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Bob Jackson is done again

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Bob Jackson is done again

Old 01-08-21, 09:33 AM
  #26  
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Plenty of other builders in the UK, which is the good news. Nobody I'm aware of with BJ's history building to order at those very attractive BJ prices. Also nobody I've seen that had online ordering sorted as well. All the tubing, lug, bz-on, paint, chrome, etc options you might want were all laid out and well-linked. My understanding is you'd hear back from Donald to confirm everything and sort out any details needing sorting. But, as old a fogey as I am, it was very neat to be able to put all that together online---to play with all those options and watch how the price changed. Barber pole? Click. Chrome chainstays? Click. Newvex lugs? Click. 853? Click. Yikes! What about 653? Click. Etc.

Mercian and Woodrup still building traditional steel, maybe the two most prominent larger-volume mfrs. But you'll be starting at US$1k+ instead of $600ish like BJ.

More small builders scattered about as well.

You might want to check the previous BJ threads here and elsewhere for leads.

I can only imagine how disappointing this must be for Jackson's prev owners and staff. Went from "whelp, time to retire..." to "OMG, somebody's throwing money at us to keep going!" to "The money's gone..." in the space of a couple of months.

Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
[snips]
It does raise the issue of who still builds traditional British steel bikes. I think Mercian is still in business?

Steve in Peoria (I have many more photos, but don't want to get too far off topic)
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Old 01-08-21, 09:46 AM
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Well, back in the day Bob Jackson bought the Merlin Brand and then eventually "killed" it. Is this Karma?

Not that I have any thing against Bob Jackson. I had one for years and loved it. It was just one of my smaller bikes and I traded it for a set of Eurus wheels with the plan do buy another one down the road someday.

Maybe if all of us lamenting their demise had also bought a new one from them they'd have stood a better chance staying alive? I know I drooled over a many an order on their site without ever actually pulling the trigger.
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Old 01-08-21, 10:40 AM
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they will be remembered for nice paintwork and chrome.
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Old 01-08-21, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
Wonder how much it would cost to buy the tooling and name?
Don't be surprised if Bikes Direct has a new "Bob Jackson" line in two or three years.
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Old 01-08-21, 02:46 PM
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Mark denunciation is a fine artist who makes bike frames, but if you want a great English influenced frame in the US, try Jeff Lyon in Southern OR. I have assembled about a dozen Lyons and both owned and worked on Jacksons--US small builder frames are way better!
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Old 01-08-21, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
Mercian and Woodrup still building traditional steel, maybe the two most prominent larger-volume mfrs. But you'll be starting at US$1k+ instead of $600ish like BJ.
To be fair they weren't quite that cheap, especially if you were stateside. The prices went up a little bit in the past year, so a totally basic Audax End-to-End or Olympus would still set US buyers back £700 after shipping, which is about $900 lately. Just a few basic upgrades pushed even the least expensive frames well over the $1,000 mark in the end. Still, Bob Jacksons were definitely the most competitively priced, traditionally made frames around and I will continue to regret not going for one when I had the opportunity.

-Gregory
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Old 01-08-21, 03:52 PM
  #32  
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Fair, schmair! Next thing I know, you'll try to tell me the '70s weren't as awesome as I remember them! Harumph.

Jocularity aside, I guess I did lowball the low-price number---thanks or pointing that out. Last time I did any clicking on their website was spring last year, right after a buddy managed to get his Vigorelli despite covid having just hit. The Vigorelli is a road fixed-gear frame, and was one of their less-expensive frames He had a bunch of options, including a barber pole seat tube, and I think brought it in for just under $1,200 shipped. I'm remembering seeing a figure of US$675 when I did some clicking, which was likely either base price, or base plus one or two minor options. Likely did not include shipping. And that's my memory. As solid as vapor.

All that said, the gap between Jacksons and Mercian was pretty significant. Mercians start at £1,125 today, a good 50%+ over BJ prices.

I wonder why the deal fell though, and whether current covid times had any impact. On the one hand, at least in the states, bike shops in-season were selling everything they could get their hands on. But t'other hand is projected product shortages well into late this year. Wonder how Reynolds and other frame parts vendors are doing with availability. I'd reckon doing complete bikes would be difficult to pull off until the parts shortages end.

Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
To be fair they weren't quite that cheap, especially if you were stateside. The prices went up a little bit in the past year, so a totally basic Audax End-to-End or Olympus would still set US buyers back £700 after shipping, which is about $900 lately. Just a few basic upgrades pushed even the least expensive frames well over the $1,000 mark in the end. Still, Bob Jacksons were definitely the most competitively priced, traditionally made frames around and I will continue to regret not going for one when I had the opportunity.

