Barrett Sociable, was [CR]No KOF "Sociables"?

(Example: Books:Ron Kitching)

Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 18:52:00 -0400
From: "Harvey M Sachs" <sachshm@cox.net>
To: Classic Rendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Subject: Barrett Sociable, was [CR]No KOF "Sociables"?


The "Barrett Sociable" showed up at least once for an Eastern Tandem Rally, I believe 1976 at Lake Waramoag, Ct. My memory is pretty certain that I rode it solo and with my wife. John (?) Barrett had done an outstanding job, with some clever touches that created delight. For example, the rear wheel used a Cinelli Bivalent-type attachment (FW mounted by bearing to the frame, so it stayed with the frame when the wheel was dropped out. FW had female splines (std FW, with Phil lock ring screwed in. Hub had set of male Phil splines from a Phil tool, silver-brazed to the Phil (?) hub shell. No, I don't even remember the color, much less whether lugged or what. But, I think only the left side steered, by a connecting rod to the steerer. Given the date, I guess it's not really KOF, but sure was nice!

harvey sachs mcLean va

Pondering the comments in the early post about: 1.) the lack of ultimate over-the-top custom KOF bikes, and 2.) where to put the hottie on the hog [hog-ciclette ?], it occurred to me that one early form of bike (sometimes Trike) seemed to have vanished before being truly given a chance. I refer to what I believe were commonly called the "Sociable".

These were side-by-side tandem bikes. I've seen a few photos of some quite stunning examples, first as high wheeled tiller-steered models and later with twin handlebars. These bikes never became popular because, for one thing, they were surely outrageously expensive. I suspect their production may have also been hampered due to the complexity of the steering and drive mechanisms and of course the increased weight required - especially considering the very early components, tubing, etc., available in the late 1800s.

However, given the current popularity of recumbent bikes, the efficiency of modern drive systems for "bents" in general - including trikes and tandems, have no modern framebuilders ever even attempted to push the limits of modern, upright, fancy-lugged, steel frame construction with one of these head-turners?

If anyone has the book "Classic American Bicycles" by Jay Pridmore (c.1999, MBI Publishing Company, Osceola, WI, USA), there is a remarkable example from the late 1890s of a two wheeled, twin handlebar (dual steering), twin crank version called the Prunnett Companion.

Seems like this, or certainly a three wheeled version, would be just the thing for a pleasant spin down Rodeo Drive - perhaps with paparazzi giving welcome slow chase. California builders surely would have the customer base for such a no expense limit, over the top, bicycle extravagance. Think of the publicity that an enterprising builder would receive... instantly.

I'm cash poor... but, I'd be tempted to sell a few of my bikes for such a unique creation. A bike on which I could proudly cruise, with a babe by my side - instead of in tow as my tandem stoker. I'm envisioning some gaudy Rococo lugwork here; maybe flowers, cherubs, gold leaf... Oops, better not let your wives see this posting, Gents!

Hasn't anyone even tried to build this style of bicycle... in the past 100 years?

Bob Hanson, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA