My tandem is a 1989 Schwinn Duo Sport - a model that was made for just a few years - from '89 to '92. It was a decent quality, mid-to-high end tandem that was designed by the Paramount Design Group, but built in Japan. It features oversized butted chrome-moly tubing and - rare for tandems - a fully lugged frame. Schwinn used to offer some really nice fillet-brazed tandems in the Paramount line, but by 1989, as far as I know, those were long gone, and the Duo Sport was sort of a replacement in the performance level tandem market.
When I got mine, almost 10 years ago, it was mostly original, but a little rough-looking.
|Lugs are pretty rare on a tandem, then or now. These have been outlined in gold, which looks pretty cool against the olive green. That is a massive, very beefy fork crown. All the tubes are suitably oversized for tandem duty.|
|The captain's saddle is a Brooks Flyer - basically a B17 with springs. Notice that unique seat-lug - specifically for tandem use.|
|The only decal I affixed to the re-built bike was this gold "Schwinn" die-cut vinyl one I found on eBay. It keeps the look simple and classy.|
Some other info about the bike: The Duo Sport was offered in two sizes, and this was the larger of the two. The front, or captain's section is a 23" frame, while the rear, or stoker section, is a 21" mixte configuration (the smaller size was 21"/19"). The length of the stoker section on this model is a little shorter than what you'll find on a lot of newer tandems, which might cause some users to feel a little cramped, but actually works fine for my wife, who has a fairly short torso. I'd say the size and configuration actually works quite well for us.
One thing that the bike lacks that would be found on a lot of newer high-end tandems is the inclusion of some kind of drag brake -- such as a drum or disc brake to help scrub off speed on long descents without heating up the rims. This bike doesn't have that, and the spacing of the rear triangle isn't really wide enough to retrofit such a thing. Could the frame be re-spaced a little wider? Probably, but the very stout stays would make it a tough operation. And ultimately, this bike is not used on the kind of demanding terrain where a drag brake would be necessary. As it is, the U-brakes with modern pads give very sure stopping power. Hard core tandemists going on long distance tours might want something more "serious" - but this works great for us.
Prices on Duo Sport tandems today seem to be all over the place. I just spotted a seller on eBay asking $2000 for one in clean original condition. But the bikes show up on eBay and Craigslist all the time, often for well under $1000. At that price, the bikes offer a pretty nice introduction to the tandem world.