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Fiorelli Tandem Dilemma

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Fiorelli Tandem Dilemma

Old 05-07-17, 06:20 AM
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bwendoloski
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Fiorelli Tandem Dilemma

HI,

I am trying to find out information a Fiorelli tandem bike that I am working on for some friends. I have restored old Schwinn bikes but this one looks to be a challenge. It looks like it is a bit of a Frankenstein monster. It appears that this bike had more than one speed but it currently has a coaster brake and is a single speed. I am thinking this bike also had at least a front rim brake. Anyway I will post a few pictures, maybe someone can tell me more about this bike and possibly if there are any good sources of parts (like new seats, the back one is a killer).. Thanks in advance.
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fiorelli bike.jpg (92.4 KB, 128 views)
File Type: jpg
fiorelli frame.jpg (95.6 KB, 128 views)
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fiorelli rear wheel.jpg (98.4 KB, 126 views)

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Old 05-07-17, 07:57 AM
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I think a couple of standard wide Brooks saddles would be cool on that bike.
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Old 05-07-17, 12:03 PM
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The use of the term "Frankenstein" bothers me. It looks to me like you don't have a clear idea of how the bike was conceived to be a bicycle in the first place. For example, what are the options for how braking was to be done? Do those systems correspond to the braze-ons and drillings you can see on the bike? Can you explain all of the features on the frame and what they are for? Until you can you can't see ways to use the frame to make a credible modern bike. Is there any on-line literature to consult? Could it have been for rambling or randonneuring?

Fiorelli was not a random bike house. For decades they made very capable bicycles all the way from tiny childrens' two-wheelers up to city bikes, commuters, sport bikes, racing style bikes, and high-level racing bikes used in the great races of Europe.

The frame looks odd to us, but it was designed for some purpose.

Not that you'll be able to find the "forgotten Fiorelli warehouse full of tandem parts," because if such a thing does not exist for Cinelli, it ain't gonna be found for Fiorelli. But Italian makers generally followed standard interfaces for their parts. For example, if the BB shell widths are 70 mm, most likely the thread fit the Italian standard. Therefore if true you can install any BB that satisfies that fit and threading standard.

What saddles did they use? I don't know, but (my guess is this frame is late '50s) it could have been something like a Schwinn, or like a sprung and wide Brooks, or ... something creative and unique made in Italy. Or it could have imitated ancient styles popular in the 1920s, but still in the parts bins in the '50s. But you need pictures and build lists. Or just perform frame measurements, find out what standards need to be satisfied, and choose something for your friends to use and wow over.

I would try to at least figure out what all the little features and bobs are for before going very far.
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Old 05-07-17, 12:18 PM
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-----

wrt dating - the company stopped doing those thimble tubular fork crowns in the early sixties so it cannot be later than that.

-----
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Old 05-07-17, 12:24 PM
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From the pics I can see

It was designed for single-speed.
It was intended to have fenders.
Now it has a coaster brake, low gear ratio drive. There could be multiple gears in the rear axle as well, but we can't see the drive side.
Those ring brazeons could have been for hand-brake cables, or for taillight wires (any sign of a bottle or front wheel dyno having been there?).
It's hard to imagine even for a city-bike tandem there was no front brake - there should be some kind of mounting holes for a side-pull caliper at least.
I think the original wheel size was rather larger than what's on there now - something like 700c rims, rather than what looks like 559 rims.
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Old 05-07-17, 08:06 PM
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An image of the drive side might help discern the original configuration.
Personally, I think the rims may be too small in diameter.
I would even consider a rear drum brake.
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Old 05-07-17, 08:59 PM
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I suspect that the wheels/tires were OEM 650B and of slightly narrower width. Braze ons would suggest a drum brake. Too bad we have no images of drop outs or crown to see indications of previous fittings . Stoker seats have always been a challenge for the stoker, tandems would be somewhat different if stokers designed them... Andy
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Old 05-08-17, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
The use of the term "Frankenstein" bothers me. It looks to me like you don't have a clear idea of how the bike was conceived to be a bicycle in the first place. For example, what are the options for how braking was to be done? Do those systems correspond to the braze-ons and drillings you can see on the bike? Can you explain all of the features on the frame and what they are for? Until you can you can't see ways to use the frame to make a credible modern bike. Is there any on-line literature to consult? Could it have been for rambling or randonneuring?

