Bicycles & Tandems: A Technology Retrospective

I was reading through a number of very old publications dealing with bicycle history, technology, construction, and repair and in doing so, I was once again reminded that with bicycles almost everything old is new again.

I have also come to believe that the discussions we have today regarding bicycles and tandems are also not all that different than the ones enthusiasts would have had over 100 years ago and, with that in mind, I've culled a a few snippits from some of these old manuscripts to read and ponder.

  • Introduction: The Modern Bicycle and its Accessories, The Commercial Advertiser Assn., 1898
    • An 1898 version of today's "Buyers Guide"
  • Preface: Bicycle Repairing, By S.D.V. Burr, 1896
    • The value of a quality bicycle and of good mechanics
  • Introduction: Modern Cycles - A Practical Handbook.... By A.J. Wallis-Tayler, C.E., 1897
    • The safety bicycle as a practical, beneficial, and more easily managed machine
  • Bicycles For Two or More Riders: Modern Cycles - A Practical Handbook.... By A.J. Wallis-Tayler, C.E., 1897
    • A comprehensive overview of the state of the art of tandems, circa 1897
  • Tandems & Multicycles: The Modern Bicycle and its Accessories, The Commercial Advertiser Assn., 1898
    • A brief history and overview of tandems as might be seen in today's Bicycling Magazine, less all of the details.
  • Building Tandem Safeties: Cycle Building and Repairing, Edited by Paul N. Hasluck, 1900
    • A detailed description of how to build a tandem, circa 1900. Just how much as really changed?

 


 

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The first one is a preface to a publication that is, in essence, the 1898 version of annual Bicycling Magazine or VeloNews "Annual Buyers Guide". The motivation for its publication, as you'll see, is that the equivalent of Interbike -- the 1897-1898 National Cycle Show -- was not held and "The Commercial Advertiser" moved to fill the gap.

In just the preface you'll find the familiar warning against buying poor quality machines, the need to take proper care of your bicycle (also referred to as a "wheel", a common name for one's bicycle in the US around the 1800's), as well as the value to be had in learning enough about how to do your own maintenance so that on-the-road problems and basic preventative maintenance can be addressed on an on-going basis. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

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The Modern Bicycle and its Accessories
A Complete Reference Book for Rider, Dealer, & Maker
The Commercial Advertiser Assn., 1898

 

INTRODUCTION

Bicycles without number have been consigned to the scrap heap or discarded for new mounts, as the result of abuse and the lack of proper care, due solely to the Ignorance of riders as to a wheel's constructlon and requirements, while disappointments have resulted, in many instances, because the same lack of knowledge has prevented the wise selection of an well constructed and properly adjusted mount at the outset.

A bicycle can no more be expected to run smoothly without a proper adjustment of its parts and their maintenance in perfect running condition than can any other piece of machinery, and while the chain and chainless productions of 1888 are admirable for their simple mechanism, such points as the bearings and running gear require periodical inspection and attention to insure satisfactory service. This cannot be adequately given by a rider who has no conception as to the details of construction of his machine and so it frequently happens that a bicycle sinks into an early grave because its rider persists in calling upon it for continued service, while utterly indifferent to its construction and requirements.

"Know thy wheel"' is an excellent maxim for every rider to follow; for those who heed it the matter of emergency repair will be a simple thing, a smooth running wheel will be assured, the chance of accident reduced to the minimum, and the life of the machine extended throughout its fullest period. It is partly with a view to bringing about a better acquaintance between the average rider and his wheel that the following pages are presented.

To the bicycle manfuacturer and to the repair man and dealer - who are frequently called upon for advice and service concerning any and all makes of wheels - to the student of cycle construction, and to the mechanical expert, this volume will scarcely fall to be regarded as a valuable reference book for many years to come.

The idea of presenting to riders -- through the columns of "The Commerclal Advertiser" -- an illustrated description of the lines, parts and improvements of the bicycle for 1898 was conceived chiefly because of the absence during the winter of 1897-98 of a National Cycle Show. Just prior to the opening of preceding seasons tens of thousands of riders throughout the country were able to see at the annual shows, and at those held under the auspices of the various local cycle trade organizations, all that the maker had to offer In changes and improvements for the new year. This opportunity was also furthered by the columns of descriptive matter published by the daily press and cycle trade journals in their of these shows and the exhibits. Riders were to have none of these advantages for the season of 1898, however, and "The Commercial Advertiser" accordingly began the work of collecting and presenting the information which appeared in its columns in serial form during February, March and April of 1898, and which is now presented in this volume.

