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Old 07-22-10, 01:00 AM   #1
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bent axle - repeat offender

just bought a tandem the other day, (yes, I have posted this in the tandem section too, I'd like some more opinions because it's not very populated)

the axle on the back hub was bent when I got it, so I went and got the hub rebuilt and they put a new axle in. I rode the bike home. We took it out for it's first ride and the axle bent worse than it was before within 2 miles of riding

What can cause this? I took it back and they said they'd subtract the labor and parts off of whatever it took to fix it again. It did take him a while to dig out an axle that would fit. It leads me to believe he didn't install it correctly. Maybe he didn't tighten the lugs enough? I dunno.

I can't really afford a tandem specific hub, not to mention it's a 36 hole with 12 gauge spokes on a five speed drivetran.

Do I let them rebuild it again for free and hope it doesn't happen all over again, or do I suck it up and get a new hub? if so, what hub?

The guy at the shop talked about "oh you know how these cheap hubs are" but if it is the hub that came with the bike, it should work just fine (and it is) It didn't have that many miles on it, that I could tell just from the condition of the bike. It had just been sitting a long time.



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Old 07-22-10, 01:35 AM   #2
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Check the dropout alignment...if they are aren't parallel...bending eventually results...often finished off by a decent bump, drop, etc. that snaps the axle.

They should have a set of T-Handle like tools for the job. Only takes 5 minutes...

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Old 07-22-10, 03:19 AM   #3
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Looking at the type of derailer, cranks and pedals I get a sneaky suspicion that you might have a freewheel hub, a standard that is prone to axle bending - particularly if conditions get a bit tougher than average. If that is the case I suggest that you go directly for a new wheel instead, with a freehub design. And if that bike is going to see anything more than casual riding you might want to look at a wheel with an extra brake option right away. Tandems on descents require a fair bit of stopping power.
Are those steel rims BTW?
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Old 07-22-10, 04:33 AM   #4
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it is infact a freewheel hub with a steel rim. I'm pretty sure that back wheel is pushing 5 lbs. The bike is well over 50. I'll look into a freehub, but I don't know where to start. That requires quite a bit of extra expense though.

Just glancing at the dropout alignment, it's off too.

it bothers me that there's a "vertical" dropout insert thingy on one side, and the otherside is a horizontal dropout. like if you hit a bump that side of the axle would fall up into the dropout farther. This may be me being paranoid. I don't know.

I can't do much about the brakes right now, it's just for cruising around town. I would like to do some long distance on it though, and I want it to be reasonably reliable and not turn into a money pit. For what it's worth, I have some newer pads for it and the mechanism works like new after a degreasing
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Old 07-22-10, 05:10 AM   #5
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I am facing similar issues with an old Melton tandem and that had state of art stuff on it 30 years ago-which is now outdated in several areas.
Same issue with the freewheel hub - even with good phil woods hubs we have a very slight axle bend.

This one does not have great stuff on it to start with but like you I am just getting mine up for kicking around town to see if we want to get into this again. If so, then it is worth it to find something better and a decent new tandem can be had for under $3k.

My bigger concern is braking there. Sidepulls with a real long reach and steel rims. I am not sure I would invest a whole lot in upgrades but some used centerpulls may offer better braking.

I also wonder if that frame was not built for 27 inch wheels and now has 26 on it? The other thing I found with my Melton, which even has a threaded rear hub that could take a drum brake - the spacing of the rear triangle is critical to placement of the drum brake (and those are presently not even being made any more right now) - not likely to get that with a 5 speed hub that probably does not even have 135 mm spacing (as does mine, which won't take a drum brake) and the minimum now is around 145 with some running 160.

You can also forget about disc brakes as the frame needs mounts brazed on.

I would wonder if a 27 inch wheel could fit and maybe there are some used beefy ones with good alloy rims that could work better for you. The old standard was 36 spokes. I had Weinmann concaves on mine and they were the toughest rims out there at the time (and alloy) ........not sure I would invest in new wheel build - just maybe there is something good you could salvage. Good old hubs are still good hubs.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:03 AM   #6
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A single bike with steeel rims is a death trap in the rain. A tandem with steel rims is worse. Either give up on this tandem or have it fitted with decent aluminum rims and a modern rear hub. You are going to have to put some money into it to make it safe and reliable.
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Old 07-22-10, 08:59 AM   #7
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I would not be investing much into the bike
If it is for flat land, sunny days, not in traffic - probably no big deal.
Nice retro-restoration that is about it.

