[CR]Peugeot vs. Paramount limitations

Example: Framebuilders

Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 08:46:17 -0700
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
From: Jan Heine <heine93@earthlink.net>
Subject: [CR]Peugeot vs. Paramount limitations

While I love old tandems, and while in my experience the best of the old tandems easily surpass the newest ones in handling and comfort, oversize tubing seems to be an important characteristic of great tandems. (For examples of French tandems with OS tubing from the 1930s through 1950s, see the "Image Archive" on the VBQ web site.)

As I understand it, both the Paramount nor the Peugeot are made from single-bike tubing. The Paramount with its twin laterals adding significantly to the stiffness, may ride OK, especially for non-competitive riding. Peugeots have a mixed reputation at best.

Third brakes: These may be needed for cautious riders (who brake so much that the rims heat up), for very long descents with numerous switchbacks (once again, too much braking), or for loaded touring (too much weight). Around here in the western United States, where descents either are short (nothing beyond 2 miles if it is twisty) or wide open (not requiring much braking), I always have felt two cantilever brakes are adequate. That said, for the French Alps, most French constructeurs used an added drum brake.

Disclaimer: I have ridden neither the Peugeot nor the Paramount tandems. My conclusions are based on what I have heard from people familiar with various machines.

The beefy forks on the Paramount probably are similar to those on Jack Taylors. They are strong and heavy. Many French tandems used a tapered steerer tube, which takes an oversize bottom headset race and a standard top one. The critical joint of steerer to fork crown (where tandem forks tend to break) is as strong, but the entire fork is much lighter.

However, a broken fork is disastrous, and an all too common thing on some tandems. So a single-bike fork (non-OS headset) on a tandem should be viewed with suspicion.

For those looking for a classic tandem with a realistic price, try finding an old Jack Taylor. The quality is so-so, but the ride equals that of the greatest French machines. And they were imported by the hundreds.

Jan Heine, Seattle
Vintage Bicycle Quarterly

>Any thoughts on this Peugeot tandem? It looks pretty similar to the

>Paramount......The Peugeot is lugged, I wonder what the tubing is?


>Rod Kronenberg

>Fort Collins, CO



>-----Original Message-----

>From: classicrendezvous-bounces@bikelist.org

>[mailto:classicrendezvous-bounces@bikelist.org] On Behalf Of HM & SS


>Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 7:45 PM

>To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org; ADP; chardowner@yahoo.com

>Subject: [CR]Re: 73 Paramount Tandem on eBay.


>Ann Phillips nicely outed the following Paramount Tandem. Although

>somewhat older, the bike is very similar to one friends had in

>Princeton, NJ a few years later. WRT the bike and the description, I'd

>make a few comments that might be helpful to the list and to the seller



>1) All tandems of that vintage were pretty close-coupled (short

>front-to-back). The back rider in particular typically had a postion

>like on a "roadster." This may be longer than our Town & Country (61"

>wheelbase) on which we have done much more than 10,000 mi, but it ain't

>like your fit-kit or equiv. single. Notice the short rear stem.


>2) Of course the frame material is steel. I have never seen one labeled

>as Reynolds 531, and the catalogue for that year makes no tubing claim

>for that model; they were generally considered to be aircraft-grade 4130

>(similar to Columbus, but not butted). BTW, the "twin lateral" design

>has been largely discarded: expensive, and doesn't give good torsional



>3) The gearing has been changed substantially. These came from the

>factory as 10-speed with same-side drive, front derailleur mounted on

>the rear seat tube. This has been changed to drive from the front

>(which I have done, too, on curved-tube tandems), and has been converted

>to cross-over drive.


>4) Schwinns come from Chicago; Chicago may have wind but it doesn't have

>Major League Mountains. At that time, Schwinns did not have a third

>(rear hub) brake. Where we rode, this made me uncomfortable, and I have

>always preferred the safety and redundancy of the third brake (which,

>however, I did not put on my mountain tandem, which never went



>In short, it has been changed to improve performance, and it will

>certainly meet needs of many couples, and bring a lot of fun. But, there

>are some errors in the description, and work would be required to make

>it wholy authentic (like finding two left-side and one right-side TA

>crank arms), which would make it less useful. It would be a great

>"starter" tandem if the price is right and the buyers understand its

>limitations, but most "serious" couples would move on for a primary

>tandem, finances permitting.



>Your mileage may vary.


>harvey sachs

>mcLean VA





>or ebay # 3672204072


>With description carefully cut and pasted from the Schwinn Lightweight

>databook <g>.


>Ann Phillips, Decatur Ga