three hours and a few pints. And if it isn’t, my home-made insurance scheme will get me another. I have to admit to getting fond of the old Giant, though…

  • Bob says:

    As Mike points out, the cost of Doug’s bike is actually in the neighborhood of $1.5-2K, which seems about right in my limited experience of getting an off-the-rack “commuter” ready for day-night, year-round transportation-oriented riding, at least here in the Midwest. My $400 Kona is probably up to about $1.2K now, though it would probably have been less had I the expertise and done the work myself.

    But let’s do two things: (1) take Rohloff/Gates off the table, since the new-ish technology skews our understanding of the cost, and (2) agree for sake of argument that a properly-equipped commuter can be built up for $1.5K. (Some will argue less, some more, but let’s take Doug’s numbers as reference.)

    My question then is, what does one get for the extra $2.1K for the derailleur-equipped Co-Motion? The finish work is probably superb, of course, though maybe not $2.1K superb. One gets a fine production bike designed and built in North America. That $2.1K helps to pay wages and benefits for workers in Eugene OR. It doesn’t help pay for trans-Pacific shipping, which reduces the environmental impact of bringing the bike to market. (If you ride to OR to pick up the bike and ride it home, you could reduce that impact even more!) Maybe the better question is, what would the MSRP need to be on an identically finished and equipped bike built in Asia in order to earn the profit Co-Motion makes?

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  • bongobike says:

    Like Doug, I had never spent more than $500 on a bike. But this year I broke down and shelled out $1300 for a Bacchetta recumbent, because after I test rode I simply fell in love with the comfort. I decided I wanted that luxury at this time, and I saved up the money a little at a time. Sometimes you just have to splurge, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to do so at the $5,000 level. ;-)

  • Ari Hornick says:

    Our main bike is a Bianchi Avenue ($350 new). I would never recommend it to anyone. The components are such poor quality that it’s not worth it. For 13 years, my only bike was a Gold Rush. I rode it everywhere everyday. I left it locked up outside for hours at a time on a regular basis and never had a problem. It was comfortable, fast, capable of hauling a load, reliable. The top end components were very close to maintenance free. I love having a bike that I don’t have to think about repairing. Think about the cost of the time spent repairing. I wouldn’t be surprised if a $5000 bike ended up being cheaper than a $500 bike. If I had the money, I’d buy another one right now. Certainly, theft is an issue to think about, but I think it’s over-hyped because of the extreme consequences – kinda like some people are panic stricken at the thought of flying. I would fly if I needed to, and I would lock a $5000 bike on the street.

  • bongobike says:


    So what happened to the Gold Rush? I would love to have one too, if I had the $3,500. BTW, that $500 bike I mentioned above, originally cost the guy I bought it from $2,500–a ’99 Vision R-45 recumbent! Not a bad deal, huh? It was nine years old when I bought it from him, but it was like new, with Ultegra components and almost new Schwalbe Marathon tires–couldn’t pass it up.

  • Ari Hornick says:

    The Gold Rush died of old age. I bought it waaaay back before Easy Racers had a lifetime guarantee on the frames. ~20 years ago. When my Gold Rush was about ten years old, it snapped. Gardner fixed it for free even though the guarantee was for only one year. A few years later, I found a couple cracks. Gardner gave me his opinion that the frame was beyond repair. It was going to need continual repair, so I retired it. The frame is still in my garage. Funny how we get attached to these things. The rational part of my brain thinks I should recycle it, but that’ll never happen.

    Many of the components are still in use on other bikes or soon to be on other bikes. The ten year old Phil Wood field serviceable hub needs a little lube on the pawls, but that’s about it. The Phil Wood bottom bracket needs new bearings every 5 years or so, but that’s about it. Gee, I hit the $500 limit on the first component. Well, ten years of zero maintenance…I’d say it was worth it. After I lube the pawls, maybe I’ll have another ten years of zero maintenance.

  • Alan says:


    “I love having a bike that I don’t have to think about repairing. Think about the cost of the time spent repairing. I wouldn’t be surprised if a $5000 bike ended up being cheaper than a $500 bike. If I had the money, I’d buy another one right now. “


    I really appreciate your perspective on this. I’ve always believed in investing in good tools, and a high quality bicycle is a critical tool for anyone who is trying to reduce their automobile use. The cost of upgrading an ill-equipped new bicycle, as well as the down time and money spent repairing a poorly made bicycle, are higher than they might appear at first glance. Sometimes just buying the right tool for the job in the first place ends up being more cost effective (and enjoyable) over the long run. I’m not saying a person needs to spends $5K on a commuter bike, but certainly it’s not realistic to think $500 will buy a fully-equipped, durable and well-designed commuter/utility bike.


  • Fergie348 says:

    Vertical drop outs – how is the belt tensioned? Does Co-motion use an eccentric BB shell? Does anyone know?

    Add some fenders and it would almost be a perfect commuter – still don’t know how you’d do drop bars with a Rohloff, as it needs the special double cable gripshifter to shift. In my techno geek dreams, there’s a DA electronic shifter conversion for the Rohloff, but then the price of the bike would probably be close to 8K. Like I said, it’s a techno dream, not a realistic wish..

  • Chandra says:

    That’s one heck of a bike! Rohloff and belt drive, wow!!
    Peace :)

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Of Madones and M9s says:

    […] who’s all about sub-$300 recycled bikes, and I have another friend who’s looking at a Co-Motion with a Rohloff hub as his first commuter. Who am I to say who’s […]

  • Ian says:

    I bought my Surly LHT as a demo for 850 USD, and now have 2300 into it. Factoring in everything that goes into my daily commute, it’s over 3K. I know because I have a Google spreadsheet to tack every related expense. It’s amazing how fast we clamor onto a soapbox to deride those whose decisions rub us wrongly, somehow, but whose values are likely quite similar. We stand on the principle of a 500 dollar, or 800 dollar bike, which is really a 1500, or 2500 dollar bike, and wag our fingers. Maybe we should lighten up a bit?

    Ditto everything written above about spending on a bike vs. an SUV! Besides, at the rate the Fed is printing money, 5K might be worth a lot less in five years! :p Might as well buy the bike now and stimulate Oregon’s economy. 20 bucks for a head badge? Suuuurrrrreeee…

  • Kevin says:

    Lots of great comments. There are lots of poor people in the world that ride or “commute” with bicycles that are in the sub $100 range that would think that someone is crazy or very wealthy to be riding a bicycle that costs $500. Here on EcoVelo, $500 is not a lot for a bicycle, but in many parts of the world, this is several years of wages. Also, these sub $100 bicycles are ridden many more years and miles than we do here in the United States.

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