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Paramount Tandem

Old 07-08-22, 06:42 PM
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Paramount Tandem

Next project on deck is this tandem that I bought from the original stoker, who was 93 last fall. Looking to do enough cleaning, tires and lubrication this weekend to take it for a test ride.


Lots of original bits; front pedals have been upgraded...


48 spoke 27" wheels
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Old 07-08-22, 06:58 PM
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Oh man, love this, ladyback, shortcoupled Paramount, always on the lookout for one of these but need a least 60+ in the front and probably 56- in back.

A regular ladyback would be ok too, not holding my breath.

Following closely along from here on out, hope this goes very well.

Stoker locked and loaded?

Needs better brakes long ago IMO, front hub, BB's Phil too?

Looks like the original crew binned the Crane GS RD, good call, mine sucks on my regular Paramount.

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Old 07-09-22, 11:51 AM
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@Schreck83. - Very Nice.
Looks like you could use a drag brake like an Arai. They are no longer in production. I have an extra I might part with. This ones is on my Burley.
P1010224 on Flickr

Made a tool for removal.
Top one
DIY Bike Tools on Flickr
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Old 07-09-22, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post


Oh man, love this, ladyback, shortcoupled Paramount, always on the lookout for one of these but need a least 60+ in the front and probably 56- in back.

A regular ladyback would be ok too, not holding my breath.

Following closely along from here on out, hope this goes very well.

Stoker locked and loaded?

Needs better brakes long ago IMO, front hub, BB's Phil too?

Looks like the original crew binned the Crane GS RD, good call, mine sucks on my regular Paramount.
I have a stoker, although I'm not sure how stoked she is about the whole idea. We like to canoe rather than kayak, so I'm hoping sharing the same frame will have some of the same appeal as a shared hull.

This is the larger stock frame at 24" front/22" rear. The smaller frame is 22"/19" and I think it has a straight stoker seat tube which allows the seatpost room for adjustment.
The component line-up says 1979. Aside from the saddles and pedals, the RD has been changed out to a Shimano Light Action. Interesting that the SunTour VGT was spec'd for this year.



Phil in front, too! Not sure what that plastic ring is for on the threads.
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Old 07-09-22, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
@Schreck83. - Very Nice.
Looks like you could use a drag brake like an Arai. They are no longer in production. I have an extra I might part with. This ones is on my Burley.
P1010224 on Flickr

Made a tool for removal.
Top one
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Thanks for the offer. How standard is the threading on the NDS of these hubs? This is new territory for me.
My plan is to install Koolstop pads & holders for now and see how we like riding together. It's good to know there is an upgrade path that bolts on.
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Old 07-09-22, 02:15 PM
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My guess is the hubs are set up to accommodate a Phil Wood disc brake. The ingenious design did not require any special anchor brackets on the frame. I have one on my Mercian tandem (rear). I have it connected to a old Campy barcons to use as a drag brake to help limit speed on long descents. You donít need a whole lot of help from the drag brake to significantly reduce the fade from the rim brakes ( the tandem has Mafac cantilevers in that application.) The Phil disc brakes are long gone from production, but when I was restoring my Tandem, the guys at Phil were very accommodating and threaded a cassette hub to mount the brake.
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Old 07-09-22, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Schreck83 View Post
Thanks for the offer. How standard is the threading on the NDS of these hubs? This is new territory for me.
My plan is to install Koolstop pads & holders for now and see how we like riding together. It's good to know there is an upgrade path that bolts on.
I believe the threading on the NDS rear hub is pretty standard, but I am not 100% sure. One way or another, you definitely want that Arai drum brake, if it will work on your frame. Look at the photo in SJX426's post. See that little tab brazed or welded on the NDS chainstay? Does your Schwinn have one? IF not, you will have to figure out some other way of anchoring that tab, preferably in a way that allows easy removal fo the rear wheel for fixing flats.

The Arai drum brake is not really for stopping (the rims brakes are much, much better for that), but rather to use as a drag brake so you accelerated less quickly on descents. Trust me, you want that. I don't know how big you and your intended stoker are (I and my stokers have all been, shall we say, hefty). Regardless, that tandem will accelerate much more quickly than any single you have been on. When you let off your brakes on a long downhill, even for a moment, the bike will positively leap forward to go faster. The drum brake keeps that in check. Run it from a barcon or some other means of "set and forget" usage - turn it on at the top, turn it off at the bottom. Some tandems are set up to have the stoker control the drag brake. I don't like that. (1) As captain, I want to be in control of all brake and shifting decisions. (2), I really don't want to be surprised by my stoker applying or taking off a brake. Surprising the captain is a bad thing on a tandem.

