At first glance, the Co-Motion Pangea appears to be a hard-tail mountain bike with drop handlebars and all the braze-ons needed to mount fenders and front and rear racks. At second glance, it looks more like a fast, sporty road bike with disc brakes and 26-inch mountain bike tires. In reality, however, the Co-Motion Pangea is neither of these things.
The Pangea is an American made touring bicycle created by a small, Eugene, Oregon (U.S.A.) based bicycle maker named Co-Motion. The Pangea is just one of the company’s off-road touring bike models (the other being the 29” Co-Motion Divide), and while it may be a bicycle with a few obvious contradictions, the Pangea may very well be the face of the modern touring bicycle.
Over the last 14 months, I have been using the Co-Motion Pangea as my sole means of transportation on an epic 24-country bicycle tour in both Europe and Africa. I’ve tested the bike on smooth tarmac, bumpy gravel roads, windy single-tracks trails and rocky off-road terrain. I’ve used the Pangea to traverse through blazing summer heat in the deserts of Turkey and South Africa and to navigate freezing cold winter snow storms in Slovakia and Ukraine.
Click the play button on the video above to watch my video review.
Over the course of this review, I plan to share with you the Pangea’s many strengths… and its few weaknesses. I’ll tell you how I’ve traveled with the bike on airplanes, buses, boats and trains with the use of the Pangea’s optional S&S couplers (called the “Co-Pilot Option” in Co-Motion’s terms), and I’ll review every component of the bike, starting with its frame (which is the core of any touring bicycle) and moving on from there to discuss the bicycle’s gearing, derailleurs, disc brakes, saddle, wheels, tires, braze-ons and more!
Finally, I’ll give you a detailed breakdown of the bicycle’s strengths and weaknesses, answer commonly asked questions, and I’ll tell you how to order a Pangea for yourself if you decide that this amazing 26” on-road/off-road vehicle is the touring bike you’ve been looking for.
The Frame & Fork
Constructed of super tough, large diameter 725 Reynolds steel, the Co-Motion Pangea starts off with all the qualities at the heart of a proper touring bicycle. The bicycle’s steel frame makes for a strong vehicle capable of carrying heavy loads, yet is flexible enough to provide you with a comfortable ride – something that is super important when you spend hours and hours in the saddle each day, riding for days, weeks or months on end.
The Pangea’s oversized head-tube is probably the most noticeable characteristic of the bicycle’s frame. The head tube is constructed from a Chro-Moly (steel) tube and houses a large Chris King Inset 44mm Internal Steerer. The head tube, which is set at a 71 degree or 71.5 degree angle (depending on the size of your bicycle’s frame) is the perfect angle for steering your loaded touring bicycle with full control, while at the same time giving the bike the strength it needs to carry a heavy load.
At the rear end of the frame, long touring-specific chainstays allow you to mount rear panniers of almost any size to the rear rack of the bicycle without you having to worry about the heel of your foot interfering with the front portion of the panniers while you ride (a common problem on many touring bicycles, but not the Pangea).
Rather than having perfectly straight chainstays, however, the Co-Motion Pangea features custom curved chainstays that extend from the bicycle’s bottom bracket and bend outward around the rear wheel, providing the extra space needed for the bike’s wide 26” tires and Avid BB7 disc brakes.
While these curved chainstays give you the extra heel clearance you need when touring and provide the bike with a little extra style, I found that the chainstays (especially the one on the left-hand side of the bike, where the cable for the rear disc brake wraps around the outside of the frame) would occasionally clip the heel of my large size 12 US shoes. A cyclist with even larger feet, or an individual who rides with their heels pointed more inward might be confronted with even more resistance in this area. That said, you must acknowledge the fact that shoe, pedal and cleat choice as well as mounting position of the cleat are all factors here too.
The Pangea’s frame is available in seven ready-to-order sizes (44cm, 48cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm and 62cm). However, one of the things that makes ordering a Co-Motion bicycle different than purchasing a stock bike made overseas is that the company goes above and beyond to make sure you get the correctly sized bicycle for your needs. This means that before you even complete your order for a bike with Co-Motion, all your measurements will be taken and an in-depth analysis of your body dimensions will be performed. If Co-Motion determines that you need a custom bicycle frame (maybe because you are either very tall or have really short legs), the company will provide you with a frame that has been customized specifically for your needs.
After my measurements were taken, it was determined that Co-Motion’s largest frame size would be ideal for me. But whether you need a custom fit bike or are fine with one of the standard models, Co-Motion goes above and beyond to make sure your bicycle has the right dimensions for your body. All Co-Motion bikes are made to order, so you know that when you buy a Co-Motion bicycle, you’re getting a bike made for you… and you alone!
