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This is my custom Bob Jackson Special Tourist. It was built by this Leeds, UK builder in 2007. It has Reynolds 631 Oversize main tubes with 725 oversized stays. I went for a custom frame for two main reasons. I wanted disc brakes, and I wanted a drop-bar specific geometry (shorter top tube) that could be set up with very high bars (compared with the fashion today). The seat tube is 60cm, top tube 57cm. The fork steerer is 34cm long! I have had problems with the fork originally supplied- the left blade which has the disc mount bent under the braking forces, but has recently be re-made with a slight alteration to the design, so hopefully this one will not bend in the same way. The fork ends face slightly forward to enable the front wheel to be changed more easily with full mudguards, and also so that the braking forces on the axel are no longer in the same direction as the drop-out.

The reasons for the disc brakes are that they require less adjustments after they are set up, and they still work well in the wet. They are not any more powerful than well-set up cantilevers, but in the rain you really appreciate them.

The tops of the handlebars are a little higher than the saddle. I have a large head-tube extension added to the top lug, and 35mm of spacers, as well as the custom-painted PRO stem flipped to slope upwards. The top tube is also slightly sloping, this allows the head tube to be even taller, while still having enough stand-over height. The lugs were cut and brazed back together to allow a sloping geometry.

The original build, seen in the photo lent against a tree, consisted of a complete black 9-speed Shimano 105 groupset, the only exception being Avid BB7 Road disc brakes. The wheels were an out-of-place Bontrager Select Disc set, which were the only pre-built disc road wheels I could find. I grew to hate the paired 24 spoke modern look of these wheels. The wheels have been replaced by a custom built pair with a XT-level disc dynamo hub on the front, and 2008 XT rear, laced to 36 hole disc-only touring rims from Germany. The dynamo hub will power front and rear B+M LED lights when the dark evenings return. The tyres are now 700x35 Schwalbe Marathon Plus, which weigh a lot, but are almost immune to punctures. These replaced 700x25 road tyres to give a comfier ride. I also had modern ergo-shaped Richey BioMax handlebar, which never allowed easy use of the brakes from the drops (even tilted up to make the levers closer). These were replaced by Nitto Noodles in a 46cm width.

The saddlebag is a Carradice Zipped Roll, and easily carries enough for commuting, and the panniers are Carradice Kendal, all made from traditional cotton duck material in England. The Brooks B17 Champion Special in British Racing Green matches the colour of the frame lugs, and is also made in England.

Ben Micklem,
Oxford, UK



Bob Jackson Special Tourist - Side view

Bob Jackson Special Tourist - front angle view

Bob Jackson Special Tourist - seat cluster detail


Bob Jackson Special Tourist - wheel detail
Bob Jackson Special Tourist - rear view




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