Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

1959 Jack Taylor 650b Super Tourist tandem

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

1959 Jack Taylor 650b Super Tourist tandem

Old 07-30-19, 01:00 PM
  #1  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
1959 Jack Taylor 650b Super Tourist tandem

Hi all,

Just figured I'd post about this, now that I have finally amassed preliminary pictures. Last year around winter solstice holiday time, I found a crazy deal on a Jack Taylor tandem. It was in rough shape, with riser bars front and back, had been hackily worked-on by some bike shop goons who'd never seen the real old stuff, and it wasn't my size. But it was nearly free and I felt it was my duty to save it from a horrible fate, so I bought it. The serial number is 3333, which puts it right in the middle of 1959.

It had rusted steel rims, which would have ruined the brake blocks, so I changed those for Weinmann Alesa aluminum. Seems fairly period-correct and there is documentation from the Taylors having used this type of rim. I polished up and overhauled the "CAR-MAXI" (early Maxi-CAR) hubs as well. The rear drum brake needed relining, so I found some new lining material, and I turned the drum in the lathe to make sure it was round-ish and got rid of a lot of rust.






The original Le Cyclo rear derailleur cable (in rare tandem length) had been cut off and redone with ordinary shifter cables, and the little cable clamp that goes inside the shifter was lost, so I re-machined that and machined/brazed a new cable from a reel of cable I bought on Ebay.



The seatposts were in horrible condition (not even round), so I swapped them out for some new replacements. Careful work with an adjustable reamer (not shown, just imagine me sweating and swearing while turning a very large tap handle attached to a shaft down the seat post) fixed the seat tubes, which were also out of round, full of original brazing debris, and generally had been abused, and brought them to a standard diameter.



Originally the racks were bolted to the fender up top, and were bolted to the frame only at the bottom. This, in my opinion, puts undue stress on the fenders. I was able to fabricate some stiffeners that I mounted hidden inside the fenders to take the load off the fenders, and I made some extra thick leather washers to take the place of the crusty degraded rubber bumpers that had been there originally.


scarlson is offline  
Old 07-30-19, 01:02 PM
  #2  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
I put it all together with some proper tires (Pari-Moto 650x42) and re-ran the dynamo wire through the fender lips and inside the internal frame conduit, as the original dynamo wire had been cut off. I sourced a replacement bottle dynamo from France and screwed that on.




And here it is! It's funny how the paint decided to flake off more where it was applied over the bronze fillets, but it kind of looks cool. Look at that funky water bottle cage!









Two of the pedals were missing dust caps, and were hard to figure out. They look just like Lyotard 460d, but they're not quite a match. I looked everywhere before measuring the dust cap thread and finding out, to my surprise, that they were Imperial (32tpi)! I finally worked out using British Ebay that they were Brampton brand, which is annoying, because when I type "Brampton pedals" into Google, the algorithm is sure I just want pedals for a Brompton folding bike. I just turned some new dust caps on the lathe.



So now I have a working, mostly-complete Jack Taylor and I learned a lot about old French stuff. Now what do I do with it? Paint and decals seem hard to do. I heard someone has the original build-documents, but I have to contact them through some social media platform. Does anyone know anything about that?
scarlson is offline  
Likes For scarlson:
Old 07-30-19, 01:24 PM
  #3  
JaccoW
Overdoing projects
 
JaccoW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Posts: 2,061

Bikes: Batavus Randonneur GL, Gazelle Orange Excellent, Gazelle Super Licht, Gazelle Grand Tourist, Gazelle Lausanne, Gazelle Tandem, Koga-Miyata SilverAce, Koga-Miyata WorldTraveller

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 672 Post(s)
Liked 718 Times in 448 Posts
That's already a damn nice looking bike! I would suggest just leaving the paint and giving it a protective coating or something.

I would suggest keeping an eye on that sidewall dynamo though. Not sure those skinwall tyres like those very much.
JaccoW is offline  
Likes For JaccoW:
Old 07-30-19, 01:31 PM
  #4  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
About the front derailleur

I have no idea what to do about the front derailleur, and it didn't come with anything. Obviously, I could put anything on it, but the whole thing is pretty original besides this one little component.

A little research turns up this page, which seems to indicate that the only correct front derailleur is the Simplex Juy 56. In fact, the letter below (linked from referenced page) indicates that the only derailleur capable of handling such a wide-range triple may have been the Juy 56. I like how the Taylors gently shut down this American whippersnapper's fantasy of all-campy on his tandem, in favor of French randonneuring components.

A Juy 56 is prohibitively expensive, unfortunately! And it's high-normal (spring pulls chain up to bigger chainrings) so likely it doesn't shift so well.

