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  1. #1
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    Schwinn Twinn brake recommendations?

    Hola all, I'm a massively humble tandemer who likes our old upright Schwinn Twinn and wants to take her on a bit of touring this summer. But her brakes never were so good, and I'm having a hard time finding folk who know what to do with the old drum brake in the rear, so as it misbehaves again, I'm wondering if folk have any recs for upgrading braking on this old girl. I've heard of new drum brakes, maybe it's best to toss out the old and get a new one? Or just search for a better bike shop to rebuild the old brake? Any recs would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Pictures of Schwinn Twinn brakes, etc.


  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Atom hub brake - right?

    Replacing that means replacing your whole rear wheel. That might take you into territory where you don't want to go. I'm thinking that you might be better served by replacing your front caliper brake with a more modern dual pivot brake.

    Honestly, if it was my bike I'd love it for what it is and not try to change it too much. You just can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

  4. #4
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    Yes, it's an Atom hub brake. And I know it's a drag brake, not really made to stop. Thanks for the rec on the front one, and makes me realize maybe they're just both still not adjusted right, cause I cannot believe this level of non-braking was ok even when it was sold.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Another change that will make a big improvement in brakeing (especially in the wet) would be to replace the steel front wheel with an aluminum one. I'm thinking that a commercially available 36 spoke Rhyno Lite rim on an LX hub would be affordable and more than adequate.

  6. #6
    Member
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    Greetings Fellow Schwinn Tandem Delux owner!

    Funny you should have received this one as a wedding gift- we courted on ours (wife had never ridden a bike prior to meeting me, this was how she learned to balance a bike- at age 40!)

    They are romantic bikes. But upgrading the drum brake? Not worth the effort. Best thing you can do is make what is there work efficently, and perhaps add a rim brake to the rear wheel. Nothing you do is going to change the fact that the bike weighs over 60 pounds, and the wheels have slightly less inertia than a grist mill wheel during a flood.

    For the rear drum, make sure the drum is clean, oil free and slightly rough (a little sandpaper works wonders.) Same for the braking surface on the brake shoes, but don't get carried away- it's a drag brake, for slowing down over a long period of time, and it will never be a quick stop brake- that's what the rim brakes are for. Again, it's not too difficult to add a rim brake to the rear- the hold is already in the frame, just a matter of figuring out how to route the cable, and how to add an additional lever. Some folks switch the drag brake to the stoker position, and place both rim brakes with the captain. We never bothered, we bought a Trek T-900 for serious rides, and carefully preserve the old girl for careful rides on the city paved trail or around the neighborhood.

    FWIW, here's our Schwinn at the reception. It was about 102 degrees that day, so we didn't ride far!



    Be interested in seeing and hearing more of your Twinn, and remember, what ever you do, AVOID HILLS on that bike.. lol.

    Ride Safe,

    Ramius
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scout
    Yes, it's an Atom hub brake. And I know it's a drag brake, not really made to stop. Thanks for the rec on the front one, and makes me realize maybe they're just both still not adjusted right, cause I cannot believe this level of non-braking was ok even when it was sold.
    Believe it- they never stopped very well at all- just another part of the 'good old days' that wasn't that good... there is a lot to be said for modern technology, and there is a reason Schwinn is no longer the King of Bikes.

    Lots of tips on adjustments here on the forum and on Sheldon Brown's pages... but again, it's a truck, not a sports car, and on occassion it's even more like a freight train... replace the pads if needed, do what I said above on the drum, perhaps add a rear rim brake.. but that's about it.

    If you need some original parts or even a complete bike like yours, there is a bike shop in Statesville, NC that has been in business since 1945.. and he has, or had last year, no less than 3 Tandem Twinns and a bunch of old parts and accessories for same. Riddle Cycle, Statesville NC. I've got a card around here somewhere, if I find it I'll post the phone number later. Don't think he has a web site, but he used to sell a few things on Ebay.

    Ramius.

  8. #8
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scout
    Hola all, I'm a massively humble tandemer who likes our old upright Schwinn Twinn and wants to take her on a bit of touring this summer. But her brakes never were so good, and I'm having a hard time finding folk who know what to do with the old drum brake in the rear, so as it misbehaves again, I'm wondering if folk have any recs for upgrading braking on this old girl. I've heard of new drum brakes, maybe it's best to toss out the old and get a new one? Or just search for a better bike shop to rebuild the old brake? Any recs would be greatly appreciated.
    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/opctandem

    The Atom makes a fairly adequate "drag brake" but it is not so hot as a primary brake.

    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/tandem-brakes

    Sheldon "Two Wheels, Four Legs" Brown
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    |   There are essentially three entities riding a Tandem:   |
    |   The captain, the stoker, and the spirit.                |
    |   It is the spirit who likes in-phase cranks.             |
    |                                      --Osman Isvan        |
    +-----------------------------------------------------------+
    [COLOR=blue][CENTER][b]Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts[/b]
    Phone 617-244-9772, FAX 617-244-1041
    [URL= http://harriscyclery.com] http://harriscyclery.com[/URL]
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  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sheldon:
    We must be 'spiritless' as we've been riding OOP for 200,000+ miles.
    However, we
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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