-Gregory
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Old 01-08-21, 04:00 PM
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"Mark denunciation"? Spell-check tomfoolery, or a PDX/PAC-NW nickname I ain't never heard?

Is Jeff Lyon still taking orders? He came up in a thread elsewhere, somebody mentioned they had called a while back and Jeff said he wasn't taking orders at that time. I don't recall how far back "a while back" was, and IIRC Jeff does some seasonal non-bike work, so it could've been a seasonal thing.

His website hasn't been updated in dog years, and I know he's much more a phone guy than a web/digi guy. But I'm only curious, not ready to plunk down any cash, so I wouldn't bother him with a call just to find out.

Originally Posted by Feldman View Post
Mark denunciation is a fine artist who makes bike frames, but if you want a great English influenced frame in the US, try Jeff Lyon in Southern OR. I have assembled about a dozen Lyons and both owned and worked on Jacksons--US small builder frames are way better!
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Old 01-08-21, 04:01 PM
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@pcb I'll be checking out a new Mercian sooner than later now, though I had intended to secure a Bob Jackson first. Do remember that Mercian's frame pricing includes VAT for UK residents, and that the base prices listed for frames are actually 20% less for international buyers!

-Gregory
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Old 01-08-21, 04:08 PM
  #35  
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That is a very good question. I didn't notice, just quickly checked each model to see what the entry-level price was.

I'm partial to Vincitore myself, but I'd "settle" for a King of Mercia.

I had a pretty nice early-/mid-'80s KoM for a while, found it a new home during a downsizing phase. Also had a Vincitore Fixed Road frame that I would've held onto for a long time, but it was just enough too big for me to hold onto. Don't like French fits on fixed builds. Hmm, "French-Fit Fixed Build"---try to say that 5 times fast.
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Old 01-08-21, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
That is a very good question. I didn't notice, just quickly checked each model to see what the entry-level price was.

I'm partial to Vincitore myself, but I'd "settle" for a King of Mercia.

I had a pretty nice early-/mid-'80s KoM for a while, found it a new home during a downsizing phase. Also had a Vincitore Fixed Road frame that I would've held onto for a long time, but it was just enough too big for me to hold onto. Don't like French fits on fixed builds. Hmm, "French-Fit Fixed Build"---try to say that 5 times fast.
Oh, it wasn't a question. I was just letting you know with a silly sentence composition! It clearly states that above the price list for each frame. So a new base Vincitore with no options would cost a US buyer £1,216 rather than £1,520.

I recall that red Vincitore you had. Very cool bike! Sorry it wasn't a good fit... I'll likely be getting a Vincitore or nothing when I get an opportunity to place an order, though the new lug work on the re-introduced Super Light is also fabulous.

-Gregory
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Old 01-08-21, 04:26 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
"Mark denunciation"? Spell-check tomfoolery, or a PDX/PAC-NW nickname I ain't never heard?

Is Jeff Lyon still taking orders? He came up in a thread elsewhere, somebody mentioned they had called a while back and Jeff said he wasn't taking orders at that time. I don't recall how far back "a while back" was, and IIRC Jeff does some seasonal non-bike work, so it could've been a seasonal thing.

His website hasn't been updated in dog years, and I know he's much more a phone guy than a web/digi guy. But I'm only curious, not ready to plunk down any cash, so I wouldn't bother him with a call just to find out.
Jeff's ad is still current in BQ and does state phone is best but I will follow your lead and not bother him.
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Old 01-08-21, 05:41 PM
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Ugh, my poor reading comprehension skills rear their ugly heads yet again. Curses! My brain stuck a "you" between "Do" and "know," and must have thought the ! was actually a ?. ???

I do see the very clear "outlanders don't pay the 20% VAT" wording now. Duh.

The Superlight bikini lugs are cool. Though it goes against the lightweight concept, it might be nice to see just a little flourish along the lug shorelines at the front of the head tube. The straight horizontal line there feel a little "plain" compared to the other stuff going on. Even put a convex line there. But I'm picking nits...

Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Oh, it wasn't a question. I was just letting you know with a silly sentence composition! It clearly states that above the price list for each frame. So a new base Vincitore with no options would cost a US buyer £1,216 rather than £1,520.

I recall that red Vincitore you had. Very cool bike! Sorry it wasn't a good fit... I'll likely be getting a Vincitore or nothing when I get an opportunity to place an order, though the new lug work on the re-introduced Super Light is also fabulous.