Can anybody think of anything else that might work? Right now I've got an old Suntour on there. Old, but about 25 years too young for the bike!!
scarlson is offline  
Likes For scarlson:
Old 07-30-19, 01:33 PM
  #5  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
That's already a damn nice looking bike! I would suggest just leaving the paint and giving it a protective coating or something.

I would suggest keeping an eye on that sidewall dynamo though. Not sure those skinwall tyres like those very much.
I've done clearcoat over old lacquer in the past, on a tatty-looking Motobecane Le Champion. It came out fairly nice, so it might be something to consider.

The dynamo actually runs on the very edge of the black rubber tread, luckily. I was worried at first, as well, but it looks all right. Now I just need to finish restoring the "Radios" light I got from France for the front!
scarlson is offline  
Old 07-30-19, 02:30 PM
  #6  
noobinsf 
Senior Member
 
noobinsf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 2,386

Bikes: CURRENT: '82 Univega Competizione, '72 Motobecane Grand Record, '74 Campania Professional, '83 Mercian KOM Touring, '91 Univega Alpina Comp PAST: '72 Puch Bergmeister, '72ish Peugeot UO-8, '86 Univega Gran Premio, '85 Univega Viva Touring

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 752 Post(s)
Liked 532 Times in 350 Posts
Wow, a tinkerer’s dream. It’s beautiful! Nice work getting it rolling again...
noobinsf is offline  
Likes For noobinsf:
Old 07-30-19, 02:44 PM
  #7  
merziac
Senior Member
 
merziac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: PDX
Posts: 7,596

Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

Mentioned: 156 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2280 Post(s)
Liked 1,428 Times in 971 Posts
Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I've done clearcoat over old lacquer in the past, on a tatty-looking Motobecane Le Champion. It came out fairly nice, so it might be something to consider.

The dynamo actually runs on the very edge of the black rubber tread, luckily. I was worried at first, as well, but it looks all right. Now I just need to finish restoring the "Radios" light I got from France for the front!
H**Y CRAP! That is awesome, so cool.
merziac is online now  
Likes For merziac:
Old 07-30-19, 04:26 PM
  #8  
gnome
shaken, not stirred.
 
gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: The Shaky Isles.
Posts: 4,793

Bikes: I've lost count.

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1070 Post(s)
Liked 287 Times in 127 Posts
Very cool tandem. And nice rebuild.
__________________
Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"
vBulletin: snafu
gnome is offline  
Likes For gnome:
Old 07-30-19, 04:56 PM
  #9  
Feldman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,091
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 79 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 27 Posts
A front derailleur that would be in the spirit of the bike might be a 1970's-80's Simplex, one of their parallelogram derailleurs like the AV3. More $ than a Deore XT, but less than a perfectly period correct one. Interesting letter, too--if it's the same John Scott he was a very important person in California cycling, an early organizer of clubs and rides and an alleged builder and rider of an early mountain bike.
Feldman is offline  
Old 07-30-19, 05:12 PM
  #10  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by Feldman View Post
A front derailleur that would be in the spirit of the bike might be a 1970's-80's Simplex, one of their parallelogram derailleurs like the AV3. More $ than a Deore XT, but less than a perfectly period correct one. Interesting letter, too--if it's the same John Scott he was a very important person in California cycling, an early organizer of clubs and rides and an alleged builder and rider of an early mountain bike.
Yeah, I think that you're right, the Simplex AV3 is probably the appropriate second choice.

As for the letter, yeah, it is the JF Scott that I called a whippersnapper for wanting to tour and tandem on campy, but the bike I have isn't his bike.

Sorry if I wasn't clear on that. The letter is from a random page about his tandem, which he looks like he got in '58, which makes it a good contemporary reference material. I linked to it above, but here's the link again, where you can read all the documentation he had for his '58 Jack Taylor tandem. He definitely had the right connections to be present early-on in the mountain biking scene. It's interesting that he uses the phrase "rough-stuff" to talk about his early mountain biking in one of the linked documents. Jack Taylor had a model of bike called the "ruff stuff" (or was it "rough stuff"?) that he was building at least as early as the early '60s. I wonder who coined the term... The question "who invented mountain biking?" is probably a question as old as mountain biking itself.
scarlson is offline  
Old 07-30-19, 05:28 PM
  #11  
Salamandrine 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,287

Bikes: 78 Masi Criterium, 68 PX10, 2016 Mercian King of Mercia, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr

Mentioned: 120 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2310 Post(s)
Liked 557 Times in 401 Posts
That is a really fantastic bike, to say the least. They don't get much cooler than that. Thanks for sharing. "So much for the gearing."

