Thursday, December 30, 2010

Co-Motion Americano v. Thorn Nomad MKII S&S - Observations!

I have had the Co-Motion Americano (Americano/Gikma/GCMA) for over 2 years now and the Thorn Nomad MKII S&S (Nomad) for about 9 months. I have ridden both bikes on loaded trips, although in the case of the Thorn, it was a trial ride. I love both the bikes.

Vik left a comment on my post recently, which prompted me to create this particular post. Below are my observations about the two bikes:
  1. Being an Expedition Touring Bike, the Nomad is great for off-road riding. I did the 2010 Sanger Fall  Ramble on the Nomad and it held up excellently. I felt it was easier to do the Ramble on the Nomad, although the Nomad with the Rohloff and other accessories weighs a tad more the Americano (40 LBS 13 OZ v. 37 LBS 11 OZ). The Nomad gave me the confidence that I would not slide around in the gravel and I did not. The Schwalbe Marathon Extreme HS 402 26x2.25 tires on the Nomad gobbled up the gravel like it was grits. I did the 2009 Sanger Fall Ramble on the Americano. I only had 38mm tires on it and the bike did very well. If I had used fatter tires on the Americano, it may have performed differently and I may simulate that experience sometime.
  2. I have ridden the Nomad in soaking rain and through lots of mud on the Greenbelt Trail. I had no problems at all. I say Amen to the Rohloff! With the Rohloff being an IGH, none of the crud went into it and it was smooth sailing through all the gunk.
  3. I love the Thorn Expedition Rear Rack and the Thorn Front Rack the Nomad. I especially love the rear rack. It accommodates larger objects without much trouble. Dimensionally speaking, the Nomad's Thorn-branded rear rack may be a tad bigger than the Tubus Logo rear rack on the Americano. 
  4. The Thorn Expedition Rack is 380mm long x 130mm wide and its height is 350mm from lower mounting bolt. I have the Thorn Expedition Rear Rack mounted with 6mm screw adapters which permits me to haul a whopping 60kg on the rear rack. The Tubus Logo Rack is 324.73mm long x 100mm wide (actually the width tapers down to 86.14 near the seat-stay mount) and is rated good for 40kg. I have hauled food for our dogs on both the Americano and the Nomad. I have to say, two bags of dog food was more comfortably seated on the Thorn Expedition Rear Rack than on the Tubus Logo. Don't get me wrong, the Tubus Logo is an excellent rack. Here, I am simply comparing the two, from the POV of the utilitarian value of the surface area of their respective designs.
  5. I have NOT felt any shimmy in either bike. That's great!
  6. Both bikes feel solidly built. I bought the Americano from LBS, custom built. I ordered the Thorn through email, basically. Back in February/March 2010, when I was contemplating which Expedition Touring Bike to buy, Vik educated me on the merits of a Thorn Nomad, especially their affordability (relative to other bikes with all the goodies). I seriously considered the Co-Motion Pangea, but I did not buy it as it was several greenbacks more than the Nomad, especially for the specs I wanted, in particular the SON, the Rohloff and the S&S. To date, I have not had any problems with the Nomad, either in terms of the build or the quality of the parts used. While the same is also true of the Americano, I still have to give special Kudos to Thorn for building a bike simply based off some rough measurements I took of myself on the Americano and doing a phenomenal job building a bike for me.
  7. When riding the Nomad, it is extremely comforting to know that I do not have to worry about bending the derailleur. So, I ride the Nomad pretty hard, as hard as a suburbanite-who-doesn't-scale-mountains-on-a-bicycle can.
  8. I love the paint job on the Nomad better. I had a small piece of gravel hit the Americano during the 2009 Sanger Fall Ramble and the paint chipped. I know for a fact that many a piece of gravel has hit the Nomad, but no chips - knock-on-wood!
  9. Thorn's customer service is, IMHO, outstanding. During the shipping process, a bracket on the Thorn Expedition Rear Rack got scratched. I emailed Thorn about this and they sent me a replacement, free of charge, right away. They did NOT bug me to send the scratched part back, as do some businesses these days. 
  10. The Rohloff is simply amazing. Yes, it is heavy, but given the hub's superior functionality it is definitely worth it. Some might question the utility of the Rohloff in a place that's relatively flat, like where I live in Dallas. To those, no offense, I did not buy the Nomad with the Rohloff thinking that I will only ride in Dallas!
In summary, I love both the bikes. I love the Americano for its robustness combined with its phenomenal performance, classic looks and panache. I love the Nomad for its extreme ruggedness and its supreme performance off-road. If I put thinner tires on the Nomad, it will probably move a bit faster on paved roads, but I am really not looking for speed. It is the overall chemistry of riding the bike, reducing my carbon footprint, staying fit by riding a bicycle, photographing and journal-ing things I see along the way, stopping to smell the roses, that I dig!

Doing longer self-supported tours still is one of my long-term goals. I will do them someday, hopefully sooner than later :)

Peace :)

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