Fiorelli was not a random bike house. For decades they made very capable bicycles all the way from tiny childrens' two-wheelers up to city bikes, commuters, sport bikes, racing style bikes, and high-level racing bikes used in the great races of Europe.

The frame looks odd to us, but it was designed for some purpose.

Not that you'll be able to find the "forgotten Fiorelli warehouse full of tandem parts," because if such a thing does not exist for Cinelli, it ain't gonna be found for Fiorelli. But Italian makers generally followed standard interfaces for their parts. For example, if the BB shell widths are 70 mm, most likely the thread fit the Italian standard. Therefore if true you can install any BB that satisfies that fit and threading standard.

What saddles did they use? I don't know, but (my guess is this frame is late '50s) it could have been something like a Schwinn, or like a sprung and wide Brooks, or ... something creative and unique made in Italy. Or it could have imitated ancient styles popular in the 1920s, but still in the parts bins in the '50s. But you need pictures and build lists. Or just perform frame measurements, find out what standards need to be satisfied, and choose something for your friends to use and wow over.

I would try to at least figure out what all the little features and bobs are for before going very far.
My reference to Frankenstein is because I am pretty sure it has parts from other bikes!
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Old 05-08-17, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I suspect that the wheels/tires were OEM 650B and of slightly narrower width. Braze ons would suggest a drum brake. Too bad we have no images of drop outs or crown to see indications of previous fittings . Stoker seats have always been a challenge for the stoker, tandems would be somewhat different if stokers designed them... Andy
I will take more pictures of the drivetrain side of the bike. The weather in Pennsylvania was really terrible this weekend so I limited my outside time. I need to clear a spot in my workshop for this bike. I am impressed to have some helpful responses to this post, was not sure what to expect. I am pretty sure the wheelset is not original, I could not find a model on this bike, perhaps it was there but just wore off. I see indications that this bike was originally a three speed. The bike came off a CL sale, my biking friends that want me to do the restore seem to think it is something special.
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Old 08-15-17, 12:50 PM
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Love these tandems.... I restored one a few years back and about to buy another... Here is the one I had from years ago, should have never sold it so beautiful.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/131254637@N06/page7

not sure what other folks are saying but originally there are 26 inch rims on it, pull brakes front and back side pull... although the back brakes are a POA and needed these weird extensions. I never tried 700 wheels but they might work... maybe.

you can see it had fenders and lights etc. Coolest thing are the cranks which are beautiful and a campy tensioner real interesting.

these things where ALWAYS a three speed. cheap chrome plating probably is the reason why they rims were swapped.

Good luck and send a pic when its done!
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Old 08-15-17, 01:23 PM
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Personally I think the term "Frankenbike" gets used to too much and seem to be applied to any bime that does not have a single matching group from the headset to the cranks to cable guide clips.

As for this bike unless it had a 2 or 3 spd kick back type hub I agree that there is little visable evidence we can see of it being a multispeed.

If those loops are to support a brake cable it must be installed on the center stays otherwise it is would seem to be unsupported for a few feet.

I agree that the front wheel looks odd and may mean it currently has the wrong wheels. There also seems to be too much space for the current rear wheel too.

is there evidence that there was a brake mounted to either the fork or one of the stay bridges?

On a more important note, do the seat post and stems move freely? *If they are stuck you may be dead in the water.

PS I just noticed there is a loop back on the center seat stay. Would a bike in the '50s or '60s have a 2 speed hub and a integral drum brake?
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Old 10-05-20, 05:17 PM
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I just bought this bike!

Found this on Facebook market place and bought for 100, has a new cannondale seat and tires are ok... someone did a basic job on cotter pins but itís a smooth ride!
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