The thing I'm really tripping out about is that water bottle cage. No doubting that that's a bottle cage. I've seen a reasonable number of 1950s bikes, but never anything like that. Do you know anything about it?

WRT the finish, my opinion is that oversprays ruin the look, and I'd rather see a proper refinish. Perhaps I've seen too many vintage guitars that were ruined by this freshening up technique. I think the paint looks great as is. Tells the history. Consider simply touching up any bare and rusting areas with carefully matched paint instead.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 07-30-19 at 05:34 PM.
Salamandrine is offline  
Old 07-30-19, 06:08 PM
  #12  
Narhay
Senior Member
 
Narhay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 3,557
Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 886 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 391 Times in 241 Posts
Really nice. This type of bike that required such machining falls into the right hands every now and then.

Is the chain a unique size? Just wondering why you left the old one on there. Also if you intend on wrapping the bars.
Narhay is offline  
Old 07-30-19, 06:38 PM
  #13  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
That is a really fantastic bike, to say the least. They don't get much cooler than that. Thanks for sharing. "So much for the gearing."

The thing I'm really tripping out about is that water bottle cage. No doubting that that's a bottle cage. I've seen a reasonable number of 1950s bikes, but never anything like that. Do you know anything about it?

WRT the finish, my opinion is that oversprays ruin the look, and I'd rather see a proper refinish. Perhaps I've seen too many vintage guitars that were ruined by this freshening up technique. I think the paint looks great as is. Tells the history. Consider simply touching up any bare and rusting areas with carefully matched paint instead.
British humor

The cage is found on a number of Jack Taylors I've seen. I've never seen it anywhere else! It's weird in that it's partially bronze-brazed, partially gas-welded. I bet it's British, but I have no idea about it other than that. Perhaps looking through British Ebay could find me the answer, like it did for the pedals. (edit: nope!! I'm curious to know if anybody here knows anything about the crazy bottle cage!)

Laziness makes me tend to agree, less is more when thinking about paint! But I'm open to all suggestions as of yet. The latest trend in classic cars is to conserve as much of the original paint and upholstery as possible, even if it's a bit tatty. They call these cars "survivors" or "preserved" instead of restored. I think one such car won the Pebble Beach concours recently? Or at least they introduced a "preserved" category, I think?

Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
Really nice. This type of bike that required such machining falls into the right hands every now and then.

Is the chain a unique size? Just wondering why you left the old one on there. Also if you intend on wrapping the bars.
Thanks

The chain is just a standard 1/2" pitch Sedis or something. The freewheel, however, is a Simplex with French threading to go on the Maxi rear hub. The chain and freewheel play well together, but the chain is worn enough that I think if I put a new one on it would skip on the freewheel. I think I have to leave it until I can find another appropriate French-threaded freewheel. It's not sticking or squeaking or grinding or anything, the rust is just superficial. A little wax made it look a lot better.

And as much as I love making things on the lathe, I'm quasi-scared of wrapping bars. Something about how I can never end up with good symmetry and I notice all my flaws. In objective comparison I'm probably just fine, but ...ugh, it doesn't bring me joy. The lathe allows me to make things absolutely perfect, and rotationally symmetrical by definition!! Since those pictures were taken, I did throw some old used cork tape on the other side of the rear, so at least that's done and stoker won't complain. Also hooked up the drum brake and threw on an old Suntour front derailleur just to make it a rider. I'm thinking both bars need to be done in white or blue or gray cotton. What color bar tape would you use (since you asked)?

Last edited by scarlson; 07-30-19 at 09:17 PM.
scarlson is offline  
Old 07-31-19, 05:01 AM
  #14  
DHPflaumer
Senior Member
 
DHPflaumer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Somerville, MA
Posts: 106

Bikes: Norther Klickitat Pass, Masi Giramondo 27.5, Soma Grand Randonneur

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 26 Posts
Oh man it's beautiful! Sorry I never got back to your message, it has been a CRAZY summer so far (I've been out of town every other weekend AND I started a new job a few weeks ago).

Anyway, gorgeous tandem and I'm glad to see it being so lovingly restored!
DHPflaumer is offline  
Likes For DHPflaumer:
Old 07-31-19, 05:20 AM
  #15  
JaccoW
Overdoing projects
 
JaccoW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Posts: 2,061

Bikes: Batavus Randonneur GL, Gazelle Orange Excellent, Gazelle Super Licht, Gazelle Grand Tourist, Gazelle Lausanne, Gazelle Tandem, Koga-Miyata SilverAce, Koga-Miyata WorldTraveller

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 672 Post(s)
Liked 718 Times in 448 Posts
That front derailleur is going to be tricky. I can see plenty of Simplex rear derailleurs on French eBay but not much else.

