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Old 01-26-09, 06:20 PM   #1
jtarver
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Good time to buy a Bob Jackson?

I mentioned to a friend that I'm about to pull the trigger on a LHT and he told me due to the exchange rate Bob Jacksons are a good deal right now. Is this true, I found the touring frame goes for about $675 shipped to the USA. The LHT is $450ish. I'm seriously considering an upgrade. I hadn't even thought a Bob Jackson until I started checking them out. Very C&V. So if y'all know this stuff off the top of your heads I'd love some feedback.

How much are Bob Jackson bikes normally? Is this a better deal than usual?
How much is a new Trek 520 Frame and fork?
Alternatives to these (new,steel, classic look)?
How come there is never any Bob bikes on EBay, are they so good people never part with them?
And lastly, for you accounting types, is the exchange rate liable to get better/worse any time soon?

Thanks fellas(and ladies)
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Old 01-26-09, 06:51 PM   #2
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Pound is very low now,
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Old 01-26-09, 06:57 PM   #3
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The one thing the LHT has that the Bob Jackson does not is clearance for really wide tires. That may not be an issue for you, but that is the one aspect that I don't like. There were earlier threads mentioning the great pricing due to the weak pound which got me thinking about one too.
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Old 01-28-09, 10:49 AM   #4
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I ordered a Bob Jackson World Tour in early December, and it should arrive any day now. One of the reasons why I pulled the trigger was the low value of the Pounds vs. the Dollar, and it has dropped even more since then. The total cost for my frame with shipping and insurance was about $640, back when the exchange rate was about $1.49. The rate has since dropped to about $1.40, so it would be even cheaper now.

The prices on Bob Jacksons has not changed lately, to my knowledge. They have just become a better value because the price of the Dollar has risen a lot compared to the Pound, so you can buy more with your money if you live in the US.

The LHT is a very good value and well-designed, but it is in a different league from the Jackson touring frame. The BJ World Tour is made from lighter steel, it is lugged, and can be painted in just about any color/decal combination at no extra cost. It is designed for touring with longer chain stays, canti brakes, relaxed angles. It can handle tires up to 32 mm wide, and you can request 135 mm spacing in rear. You could not run 26" tires like a LHT. However, you might be able to order a custom BJ that would handle 26" tires, but the custom frames cost about $300 more and take at least 6 months to deliver.
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Old 01-28-09, 11:37 AM   #5
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Grant at Mercian mentioned in his blog that the weak pound is making bespoke British bikes a sweet deal. I'm laughing because my deposit on a custom King of Mercia was made Sept. 1, and the bike should be shipped with the balance paid in a week or two. The guys at Mercian are great to work with, if you know what you want. I swapped out lugs, specced oversize Reynolds 725 tubing, added another set of bottle bosses and tinkered with geometry (longer chainstays, bit more drop at the bb). No problems, and intelligent feedback and questions all the way.
I'd expect the same from Bob Jackson
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Old 01-28-09, 12:25 PM   #6
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mercian

I was looking very closely at buying a King of Mercia frame as well. The Mercians are more expensive than Jackson but include full custom geometry. However, the standard "off the peg" BJ World Tour frame has geometry specs nearly identical to my favorite bike (Merckx Corsa), so that made up my mind -- that plus the Jackson cost about $300 less than the Mercian. Also, the deliver time on a custom Mercian was about 4-6 months when I talked to them, vs. 6 weeks for the Jackson.
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Old 01-28-09, 01:33 PM   #7
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I ordered a Bob Jackson World Tour in early December, and it should arrive any day now. One of the reasons why I pulled the trigger was the low value of the Pounds vs. the Dollar, and it has dropped even more since then. The total cost for my frame with shipping and insurance was about $640, back when the exchange rate was about $1.49. The rate has since dropped to about $1.40, so it would be even cheaper now..
Post pics when you have it!! The frame on the BJ website looks gorgeous.