It is not claimed that all of the new features and changes evolved by the master mechanics of the cycle building industry have been embodied. It is believed, however, that none having an important bearing upon, or any way likely to cause material changes in, the methods of bicycle construction have been overlooked. Further than this, the gradual processes through which these changes and improvements have been evolved are shown throughout the periods of distinct advancement, also those of reversion, as they have followed, one upon the other, until the present state of the industry is reached and its product set forth as the most advanced, from every standpoint In the history of bicycle building.

Likewise the progress and improvements made In the manufacture of tires, saddles, lamps, bells, brakes and the many other articles common to the well-equipped modern bicycle, have received careful attention, with the result that the work of presenting this amount of information to the readers of "The Commercial Advertiser" has, we believe, been as complete and thorough as it has been practicable to make it.

 

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This extract from a comprehensive repair manual provides an introduction that reinforces the prudence of buying a quality machine and then making sure only qualified mechanics are permitted to maintain it.

I found it somewhat amusing that 111 years after this Introduction was written, one of the biggest challenges facing bicycle and, more specifically, tandem owners is the lack of qualified, skilled mechanics or... worse yet, the problems associated with shops that employ personnel as mechanics who lack the knowledge and skills to properly maintain a complex machine like a high-end tandem.

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Bicycle Repairing: A Manual Compilied from Articles in THE IRON AGE
By S.D.V. Burr, Jan 25, 1896

PREFACE

The Bicycle of to-day is built on scientific principles by the most competent mechanics and of the strongest and best materials. Although no expense is spared by the leading manufacturers in their efforts to produce perfect Bicycle, it happens. unfortunately that, through accident or abuse, the machine is injured and breaks down. It therefore requires at times the attention of one having knowledge of the methods necessary to repair it. Placed in the hands of an inexperienced practitioner it may be permanently injured and perhaps ruined, but if treated by one skilled in the art it may be restored to its original strength and usefulness.

The wonder is not that the Bicycle occasionally breaks down but that it lasts as well as it does. When we consider the relative weight of the Bicycle and its rider, and think of its apparently frail construction, and then remember the severe strains to which it is subjected in service, we are compelled to admire its design, the strength of its parts, and the perfection of its workmanship. When a machine of this character, so delicate in its component parts and so finely adjusted, is in need of repair, it should evidently be taken to one who will understand the difficulty and who knows how to apply the proper remedy.

This seeming delicacy of the Bicycle has been of the utmost importance to the Bicycle trade as a whole. To it, and to it alone, can be ascribed the wonderful scarcity of really poor Bicycles. The Bicycle is a chain, and every part constitutes a link which must of necessity bear its portion of the strain. To weaken one of these links or parts by the introduction of inferior material means the speedy destruction of the Bicycle. To keep up the strength by using a greater quantity of cheap metal would meet with no demand, because the rider of to-day will not mount a heavy Bicycle. This delicacy is, in a certain sense, a guarantee of the honesty of manufacture of the Bicycle, and the Bicycle itself is the best safeguard against imposture.

The millions of Bicycles now in use have created a demand for the services of bright mechanics. Almost every town, no matter how small in population, can boast of some one who at least profess to make a specialty of Bicycle repairing. Unfortunately, too many men have gone into this business who have had no previous training to fit them for the work. They thought the Bicycle was as easy to repair as it was simple in appearance. These men have succeeded in ruining thousands of good Bicycles. On the other hand, there are men in this business who are mechanics of experience, who have studied the Bicycle as they would an intricate problem, and who can repair it so as to bring it to its first condition of usefulness. When a manufacturer knows his Bicycle will be repaired properly he prefers that the work should be done at the shop nearest the home of the owner rather than that it be sent to his own works. The principal reason for this is that the rider is not deprived of the use of his Bicycle for so long a time.

 

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This introduction comes from a very comprehensive manual that also includes an overview of bicycle technologies.