Fantastic find. Enjoy.
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Old 07-09-22, 05:02 PM
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Nice, here is one I refurbished fwiw: 1972 Paramount tandem update Suspect mine had been modified somewhat at some point, but it too had a Phil rear hub threaded for a Phil Wood disc brake.
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Old 07-09-22, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
I believe the threading on the NDS rear hub is pretty standard
Correct. You could thread on a single-speed freewheel if you wanted to have a "flip-flop" hub. Not that I recommend that! Just pointing out it is the same thread. It will take either a Phil disk or an Arai drum, but the Arai will need some customizing, the hub isn't really optimized for attaching the Arai. Arai is meant to be captured under the axle locknut, the one for locking in the cones adjustment, but a Phil hub doesn't have cones or locknuts. Some tandem specialists have modified Arai drums to go on your hub, but that's going to be difficult to find now, many years after they stopped making them.

The Arai drum brake <snip> Trust me, you want that.
I hope you'll forgive me if I don't "trust you" on that. I don't want a drag brake on my tandem and I think I've earned the right to an opinion. I was a framebuilder specializing in tandems for over 20 years, making Santana, Rodriguez, Counterpoint, Davidson and Ti Cycles tandems. I put many an Arai on custom bikes, so I am intimately familiar with them. Also used plenty of Phil disks. I even built a custom tandem for Mr. Phil Wood himself, which had no rim brakes, only two Phil disks. Against my advice I might add!

BTW Phil disks soon proved themselves to be unreliable and unsafe. The splined interface between the hub and the fiber disk was prone to catastrophic failure under hard braking, the worst time for that to happen. Phil responded by redesigning those parts so the splined interface was twice as wide (or more?), but then those failed sometimes too, and the brake was withdrawn from the market. Not everyone's brake failed, but I sure wouldn't count on one for stopping you. Strictly a drag brake. If considering buying one, look at the fiber disk where it mates with the splined aluminum "carrier" that threads onto the hub. The splined part should be 2 or 3 times as wide as the part of the disk that goes up into/between the "brake pads". You should be able to see the shoulder between the thin part and the thick splined part. No shoulder, no thicker splined interface = deathtrap.

But I never felt the need to put one on a tandem for the wife and me. Two good strong rim brakes was always plenty for us.
We took part in a study that was done maybe 30 years ago where tandem teams were sent a series of adhesive dots to stick to their rims. They change color, from white to black IIRC, when they reach the temperature printed on them, and the color change is permanent. So with a string of dots every, say, 10į F or whatever (I forget), you can see what's the highest temperature the rim ever got. We really tried to get our rims hot, by pedaling with all our might with the brakes on, on a steep downhill where we would roll at over 50 mph without the brakes. Sorry I don't remember what the highest temp we got was, but it was nowhere near the point where brake pads would melt or fade, or tires would blow off. Those being the problems most frequently mentioned by people who say you need a drag brake.

I'll admit, we never took our tandem to the Alps or other places with really long and steep downhills. Here in the Western US, our mountain roads are mostly easy grades, and our steepest hills tend to be short. Also this tandem wasn't often loaded up with camping gear for long unsupported tours. The couple times we did, there were no super-scary downhills on our routes. So I can see a need for a drag brake for some people in some places. Just never turned out to be needed for us.

To the OP: careful with the front wheel. Despite (or because of?) the 48 spokes, the wheel can pretzel / taco / potato chip if you put a strong enough side load on it, due to the left side flange being closer to the center of the wheel. I have seen it happen twice myself and heard lots of stories of it happening to others. It can happen at walking pace, if you just turn the wheel sharply. I saw it happen within the first 10 feet of riding on a brand-new custom tandem, as they turned off the sidewalk into the street! Phil also made a 110 mm front disk hub that didn't have that problem, but it of course required a custom fork made at that width. Your Schwinn almost certainly has a 100 mm fork and hub. I would consider replacing that front wheel with any moderately strong normal "single bike" wheel, even if it only has 36 spokes. It'll be stronger than the existing dished wheel. Some folks have even gotten great reliability with 32 or fewer spokes if the rim is a modern deep-V shape. An "aero" rim might look too out of place on a vintage bike, but they give great heat-dissipation in addition to the stiffness and strength advantage.

Definitely ditch those finned Mathauser pads, they are also deathtraps. The problem is the rubber is only glued to the finned aluminum carrier, and the glue lets loose sometimes, leaving you with no brake pad, no braking. They failed sometimes even when new, and now after all these years the glue joint has to be considered degraded, totally unreliable. I say this with great sorrow because I used them BITD and I still think they're the coolest-looking brake pads ever. If only they didn't try to kill you!

