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  1. #1
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    Old tandem frame headset puzzle

    I知 building a tandem from an old frame and I知 a bit flummoxed by the headset. To the extent where I知 not even sure what type of steer tube diameter I need! The guy I bought the frame off gave me two sets of forks, the original ones which were 1 ⅛ and some newer ones which were painted the same as the frame measuring 1.

    So on the frame, the head tube has a recess, possibly for a cup at the top and bottom. The diameter of the top recess is approx 42mm and the bottom one is close to 48mm. Now I知 not sure if I知 supposed to placing bearings directly into these recesses or whether I need to get some kind of cup to press into it.

    What do people think I need to do to get a working headset here? Fingers crossed I知 not searching for some outdate size/style!

    Cheers!
    image(2).jpg
    image.jpg

  2. #2
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    What's the brand & model of the frame? If you don't know that, can you post more pictures, including the side of the head tube and the rest of the bike?
    Jeff Wills

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  3. #3
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Measure after removing the cups, rather than the OD of the cups themselves. Measure the ID of the head tube where the cups are seated, and the OD on the fork where the crown race sits.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Measure after removing the cups, rather than the OD of the cups themselves. Measure the ID of the head tube where the cups are seated, and the OD on the fork where the crown race sits.
    More images attached.

    I don't think there are any cups. I think the ends of the head tube just look like that! :/
    IMG_20140316_215707.jpgIMG_20140316_215800.jpgIMG_20140316_215810.jpg

  5. #5
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    I think JW and wrk have it right. Questions to answer are what brand, even what nationality, how old. If it is a traditional headset, the bearing cups are press-fit into the head tube. The lower "inside" bearing cone is called the crown race, and is press fit onto a ridge at the top of the crown. The upper inner cone is threaded onto the steerer tube. It's just a like a solo bike, except the sizes are different. 1 1/8" outer diameter steerer tube was a MTB standard also used on some tandems and reasonably available. 1" steerer tube is a standard solo bike size and if so, the fork may not be up to the rigors of a tandem. Some French tandems used 28mm, for which headsets are very hard to find. The crown race needs to be exactly the correct inner diameter to fit the crown. Some tandems used 30mm, some 27mm I think. And some people would tell you you must match the race to its mating cone and also use the correct bearings. IIRC, the standard bearing for headsets (that I'm familiar with) is 5/32", but there could be others.

    All of which is to say if you don't know the correct size then you must remove (or have a LBS remove) the crown race from the crown and at least one of the head tube races so that you can measure the diameters. Measuring the races themselves doesn't tell you anything. If you are sure the 1 1/8" steerer tube is the original, then go with that one.

    EDIT: After looking at your pics I'm not sure what to make of it. There don't seem to be removable bearing races on the head tube; instead, the outside (at least) appears to be integral with the lugs. Perhaps that was just a painter's trick to smooth out the appearance. The rest of the frame appears new enough that it isn't a seriously vintage frame. If the race and cone surfaces are okay, try fitting bearings in and see how they work. You don't need caged bearings. If you use loose bearings you should put in as many as fit, then remove at least one. The slight extra space gives them room to move around.
    Last edited by jimmuller; 03-16-14 at 04:22 PM.
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    My hunch is this frame was designed for an oversized steerer fork.

  7. #7
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    EDIT: After looking at your pics I'm not sure what to make of it. There don't seem to be removable bearing races on the head tube; instead, the outside (at least) appears to be integral with the lugs. Perhaps that was just a painter's trick to smooth out the appearance. The rest of the frame appears new enough that it isn't a seriously vintage frame. If the race and cone surfaces are okay, try fitting bearings in and see how they work. You don't need caged bearings. If you use loose bearings you should put in as many as fit, then remove at least one. The slight extra space gives them room to move around.
    I disagree. It's got lugs and flat, stamped dropouts. I think it's something from the '60's, possibly low-production.

    A couple vintage tandems that I've seen had heavy-duty headsets made specifically for the bike. Is there a C&V tandem expert in the house?
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  8. #8
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    I'd like to see inside the head tube. It kind of looks like someone painted the lugs with the cups in place. I am not sure.

    +1 Some of the french tandems had a really odd size, I know my Motobecane has an oddball headset size.

  9. #9
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    I disagree. It's got lugs and flat, stamped dropouts. I think it's something from the '60's, possibly low-production.
    With that "unicrown-style" chain stay attachment to the rear BB?
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    I'm going with "it's old". I've seen pictures of head lugs with the bearing races cast in, like yours on old frames possibly from around the 20s or 30s. I suspect there might be another part that slips in for the balls to run on. You may want to check back with the seller to see what he knows. Also, the chain stay treatment isn't a unicrown, it is a wishbone stay which dates back to at least 1900.

  11. #11
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
    With that "unicrown-style" chain stay attachment to the rear BB?
    Yup. If those are the original bottom bracket cups, it's 1960's-ish.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Could be Raliegh witworth threaded style size headset while the look about the same as a standard they are actually slightly different in sizing and threading.

  13. #13
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    This is one of those times when knowing where a person is from could be a big help. I would agree the headlugs do kind of look like they morph into the headset cup/race. The lugs in general have a raleighish look to me. just from that one pic I am not sure I would call the dropouts stamped.

    any chance we can have more pics? Do you know the seatpost diameters? that may be useless though since the whole thing looks oversized.
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

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