In this handbook of some 350 pages there are references to the Bamboo Cycle Company, various types of chain and chainless drive trains, and just about every type of technology and "new innovations" that have often been reintroduced as "new innovations" in more recent times, e.g., saddles with anotomic cut-outs, eccentrics, the aforementioned open tandem frames from Retro #1 posting, and the like. A more detailed chapter on BICYCLES OR DICYCLES FOR TWO OR MORE RIDERS follows this article and is well worth the time spent reading if you are a tandem enthusiast.

This introduction I found of interest for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the discussion on "cornering". You'll note that 'countersteering' is referred to here as 'underrunning' and as is often times noted, these basic principles of how a two wheeled machine steers are tried and proven as anything else there is with respect to bicycles. I was also amused by the reference to the early, paved bicycle toll roads that pre-dated paved roads for motorcars.

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Modern Cycles: A Practical Handbook on Their Construction & Repair
By A.J. Wallis-Tayler, C.E.
1897, London

INTRODUCTION

SO accustomed have people become to cycles that they are accorded but little admiration. Nevertheless a well-constructed modern cycle is most undoubtedly a very clever piece of mechanism, and one that has only become gradually and slowly evolved, by the exercise of great ingenuity, from a very crude and unpromising commencement.

The prejudice, or rather the dread, which for some time prevented many people from availing themselves of this mode of locomotion, has now, with the supersession of the old front-driving high bicycle or dicycle, known as the ordinary, and the perfection of the modern machine, known as the safety, almost completely disappeared, and the cycle now not only affords a ready means to both sexes of obtaining a pleasant and healthful recreation, and admits of a rapid transit from one place to another for business purposes, but also allows of a like convenient moving from place to place of passengers or goods being effected.

The great advantage derived from the use of a well-made cycle is, that the weight of the rider being borne entirely upon the wheels, the whole of his strength can therefore be profitably exerted upon the propulsion of the machine, and, as is well known, the weight of the body in walking necessitates a far greater muscular effort than that requisite for the above purpose, hence the gain experienced in riding a cycle.

The time for expressing any doubts as to the advantages to be derived from the use of cycles has now gone by, and the healthfulness of the pursuit when not abused is almost universally acknowledged.

In addition to the possession, however, of a good machine, it is absolutely necessary, in order to obtain satisfactory results both as regards pleasure and utility, that the surface upon which it is to be propelled be in a hard and smooth condition. It is clear, therefore, that unless the art of roadmaking had progressed, or rather, perhaps, to speak more accurately, the application of the said art had become more universal, the development of the cycle, even if it had not been entirely checked, would have been to a large extent bereft of its utility. In America, where the cycle, or as it is there styled, the "wheel", has become, if possible, even more popular than here, special roads or tracks have been laid down for cyclists, which they are free to use upon payment of a small toll.

Before proceeding to give a short historical account of the growth of cycles, a few preliminary remarks upon the balance of bicycles will not be out of place. It is of course obvious to any one that a bicycle, being supported only at two points, cannot be stable, but must have a constant tendency to fall to the one side or the other. This tendency can be counteracted by the bicycle rider when in motion in two ways-viz., first, by inclining the body in the opposite direction to that in which the machine is falling, and, secondly, by turning the steering wheel towards that side to which the machine is falling, or, as it is termed under-running. The latter action causes, when the machine is in motion, the recovery of the balance. In practice it is probable that the expert bicycle rider maintains his balance partly by the inclination of his body to one side or the other, and partly by under-running. The more expert the rider the less necessity will there be for correction by underrunning, and consequently the straighter and the less wavy will be the path of the bicycle.

 

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A comprehensive overview of tandem bicycles, circa 1897, as compiled by an engineer well-versed in the technology of the day. It includes a brief history of the tandem and then provides descriptions of the more popular configurations of tandems as was in practice at the time.

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Modern Cycles: A Practical Handbook on Their Construction & Repair
By A.J. Wallis-Tayler, C.E.
1897, London

 

BICYCLES OR DICYCLES FOR TWO OR MORE RIDERS.

These may be further classified under two heads-viz., first, those wherein the riders are placed in line one behind the other, such as one-track tandems, triplets, quadruplets, quintets, sextets, etc.; and those wherein the riders are situated side by side, as in one-track sociables.