When I first received my bicycle, my very first thought was, “It’s too small for me.” I had been riding touring bicycles with large 700c wheels for several years before getting my Pangea, and the smaller 26” wheels on the frame of the Pangea simply made the bicycle look smaller than my other touring bicycles.
However, once I got on the bike and took it for a ride, I was able to quickly see that the bicycle wasn’t too small for me after all. The bike fit like a glove… and after more than thirteen years of extensive round-the world bicycle touring experiences on multiple touring bikes, I can tell you that the Co-Motion Pangea is the most comfortable bicycle I’ve ever owned.
Finally, when it comes to having the braze-ons needed to mount water bottle cages, fenders and front and rear racks, the Co-Motion Pangea comes fully-equipped. Not only are there two different mounting points on both the front and rear ends of the Pangea frame for racks and fenders, but the bicycle is equipped with mounts for three water bottle cages (two inside the bicycle’s main triangle and one on the bottom of the bike’s down tube). Having room for an extra water bottle, or for a place to carry the fuel for your camp stove, is a nice added touch (although this is a common feature on most high-end touring bicycles).
Custom Paint Job
Another great thing about buying a Co-Motion bicycle is that these bikes are not mass-produced in Asia or elsewhere. Instead, the company’s bikes are hand-made by a skilled set of bicycle makes in the United States of America. When you order a bike from Co-Motion, the frame is built, your custom paint style is applied, and the components are then added.
After the size and other options involving the frame of your bicycle have been sorted (such as the optional S&S couplers, which I will discuss in just a moment), you are given the task of choosing the paint style for your bike.
Co-Motion has three main paint types that can be used, with each type of paint consisting of more than a dozen different colors you can choose from.
Many Co-motion owners select a solid base color and then select a different color for the “Co-Motion” lettering on the frame. For example, I selected the Ghost White paint color for the body of my Pangea frame and then used a black Co-Motion decal for the lettering on the frame.
Another popular option is to have a three-color design, featuring one base color; one highlight color, which borders the Co-Motion lettering on the frame; and then a separate color for the Co-Motion lettering itself. This is what Co-Motion refers to as a “panel” paint job… and is just one of many paint options for your new bicycle.
If there is another design style that you have in mind for your bicycle, Co-Motion will work with you to produce the paint job that you desire (at an additional expense).
Optional S&S Couplers
Discussing the frame on the Co-Motion Pangea would not be complete without mentioning the optional S&S couplers that you can choose to have installed on your bicycle, as I did.
S&S Couplers are metal attachments/fasteners that are built into the frame of a bicycle that allow it to be split apart when it is being transported (via car, bus, boat, plane or train) and then easily put back together again when you are ready to ride the bike. If you want a touring bicycle that can truly go anywhere, S&S couplers are an optional extra that are seriously worth considering.
The Co-Motion Pangea was my first bicycle with S&S couplers and I was both curious and a little nervous as to how they would perform. Although I saw the benefits of being able to fold my bicycle in half and therefore fly with the bike on most airlines as regular checked baggage (rather than as expensive piece of additional sports equipment), I had some doubts. Would the S&S couplers somehow make the bicycle weaker – opening up the possibility of cracks in the frame or an all-out breakage once I hit high-speed? Would the airlines really let me fly with the bicycle for free when it was folded in half? And what would happen if I took the bicycle apart and was unable to get it back together again?
Luckily, my fears on all three counts were nothing to worry about. Let me address each of these three issues in complete detail.
Do S&S Couplers Make The Frame Of The Bicycle Weaker?
Actually, S&S couplers make the frame of your bicycle stronger and more rigid.
While a good touring bicycle should be both strong and flexible, S&S couplers do admittedly take some of the flex out of your bicycle’s frame. They do not, however, make it any weaker or more susceptible to breakage.
The couplers fit together in two very simple ways. First of all, a series of interlocking tapered interlocking teeth snap together and are then, secondly, secured by a rotating screw like lock which prevents the couplers from disconnecting while you are riding your bike.
A special S&S coupler wrench is needed to put the bicycle together (tighten the couplers) and take it apart (loosen the couplers), so it is very important that you not lose this wrench while you are at home or on tour. S&S couplers are extremely uncommon and few bike shops will have the tools necessary to tighten or loosen your couplers if you lose the wrench that is included with your Co-Motion bicycle. That said, it is possible to use a simple punch and hammer in an emergency situation. If you do use an emergency measure and manage to damage the coupler nut, it can be replaced by Co-Motion. An older bottom bracket locking spanner can also be used to loosen and/or tighten the couplers.