But given the components and the frame (probably electrowelded plain steel and not cro moly filet brazed)
Looks kind of like an old Schwin Twinn, and some of those did take 26 inch wheels - but I don't think it is actually a Schwinn - boy it sure looks good though in terms of age-appearance - this belongs in the classics section.

So maybe that would work ok with some 26 inch heavy duty offroad wheels. (but dropout spacing could be a real issue there)

I will tell you that we had originally planned to put Phil Wood brakes on our tandem but then they started exploding all over the place and were the subject of lawsuits, so we did not. I feel compromised on ours with aluminum rims, cantilevers, and long curved pads! I absolutely would not trust the cheap old sidepulls. Now a three speed with a coaster brake - that would be sweet.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:01 AM   #8
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A single bike with steeel rims is a death trap in the rain. A tandem with steel rims is worse. Either give up on this tandem or have it fitted with decent aluminum rims and a modern rear hub. You are going to have to put some money into it to make it safe and reliable.
don't be such a downer : P
I know about steel rims and rain, I had to do it the other day, thank GOD I was the only one riding the bike, pretty scary indeed.

I'm open for wheelset suggestions, I really don't care at all how heavy it is, I just need something tough as nails, and I can't seem to pull anything up.

I would even go with a cheap set off of a newer cheap tandem, but I don't think they sell them by themselves.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:17 AM   #9
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Newer tandems have waaay different frame spacing in the back. I don't think you will be able to do that. What is your frame spacing? that will define your options.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:28 AM   #10
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heck, I have no clue. what's worse is the bike shop is 2 1/2 miles away and my 60 lb tandem doesn't have both wheels. . . . I'll have to call them or go by today and see what I can find out.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:31 AM   #11
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Just take a metric ruler and measure the space between the inside of the rear dropouts in mm
I am guessing it will be either 120 or 126 mm. Older tandems were 135mm but newer ones are 145-160mm.

You may want to check out worksmancycles.com. American made, heavy duty, they also sell tandems and their tandems have that wheel size and alloy rims. They are also a very inexpensive place.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:41 AM   #12
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it's 126 as you guessed : )

thanks, I'll call them up and see what they can do.
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Old 07-22-10, 09:46 AM   #13
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So what is this thing anyway? Hold old is it? Looks like a classic but then so do the new bikes made by worksman.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:17 AM   #14
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my best guess is an atantic coast tandem, that's the closest I've seen. As far as the age, I don't have a clue. For 50 bucks, I thought it was a good deal.

He has somehow jerryriged the bike to make it into a 10 speed. He said it was a 5 speed. The wheel I want to buy from workmancycles is a single speed for their cruiser, but I'm not sure I could get it to work with the chain line how it is right now.

it's super bizzare, both chains are on the same side, and the connecting chain is the outside chainring. I'd love to take both derailleurs off and just make it a coaster brake in the back and a drum up front.

. . . the guy at workman cycles said it was a tough wheel. . . but it's a coaster brake. . . How does that play a role in the strength of the wheel?
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Old 07-22-10, 10:57 AM   #15
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I would suggest a 3 speed hub with built in a drum brake , the drum brake will partially compensate for the steel rim, If you want to Keep it , aluminum rims stop better if you have rim brakes.

Likewise the front Hub, Drum in the Hub Brake.
it is obviously a flatlands Beach cruiser, so a 3 speed will probably be good enough.. at least it will stop, within a reasonable distance.

rebuild 2 wheels , change gear shifter to 3 speed trigger shifter, that RD will serve as a chain tensioner centered oveer a single cog if you cannot get the chain length sorted out on the rear final section to not need one,
3 speed hubs have a variety of sprockets up to 20 tooth, to get those 3 gears to a fairly casual range.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:11 AM   #16
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I would suggest a 3 speed hub...
I don't know if they can take the torque. Sturmey used to say not to use less than a 2:1 drive ratio even on single bikes.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:14 AM   #17
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3 speed would be great (not sure about above statement in terms of torque though - never dealt much with 3 speeds - we had one guy at the shop who did those and coaster brakes) for that bike but scroll up to the question about the dropout alignment. The rear wheel is not pulled all the way back on both sides - it goes all the way up against the hanger but then will be centered on the other side so that the wheel is centered in the frame of the bike.........Is the frame out of alignment or was the wheel just pulled in crooked; either case would bend an axle.