-Gregory
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Old 01-08-21, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Don't be surprised if Bikes Direct has a new "Bob Jackson" line in two or three years.
accurate cynic you are
oh how the mighty have fallen

thinking along those lines.. how is Colnago doing?
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Old 01-08-21, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
accurate cynic you are
oh how the mighty have fallen

thinking along those lines.. how is Colnago doing?
Hmmm, waiting for their "gravel" bike.

Any day now.
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Old 01-08-21, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
accurate cynic you are
oh how the mighty have fallen

thinking along those lines.. how is Colnago doing?
Cynic? Moi? You cut me to the quick, sir.
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Old 01-09-21, 01:46 AM
  #42  
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Sad, I visited the Bob Jackson shop in Leeds just a month or so ago using Google Earth Street View.
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Old 01-09-21, 11:59 AM
  #43  
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Old 01-09-21, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
"Mark denunciation"? Spell-check tomfoolery, or a PDX/PAC-NW nickname I ain't never heard?

Is Jeff Lyon still taking orders? He came up in a thread elsewhere, somebody mentioned they had called a while back and Jeff said he wasn't taking orders at that time. I don't recall how far back "a while back" was, and IIRC Jeff does some seasonal non-bike work, so it could've been a seasonal thing.

His website hasn't been updated in dog years, and I know he's much more a phone guy than a web/digi guy. But I'm only curious, not ready to plunk down any cash, so I wouldn't bother him with a call just to find out.
DiNucci, I mean, danged spell check.
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Old 01-09-21, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
@pcb I'll be checking out a new Mercian sooner than later now, though I had intended to secure a Bob Jackson first. Do remember that Mercian's frame pricing includes VAT for UK residents, and that the base prices listed for frames are actually 20% less for international buyers!

-Gregory
Not because of the Bob Jackson issue but I did place an order for my Pashley last week. Probably be months before I see it but the order is in.
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Old 01-09-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Not because of the Bob Jackson issue but I did place an order for my Pashley last week. Probably be months before I see it but the order is in.
Also on the short list! Given the current economic climate (and particularly considering the loss of Bob Jackson) I'm beginning to realize that it's perhaps more important to support the firms that still make bicycles the way I like them than it is to find those rare, old bicycles that I may or may not cherish even more... Few people who sell classic bicycles rely on that trade as a sole source of income, yet there are hundreds of craftsmen and business people selling new "classic" bicycles that do indeed rely on their skill and aptitude. It's an important consideration!

If we get those $1,400 checks I'll be stimulating either Mercian or Pashley much sooner than I could otherwise afford to do so, I'm quite sure...

-Gregory
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Old 01-09-21, 05:41 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
thinking along those lines.. how is Colnago doing?
Uh oh....Iím at 4.....
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Old 01-09-21, 07:18 PM
  #48  
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Bob Jackson's shop in Leeds is in the same metropolitan area as Ellis Briggs where I learned to build frames in Shipley in 1975. I drove over there one Wednesday to pay a visit and Dan Foster the building foreman graciously showed me around. There were 4 or 5 young guys hustling around under his supervision. What Bob Jackson did well was sell a decent enough frame well painted at a good price point. Like many British builders of that era, they needed to make them at the rate of one a day per builder in order to meet the market's expected price. There is no way they are even in the same universe of quality that Mark DeNucci makes his frames. Or for that matter any other of the top American builders.

Fellow Michigan builder Matt Assenmacher learned how to build and paint frames at Bob Jackson in either '72 or '73. He is now mostly a bicycle shop owner but I believe he still does some building and repair too. I've heard he moved his shop from Swartz Creek and in their new location they can't do frame painting.

Paul Gibson still runs Ellis Briggs in Shipley and makes frames when not running the regular store business. He bought the business from the grandsons of the original owners and has worked there for 20 or more years. He learned to build frames from Andrew who was a young journeyman builder when I was there. We both learned from Jack Briggs. One thing that really impressed me was that E-B really had a very well thought out process and clever equipment to make frames. They also took more time and care with each build. Paul a few years ago also came to the States to take one of my framebuilding classes just to get any additional information from the advancements Americans had involved since the classic era.
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Old 01-09-21, 11:19 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
Hmmm, waiting for their "gravel" bike.

Any day now.
Colnago made gravel bikes, they were called the Super and raced on whatever course was routed.
Note the unused seat tube waterbottle bosses, and everyone thought that was an 80ís thing.

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Old 01-11-21, 08:19 AM
  #50  
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All this change....
I need a gravel bike, and I was going to sell my Colnago Super......so confused.
I was going to sell my Bob Jackson, and then I waffled, and now it may have a bit more value....so confused.
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