Other than the possibility of losing your S&S coupler wrench, there is no need to worry about the S&S couplers breaking, coming loose, or causing fractures of any kind in your bicycle’s frame. That is what’s so great about the S&S couplers that come as an option on all of Co-Motion’s bicycle models – you can completely forget about them when you are on the bike and in motion, but they are there to be used whenever you need them.
Can You Really Fly Your Bike For Free With S&S Couplers?
The most obvious reason to take your Pangea touring bicycle apart is when you are transporting it via boat, bus, car, plane or train. In these instances, you may not be able to travel with a full-size bicycle, or you may be severely fined for transporting a full-size bike using these various modes of travel.
With a bicycle built using S&S couplers, however, you can easily transport the bike using almost any means of motorized transportation, and in many cases, you can save massive amounts of money by flying with your bicycle in its broken down state thanks to its built-in S&S couplers.
Let me give you a few examples of how I was able to transport my bike by bus, car, plane and train using the optional S&S couplers. My hope is that after sharing these stories with you, you will see just how beneficial a set of S&S couplers can be on a touring bicycle like the Co-Motion Pangea – especially if you are looking for a bike that can truly go anywhere.
Example #1 – By Car:
I mailed my bicycle from Poland to Cape Town, South Africa and after picking the bicycle up at the postal customs office, I needed to transport my bicycle back to the house in Cape Town where I was staying. My friend Anthony had driven me to the customs office, but after receiving the bicycle, we realized there was no way for the bike to easily fit inside the back of his tiny sedan. However, this was no problem with the S&S couplers on my Co-Motion Pangea. I simply loosened the coupler attachments, split the bike in two, and easily squeezed the entire thing into the trunk of Anthony’s tiny car.
Example #2 – By Train:
I wanted to take an overnight train from Lviv, Ukraine to Krakow, Poland. The woman who sold me my ticket said taking my bike on the train wouldn’t be a problem, but the conductor in charge of the train itself saw my fully-loaded bicycle and told me there was no way he’d let me on the train. In my very best Ukrainian, I tried to explain to the man that the panniers came off my bicycle and that the bicycle split in half. Still, the conductor continued, “There’s room for the bicycle.” He just kept shaking his head, “No!” I needed to get on that train though, so I ignored the conductor’s negative comments and quickly went about dismantling the bike in front of him. As soon as he saw the bicycle split in half, he smiled with recognition. He could then see just how small the bike was once it was split in half, and he and I both knew there would be room for the bike inside the sleeper train… and there was! Had it not been for the bicycle’s S&S couplers, there was no way I would have gotten on that train. I would have had to have found another way to get to Krakow. The couplers seriously saved the day!
Example #3 – By Bus:
In Ukraine once again, I found myself caught in a freezing cold winter storm and after more than a week of cycling and camping in similar conditions, I decided that rather than riding for one more day in the freezing cold, I would jump on a local bus and ride to the next largest town and continue my journey from there. Unfortunately, the bus I wanted to take was super small and there was no room on the inside the vehicle for my large touring bicycle. Luckily, there was some room in the trunk of the bus (near where the engine was located), so I simply removed the panniers from my bicycle, split the bike in half with the use of its S&S couplers, and threw everything into the bus’s small trunk. The bicycle fit wonderfully and there was still room inside the trunk of the bus for the storage of some of the other passengers’ belongings.
Example #4 – By Airplane:
Finally, I bought a plane ticket with Turkish Airlines from Zurich, Switzerland to Istanbul, Turkey. The airline said I’d need to pay an expensive additional fee to fly with my full-size bicycle, so I split the bicycle in half, cut a cardboard bike box down to the airline’s maximum size for checked baggage and fit my entire bicycle inside this large, yet airline friendly box. The bike flew for free and arrived safely in Istanbul with no problems whatsoever.
How Difficult Is It To Take Apart And Put Back Together A Bicycle Built With S&S Couplers?
To split the Co-Motion Pangea in half with the use of its S&S couplers, there are really only two things you need to do.
First of all, unscrew the three cables that run down the length of the down tube. These are the cables for the rear brake and the front and rear derailleurs. If you order your Pangea with the optional S&S couplers, the cables on your bicycle will have a special attachment in the middle of them that allows the cables to be split in half. If you order the regular Pangea frame without the S&S couplers, the cables on your bike won’t have this special attachment in the middle of them.
After you’ve undone the cables, use the S&S coupler wrench that is included with your Pangea to loosen the two coupler attachments. This is easily done with just one short twist of the wrench. After the outer S&S coupler screw attachment is loosened, you can use your hands to loosen it further – doing this to both the S&S coupler on the top and down tube. Once both couplers are unscrewed, the bicycle will easily split in half without you having to do much of anything. The two parts will simply fall away from one another.
