≡ Menu

Birth of the 75th Lugset

The lugset created for the 75th Anniversary Paramount reflects the latest thinking in lug engineering. Yet the design pays homage to Paramount lugs from the 60′s and beyond. In order to provide context for our design, let’s walk through the history of lug engineering and design.

Early on in the history of bicycle design, engineers figured out that frame joints or lugs were the most structurally vulnerable part of the frame. Initial lug designs like what you see here, served primarily as reinforcements for the joints. sampleearlybikelug
samplekeyholelug While lug brazing represented a major advance over the other joining methods of the time, limitations were encountered early because of a phenomenon called a “stress riser.” This is a situation caused by very heavy lugs restricting the flex of very light tubes. Builders found that by trimming off the sides of the lugs, they could reduce the likelihood of frame failure. The result was the “keyhole” design. The hole prevented frame flex from tearing the lug in two. This is an example of a keyhole lugged pre-WWII Paramount restored by Waterford.
After WWII, lug design flourished. The French came to dominate the bicycle parts business, especially the products of Nervex, whose “Professional” lugset became the iconic design of lugged bikes throughout the 1960′s and 1970′s. You can still see the keyhole of pre-war lugs, but with the rest of the lug trimmed back into an ornate but highly efficient, lightweight design. This is an example of a classic 1960′s chrome plated Schwinn Paramount with Nervex lugs. sampleNervex
Sample 1980's lug on 50th anniv Paramount By the end of the 1970′s the Nervex design was overtaken by a movement toward clean, simple lug profiles. Cinelli lead the way in clean design in the mid-1970′s. When Marc Muller took over the Paramount Design Group in the 1980s, he brought this styling with him. At left is a mid-80′s Paramount Standard.
The 1988 50th Anniversary Paramount was built with these lugs. You can see the OS Lugset of 1989 added small points on the side of the lugs as well as larger tube diameters. Then lugs got even tinier with the low profile Waterford lugs of the 1990′s. sampleOSlug
Lugs remained pretty simple until after the turn of the millennium, starting with the Newvex Lugset by builder Richard Sachs. But this was the tip of the iceberg in a movement that made lugs more and more ornate. At left is an example of Waterford’s Nuevo Coco lugs.
In the Paramount 70th design we considered bling but felt that less is often more. This is a prototype frame after the raw brazing showing the Paramount points. It was the first time we attempted to incorporate the Paramount compass points in a lugset. Sample70th
75thAnnivLugPaperMockup With the 75th design, we went to a trimmer design with the compass points cut into the lug. There are echoes of several earlier lug sets. The side points come from the OS lugs, the compass points from the 70th and the Nervex flourish at the top and bottom front of the head tube. We’re just days away from building frame number 1.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mark A. Perkins, "Bicycle Mark" August 29, 2013, 9:53 pm

    I didn’t know Paramounts still existed. All I see anymore is the stuff that Kmart sells. Most of the Schwinn shops that I once knew about have dropped Schwinn because of their mass marketing at stores like Kmart and Wal Mart. But the lugs look nice. Thanks for sharing.

    • schwinnparamount August 29, 2013, 10:32 pm

      Paramounts have been in and out of production since 1994, when Schwinn decided to “Put Paramount to sleep for a while”. That while lasted until 1998, when they decided they needed to celebrate 60 years of Paramount. Then came the 70th anniversary and now the 75th. Paramount continues to have a great following and we at Waterford feel as if we’ve kept the flame going in the form of Waterford.