TANDEM BICYCLES. - The first tandems were designed by Rucker, whose earliest machine consisted simply of two high wheels provided with forks and coupled together by a suitably jointed backbone. This machine afforded the advantages of having no small wheels to cause an increased resistance to propulsion, great fore and aft stability, good distribution of wheel load, and of both wheels being to an equal extent drivers and steerers. On the other hand, however, a considerable amount of practice would be required to ensure the combined action on the part of the riders, requisite for steady steering, and balancing when going round curves.

A later Rucker tandem had two wheels, the rear one being a small-sized trailing wheel, and the other or fore wheel being a medium-sized driving wheel. It was, in fact, simply a dwarf bicycle with a horizontal portion of backbone, the seat for the front rider being placed directly over the centre of the driving wheel, and that for the rear rider, who performed the steering, and should be the heaviest of the two, being about half-way between the two wheels. The driving was effected by means of divided pedal axles located in front of and behind the fore wheel axle, each being connected to the latter by a chain and chain wheels. The weight of this machine was about 55 lbs., and at the time of its introduction it was considered to be a fast machine. The forward stability of the machine, however, was not greater than that of an ordinary bicycle.

The Shakespeare, and Renouf's tandems, and a tandem machine of American design, are simply modifications of the old hobby-horse, wherein a seat for a rider is placed over each wheel, and the latter provided with driving cranks and pedals. In the American machine the rear seat could be used either as a side saddle for a lady's use, or as an ordinary saddle for men.

Figs. 15, 16, and 17 illustrate three patterns of tandems of the most recent designs, built by Humber & Co. Limited. That shown in Fig. 15 is adapted for use by a lady and gentleman, or by two ladies, in the latter case the detachable rear top stay must be removed. The machine can also be so arranged as to admit, when used by a gentleman and lady, of the latter occupying either the front or rear seat. The front, and, if desired, the rear driving chain may be provided with a cover. The frame is of Brown's patented design, and is very rigid, being stiffened by the special arrangement of the lower tubes. It is fitted with 28-inch equal wheels, tangent spokes, can be steered from either the front or back, and has ball bearings to both steering heads and other parts. Front cranks 6 1/4inch rear cranks 6 inch, gear 63 inches. The locking arrangement for the steering is a patented device (No. 3,618.95), which consists essentially of a small pin fitting through a hole in the handle-bar collar or clip, and a similar hole in the top joint of the frame. This pin is hollow, and has fitted in it another pin having a flange upon one portion, and which latter inner pin works in an eccentric manner in the outermost one. The said outermost hollow pin is provided with a slot or opening through which the flange or projection upon the inner pin can be made to project. 'The hole in the handle-bar collar is recessed to receive this flange, and when the inner pin is so turned or rotated as to cause the engagement of its flange or projection with the said recess the steering becomes firmly locked. The Inner: key can be turned so as to lock or unlock the steering, by means of a key applied at the top. An advantage of this steering lock is the absolute impossibility of its becoming accidentally locked whilst riding

Fig. 16 is a tandem machine of the open-fronted pattern. The advantages claimed for this type of machine are that it is especially suited for a female-rider in front, there being ample room provided to allow of a lady's dress hanging freely, a perfect novice being able to mount without difficulty and ride with ease and comfort, and finally in the event of an accident the lady being enabled to clear herself rapidly, and being therefore less liable to receive injury. The front or lady rider, moreover, occupying a position nearly central between the two wheels, all oscillation and vibration are practically got rid of£ The steering, which is effected from the rear handle-bar, is also said to be very perfect.

On the other hand, however, the somewhat smaller size of the front or steering wheel would undoubtedly slightly increase the difficulty of propulsion upon uneven, or soft surfaces.

The size of the rear or driving wheel is 28 inches and of the front or steering wheel 22 inches, the spokes are of the tangent pattern. The cranks for the rear rider are 6 1/2 inches, and the cranks for the front rider 6 inches. The machine is geared to either 60 inches, 63 inches, or 66 1/2 inches. A powerful tubular brake acting upon the tyre of rear wheel is provided, also light detachable mud-guards, and leather chain guard. The weight of the machine as illustrated is 55 lbs.

