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A C&V keep-it-rolling success story

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A C&V keep-it-rolling success story

Old 06-17-15, 09:19 AM
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A C&V keep-it-rolling success story

Since we've been riding our tandem I've posted a few zillion commonplace pics of our rides. This story isn't about a ride, it's about keeping it running. Perhaps this will help you or help you help someone else keep theirs running too.

We got the '82 Peugoet TH8 in pieces from BF member @ScottRyder about 5 years ago and have put about 6000 miles on it. We've worn out or had trouble with the usual suspects, BB bearings and cups, RDs, shift cables, cracking rear rim. Mostly though it has been quite wonderful, stable and comfortable and robust. The headset may be problematic one day but I have solutions.

The rear hub however is a different story. Peugeot equipped it with an Atom tandem hub with drum brake:



Atom produced at least two versions of this hub. The original had what I'm pretty sure was an M10 175mm axle and used nine 1/4" bearings per side. The extra weight of a tandem caused some bent axles so they eventually upgraded it to an M11 axle with eleven 7/32" bearings per side. (Peugeot enlarged the DO slots to accommodate the larger axle, but a standard RD claw is a tight fit!) Here is the earlier one disassembled. Both versions look alike, more or less:




A month or so ago we broke some teeth off two of the cogs of the FW, a Suntour designated as "Tandem". (Calling Pastor Bob!) That 11mm axle is too large for a FW tool to fit over so I have to undo the bearings and remove the axle to pull the FW. I discovered that one of the bearing cones was slightly pitted. Perhaps it has been that way for a while and I ignored it but this time I decided to find a solution. The other cone had tiny pits forming too but at least the axle was straight.

I never found a later version of the hub on eBay or any other bike-related Internet source, nor any M11 axles or cones. BF member Henry III offered some help but there really wasn't much help to be given. When I called places like Via Bicycles the usual response would be "Good luck, someone else was asking for one just last week." They are the teeth of a dodo hen, even scarcer than the teeth of ordinary chickens.

I dropped a note to Steven Arlint, the new proprietor of Loosescrews.com and he was kind enough to reply with some measurements and suggestions. His key input was to remind me that this hub was also used on some mopeds, so I did a search for vintage moped parts. I found online specs and parts list of hubs by an Italian company named Grimeca, and a website named treatland.tv selling components. I ordered this, an inexpensive experiment. Individual cones were available but I figured if the threads were different I'd have to order the entire axle anyway and wait for it:

olympia 11mm loose bearing axle - 180mm



It was (almost) exactly right. Last night I put the hub back together and it spins nicely. The threads were identical to our hub's. We don't need the axle (yet) but now I have a spare. The large outer nuts in the box weren't the right threads (Olympia's assemblers must have grabbed the wrong ones) but we didn't need them. The bearing cones were an almost perfect match and appear very well-made. The tapers seemed to match and they fit well with the original 7/32" bearing size, eleven per side. (Of course I used new ones.)

The only real problem was with the cones' diameter, about 1mm larger than the original. They wouldn't fit into the dust caps over the bearings. So I spent some tedium time grinding out the inner diameters to accommodate the larger cones. The FW side also had a felt seal but I couldn't get that to spin smoothly so I took it out. I didn't want it binding up on the cone; if it ever loosenes the cone from the locknut the cone will tighten itself onto the bearings.

The end result is a nicely-spinning hub with new cones! And a spare axle if we ever need it, plus assorted washers and other nuts of the correct thread. Tonight I will re-install the wheel and we'll be ready to roll again.
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Old 06-17-15, 09:29 AM
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Ah the joys of tandem ownership. I guess I am fortunate my Lejeune tandem did not have a drum rear. Or maybe not. It does not stop so good. LOL
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Old 06-17-15, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Ah the joys of tandem ownership. I guess I am fortunate my Lejeune tandem did not have a drum rear. Or maybe not. It does not stop so good. LOL
I use our drum brake all the time, left hand for the drum, right hand for the two cantilevers. As for C&V, I could always build a wheel with a new 135mm tandem hub from, say, Shimano. But I wanted to keep the bike C&V. Or I could build a hub with an Atom hub which has the smaller axle, but I wanted the robustness of the larger one. This solution is a win-win.
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Old 06-17-15, 01:11 PM
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Nice detective work Jim ! Glad your summer will still involve the tandem and the ever so satisfying pics you show.
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Old 06-17-15, 01:29 PM
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I am still impressed with how challenging tandems are in general. Not only maintenance and part replacement but in nearly every other aspect too. Very unique "bicycles".