If you are packing the bike for transport in a car, boat, bus or train, there usually isn’t anything else you have to do. You can keep the front and rear racks, fenders, water bottle cages and anything else on the bike just the way it is. However, if you are planning to fly with the bike and need it to fit inside either the Co-Motion Co-Pilot Case or an airline friendly cardboard box that you cut down to size yourself, you will need to remove the fenders, front and rear racks, water bottle cages and anything else you have on the bike… and fitting it all inside the case/box requires a bit more work.
Putting the bicycle back together, however, is not at all complicated. In fact, it’s very easy!
To prepare your S&S coupled touring bicycle for the road, simply align the front and rear halves of your bicycle so that the interlocking teeth on the S&S coupler attachments line up with one another. Once you have the two halves of the bicycle lined up, simply slide the metal screw attachment from one or both S&S couplers over the interlocking turrets and turn with your hand in a clockwise fashion, thereby locking the two halves of the frame in place. Once you’ve tightened the couplers on both the top and down tubes as tight as you can with your hand, use the S&S coupler wrench to lock the frame in place.
Then re-attach the cables on the front and rear halves of your bicycle. There are no special tools needed to do this. Simply shift your gears to their lowest positions and use your hands to screw the interlocking cables into place. A small amount of pressure will need to be applied to the cables at this point, but not nearly as much as you might think. The cables go back together rather effortlessly.
As soon as you’ve locked the S&S couplers back together and reattached the cables, you’re ready to ride! The entire process takes less than three minutes with just a little practice.
The choice of gearing on the Co-Motion Pangea is probably the best there is for a touring bicycle of its kind. Touring bicycles like the Pangea tend to feature a gearing set up similar to what you see on most modern mountain bikes. There will be three gears in the front of the bike and seven or more gears in the back – allowing for 21 or more total gear combinations.
On a touring bicycle, the large chainring is probably the least important (as it is used for traveling at high speeds – something many touring cyclists will rarely ever do). The small chainring, however, is of great importance, as it is the gear that allows you to climb steep hills (even with a heavy load) with minimal effort.
The Co-Motion Pangea has an FSA Afterburner crankset with a (48, 36, 26) gear combination. It is the 26 here that is probably the most important number to pay attention to. This number means that there are only 26 teeth on the bicycle’s smallest gear, which is an excellently low gear to have on an off-road touring bicycle like to Pangea. Many other touring bicycles have a smallest gear with 30, 32 or as many was 36 teeth, meaning that climbing steep hills with these bikes can be a total nightmare.
I rarely ever used the Pangea’s lowest gear. Even on the steepest hills, I would usually climb in the bicycle’s second or third lowest gear, meaning there was still room to switch to a lower gear if I needed it. This is what you want in a good touring bicycle!
While the lower gears on the Pangea are ideal, cyclists with a preference for speed may be disappointed with the Pangea’s higher gear options, which top out at a speed of somewhere around 35 kilometers per hour. However, the top few gears on the Co-Motion Pangea will be ideal (and rarely ever used) by most long-distance cyclists, as high-speed travel (especially for long lengths of time) is not a typical activity on most bicycle tours.
Overall, I would say that the Pangea has one of the best bicycle touring gear set ups of any bicycle on the market. The small gears are perfect for climbing. The middle gears are excellent for city bike travel, where quick starts and stops are necessary. And the big gears are ideal when cruising at high speed on flat roads or speeding downhill.
The Derailleurs / Drivetrain
The components on the Pangea are high-end, which is just part of the reason why the bike is so much more expensive than other mass-produced or introductory touring bicycles.
The front derailleur on the Co-Motion Pangea is a Shimano 105 and the rear derailleur is a Shimano XTR. These two derailleurs are commonly used on high-end road bikes and are designed to give you as few problems as possible on your long-distance bicycle tours.
Since first purchasing the Pangea more than a year ago, I have not even touched either derailleur. I’ve never had to make any adjustments or repairs of any type to either component. I’ve cleaned the derailleurs with soap and water, and added a small amount of lube when necessary, but that’s all I’ve had to do.
Sometimes the sign of a good bicycle part is the part you never have to touch or even think about at all. In the case of the Pangea touring bicycle and the derailleurs that have been selected for this bike, this is certainly the case!
STI or Bar-End Shifters
Just like you have the option of adding S&S couplers and selecting your own custom paint job, you also have the option of equipping your Co-Motion Pangea with either STI Shifters (commonly found on most road racing bicycles) or with traditional bicycle touring bar-end shifters.
This, like the disc brakes that we will discuss in just a moment, are one of the Pangea’s first touring bike contradictions. While a traditional touring bike would use bar-end shifters because they are inexpensive and easy to repair just about anywhere in the world, you do have the option of adding more expensive, more complicated, and more difficult to repair STI shifters to your Pangea bicycle (for an extra $250 USD).