The tandem machine illustrated in Fig. 17 is more especially intended for racing purposes, and is made in two forms, viz., one built more especially for road racing, and one intended for path racing, the design of the framework being practically identical for both types, but the latter machine being, of course, further lightened as far as possible. The framework of this tandem bicycle has been considerably stiffened and strengthened by the addition of the diagonal stay which runs from the front saddle pillar to the rear bottom bracket, so as to thoroughly brace the structure. An improved adjustment is also fitted to the front bottom bracket. The machine is single steering. The rear handle-bar, which does not operate the steering, is of an improved design which forms the subject - matter of a patent, viz., No. 14,768.95, and is so arranged that the bar itself is capable of being tilted to any desired angle with respect to the pillar or stem. This handle-bar, moreover, can be so inserted in the framework that the pillar will be either above or below the bar, four distinct different positions being thus attainable, whilst in each of them the handles can be tilted to any angle. The advantage of this adjustable handle-bar is, of course, that it can be readily adjusted to suit almost any rider..

The road racer has 28-inch equal wheels, with tangent spokes and hollow rims, 6 1/4 inch or 6 1/2 inch cranks, 3 3/4 inch rat-trap pedals. It is geared to 70 inches, has ball bearings throughout, and is provided with spring racing saddles, step, and lamp bracket. The path racer has similar wheels 6 1/4 inch cranks, 3 1/2 inch rat-trap pedals, and is geared to 88 inches. It is fitted with no step or lamp bracket.

TRIPLETS, QUADRUPLETS, Etc. - These machines are chiefly introduced for the purpose of record breaking, and the fastest mile ever ridden in England on a race path up to the present date was performed upon a Humber triplet bicycle of the type illustrated in Fig. 18. The design of the frame is, it will be seen, on the same lines as that of the tandem shown in Fig. I 7 its stiffness and rigidity especially lending itself to these extended types of machines. The handle-bars and other details are also similar. The front-steering wheel is 30 inches, and the rear wheel 28 inches, with tangent spokes, and hollow rims. It has 6 1/2 inch cranks, 33-inch rat-trap pedals, ball bearings throughout, and is geared to 105 inches, or as may be desired.

Quadruplets or bicycles adapted to carry four riders are built by the Coventry Machinists' Company Limited, who likewise make triplets and other bicycles adapted for more than one rider. The construction of machines for four and more riders only differs, of course, from that of tandems or machines for carrying two riders, in the plan of the framework, which must, naturally, be sufficiently strong to withstand the strains to which it will be subjected when in use. Except for racing purposes, and as interesting examples of what is possible in this direction, these special machine; do not seem to be of any utility, nor to be likely to come into any general use.

Quintuplets or quintets, and sextets or sextuplets are simply further elongated varieties adapted respectively for five and six riders. A sextet or sextuplet machine is built by the Fowler Cycle Manufacturing Company, U.S.

SOCIABLE BICYCLES OR DICYCLES. - The objection that has been most frequently raised, and not without reason, against the tandem bicycle, is that, owing to the position of the riders one behind the other, they are very adversely placed for conversation, and that social intercourse which is the primary object for the employment of machines of this type. Attempts have, therefore, been made to construct a single-track bicycle adopted to carry two riders placed side by side or abreast, as in the old-fashioned sociable tricycles, so as to be more favourably situated for intercommunion. A sociable single-track bicycle or dicycle designed on these lines and constructed by the Punnett Cycle Manufacturing Company, U.S., is shown in Fig. 19. The shape of the frame and the position of the saddles and duplicate driving gear will be clearly seen from the drawing. The extended axle of the rear wheel admits of two chain or sprocket wheels being fixed thereon at a sufficient distance apart to allow of each of them being actuated through a suitable chain from another sprocket or chain wheel upon two separate crank axles carrying cranks adapted to be driven by the riders. There is a triple head, and the frame is duplicated and carries two saddles located side by side at a proper distance apart to admit of two riders conveniently occupying them. The two saddle posts are connected together by a cross bar or tube, centrally in which latter is provided a socket of special construction which admits of one of the saddles being transferred to that position so that the machine may when desired be propelled by a single rider. The machine can thus be conveniently ridden to any place of appointment, to meet the second rider, or in the event of one of the said riders being obliged from any cause to leave the machine, allows of the remaining one either continuing the journey by himself, or riding the machine home again. The machine is not therefore one which depends absolutely upon the presence of two riders.

