1930's Saxon Tandem bicycle
Saxon bicycles was founded in 1919 in East London, providing a budget minded bicycle with more brand appeal than the more common Raleigh and Hercules brands. In the 1930’s many riders were calling for stiffer bicycle frames to counteract frame flex that occurred under hard pedaling. Flexing was especially problematic in tandems, which had much longer wheelbases. Several British brands attempted to reduce flex by shortening the chainstay length. Saxon was perhaps the most successful through the use of their “twin tube” design. Splitting the seat tube into two separate tubes running to the outside of the bottom bracket allowed the rear wheel to tuck into the mainframe, shortening the chainstay considerably. Saxon first used the design on tandems in 1937 and later employed the design on single racing bikes as well. The Saxon name was sold to Claude Butler during WWII, and he continued using the “twin tube” design. The concept has been used since, however the shortened chainstay length often interferes with derailleur performance, hence its absence on current bicycles.