While STI shifters are probably preferred in most instances by anyone who has ever ridden a road bicycle, because the brakes and shifters are combined into a single competent, which makes it easy for you to brake or shift gears without moving your hands around on the handlebars, if something were to go wrong with your STI shifters on a bike tour in a remote region of the world where these types of shifters are uncommon (or even worse, impossible to find), you could be in a whole lot of trouble!
This is why even though I have used STI shifters on my previous road bicycles and even a few of my touring bicycles in the past, I decided to equip my Co-motion Pangea with bar-end shifters.
Bar-end shifters are less expensive, and they are relatively easy to repair should something go wrong with them in a remote region of the world, but they do take a little getting used to. With bar-end shifters, each time you want to change gears, you have to move your hands from the top of your handlebars down to the bar ends, and move the shifter manually into the correct position.
This, at first, seems like a lot of work and something that would become annoying at the very least on a long-distance bicycle tour. But after about a week of riding with bar-end shifters, you stop thinking about the work you are doing when you shift gears. Just like the shifters you’ve used on any bike before, a little practice with the bar-end shifters on your Co-Motion Pangea and you’ll feel 100% at home on your new bike.
When it comes time to decide whether you want STI or bar-end shifters on your Pangea touring bicycle, consider your personal preferences, but more than anything, consider where you will be riding in the world and the types of spare parts they are going to have in those regions if your shifters were to break or need repair.
In general, if you are planning to cycle in North America, Europe or Australia/New Zealand, you’ll be perfectly safe riding with STI shifters on your touring bicycle. Shifters of this type are commonly found at most bike shops in these regions of the world and you should be able to find spare parts or make repairs to your bike if the circumstance calls for it.
However, if you are planning to ride your Co-Motion Pangea in South America, Africa or the undeveloped parts of Asia, consider equipping your bicycle with bar-end shifters. While I have had no problems whatsoever with the bar-end shifters on my Pangea over the last 14+ months, if your shifters were to break or need repair, you’ll have a better chance of getting assistance in these corners of the world if you have bar-end shifters on your bike.
The Disc Brakes
Another contradiction of the Co-Motion Pangea is the bicycle’s front and rear cable disc brakes. Once again, a traditional touring bicycle tends to use the simplest parts and components, so that in the event of a break down in a remote part of the world, the parts and supplies needed to make a repair can be found just about anywhere. But with Pangea equipped with Avid BB7 disc brakes and 160mm Rotors, you run the risk of not being able to repair your brakes in remote corners of the world, should something go wrong.
That said, the Avid BB7 disc brakes found on the Co-Motion Pangea are wonderful brakes to have on a touring bicycle. While some users may complain of the slight squeal that Avid brakes tend to make if not adjusted properly, the brakes do an excellent job of slowing down and bringing to a stop a heavily loaded touring bicycle such as the Pangea.
On steep downhill terrain, whether it be on paved roads, rocky single-tracks or snow-covered dirt roads, I found the brakes on the Co-Motion Pangea to be both effective and reliable. During my 14+ months of travel with the Pangea, the only adjustment I needed to make to the brakes was adding a new set of brake pads to the rear brake after 10+ months of use. I had worn a hole through the center of the rear brake pads, but they were easily replaced with a new set of brake pads I was able to find at a small bike shop in Cape Town, South Africa.
There are two great features worth noting about the brakes on the Co-Motion Pangea.
First of all, the brakes are cable brakes, and not hydraulic brakes. While mountain bikers will claim that hydraulic brakes are better (more responsive), cable brakes (especially on a bicycle that splits in half with the use of S&S couplers) is ideal.
Cable brakes are better on a touring bicycle like the Pangea because they are easier to repair. If a cable were to break, you could find a replacement just about anywhere in the world. And the fact that the cables on the optional S&S coupled Pangea split in half further add to the benefits of the cable brakes on this particular touring bicycle.
The other benefit to using cable brakes, versus hydraulic disc brakes is that hydraulic disc brakes require special tools, liquids and more to keep them properly maintained. If the liquid in your hydraulic brakes were to leak out and you were in the middle of Peru, for example, you’d have no way of repairing the brakes without carrying all the tools needed to either fix the brakes yourself… or finding a shop that specialized in hydraulic disc brakes to help you repair your bike.
The other major benefit to the brakes on the Co-Motion Pangea is that they are so incredibly easy to adjust. On each side of the brakes is a small reddish circle that can be turned left or right, depending on whether you want to move the brakes pads closer to or further away from the disc brake rotor. These two circles on each side of the brake allow you to easily adjust your disc brakes without the use of any special tools and adjust the sensitivity of your front and rear brakes, depending on both your personal preference and the needs of your specific tour.