To mount this bicycle it is first inclined to one side, and one of the riders gets seated upon the saddle at that side to which it is leaning. The machine is then brought back to a vertical position, and the second rider mounts by the pedal, and the start is thus made. To dismount or get off the machine these operations are reversed. It is stated that a difference in weight between the riders of loo lbs.. would not be noticeable or found to cause any inconvenience. An advantage also possessed by this machine is that a tolerably efficient rider can take out a totally inexperienced one as companion without any difficulty. It would, therefore, seem to afford a good means of imparting confidence to beginners, and of assisting them in learning to ride.

When a saddle is placed in a central position, and the machine ridden by a single rider only, the pedalling must be done on one of the right-hand and on one of the lefthand sets of cranks and pedals. The result of this would of course be the production of a very considerable amount of lost motion in the pedal action. The machine is, therefore, obviously unsuitable for use by a single rider except for short distances or in the case of an emergency.

Another machine, or rather an attachment by which any safety bicycle is capable of being converted into a machine of this class, has been designed by an Italian inventor named Grilli.. Shortly, the main feature of Grilli's apparatus consists in the application to a safety bicycle of a couple of half frames, each of which is provided with a seat so arranged that a rider can sit at each side exteriorly to the frame, and they are thus so placed as to balance each other for riding. Pedals for propulsion are provided for, and are operated by each rider, and work a single driving chain. This supplementary apparatus can be adjusted to any high class roadster machine in a few minutes, and detached therefrom at will; and it is stated that experiments have very fully demonstrated that the double weight upon the cycle will be fully provided for by the attachment.

The apparatus admits of a perfect balance being secured mechanically, however unequal the respective weights of the riders may be.

CONVERTIBLES. - In single track bicycles or dicycles, whether adapted for one, two, or more riders, the only convertibility provided is for rendering them suitable for use by either gentlemen or ladies. The usual method of accomplishing this purpose is by providing a detachable top stay. The plan is more usually applied to tandems, but such stays are also sometimes fitted to machines for juvenile ladies or youths.

The machine framework has of course under ordinary conditions, wherein the stay is removed altogether to suit it for lady riders, to be made of sufficient strength to withstand the strains to which it will be liable when in use. For this reason it must be provided with a diagonal stay, and be constructed as strong as is usual with respect to the frames of ladies' machines, consequently with the addition of the top stay the weight becomes excessive. A better arrangement is that wherein the top stay is pivotally connected or jointed to the top of the steering and removably connected to the saddle pillar. In this case, instead of removing the said top stay when it is desired to change it into a dropped or open-fronted frame, the end connected to the saddle is disconnected therefrom and connected to the bottom bracket, the said stay then forming the usual diagonal brace. The frame in this case can be made as light, or nearly so, as if it were not intended to be convertible for either ladies' or gentlemen's use. It is obvious that a similar hinged or pivoted stay might be advantageously applied to tandems. A machine of this type, with movable top stay capable of being converted to a gentleman's safety at pleasure, is built by Mariott & Cooper.

 

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This publication by "The Commercial Advertiser," as previously noted, strikes me as being analogous to our current day VeloNews or Bicycling Magazine "Annual Buyers Guide". Of course, true to the time of its publication, the amount of detail and writing is extensive compared to the current publications. However, it provides for a very interesting read for anyone with a passing interest in the history of tandem bicycles. Again, what is striking is how much of the technology of the late 1800's continues to be the basis for evolutionary improvements that we see today, with very few revolutionary changes in evidence today, baring the lighterweight materials used to execute similar concepts.

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The Modern Bicycle and its Accessories
A Complete Reference Book for Rider, Dealer, & Maker
The Commercial Advertiser Assn., 1898

Note: The quality of the original was not sufficient to support transposition of the material via optical character recognition scanning so full-pages images of this extract is provided at a separate page that can be accessed by clicking on the image below.

 

 

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At first glance someone unfamilar with the history of tandem bicycle design might mistake the frame design depicted below to be one of the cutting-edge "laterial-less" or "open" tandem designs that have captured the imagination and desires of current, high-end tandem buyers or families looking at Co-Motion's new adjustable tandems. However, what you see below is a state of the art design for a tandem that was developed over 100 years ago. Even more amazing is that the dimensions of this particular example are nearly the same as what you'll find on many tandems produced today or in the somewhat recent past. Note the 27" stoker compartment, the length of the chain stays, and even the sloping top tube for the front rider's position. The 28" wheel of the tandem safety bicyle is, for all intents and purposes, still the same specification used today.

