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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 05-05-08, 08:51 AM   #1
Little-Acorn
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New wheels for gentle riding on Twinn 10sp tandem?

Well, I'm furiously making plans for what to do with the Schwinn Twinn Sport 10sp tandem I picked up yesterday. It's in pretty good shape overall, though it needs cleaning, greasing, etc., and at least new tires.

It has the original wheels, looks like steels rims (27x1-1/4). The rear wheels has 36 spokes, which surprised me - I thought tandem rear wheels were supposed to be stronger than ordinary single-seat rear wheels. This wheel (aside from the drum brake hub) looks like one I'd expect to find on a basic Continental or even a Varsity of that era. Maybe the steel rim is what makes it strong enough to a tandem? Or the larger diameter of the drum-brake hub makes it stronger?

The drum-brake hub is also making strange sountds, at least I think they're strange. Sort of a quiet rumbling or scraping sound when I lift the back of the bike and spin the wheels. If this were an "ordinary" hub with no internal brake, I'd immediately suspect bearings and/or cones. But I'm not sure what's inside this drum-brake hub. The seller (original owner) said it was no big deal, these drum-brake hubs always sound like that. True/false?

Anyway, I might wind up replacing both wheels with alloy wheels, though I know an old lower-level Schwinn is never going to be light, especially a tandem. There's a hole for a caliper brake for the rear, and I'll go that way if I do this.

The question is about how strong the wheels should be for a tandem. I've heard they should be stronger than "ordinary" single-seat wheels, both because tandems carry more weight, and because they often can go faster than single-seats.

But the missus and I are old folks who are probably never going to exceed 20 mph, and then only on the gentle hills we mostly try to avoid. In fact, I can reliably expect a knife in the back from the stoker if we go much above half that fast, so it probably ain't gonna happen. A gentle ride around the neighborhod or park is our speed.

A fellow at our LBS said that, unless I was going to do all-out racing or steep hills on the tandem (on a Twinn??), most modern alloy single-seat wheels were plenty strong enough for this bike, IF they are the double-wall kind. Cheap ones apparently have only a single layer of metal making up the rim, which he said would NOT be good enough. He pointed out that he weighed 260 (same as me) and would have no fears riding a tandem with the double-wall alloy rims.

Has anyone here tried these double-wall alloy "single-seat" rims on a tandem? Might be the wrong place to ask, since lots of people here seem the types who WOULD do racing, steep hills etc. on a tandem. But, what do you say?

And, what is a decent brand of such douuble-wall rim or complete wheel?

Thanx all!
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Old 05-05-08, 01:26 PM   #2
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It isn't how many walls it has. A strong wheel is strong and doesn't know what kind of bike it is on. Steel rims are definitely heavy and not all that strong, you can certainly beat them with a good wheel these days. You need good tires under a lot of pressure (relatively) on a tandem. Figure each wheel is probably supporting 200 lbs or more. It is pot-holes and such that do the damage.

I don't know how much you want to spend here, but you can easily equal your bikes cost on new wheels. If you don't want to do that, you might have problems getting something worth having.
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Old 05-05-08, 03:22 PM   #3
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Thanks, jgg3, good to know. Can you recommend an OK 27x1-1/4" wheel and/or source for front and rear on this bike? If I want to keep the cost below $100/wheel, am I better off just saving my money?

The rear wheel's spokes are rusty, and I might change the entire wheel to put that Atom drum brake hub out of its misery. The front wheel's spokes aren't rusty, just re-stringing a new rim would be fine there.
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Old 05-05-08, 04:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Little-Acorn View Post
Thanks, jgg3, good to know. Can you recommend an OK 27x1-1/4" wheel and/or source for front and rear on this bike? If I want to keep the cost below $100/wheel, am I better off just saving my money?

The rear wheel's spokes are rusty, and I might change the entire wheel to put that Atom drum brake hub out of its misery. The front wheel's spokes aren't rusty, just re-stringing a new rim would be fine there.
So if you eliminate the Atom hub brake what are you planning to use for a rear brake?
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Old 05-05-08, 04:43 PM   #5
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A caliper.

Might do that anyway even if I don't lose the Atom. Right now it's mostly a decoration, not a brake.
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Old 05-06-08, 06:12 AM   #6
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What is the spacing between the rear dropouts on this bike? That will dramatically affect your wheel choices.
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