Oh and the plastic ring on the F hub is for an Avocet speedometer.

Mark B

Last edited by bulgie; 07-09-22 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 07-09-22, 05:42 PM
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I do believe that I was in a certain treasure filled storage area in "someone's" basement in East Aurora. 🙄

I recall that Paramount and a few others.others as well!
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Old 07-09-22, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
I hope you'll forgive me if I don't "trust you" on that. I don't want a drag brake on my tandem and I think I've earned the right to an opinion.
Of course you're entitled to an opinion. I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to tell such lies.

I like having a drum brake on a tandem. You don't. Vive le difference, and all that. I do suspect that we would both agree that a drag brake, at least an Arai drum brake, is meant to be in addition to, not instead of, one or more well-functioning rim brakes.
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Old 07-09-22, 08:07 PM
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Schreck83

Plastic ring is part of a speedo setup.
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Old 07-10-22, 05:33 AM
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I can't disagree with @bulgie. Comparatively, I have only test driven our tandem. We did a ride around Antietam and multiple rides around Ft Hunt.

I did not like the braking set up with calipers on the right and the drag brake on the left.
DSCF7092 on Flickr

A frinction shifter was added to the stem for the Arai with the levers cabled conventionally.
P1010349 on Flickr

Other changes included swapping the 6 v block for a 7v and getting the needed 7v bar ends.

The tab for the Arai was on the top of the CS, which made removal of the wheel really difficult.
Mounted Rear Drum_S on Flickr
It was moved to the bottom of the CS as shown above. Huge improvement of wheel removal/install. Not my weld quality of workmanship.

BTW. Mine also has the Penderson self- energizing rear brake. Minimizes the need for the Arai.
P1010340 on Flickr
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Old 07-14-22, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
Correct. You could thread on a single-speed freewheel if you wanted to have a "flip-flop" hub. Not that I recommend that! Just pointing out it is the same thread. It will take either a Phil disk or an Arai drum, but the Arai will need some customizing, the hub isn't really optimized for attaching the Arai. Arai is meant to be captured under the axle locknut, the one for locking in the cones adjustment, but a Phil hub doesn't have cones or locknuts. Some tandem specialists have modified Arai drums to go on your hub, but that's going to be difficult to find now, many years after they stopped making them.

To the OP: careful with the front wheel. Despite (or because of?) the 48 spokes, the wheel can pretzel / taco / potato chip if you put a strong enough side load on it, due to the left side flange being closer to the center of the wheel. I have seen it happen twice myself and heard lots of stories of it happening to others. It can happen at walking pace, if you just turn the wheel sharply. I saw it happen within the first 10 feet of riding on a brand-new custom tandem, as they turned off the sidewalk into the street! Phil also made a 110 mm front disk hub that didn't have that problem, but it of course required a custom fork made at that width. Your Schwinn almost certainly has a 100 mm fork and hub. I would consider replacing that front wheel with any moderately strong normal "single bike" wheel, even if it only has 36 spokes. It'll be stronger than the existing dished wheel. Some folks have even gotten great reliability with 32 or fewer spokes if the rim is a modern deep-V shape. An "aero" rim might look too out of place on a vintage bike, but they give great heat-dissipation in addition to the stiffness and strength advantage.

Definitely ditch those finned Mathauser pads, they are also deathtraps.

Mark B
Thanks for those great insights. I had read that the Phil brakes were troublesome. I have KoolStop pads on order and we'll start out on flatter terrain to see if they are enough for us.

The front hub is 100 OLD and is dished about 13 mm on the threaded side. The spokes are 3 cross except they don't cross under the 3rd spoke. Not sure if this is common with tandem wheels.



Campagnolo BB

Pulled the headset apart and the serial number on the fork matches the headtube: GJ805618, indicating a July 1973 build month.
The headbadge also has the date stamp 3449, which is Dec. 15, 1989 1979. That's a 6+ year gap! I guess they thought the boom would last forever.
The Paramount tandem wasn't listed in the 1980 catalog, so this would have been one of the last fillet-brazed tandems produced by Schwinn.