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Cycle Building and Repairing
Edited by Paul N. Hasluck
Cassell and Company, Ltd
1900, London

CHAPTER IV

BUILDING TANDEM SAFETIES

Working drawings for a Tandem Safety are represented by Figs. 55 and 56. The wheels should each be 28, the back one having 36 spokes, 15 B.W.G., butted 12 B.W.G., the front one 32 spokes, 15 B.W.G., butted 12 B.W.G., or 13 B.W.G. plain. The hubs for a machine of this class should be strong, the front spindle not less than 5/16 in. in diameter, and the back spindle not less than 3/8 in. in diameter, with an eight-toothed chain wheel on the driving hub.

The frame illustrated is simple, and strong enough to carry 22 to 24 stone (308 ­ 336 lbs). It may be strengthened however, by fitting a tube of 1 in. diameter and 20 B.W.G. from the front seat lug to the rear bottom bracket.

The diameter and gauges of tubes should be as follows: (A) 1 1/2 in. by 20 B.W.G.; (B) 1 in. by 18 B.W.G.; (C) 7/8 in. by 20 B.W.G.; (D) 1 in. by 20 B.W.G.; (E) 7/8 in. by 20 B.W.G.; (F) 7/8 in. by 18 B.W.G.; (G) 1 in. by 20 B.W.G.; (H) 5/8 in. by 20 BW.G.; (I) 3/4 in. by 18 B.W.G., (J) 1 1/8 in. by 20 B.W.G. The front fork tube, 1 in. by 18 B.W.G.; handle-bars, 7/8 in. by 18 B.W.G.; front forks, at least 1 1/8 in. wide at top by 18 B.W.G. If the steering is required to connected, it may be accomplished by a tube, 5/8 in by 20 B.W.G.,.connecting the right-hand handles at the extremities, and working on a hinge joint at each handle-end.

For the wheels it is necessary to remember the entire load a machine of this description has to carry and to provide for it. The hubs ordinarily used for a rear driver, with 3/8 in. back and 5/16 in. front spindles, will do for the wheels of a tandem machine if the weight to be carried is not too great - say, from 20 to 21 stone (280 ­ 294 lbs). But it will be safer for this weight, and absolutely necessary for a greater, to use a 7/16 in. back and a 5/16 in. or even 3/8 in. front spindle, with 5/16 in. balls for the back and 1/4 in. for the front hubs. This will make the hubs rather large, but will avoid the trouble and annoyance of balls and cups cracking and grinding up. The cups of both front and back hubs should have a shoulder larger in diameter than the spindles, to take weight bearing in their respective fork ends. This will relieve the spindles of a deal of strain, and they will therefore be less liable to bend. The rims should be of roadster section, and the wheels carefully trued-up until an even spoke tension is got, especially at the rear wheel where there is an enormous stress at the hub end of the spokes. If tangent hubs and spokes are used solder the spokes to the hub flanges after the wheels are finally trued up.

A full-sized working drawing should be made on a board, or, if nothing better is available, on the very floor of the workshop. In setting out, having first established the base line, strike out the back wheel with a 28 in radius. Mark off the centre of the rear crank at a point 18 3/4 in. from the centre of the wheel, and 12 in. from the base line; then mark off and connect all these points and centres according to dimensions given in Fig. 56. which, it will be noticed, are taken from the axes of tubes at their junctions. Thus: the front bottom tube B is marked 24 1/4 in.; this is from the centre of the front crank spindle to the axis of the head tube. The axes of the down tubes D and G are 21 in. from the centre of crank spindles to the extreme top of the seat lugs. A full-sized drawing of the bottom view should also be made as Fig. 55; this will enable the builder to obtain correct measurements for the wheel axles, the distance of the chain wheels from each other on the rear bottom axle, and the correct chain line; a very important matter to ensure the easy and true running of the chains on the chain wheels. The chain line is the centre line of the chain and chain wheel teeth, measured from the dotted line running through the centre of the machine in Fig. 55. Thus if the distance from the centre line to the centre of the chain teeth on the driving wheel being say 2 in., the distance from the centre line to the centre of the teeth on the large chain wheel on the rear bottom bracket must also be 2 in. The small wheel on the rear bottom bracket axle must be the same distance from the centre line as is the chain wheel on the front bracket axle. To this too much importance cannot be attached; accuracy is absolutely necessary.

