Monday, November 13, 2017

Bob Jackson Super Tourist

Voila! the latest bicycle project to roll out of the shed. A while back I bought myself a Bob Jackson Super Tourist frame, mainly because it was going cheap, but also because I had it in my head to build up a nice tourer. The frame hung around for a while patiently waiting in line for attention and then early last year I slipped a disc in my back. As I recovered I started cycling again but all I could ride was my full suspension mountain bike on account of its upright position and comfortable ride.

I had a light bulb moment and realised that I could build up the Bob (not really sure what to shorten it to, BJ just won't really do, will it?) as an upright comfort town bike using parts that I mostly had lying around.

Seeing as I had some On-One moustache bars and Dia-Compe inverted levers kicking around I decided that the style should be English porteur. I've still to fit mudguards and a front rack to complete the look but it is largely there. 

The good thing about being a hoarder of old junk is that every so often things do actually come in useful. I was able to build the bike up almost entirely from stuff I had lying around. It's a rather eclectic spec, granted, but there is a satisfaction in using the unwanted to create something useful. The only parts that had to be bought were tyres, chain, cassette, bottom bracket, pedals and seat post.

Wheels are Mavic Kysirium; an unusual choice for a tourer but they are strong and I've mated them to 700 x 35 Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres to soften the ride. There's also a lot of comfort flex in the Jackson frame, movement on the forks is quite disconcerting at first until you get used to them and gain cofidence.

I've been using her as a gravel bike, and a general workhorse for escorting the kids to school and shopping. The ride is indeed comfortable but brisk, undoubtedly mudguards will increase practicality and a porteur rack at the front will really just be a weighty decoration but overall I'm very pleased with this one. Only fly in the ointment is the downtube gear levers, I used them because I had them but bar mounted shifters would be far nicer. They are sixties Campag items and with modern chain and cassette it's an eye opener how little you actually need indexing on the levers, good old fashioned friction ones still give a very precise and accurate change.

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