Anybody care to post a World Tour complete pic?
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Old 01-28-09, 05:10 PM   #8
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Yeah, the Mercian is too rich for my blood and a little too fancy looking. The BJ stuff seems to have a good mix of beauty and function. It sort of falls between the LHT and Mercian in most regards. I'm not opposed to the LHT I just want something it doesn't have visually.
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Old 01-28-09, 06:13 PM   #9
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world tour

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Anybody care to post a World Tour complete pic?
These aren't pictures of my bike, but another World Tour I found on Flickr. Mine will be set up very similar to this one, except light metallic blue rather than orange.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/garycar...n/photostream/
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File Type: jpg BJ World Tour orange.jpg (46.0 KB, 74 views)
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Old 01-28-09, 06:17 PM   #10
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Right now if you are paying in US dollars it is a very good time to be looking at British bikes. In my opinion the Bob Jackson bikes are a great deal; you may or may not care about some of the differences vs. a Surly LHT.

I would also advise looking at the range of Thorn bikes if you want a rugged, serious touring bike.

Remember that -- if you are a US buyer -- when you look at the price of British bikes you can *deduct* the 15% Value Added Tax from the price, *add* shipping costs and convert by the current exchange rate. I think by law British sellers are required to included VAT in the quoted price, so non-VAT purchasers need to deduct it (vs. in the US, where sales tax gets added to the sales price).

BTW, I think the $675 price you quoted above is *before* deducting the VAT, but I may be wrong. I did the math a couple of weeks ago, so I may be remember wrong, but I thought the US-delivered price right now is a bit less than $600 for an off-the-peg Bob Jackson World Traveler.

A base level Thorn right now is not that much more than a Surly LHT - worth considering.

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Old 01-28-09, 06:28 PM   #11
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Remember that -- if you are a US buyer -- when you look at the price of British bikes you can *deduct* the 15% Value Added Tax from the price, *add* shipping costs and convert by the current exchange rate.
My visa card charges 3% to convert currencies also (which is still a better deal than the European sites I've seen that offer to charge me in dollars)
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Old 01-28-09, 07:18 PM   #12
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Thanks BB, that's the kind of info I've been looking for. If I can get one for under $600, I'm all over it on payday. I think pearl white, red lug lining...I'm off to check Thorns, hope I hate them, I'm sick of looking, I wanna get building.
P.S.-I was going to go with a butterfly bar with a profile aero bar. I found ITM used to make a set up like this that allowed the bars to adjust up and down like wings, very cool, anybody seen one of these in real life?
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Old 01-28-09, 07:29 PM   #13
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Heck yeah! 581.24 delivered on the BJ, the new model Surly was going $430+ $27shipping(lowest price I found). That's just over $100 difference, no brainer! Isn't it great when you are waffling and you find out something is cheaper than you thought. Awesome...
Thorns look super cool, but I didn't get too far past the 999 pound price.
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Old 01-28-09, 07:55 PM   #14
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There is a downside..... waiting for that frame can be quite an agonizing time..... plus your mind can run riot as you imagine it was in that shipping container slipping off the deck when the cargo container ship was just south of Greenland

But that sounds like a GREAT deal. Do your homework, and if it seems like it will fit you, go for it!!

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Heck yeah! 581.24 delivered on the BJ, the new model Surly was going $430+ $27shipping(lowest price I found). That's just over $100 difference, no brainer! Isn't it great when you are waffling and you find out something is cheaper than you thought. Awesome...
Thorns look super cool, but I didn't get too far past the 999 pound price.
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Old 01-28-09, 07:57 PM   #15
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Thorns look super cool, but I didn't get too far past the 999 pound price.
You know that's a complete bike, right?

Their frame + fork is about 400 pounds. 999 for a complete bike is a good deal, too.
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Old 01-28-09, 08:09 PM   #16
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Ooops, I'll check that. Thanks
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Old 01-28-09, 08:19 PM   #17
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Yeah,those are a good deal. Sorta the British LHT. Still set on BJ. I emailed them to double check my math. Did you notice that guy on the Thorn website looks just like David Korresh?
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Old 01-28-09, 09:47 PM   #18
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Ooops, I'll check that. Thanks
If you've ever wanted a Rohloff, now might be the time. Thorn, I think, is known for their Rohloff bikes. Pricey, but I've never seen a Rohloff-equipped touring bike less expensive than buying a Thorn right now.