While disc brakes may not be ideal in a traditional bicycle touring sense, I have a feeling that because of their superior stopping power and the growing popularity of bicycles equipped with disc brakes all around the world, almost all of the touring bicycles of the future will likely be built with disc brakes of some kind.
The Saddle / Seat
When you ride a bicycle, your body makes contact with three distinct parts of the bike – your pedals, your handlebars, and your saddle (or seat). The most important of these when it comes to comfort on your bicycle, is the saddle. On a touring bicycle, where you are surely going to be spending several hours on the bike each day, the saddle becomes even more important.
When I first saw the flat, hard, aerodynamic racing-style saddle on the Co-Motion Pangea, I was sure I was going to have to swap it out for something more comfortable. But before I went about doing that, I wanted to give the Selle Italia Nekkar Flow saddle that comes with the Pangea a try. “Who knows,” I thought to myself, “Maybe the saddle will end up being incredibly comfortable.”
And you know what? I was right! The saddle on the Co-Motion Pangea does look like a hard, uncomfortable seat for a long-distance touring bicycle, but it is actually more flexible and forgiving than it looks, and it is a great bicycle touring saddle.
When you are looking for a bicycle saddle, you want to approach it in just the same way you would if you were searching for a mattress for your bed. You want something that is firm at its base and will provide you with the support you need, but that has some give to its surface so that it is comfortable at the same time. That is exactly what the saddle on the Co-Motion Pangea is like. It looks hard and stiff, but it is actually quite comfortable once you sit on it. And it has just enough give to it that you never really feel the stiffness of the saddle underneath you – even on the longest bicycle touring days.
Over the course of the last 14+ months, I have not complained about my saddle even once. I ride in complete comfort each day, without pains of any kind in my lower back, butt or groin.
Like so many other traits and components found on the Co-Motion Pangea, the saddle is just another example of a great piece of equipment that does its job so well you don’t even have to think about it.
Co-Motion also offers the Selle Anatomica saddle to its customers, which is another popular saddle for touring bicycles.
The Wheels & Tires
The Co-Motion Pangea is unique amongst touring bicycles because instead of using 700c road wheels and narrow touring tires, the bicycle is equipped with 26 inch wheels and wide 2.1 inch on-road/off road tires.
The wheels on the Pangea are constructed from high-quality DT540 Hubs, Velocity Aeroheat Rims and 36 steel spokes (per wheel). During my 14+ months with the Pangea, I had no problems with the bicycle’s hubs, spokes or rims.
The 26” x 2.1 Continental Town & Country tires that come with the bicycle however, only lasted 34 days before they needed to be replaced.
While the original Continental tires that came with the bike were still in use, I like the tires overall. The tires were perfectly smooth down the center of the tire, making them ideal for on-road use.
As you moved from away from the center of the tires, however, the tread made a quick drop downward, enabling the bicycle to navigate in off-road conditions with some skill.
In theory, the tires that come with the Co-Motion Pangea are ideally suited for on-road/off-road use. And the tires certainly give the bicycle a look that makes if different from so many other touring bicycles on the market. But I had two major problems with the tires during the short amount of time they remained on my bike.
First of all, the tires provided little traction in off-road conditions. I struggled the most when there was a hard dirt or asphalt surface covered with light sand or gravel. In this type of environment, the flat center section of the tires were unable to grip the road surface and my rear tire would spin and spin without making much forward progress.
Secondly, and most importantly, the tires themselves wore out in only 34 days. After about two weeks I could see that the tires were beginning to crack and weather near the rims and on the sides of the tires. After just 34 days, the tires split apart entirely, forcing me to purchase new tires for a practically brand new touring bike.
In all my years of bicycle touring, I have never had a set of tires die so quickly. For example, the tires that I replaced the original Town & Country tires with were a no-name brand that I picked up at a bike shop in Belgium. While the Continental Town & Country tires that came with the Pangea lasted only 1 month, these inexpensive commuter tire replacements ended up lasting the remaining 13+ months that I was on the road in both Europe and Africa.
I don’t know why the tires on the Pangea died so quickly. I know I did not have the tires under-inflated, and I treated them no differently than the Belgian tires I eventually replaced them with. I suspect that I simply received an old pair of tires when I purchased my bike. Maybe these tires had been sitting around the shop for a while, had some pre-existing sun damage, or something like that… and this is why the tires only made it through the first 34 days of my bicycle tour. I guess I will never really know.
The Ride (Or “How Does The Bike Feel?”)