Unfortunately, the crown race is cracked. I may borrow the race from my stalled Sports Tourer project, just to keep things moving. The steerer is the same diameter, but I need to measure at the seat of the race first.
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Last edited by Schreck83; 07-15-22 at 09:13 AM. Reason: Spellin, date error (thanks pastorbobnlnh!)
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Old 07-15-22, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Schreck83 View Post
...Pulled the headset apart and the serial number on the fork matches the headtube: GJ805618, indicating a July 1973 build month.
The headbadge also has the date stamp 3449, which is Dec. 15, 1979. That's a 6+ year gap! I guess they thought the boom would last forever.
The Paramount tandem wasn't listed in the 1980 catalog, so this would have been one of the last fillet-brazed tandems produced by Schwinn....
I always found it interesting how the 1970s Tandem serial numbers seem to follow the same pattern used on the 1970s Super Sports, Sports Tourers, and Superiors.

My guess might be that the frame was made as a spare, warranty replacement in '73. It was not needed until a tandem was ordered by a customer in '79. Because Paramount production ended in Chicago at the end of '79 (prior to the opening of Waterford in 1980), the on-hand tandem frameset was built-up, the badge was stamped, and it was sent to the LBS for the customer who placed the order.

Of course, the above is pure speculation. Richard Schwinn at Waterford might be able to provide more reliable information.
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Old 07-15-22, 10:31 AM
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OP saddle positions look beyond brutal.

but that might just be me
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Old 07-15-22, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
OP saddle positions look beyond brutal.

but that might just be me
Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
I always found it interesting how the 1970s Tandem serial numbers seem to follow the same pattern used on the 1970s Super Sports, Sports Tourers, and Superiors.

My guess might be that the frame was made as a spare, warranty replacement in '73. It was not needed until a tandem was ordered by a customer in '79. Because Paramount production ended in Chicago at the end of '79 (prior to the opening of Waterford in 1980), the on-hand tandem frameset was built-up, the badge was stamped, and it was sent to the LBS for the customer who placed the order.

Of course, the above is pure speculation. Richard Schwinn at Waterford might be able to provide more reliable information.
That sounds plausible. Sheldon Brown states that fillet brazed production ended in 1978:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/schwinn-braze.html

Re: those
saddle angles, those are as-found and will be changed. I think the front is a B72; tough angle with drop bars...
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Old 07-22-22, 07:05 AM
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Fork crown race from the Sports Tourer has been installed. Moving on to the other revolving parts...
Small issue with the freewheel. Middle FW cog has a broken tooth; used to be 22T.


Gap-toothed and cracked.

stubborn, but successfully removed. Bearings feel less than smooth on the rear hub.

similar 32T FW on hand for temporary use until a 22T cog can be found.

Captain's BB shell

massive machined aluminum eccentric, fitted with cranks and axle labeled Pista

Rear BB felt crunchy. Only the triple crank was marked Strada. All cups are thin-wall, without spiral grooves.

KoolStop pads have arrived, so reassembly can begin.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Schreck83 View Post
I have a stoker, although I'm not sure how stoked she is about the whole idea. We like to canoe rather than kayak, so I'm hoping sharing the same frame will have some of the same appeal as a shared hull.
I've long thought about getting a Tandem for the same reason (would-be stoker not super enthused about cycling but likes to spend time together outdoors). The fact that I am not optimistic about how much she'd want to do it (meaning I don't want to invest a ton of money in it) and that we'd need a 25"/24" (or ~62 cm captain/~58 cm stoker) means I haven't done anything about that yet. Best of luck to you.
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Old 07-22-22, 08:41 AM
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I was in the same boat with my stoker wife. We ended up getting a great deal on an old Santana Vision. So far we have gone on rides every weekend, and she is wanting to increase our miles. It's been fun, other than learning how to deal with each other. We do stop alot, but she is game for more adventures.. All good so far. She does not ride her single bike much at all, as in it's been 3 years since she had it out.
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Old 07-22-22, 07:36 PM
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pastorbobnlnh 
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I can provide a 22T Perfect sprocket. However, I leave in the morning for the next two weeks. PM me mid-August if interested.
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Old 07-22-22, 08:45 PM
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merziac
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Originally Posted by kermie View Post
I was in the same boat with my stoker wife. We ended up getting a great deal on an old Santana Vision. So far we have gone on rides every weekend, and she is wanting to increase our miles. It's been fun, other than learning how to deal with each other. We do stop alot, but she is game for more adventures.. All good so far. She does not ride her single bike much at all, as in it's been 3 years since she had it out.
That is fantastic, so cool. She looks like she means business and in a good way which I believe is the key to this.

The team has to be all in together, two acting as one with their own responsibilities, if you can get a stoker fully onboard, there may not be anywhere you can't go.

Many of the French cyclotouring records were held by tandems that were faster than the singles when cars were not attainable for the average couples and families.

They traveled great distances at speed and many competed at the highest levels with great success.
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