Tag Archives: English framebuilders

Jack Taylor Cycles

Another vintage bike catalogue from another famous English framebuilder.

Jack Taylor produced his first frame in 1936, and the family continued to build frames until the 1990’s. They were well regarded for their quality, enough for my dad to spend £430 in 1977 money (£2,700 in today’s quids, or $4,900 in Aussie dollars) on a Jack Taylor tourer with a custom built frame.

My dad was a pretty frugal sort of bloke, so for him to spend that much money on a bike he must’ve been pretty impressed.

He never rode the Jack Taylor much, I think he preferred his Bob Jackson, or maybe he was just saving the Jack Taylor for best. It’s still sitting in my mum’s garage, waiting for me to restore it.

Anyway, here are the models and specifications, and price list from March 1977. There’s some good information about the company and the Taylor brothers here and here.

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The receipt from my dad's Jack Taylor purchase. The frame was custom built for him.
The receipt from my dad’s Jack Taylor purchase. The frame was custom built for him.
The prices.
The prices.
Some hand-written notes from my dad.
Some hand-written notes from my dad.

Bob Jackson Cycles

I found something special recently. Well, to be more correct, my mum found something special and gave it to me. This is a catalogue from Bob Jackson Cycles in Leeds.

Bob Jackson is still a going concern, and several of the models in these pages are still available. They will also build custom frames.

We have it because my dad bought a Bob Jackson tourer when he lived in Cambridge in 1976. I have the receipt – he paid £199 from Ben Hayward & Son, ‘Cycle, Radio & Electrical Agents’ of Trumpington Street, Cambridge.

That’s about £1460 in 2014 money.

It was a magnificent bike, and he rode it thousands of kilometres around the UK, then brought it back to Australia.

In fact, he was almost certainly riding it the day I was born. He was touring around northern Victoria with a group of school kids, because he was a teacher and used to take groups of students on multi-day touring trips. I was born a few weeks early, and this being many years before the invention of the mobile phone, it was several days before he was able to be tracked down.

My mum forgave him.

When I got a bit older, he took me along on some of these trips. It’s pretty unequivocal that that’s where my love of cycling came from.

He rode that bike to work nearly every day. That was when nobody rode bikes.

So Bob Jackson is a name that I’ve known my whole life. They’re beautiful frames, one of the most revered of English frame builders, and still sought after.

My dad is no longer with us, but his Bob Jackson is still in the family. I’m just waiting to grow into it.

I’m not sure of the date this was published. I found another catalogue dated 1993, but that is not in colour. I suspect dad was sniffing around for a possible N+1 opportunity, but it was vetoed by my school fees. This may be from around the same time, but I’m not enough of an expert on components from the 1970’s/80’s/90’s to be able to tell.

I'm not sure what year this catalogue is from.
That famous crest still adorns the head tubes of Bob Jackson frames.
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The Vigorelli track frame is still available, starting at £450 (frame and fork).
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Time trial bikes have changed a bit.
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I love this tandem, and the Messina is a thing of real beauty.
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The ‘Lady Lightweight’ is a classical mixte.
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They even built a trike!