When building the frame start from the rear fork ends, then set each part true before adding the next, otherwise expect difficulty will be experienced at the finish. Fit and fix tubes H and I to the rear fork ends, and braze them there; between these place the wheel and set them true with the rim of the wheel. Fit and fix the rear bottom bracket and the rear seat lug to the rear down tube G, fit and fix the fork end tubes to these, and braze the joints. Set this part true with the wheel, then take the head tube and to it fit and fix the top and bottom head lugs; and fix to these lugs, tubes B and C, and braze these next.

Fit and fix the front bracket and front seat lug to the front down tube D; braze and set tubes B so they are correct in angle with the head tube A, and get the tubes A, B, and C all in one plane. Next fit and fix tubes B and C to the front bracket and front seat lug, and braze them. Fit, fix, and braze the top head lug to the rear head tube J, and the tubes E and J to the bottom head lug.

The front and rear portions of the frame will then be ready to be connected by the stays F and the top tube E. Check to see that the parts already brazed have set truly. Next, fit, fix, and braze the tubes E and F to the front bracket and front seat lug, first making sure that the front and the rear heads are quite parallel.

Before making the final joints at the rear bracket and rear seat lug, see that the tubes E and F are the correct length to bring the frame together at the correct angle, according to the drawing. If the bottom tube F is too long, too much rake will be given to the rear forks; if they are too short, the forks will be too upright; either defect will spoil the shape of the frame. With these final frame-joints fitted and set proceed to braze them. Great care must be given to support the frame whilst being brazed in such a way that these joints will be quite free from any stress.

The bottom brackets here shown are the best kind for this class of machine. The rear bracket is of the ordinary barrel pattern: the front bracket is of larger diameter, and has an interior portion containing the bearings, and these can be turned on eccentrics to obtain the right adjustment of the front chain. This form of adjustment is the best for the front chain of a tandem, as it gives a practically rigid bracket and a perfect adjustment of chain. Swinging or sliding brackets are not to be recommended, for they are much more likely to work loose, and are seldom quite rigid. The width of the brackets should not be more than 3 1/2 in. over all. The rear chain is adjusted in the ordinary manner at the fork ends; but here, again, a little additional strength is required. The adjustment screw should not less than 1/4 in. in diameter. The rear chain should be of extra strength, and of the best make, and not less 3/8 in. wide; the front chain, however, need be only be 5/16 in., or 1/4 in. in width on a light machine.

The front forks and crown require extra strength. The crown must be strong, and the forks not less than 18 B.W.G. and 1 1/8 in. wide. The front fork tube should have a strengthening piece brazed inside it for about 4 in. from the crown. Some of the best machines have come to grief over their tandem forks and crowns through the use of exactly the same patterns as those put into the ordinary rear driver.

A satisfactory method of fixing the rear chain wheels to the axle is shown at Fig. 57. The wheel connecting the hub chain is first screwed on with a left-hand thread, and then the wheel connecting the front bracket with a right-hand thread. If the crank is fitted so that the action of the driving cotter-pin draws the face of the crank boss against the chain-wheel boss, no nut will be necessary but unless this is thoroughly well fitted, a locking nut will be required, screwing on with a left-hand thread. The rear bracket axle should be stronger than in the case of a geared ordinary.

The tandem safety frame illustrated in Fig. 55 is intended to carry eight stone (110 lbs) in front and ten stone (140 lbs) behind. The steering may be connected from the end of each handle, the tube to be by 20 B.W.G., placed on the right-hand side of machine. Make the rear bracket a fixture; shifting brackets should be avoided as much as possible. When fixing the chain, put them both on the right hand side of the machine. The front chain may be lighter than the back. A provision must be made in the socket tube A, Fig. 58 for the handlebar to turn freely, and for the adjustment of the handlebar. Fig. 58 is a simple but strong frame, and possesses the advantage of allowing a lady rider's dress to fall further over her foot when the pedal descends.

The diameters and gauges of the tubes will be as follows: for the tube from the head to the front bracket 1 1/4 in. diameter by 16 B.W.G., and the day from the top of the head to the front tube 3/4 in. diameter 20 B.W.G. The front seat should be built 2 in. lower than the back seat, to better enable the rear rider see over the front rider's shoulder.

 

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