A 26-inch wheel Thorn with a Rohloff is priced right now at about US$1800.

By contrast, the price of a Rohloff alone (just the hub, not the bike) is $1300 to $1500 from Harris Cyclery.

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Old 01-28-09, 10:06 PM   #19
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I can't find the rohloff as an option on the 700c models, am I missing it, or not available?
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Old 01-28-09, 10:16 PM   #20
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I can't find the rohloff as an option on the 700c models, am I missing it, or not available?
Nope, I think you're right - Rohloff only on 26 inch models.
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Old 01-28-09, 10:30 PM   #21
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And lastly, for you accounting types, is the exchange rate liable to get better/worse any time soon?
Just wanted to return to this question -- really, anyone who pretends like they can answer this question doesn't really know, or they ought to get a job trading currencies. Nobody knows; it's chaotic.

*However,* I'd say in general the question isn't what is going to happen to exchange rates, but how fast the British bike guys are going to need to raise the prices in pounds to make up for their loss in purchasing power.

Thorn already has a warning on their website that their prices are going up soon. I imagine that's because all of their ready-made frames are sourced in Asia, most of their parts come from Asia or the continent, and they have to pay (most likely) in dollars or Euros. So they need to raise their prices so they can keep buying more product (or suffer less margins).

I'm guessing that right now given the state of the economy their sales are slow, so they're probably holding the line at their current prices until they sell out of what they have, or at least reduce their inventories. Then they'll have to raise their prices.

Bob Jackson, on the other hand, makes their frames in Britain (I think). Likely their biggest cost is labor, which, since it's local, is priced in pounds. So they don't need to raise their prices as quickly.

Bottom line - lots of variables (exchange rates, their order volume, their inventory position, what their competitors are doing), but I'd guess that these prices (in dollar terms) won't last 'til summer. And that Thorn prices will go up faster, higher than Jackson's.

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Old 01-30-09, 01:29 PM   #22
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Grant at Mercian mentioned in his blog that the weak pound is making bespoke British bikes a sweet deal. I'm laughing because my deposit on a custom King of Mercia was made Sept. 1, and the bike should be shipped with the balance paid in a week or two. The guys at Mercian are great to work with, if you know what you want. I swapped out lugs, specced oversize Reynolds 725 tubing, added another set of bottle bosses and tinkered with geometry (longer chainstays, bit more drop at the bb). No problems, and intelligent feedback and questions all the way.
I'd expect the same from Bob Jackson
+1 on the Mercian folks being great to work with. And congrats on the new bike. I've had my Mercian (a Vincitore special) for nearly two years now and LOVE it!
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Old 01-30-09, 06:18 PM   #23
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Hmm.. I'm not looking for a new bike, but can anyone tell me where I can order a Rohloff hub from the UK and take advantage of the current exchange rate?
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Old 01-30-09, 06:48 PM   #24
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Hmm.. I'm not looking for a new bike, but can anyone tell me where I can order a Rohloff hub from the UK and take advantage of the current exchange rate?
Yes. SJS Cycles, in Somerset. They are the sister company of Thorn (at least I think that's the way it works). Thorn is the bike brand; they are sold through SJS.

I was just looking at the price of Rohloff hubs on SJS the other day and the figure I was getting was about $300 to $400 cheaper than buying through the US right now.

I don't see how this pricing can last - SJS has to purchase these in Euros from Germany so I would guess that after they sell through their current stock they will need to raise the price...
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Old 01-30-09, 07:47 PM   #25
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It looks like some good buiys on components too, for the time being at least. I saw XT cranksets at a few English retailers for around $150. That`s the cheapest way I know of to get mtb cranks under 170mm.
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