We took ours out last night for the first time this year. I let the stoker decide when. She had a glorious time and was able to match the longest distance previously covered without complaint (a first) due to a change in the saddle to a Terry. We might actually take it for more rides this year than last! Hope is eternal!
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Old 06-17-15, 01:57 PM
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Jim, well done! Glad this story has ended happily!

FWIIW, Jim sent the Suntour "Tandem" (marked) ProCompe freewheel to me to service and replace the broken cogs. I had always been curious about what made it different from normal ProCompe and Perfect freewheels. Turns out the only difference is in the pawls, which are larger and beefier.

The odd thing, however, was the cog which Jim and Sharon managed to destroy was one with numerous weight saving cutouts. It was the 20T and they somehow managed to break off about 4 teeth! When I replaced it I used a solid cog, hoping that the same fate will not come to bear upon this 20T. Hopefully the increase in weight will not impact their performance!
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Old 06-17-15, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
I use our drum brake all the time, left hand for the drum, right hand for the two cantilevers. As for C&V, I could always build a wheel with a new 135mm tandem hub from, say, Shimano. But I wanted to keep the bike C&V. Or I could build a hub with an Atom hub which has the smaller axle, but I wanted the robustness of the larger one. This solution is a win-win.
Yet another negative for my tandem. No cantis. Mafac Raid. If we rode it more, I would consider buying a drum but as it is, not worth it.

I negeected to applaud your work. Good research and a job well done.
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Old 06-17-15, 02:17 PM
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Way to be resourceful. Moped parts can indeed be used on bicycles from time to time. I need to hit up teatland.TV for some cables for vintage MTB brake levers I've got. Glad your experiment worked out.
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Old 06-17-15, 05:08 PM
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Time for a bunch of responses. First, thank you all for the nice comments.

Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Nice detective work Jim ! Glad your summer will still involve the tandem and the ever so satisfying pics you show.
Thanks. More commonplace pics will be posted as we take them...

Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
I am still impressed with how challenging tandems are in general.

We took ours out last night for the first time this year.
Excellent! I recall an email exchange we had last year. You will get your tandem out on a regular basis eventually. One thing is true, the stoker must be comfortable and relaxed in order to enjoy the trip. Yes, they can be challenging technically. I find riding the tandem much more work than riding the same distance solo. We'll do, say, 50 miles and I'll end up feeling like I just rode a century. But we get to go out together that way, and in the end a ride is a ride no matter how much mileage we have covered.

Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Jim, well done!...

The odd thing, however, was the cog which Jim and Sharon managed to destroy was one with numerous weight saving cutouts. It was the 20T and they somehow managed to break off about 4 teeth! When I replaced it I used a solid cog, ...
He! Your counting (or memory) isn't much better than mine (after a good beer)! It was in fact a 21T and you replaced it with a 21T. That FW is a 5spd 14-17-21-26-32. The broken section was one segment of the lightened inner section, so it was only 2 teeth but it seemed like 4 at the time. Of course I could be misremembering it now. (We rode that section of road a week later but didn't find the broken cogs.) What Pastor Bob didn't say was he also replace the 32T cog which we'd broken a tooth off of too. Obviously we are just tough on FWs, all combined 275lbs of us! now about that extra weight...

The truth is, folks, the good Pastor Bob is The Man when it comes to FWs. But I guess you knew that already. (Thanks, Bob.)
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Old 06-17-15, 08:08 PM
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All in good humor but with a bit of truth.... We don't use cogs unless they are in an IGH. They are properly called sprockets. Cogs engage cogs. Sprockets engage with chains.

Now we return to our regular broadcasting.
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Old 06-17-15, 08:54 PM
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My Gitane tandem also has the Atom drum brake hub with an 11mm axle; nice to know there is a possible replacement if the original fails (still working at this point). The freewheel is an Atom "Tandem" freewheel, with four pawls instead of the usual two pawls. I did have to ream my Phil splined freewheel remover slightly to fit over the 11mm axle, but it works fine.
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Old 06-17-15, 09:22 PM
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Although I don't have a tandem this was a very interesting read. Now when someone in your same position needs what you need, they'll know where to look. Thanks.
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Old 06-17-15, 09:42 PM
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Very interesting read for sure! I must have an M10 axle on my Gitane tandem's drum hub, I had no trouble getting the freewheel off when I repacked the bearings. Even with the drum brake, All 330 lbs of us don't stop so well. If we have to do an emergency stop, we will truly have an emergency. Even with new Kool Stop pads in the Mafac cantis, braking ain't so good with steel rims.
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Old 06-18-15, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
Very interesting read for sure! I must have an M10 axle on my Gitane tandem's drum hub, I had no trouble getting the freewheel off when I repacked the bearings.
Interesting. Does yours have a "Tandem" freewheel?



