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Peugeot Tandems

Restoring Maintaining and Updating The Peugeot Tandem
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Modernise Your Peugeot
Thoroughly Modern Peugeot!
Update: We have now built a number of tandems to this spec. and they are the most popular choice for our customers, who want to be able to use their tandems on trailways and green lanes as well as the road. We have ridden ours extensively winter and summer in tough conditions and  the tandem has taken everything we have thrown at it. People stop and admire it and say "that's a nice tandem" never suspecting that it is over 30 years old!
Lots of people email me about renovating and updating their Peugeot Tandems, so they are easier to use and maintain over the coming years, so I decided to build the prototype of a 21st Century version of a Peugeot Tandem. We already have a road tandem, but we do a lot of riding on trailways - not exactly "offroading" but maybe requiring a different spec. We also wanted to get rid of as many of the those pesky obsolete, rare and expensive French parts.
Getting Started
We started off with a very original tandem which can be seen in the gallery "Aimee's Tandem". It hadn't been used for over 20 years and was complete but tired. It had the advantage that it had many re-usable original parts that people are always looking for, so I was able to sell off the unwanted parts to grateful Peugeot tandem fans, to keep their treasured bikes on the road.
We wanted a modern looking, rather than vintage look, with modern easily obtainable, replaceable parts and bult to a good spec. but on a budget.
Modern Silver powdercoat with clearcoat over to give a brilliant sparkly finish. Original style decals. No modifications to the frame allowed other than "cold setting" the rear dropouts to 140mm.
Wheels & Tyres
We did consider 650B and 26" wheel sizes, to lower the bike for the trail, allow larger tyres and give more mudguard clearance, but settled on 700C, so we could retain Cantilever brakes. Otherwise it would have been drums all round. So in off road terms we have built a 29'er.
Rims are Rigida Sputnik, which is a very strong rim and the hubs are Sturmey Archer X-RDC at the rear which has a hub brake (which fits the Atom mounts) and an 8 speed cassette.
The front hub is still under discussion. Currently it has a Shimano tandem hub fitted, but a 90mm X-FD Sturmey Archer hub brake is being considered. Tyres are Continental Cyclo Cross "Speed Kings"  in 700x35C which are about as big a tyre that can be fitted, with mudguards. Update: We have since fitted Schwalbe Marathon Mondiales (37x622), which are a trekking tyre and although heavier than the Speed Kingsare a better on-road/off-road compromise, If I were doing a more aggressive off road tandem I would use 650B and go for 90mm drum brakes at the front.
 I did source some very nice Shimano Deore  V brakes, but found that they would not fit, so we decided to stick with the original Mafac cantilever brakes, but with moder Koolstop "Eagle" pads. The Sturmey Archer X-RDC fulfils the role of the drag brake, much more efficiently than the original Atom one.
Update: We have now replaced the original cantilever brakes with the stainless steel replacements we have had manufactured. these give a firmer "feel" and very reliable braking. The Sturmey Archer rear drum brake is very effective and one person can not push the bike against the brake when it is applied.
 As this is a budget build, I decided to use the best compromise between, performance, durability and price, so a Shimano Alivio Groupset was selected. In my opinion this is the point above which weight becomes a factor. This groupset works extremely well and is strong and durable. I chose 8 speed rather than 9, because 8 speed chains and sprockets are stronger and will last longer. An MTB groupset is required to accommodate the range of gearing required on this bike.
Shifters are an issue. We wanted to use MTB style straight bars with "bar ends" and rapid fire integrated shifters. The problem is that the brake levers for straight bars are not optimised for cantilever brakes. They are designed for V brakes or Discs. There is not enough leverage for cantis. However Shimano do manufacture an integrated lever/shifter especially for this application. Shimano Sora ST-R225L - 8 speed. It is designed for hybrid style bikes that are using straight bars, an MTB front mech and "road" brakes. They have settings on the brake levers for discs, cantis and V brakes.
 The most economical and appropriate transmission for this tandem was to dispense with the original Stronglight 49D crossover drive and replace it with a new Stronglight Impact Crossover drive, with "ramped and pinned" chainset and tougher steel inner chain rings. This gives a huge range of gears and easy changes under pressure. We have used Velo Orange French Threaded cartridge bottom bracket bearing and MKS quill pedals with Christophe Toeclips and straps.
Update: We have been using this tandem heavily for over 2 years now, mainly on trailways but also on  the road and some deep gravelly tracks in the New Forest, including some very scary loose gravel descents, where the only way to keep the bike straight was by dabbing on the rear drum brake. Tracks so rough that the wireless computer sensor dropped off (we went back and found it) and the quick link on the chain vibrated off and we left the chain behind us. Fortunately we were able to find both missing parts of the link, thanks to white gravel and a dirty chain. I rivet chains in the old fashioned way now. The bike has held up just fine with the only maintenance required, replacing a gear cable that had become gummed up. So we have built a sure handling and thoroughly dependable modern tandem, which has proved to be a big hit with us and our customers. This is afar cry from our 1980 original which always seemed to required some adjustment or other.