One of the best things about the Co-Motion Pangea is just how comfortable it is.
While the bike looks like a fast, sporty road bike and the saddle looks kind of stiff, the bicycle itself is a joy to ride. During my 14+ months on the road, I never once complained of having a sore back, butt, neck or hands. I felt completely in control of the bike at both low and high speeds, whether I was slowly making my way up a steep mountain pass or bombing downhill on the opposite side. In wind, rain, sun and snow, the Pangea drove like a dream. In turns I never had to worry about my feet or pedals hitting the ground underneath me and in off-road environments I felt comfortable driving over dirt, rocks, sand, and snow.
As I said before, the Pangea touring bicycle is truly the most comfortable touring bicycle I have ever owned. It rides like a road bike, but feels like a touring bicycle should – extremely comfortable.
Commonly Asked Questions
Below you will find some of the most common questions I received in regards to the Co-Motion Pangea touring bicycle, along with my answers to those questions. If you have another question about the bicycle that is not answered here or elsewhere in this review, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page and I will get back to you just as soon as I can with a quality response.
How much does the Co-Motion Pangea cost?
You can purchase the Co-Motion Pangea frame and fork for $1,965 USD and then build up the rest of the bicycle by yourself. The complete bike, however, costs $3,925 USD… with extras such as the optional S&S couplers, STI shifters, and more being added to this price.
Please note that these prices can and will surely change.
How much does the Co-Motion Pangea weigh?
The complete bicycle with pedals and both front and rear racks and fenders weighs approximately 34 pounds (15.5 kilograms).
The weight of the bicycle once it is fully-loaded, however, will vary greatly depending on the gear you choose to carry with you, the length of your tour, the type of accommodations you plan to be using during your travels (camping vs. hotels), and a number of other factors. That said, the Pangea can support as much as 65 or more pounds (30 kg) of additional weight. The less weight you carry, however, the more you will enjoy your tour.
What sizes is Co-Motion Pangea available in?
The Pangea’s frame is available in seven ready-to-order sizes (44cm, 48cm, 52cm, 54cm, 56cm, 58cm and 62cm). However, you can have the frame custom built to your specific needs. Just contact Co-Motion or your local Co-Motion dealer for more information.
Why does the Co-Motion Pangea have drop handlebars?
Many people assume that drop handlebars are used on road bicycles so you can tuck down low on the bike and assume an aerodynamic position. However, drop bars are common on touring bicycles not because of the need for speed or decreased wind drag, but because of the numerous hand positions that they afford.
If you ride a bicycle and keep your hands in one position all day long for days, weeks and months on end, you will likely experience some pain in your palms, wrists, elbows and arms. It is also extremely likely that you will suffer from slight to severe nerve damage if you never move your hands around while riding your bike.
Drop handlebars allow you to move your hands around as you ride. They provide you with at least 12 or more different hand positions and they greatly reduce the chance that you will experience pain or long-lasting nerve damage on your long-distance bicycle tours.
Why does the Pangea have 26” wheels/tires on it?
There are two main benefits to using 26 inch tires on a touring bicycle like the Co-Motion Pangea.
First of all, 2 inch tires are better suited to off-road travel.
Secondly, 26 inch tires are standard just about everywhere in the world. This means that if you are planning to conduct a bicycle tour in a remote region of the world, it is better to be using a bicycle with 26 inch tires/wheels than a bicycle with 700c tires/wheels. Finding replacement parts for 26 inch tires/wheels is easy – no matter where you are in the world. The same can not be said for bicycles with 700c tires/wheels.
If you are looking for a touring bicycle with 700c or 29 inch wheels/tires, Co-Motion does make other touring bike models that will fit your needs. See this page for more information.
Do the wide 26 x 2.1 inch tires on the Pangea slow it down on paved roads?
The wider tires on the Pangea do probably slow the bicycle down just a little bit when compared with skinnier, more traditional road tires. However, in a long-distance touring scenario, speed is usually not the main concern and most bicycle travelers will be unable to feel any decreased slowing caused by the wider tires found on this particular touring bicycle.
Why does this off-road capable touring bicycle not have suspension on it?
The Co-Motion Pangea is a bicycle that has been built to handle the demands of both on-road and off-road bicycle touring. It performs wonderfully on paved roads, but it performs just as well in off-road environments.
That said, a touring bicycle loaded with two or four panniers and driven in a rocky off-road environment is never going to handle as well as an unloaded mountain bike with front and rear-suspension. The two bikes are simply designed with different purposes in mind.
That said, the Co-Motion is rugged enough to handle the roughest terrain. Of course you aren’t going to want to be jumping the bike off of steep ledges or crashing it down rocky single-track trails at high speed. You need to be a little more careful with it. But it performs off-road in just the way that it should.