Though I did find a €140 Simplex Juy.
Perhaps you can find a hidden gem between other front derailleurs?

(If you find something, just change the URL from from eBay.fr to eBay.com and check shipping.
JaccoW is offline  
Old 07-31-19, 11:29 AM
  #16  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
I e-mailed Mike Thompson (Meauxtown at yahoo dot com) who was rumored to have the Jack Taylor build sheet, and he did not disappoint!!




The sheet says my bike is a Ladyback Touring Tandem, size 23 1/2 front, 23 rear, date 19 Feb 1959. So not a "super tourist" like I had originally thought.

I also asked him about the water bottle cage. He replied:
"Norman made a few, he probably did that one. Only place I’ve ever seen one like it."
Referring, of course, to Norman Taylor, who did all the torch work, while Jack did the paint and Ken did assembly.

So it's a Jack Taylor bottle cage, apparently. The hybrid brazed/welded construction is really interesting.
scarlson is offline  
Likes For scarlson:
Old 07-31-19, 03:47 PM
  #17  
non-fixie 
Shifting is fun!
 
non-fixie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: South Holland, NL
Posts: 9,448

Bikes: Yes, please.

Mentioned: 237 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1616 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 711 Posts
Beautiful machine. Thanks for posting it!
__________________
Will she ride the clunker? Look at granny run!

non-fixie is offline  
Likes For non-fixie:
Old 08-01-19, 09:41 AM
  #18  
ClemY
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 569

Bikes: Hollands Touring Bike, Schwinn mountain bike, folding bike, tandem and triple

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
45 years ago I was riding with friends who had Jack Taylor tandems, with 650b wheels. I was going to order one, but I found a Rene Herse that fit for sale locally and got it. I had Taylor make a couple of touring single bikes, with 700c wheels. I rode mine for quite a few years, after being hit by a car and damaging the frame. It was finally stolen a few years ago. My wife still has hers. Of course, I can’t get her on the tandem any more.

The good news now is that good 650b tires are available. They are probably about the optimum size for a tandem.
ClemY is offline  
Old 08-02-19, 08:36 AM
  #19  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by ClemY View Post
45 years ago I was riding with friends who had Jack Taylor tandems, with 650b wheels. I was going to order one, but I found a Rene Herse that fit for sale locally and got it. I had Taylor make a couple of touring single bikes, with 700c wheels. I rode mine for quite a few years, after being hit by a car and damaging the frame. It was finally stolen a few years ago. My wife still has hers. Of course, I can’t get her on the tandem any more.

The good news now is that good 650b tires are available. They are probably about the optimum size for a tandem.
Oy, bad luck, a crash and then a theft!!

It is interesting you mention the availability of 650b tires. I wonder how the owners got by in America from the '60s through the '90s. Pre-internet I can't imagine anywhere but Spence Wolf's shop having such tires available, and this tandem was kept east of the Mississippi. Maybe that's why I found it in such disuse.
scarlson is offline  
Old 08-02-19, 08:48 AM
  #20  
ClemY
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Maryland
Posts: 569

Bikes: Hollands Touring Bike, Schwinn mountain bike, folding bike, tandem and triple

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Oy, bad luck, a crash and then a theft!!

It is interesting you mention the availability of 650b tires. I wonder how the owners got by in America from the '60s through the '90s. Pre-internet I can't imagine anywhere but Spence Wolf's shop having such tires available, and this tandem was kept east of the Mississippi. Maybe that's why I found it in such disuse.
Years ago I got stuff, unavailable from any other source I found, from Spence. Since he was elderly then, I assume he is gone now. 650b tires I saw in the '70's were heavy, clunky things. Now there are some really nice 650b tires available. If I didn't have enough bikes already, I would be tempted to put together something interesting in 650b.
ClemY is offline  
Old 08-02-19, 12:17 PM
  #21  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by ClemY View Post
Years ago I got stuff, unavailable from any other source I found, from Spence. Since he was elderly then, I assume he is gone now. 650b tires I saw in the '70's were heavy, clunky things. Now there are some really nice 650b tires available. If I didn't have enough bikes already, I would be tempted to put together something interesting in 650b.
Yeah, what a guy. I know he stepped down from running Cupertino Bikes in the mid-'70s. I have found some of his stuff (MAFAC racer brake booster plate) as far east as Vermont. I've used his design as inspiration for my own booster plate for Paul Racer brakes.