I am not sure I get the comment about the vertical dropout - it looks like a perfectly normal hanger for stamped dropouts.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:30 AM   #18
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I am not sure I get the comment about the vertical dropout - it looks like a perfectly normal hanger for stamped dropouts.
I haven't ridden a geared bike since I was five, so it looks funny to me to have that hanger like that inside the dropout. I like the idea of a single speed, but I don't really think a coaster brake is the way to go, I'll call the guy back and see what else they have, I think the drum in the front would be more helpful than the back though. If I do get a coaster brake, that rim brake is still staying on the bike.

yes, I think the dropouts are misaligned, but that's not too bad of a fix, they just need to be bent back. I think the wheel being put in crooked caused that, because I didn't notice it earlier before the new axle bent.

I believe the wheelset from workman cycles is a steel rim as well, just like what I have, but with a different hub.

As far as the derailleur being a chain tensioner : P that's icky, I'd get a proper tensioner, but you shouldn't need one, horizontal dropouts solve that problem. I'm just worried about the chain line being off if I get a single speed hub.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:35 AM   #19
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126? Would a 130 road hub fit? I rebuilt one of my mountain bike hubs( 135mm) with a solid steel axle, works great.
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Old 07-22-10, 12:06 PM   #20
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I haven't ridden a geared bike since I was five, so it looks funny to me to have that hanger like that inside the dropout. I like the idea of a single speed, but I don't really think a coaster brake is the way to go, I'll call the guy back and see what else they have, I think the drum in the front would be more helpful than the back though. If I do get a coaster brake, that rim brake is still staying on the bike.

yes, I think the dropouts are misaligned, but that's not too bad of a fix, they just need to be bent back. I think the wheel being put in crooked caused that, because I didn't notice it earlier before the new axle bent.

I believe the wheelset from workman cycles is a steel rim as well, just like what I have, but with a different hub.

As far as the derailleur being a chain tensioner : P that's icky, I'd get a proper tensioner, but you shouldn't need one, horizontal dropouts solve that problem. I'm just worried about the chain line being off if I get a single speed hub.
I think he was saying that because you could position the derailleur to align the chain with the chainwheel. But I don't think that would work if you did have a coaster brake - I think you would want that chain wrapping all the way around the back of the cog . If they have a cable actuated drum brake that would be a better thing in my mind.
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Old 07-22-10, 04:54 PM   #21
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If that's the original rear derailer, then the bike is newer than about 1986.
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Old 07-22-10, 05:21 PM   #22
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If that's the original rear derailer, then the bike is newer than about 1986.
At one point I thought it was a classic but then realized folks are making beach tandems and pointed him to a site that sells them.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:44 PM   #23
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it's 126 as you guessed : )

thanks, I'll call them up and see what they can do.
Your least expensive option is to acquire a 126mm or 130mm cassette hub from wherever. You can find them all day long on eBay for $10-15. Swap out your old hub for you newly acquired cassette hub. if your old hub is low flange you can re-use the old spokes.
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Old 07-22-10, 06:53 PM   #24
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I'd respace the rear end to 135mm (google for instructions, sounds scarier than it turns out to be), check dropout alignment, and find a 7 speed MTB cassette hub -- also adding spacers to bring it to 135. The extra width should build a very strong wheel, and the design of a cassette hub puts a stop to bent axles.

126mm 7speed and 130mm 8speed hubs are marginal enough on bikes built for one
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Old 07-22-10, 07:06 PM   #25
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There are better quality hardened steel solid axles a significant improvement over non tempered mild steel
and still stronger than any hollow QR axle that a Freehub may use, But the QR axle in shimano stuff ,using a 10x 1 mm axle,
you could just re4place the QR one with a solid 10x1..

you could also perhaps benefit from putting a decent coaster brake hub back there single speed .. one more brake,
Its a marginally functional bike , investing a lot in it is questionable.
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