The Pangea doesn’t have suspension on it because even though suspension might make the ride more comfortable to you, it decreases your overall efficiency on the bike, saps your power, and makes the ride that much more difficult. Even when touring off-road, you generally want a rigid, yet flexible touring bicycle frame like the one found on the Co-Motion Pangea.
Do the S&S couplers in any way reduce the strength or reliability of the bicycle?
No, the optional S&S couplers actually make the bicycle frame stronger. See my comments earlier in this review.
How long does it take to split the bicycle in half and put it back together again with the S&S couplers?
The answer to this questions depends on the circumstance and your mechanical abilities.
If you are taking the bicycle apart really quick to fit it on a bus, boat or train, you can remove the front and rear panniers from the bicycle and split the bike in half in less than 3 minutes (with a little practice – maybe not the first time you try it). The same is true with putting the bicycle back together again. It takes about 3 minutes to put the bicycle back together using the S&S couplers.
That said, if you plan on taking the bicycle on an airplane and you need it to fit inside an airline friendly travel bag or box, the break down process takes quite a bit longer. You will need to split the bicycle in half with the S&S couplers, remove the front and rear racks, remove the front and rear fenders, remove the water bottle cages, and remove the pedals. Once you do all that, you have to carefully fit the two halves of the bicycle frame and the two wheels into the travel bag/box. This part is not easy. It’s a very tight fit and takes a large amount of trial and error to get it to all fit properly. The first time you do this it could easily an hour or more. Putting the bicycle back together again will probably take about 45 minutes. However, after you have done this one or two times, the process does become somewhat easier.
Is it worth the extra money to have S&S couplers installed on the bike?
If you plan to travel with your bicycle a lot (especially on airplanes, where some airlines are now charging as much as $350 USD per direction to fly with a bicycle), it makes sense to purchase a bike with S&S couplers and can fly for free or as regular checked baggage on most international airlines.
The S&S couplers that come on the Co-Motion Pangea cost about $750 USD. Even if you were only charged $150 USD per direction to fly your bicycle on an airplane, this would mean you’d only have to take your bicycle on 2.5 round-trip flights before they coupler’s had paid themselves off. Every flight after that you would be saving money!
Where can I purchase a Co-Motion Pangea touring bicycle?
The best way to purchase a Co-Motion bicycle is to contact your local Co-Motion dealer – if you have one. Otherwise, you can contact the company directly. Their website is www.co-motion.com. Their phone number is (866) 282-6336 and you can contact them via email using the web form on this page.
Is the Co-Motion Pangea available Internationally?
While it is possible to purchase a Co-Motion bicycle and have it delivered to you if you live outside of the United States, there are some additional costs associated with the purchase. You will need to pay extra for shipping (and insurance, if you decide to insure the bike during its transport). Then you may need to pay additional customs and/or import fees. Each country is a little different in regards to how they handle delivery of bicycles, so be sure to do your research before ordering a bike so you know what, if any, extra fees you may need to pay in order to receive your bicycle once it makes it way to your country. For more information on international orders, contact Co-Motion directly.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions about the Co-Motion Pangea?
If you have any additional questions about the Co-Motion Pangea that I have not answered here, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page, visit the official Co-Motion website at www.co-motion.com or give the company a call at (866) 282-6336.
The Co-Motion Pangea: My Overall Rating
The Co-Motion Pangea is a beautiful, well-designed and incredibly well-built on-road/off-road touring bicycle capable of short trips near your home or round-the-world adventures. While the high-price of the Pangea may scare away some, those looking for the best bicycle touring in the world may have just met their match.
- High-quality on-road/off-road touring bicycle capable of round-the-world travel.
- Comfortable frame, handlebars and saddle allow for long hours on the bike.
- Excellent stopping power thanks to cable disc-brakes.
- Three water bottles cage mounts (instead of the standard two).
- Customizable shifters, frame and paint allow for a truly unique bicycle.
- 26” wheels/tires make replacement parts easy to find just about anywhere in the world.
- Optional S&S couplers allow the bike to be split in half and taken on buses, boats, planes and trains at no additional cost.
- Tires wear out too quickly (but maybe I was just given a bad batch?).
- Tires are slippery on loose gravel roads due to tread pattern.
- Parts for the optional STI Shifters, S&S Couplers and disc brakes may be impossible/difficult to find in undeveloped parts of the world.
- High price may not be affordable to some individuals.
How To Purchase A Co-Motion Bicycle
To purchase a Co-Motion Pangea touring bicycle, contact your local Co-Motion dealer or contact Co-Motion directly by calling (866) 282-6336 or visiting their website at www.co-motion.com.