Matt Day wrote:
Hello there, I have recently joined the CR bike list as I'm looking to obtain some advice regarding the renovation of an old Tandem. The make is Armstrong, which I believe was an old Birmingham make, and the model is a 1960 (?) Reynolds 531, Short wheelbase, with drum brakes, cyclo 3 speed gears, and lovely Â¾ drop handle bars. However the condition of the bike is very poor ; Iâ\u20ac\u2122m in a quandary whether to completely renovate as orig inal (including the rusty drum brakes! ), or upgrade using the frame as the basis for a modern tandem . I know what my heart says , but it will all depend on the support available for such a project . I hope someone can start me on the road to understanding a bit more about the options available, including hopefully some experience/ knowledge of the Armstrong Marque . Many thanks in advance , ++++++++ I know nothing of Armstrong, but have perhaps 15 - 20,000 mi. of riding a very short wheelbase tandem with beloved spouse. Ours was a Schwinn Town & Country, of 4130 chrome-moly steel, fillet-brazed. Bluntly, the rear riding position is awful. Butt darned near over the rear axle, so it takes great abuse. Do not try to set up with drop bars for the rear, practically unreachable unless stoker has very long arms and a very short torso, otherwise winds up riding with head turned and resting on pilot's back. On the other hand, with decent steering they can be very agile, and ours was fast. Bottom line, given my values: If it's the only way you can afford to tandem, do it stock or modernize it (since it's not a mint example). Alternatively, if resources allow, they look lovely hanging on a wall, but ride a modern long-wheel-base tandem.
but I don't feel strongly about this... :-). Not nearly as strongly as beloved spouse. Our first "modern" tandem added 9 inches of wheelbase, and it seemed that almost all was distance between the seat tubes, her cockpit. Went from city bike position to touring position.