Classic & Vintage - Help and Guidance on Restoring Hercules Tourist Tandem
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09-24-11, 09:21 PM
Looking for a bit of advice on a Hercules Tourist tandem bicycle that I just picked up. It appears in all original condition (barn fresh!) overall, with what looks like original finish and paint in remarkably good shape. From the pics, can anyone give me a sense of year, style, etc.? I've seen BSA tandems call this a 'ladyback' model - would that hold true here? Also, the crank is incomplete (rear missing and half of front) - any recommendations on locating an original or something that would at least get me on the road and look period appropriate? I can't wait to get this out on the road and would greatly appreciate the guidance.
09-26-11, 08:36 AM
Hi folks - adding some additional shots of the Hercules Tourist Ladyback Tandem. Not entirely sure of year - I've taken pics of the #s below each of the two crank hubs (have different #s) as well as a closeup of the Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Hub and headbadge (marked Birmingham). The remaining front crank appears to be a Raleigh, but does that match up with the rest? The reason I'm asking is that the crankset is not complete and could be an older restoration attempt.
Any guidance? Any recommendations on whether you think this is restoration worthy? I love it, but wonder about finding an appropriate crankset (where to begin locating, especially)?
09-26-11, 08:45 AM
First off, I would consider carefully spending any money on the bike until the frame is checked over for integrity. Those connections at the bottom bracket do not look factory, and could be faulty cold welds.
Other than that little matter, cool find.
It is Hercules, but why the original drive train went missing is a head-scratcher. You may be able to cobble something together with Raleigh Sports gear, and you'll need to figure out the off-side chain ring set, usually it is a smaller tooth count.
What year is stamped on the Sturmey Archer shell? It looks like "55". That will be your best try at a date.
On second look (third really) is there a possibility that this is an after-market "project" bike, made up of two bikes?
In my neighborhood growing up, there were little welding shops, and welders who worked in the plants, and projects of this sort were seen from time to time.
The hub appears to date from 1955.
I have serious doubts about the frame. The head badge photo shows a lugged frame, but the other frame photos show tubes that have been welded (or very sloppy fillet brazed) in place. I can't believe it left the factory like that. More likely, someone has welded two bikes together.
If I'm right about the above, then "restoration" isn't the right word or priority. I would try to get a cottered ten speed crank for the stoker, hopefully with one of its rings the same size as the captain's crank, but it doesn't even matter if the two cranks are synchronized. Run one chain from that to the rear wheel, another chain between the two cranks.
You definitely want brakes on this thing, not just the Sturmey Archer coaster brake. The brake on the TCW series hub is considered unreliable.
09-26-11, 09:52 AM
Thanks David and rhm, exactly as you assessed the situation - this appears to be matching Hercules Tourist models that were spliced together. I should have caught the weld issues, but not familiar with these. You can see from the new pic where the join was made and the tubes that would have run to the rear hub have been left vacant after the weld was made. Even though a bit of a frankenstein - I still think she's got nice lines. I'll still try to get it up and running (after inspecting welds, etc.) - this is a perfect NJ shore bike and I'd love to get it pulled together for next season. Nice winter project. If you can point me to the type of drivetrain that I should consider, I'd greatly appreciate it.
09-26-11, 10:05 AM
Welcome to the forum. The drive train is going to be a bit of work, clearance will be an issue and finding a cottered double and matching front single maybe be hard. May I be so bold as to suggest.....footpegs for the lady and stick to level ground such as a seaside boardwalks. Ahhh, a courting bicycle or fullish husband witha bike fetish; either one works!
09-26-11, 10:40 AM
Thanks, Velognome :) That's about the picture I have in mind! We have a family house on LBI - 18 miles of flat barrier island roads to coast about. Good thought about the pegs
Oh, you don't have to do pegs! The cranks don't have to match. Post "in search of cottered cranks" in the appropriate thread, and see what you get. I'm sure there are dozens of forum members who have "upgraded" or parted out a UO-8 or something and have the cranks lying around in the parts bins. Chain line is a question of finding the right crank spindles... and those, too, are out there. Probably in the same parts bins as the cranks. I also have some.
09-26-11, 11:12 AM
Thanks, rhm - I agree that matching isn't necessary in this case. Any chance you have an option? I'm located in Eastchester (not sure your location in the NJ, NYC, LI area). I'll follow your recommendation.
09-26-11, 11:33 AM
Or you could make C&V history by separating the twinns or make one h*ll of a cargo bike Pick-em Truck style. Your options are seemingly endless!
09-26-11, 11:38 AM
I love a project, but separating Siamese twins might be beyond my skill! Tempted, always...but I might lose both patients.
09-26-11, 05:11 PM
I've got a bucket of cottered cranks in the basement. They might be 15mm instead of 9/16" or whatever the standards were back then. I'm in Spring Valley, NY. I'm happy to go look but it'll happen sooner if you show up at my door with a frosty 6 pack.
Did I see this on Craigslist last week? I thought it looked like fun.
Sounds like Sailor Ben is much closer to you than I am (between Trenton and Princeton), and I don't have all that many cottered cranks in my stash anyway. I do have some spindles, though. So I suggest grabbing some beer and going for a little drive, and get back to me anon.
There's some useful information on home-built tandems at Sheldon Brown's site (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tandem-build.html).
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