Even with the drum brake, All 330 lbs of us don't stop so well. If we have to do an emergency stop, we will truly have an emergency. Even with new Kool Stop pads in the Mafac cantis, braking ain't so good with steel rims.
Mine has Mavic aluminum rims (40h front and rear) and stops adequately. It's a 1983 model. How old is yours?
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Old 06-18-15, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Interesting. Does yours have a "Tandem" freewheel?

Mine has Mavic aluminum rims (40h front and rear) and stops adequately. It's a 1983 model. How old is yours?
Nope, it just says "Atom." I'm pretty sure the highest gear is a 32t.




Based on catalog scans, my best guess is mid-70's. Rear rim was blown and I couldn't help myself... I had it rebuilt with a vintage-looking steel rim to match the front.

God help us if we are ever caught in the rain...
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Old 06-18-15, 07:02 PM
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Old 06-18-15, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
I'm pretty sure the highest gear is a 32t.
...
Rear rim was blown and I couldn't help myself... I had it rebuilt with a vintage-looking steel rim to match the front.

God help us if we are ever caught in the rain...
We have used a 14-32 FW for most of the time we've had our tandem. But it isn't original. When I built the bike the original was nowhere to be found so I installed a 14-30 Suntour. Then just as I was thinking I'd like a biggger big sprocket (not cog ) I found on eBay a 14-32 Suntour stamped Tandem, and pretty cheap too. How could I refuse?

md, you really should replace those steel rims. God may not help you if you get caught in the rain. Our reality is we ride ours a lot, and rain has been unavoidable. We have A319 alloy touring rims. Most of the components are French (Simplex derailleurs, Mafac brakes, Stronglight captain's crank) but rim material is one place I'll gladly upgrade.

Continuing on the hub-fix theme: I did an experiment this evening. I removed the nine 1/4" bearings from a small-axle hub and dropped in eleven 7/32" bearings. Then I fit into the hole one of the large-axle cones. I believe they fit as they should. The grease track on the cone seemed in the right place and the cone spun cleanly. The point is, it appears that if you have the small-axle hub you can switch to a larger axle and appropriate cones and use the smaller bearings. I have not measured the bearing race or dust cap diameters to see if they really match, but it appears the bearings work okay. I can measure a small-axle hub but I don't intend to take our hub apart for the foreseeable future.
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Old 06-19-15, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Interesting. Does yours have a "Tandem" freewheel?





Mine has Mavic aluminum rims (40h front and rear) and stops adequately. It's a 1983 model. How old is yours?
Four pawls!!!! I can't imagine how challenging it must be to service a Tandem Atom and mate the inner and outer bodies when it has four pawls! Did you use the floss method to secure the pawls against the inner body for mating?
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Old 06-19-15, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Four pawls!!!! I can't imagine how challenging it must be to service a Tandem Atom and mate the inner and outer bodies when it has four pawls! Did you use the floss method to secure the pawls against the inner body for mating?
No, I've never rebuilt it. I just flush it out now and then.
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Old 06-19-15, 08:08 AM
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wrt drum brakes on tandems -

does anyone have any experience with the GriMeCa vs the Atom?
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Old 06-19-15, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
wrt drum brakes on tandems -

does anyone have any experience with the GriMeCa vs the Atom?
Noop. Over in the tandem forum there is always a demand for Arai drum hubs which seems to have been discontinued not so long ago. I've been told that Shimano makes tandem hubs with 135mm spacing and presumably disk brakes.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:29 AM
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One thing I forgot about

There is one think I didn't think about when I posted about doing the M10 to M11 conversion. The axle goes through a hole in the plate which carries the brake shoes. That hole will have to enlarged. Access to a drill press might be necessary.
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Old 06-28-15, 08:09 AM
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Not so successful after all. After only 65 miles both bearing cones looked like this:

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Old 06-28-15, 08:29 AM
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As Charles Brown would say...good grief. Wish I could of offered more help but don't have much help in the tandem dept. Were those cones made out of pot metal? What do the cups in the hub look like?
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Old 06-28-15, 08:55 AM
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Someone at the factory forgot to harden those cones. Easliy done at home.
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