That's the first thing wondered as soon as I had our "new" vintage tandem bike unloaded and safe on our front porch. The emblems said RBC, so I quickly got to work searching Google for similar tandem bicycles and found several others, like myself, trying to find more info about RBC tandem bikes they had picked up at garage sales or as hand-me-downs:
Talk on OldRoads.com initially explained the bike's history - a company started in the 60's and closed early 80's in Sun City, AZ.
Speculation about where RBC tandem bikes came from on a ratrodbikes.com post
Some discussion in a post on BikeForums.net including a link to the now sadly defunct retbarcycle.com history page (although I was able to find an archived version of the page in Internet Archive Wayback Machine - text pasted below)
An old distributor of the tricycle conversion kit RBC used to sell along with this ad:
So what is a RBC Tandem Bicycle?
The best explanation I could find came from the archived RetBar Cycle history page:
"Raymond E. Templeton founded RetBar Manufacturing Co. in the mid 1960's in Peoria, Arizona. They specialized in the manufactoring of conversion kits for bicycles into tricycles. Then in the early 1970's Ret Bar Cycle was formed a couple miles away in Sun City. They were in business until the early 1980's and were known for their own design of tandem bicycles and tricyles. Sun City was a retirement community at the time and the bicycles made by RBC were targeted towards retirees. As Such they have a low entry height for easily getting on and off."
The bike we picked up has what looks like a brake cable strung to the back tire hub, as if a gear should be there. I'm pretty sure, after looking at other pictures of similar RBC tandem bikes, that this cable should be a rear break (there is none existing currently) and that there's a missing derailer cable that should run from a speed selector on the handlebar neck (also missing).
There aren't multiple gears on the back tire rim, and they look like they came off a mountain bike, so I'll need to find some road bike rims & tires with at least a 3 speed hub of gears.
There is a service sticker on the seat post for Bike World in Las Vegas. I might be giving them a call to see if they know anything else about the bike.
I'll try to publish updates as we get this old tandem in riding condition. She's got a lot of potential - I love the retro cruiser look. We can't wait to clean her up, tune her up and get her on the street!