Interesting also how a few guys out west have such an outsize impact on US cycling. Three such people probably share the credit for bringing 650b back in America: Grant Petersen for starting it and Jan Heine and Kirk Pacenti for perfecting it.

And you're right, at first blush the 650b wheels or at least the front end geometry and the lower bottom brackets make the Taylor handle much more easily than my Colin Laing 700c tandem. It will be interesting to see on some longer rides how much of the Bicycle Quarterly talk about the handling is true.
scarlson is offline  
Old 09-04-19, 12:56 PM
  #22  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
I was finally able to take this bike out on a nice twenty miler last Sunday. It was quite an experience! The bike was quite lively and seemed to encourage high cadences, in a way I haven't really experienced in a tandem. My stoker said it was the most comfortable she'd been on, which is a plus. She was sore in the correct places (hands and sit-bones, acceptable as an infrequent and therefore un-hardened rider). Even the old Brooks B72 seemed to suit her. Success! I hurt because of the lack of bar tape on the front and lack of adjustability in the old single-bolt saddle clamp holding what I think is an old B15 or B17. Maybe I can find the "sweet spot" if I flip the clamp over. Sometimes that works. Or bend the saddle rails? I do sorta miss my infinitely adjustable Campy and Suntour two-bolt posts.

A few mechanical troubles persisted, however. Shifting the twin-cable "Le Cyclo" derailleur felt like telegraphing commands to a distant engine-room. If there was any cable slack, it would translate to very vague shifting. And the cable slack appeared to vary depending on the position of the derailleur. As it got to the high gears, it went taut. Toward the lower gears it went all slack and shifting got all wishy washy. This was because the derailleur was moving toward the bottom bracket cable guides a little when shifting to the low gears. This evening, I tackled re-adjusting the thing, to see if I could wrangle some better performance out of it. It seems the rod it rides on needs to be aligned, much like a derailleur hanger on a dropout, but not to achieve proper shifts. It has to be aligned so the cable doesn't change in tension. In other words, due to the lack of housing, each point on the derailleur's travel must be equidistant from the rear bottom bracket cable guides. A little tweaking with a Crescent wrench and all was good. Much more responsive. Requires a ton of overshift to change gears, but at least it's pretty quick, shifting the 15-28 (or so) on par with the performance of Nuovo Record on a racing freewheel in my estimation. Fine!

One thing that's weird is the bolt for the Cyclo twin-cable shifter. I think it might be the wrong one... It's a 10-24 American bolt, with some weird head. I wonder if the correct bolt for a "Le Cyclo" lever is one of those French M5x1 bolts as found on Simplex shifters. Luckily I have one and I will report back on whether it fits, as long as the original threads haven't been damaged too much by the American bolt screwed in there. Does anyone know if it was meant to be M5x1? It seems like it could be, only because of its size and the fact that other French shifter bolts are this size.

The Pari-Moto tires are cushy. The MAFAC tandem brakes and the Maxi drum work adequately but are (as expected) very noisy. The Taylor stem is way too low and short for me, and that's a slight problem. I wonder if I'll ever find a Jack Taylor stem that's a bit longer. I'm trying not to overstate things the way Jan Heine likes to, but it was really just pretty all right. The front derailleur is still stupid, but eventually I will get that ironed out.

Even the JOS dynamo and RADIOS headlight worked ok. I made an LED circuit according to Pilom circuit number 4, with a 3W warm white LED from China and a 5-farad 5-volt supercapacitor and made it fit all in the space normally taken up by the original bulb holder, so I'm not modifying the old light in any way and you could still put back in an incandescent bulb. It ends up having about a 7 minute standlight with the supercapacitor. I might do the same supercapacitor treatment for the tail light so I have standlights front and rear.

Sorry this post was too long with no pictures. I will say it is way more all right than I thought it would be, after riding tandems with 9-speeds and bar-cons for the past 15 years.

Last edited by scarlson; 09-04-19 at 12:59 PM.
scarlson is offline  
Old 09-04-19, 03:19 PM
  #23  
orcas island 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 747
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 156 Post(s)
Liked 165 Times in 81 Posts
Really nice work there. I love seeing old bikes like this being brought back into productive service!
orcas island is offline  
Likes For orcas island:
Old 09-04-19, 04:52 PM
  #24  
merziac
Senior Member
 
merziac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: PDX
Posts: 7,596

Bikes: Merz x 5 + Specialized Merz Allez x 2, Strawberry/Newlands/DiNucci/Ti x3, Gordon, Fuso/Moulton x2, Bornstein, Paisley,1958-74 Paramounts x3, 3rensho, 74 Moto TC, 73-78 Raleigh Pro's x5, Marinoni x2, 1960 Cinelli SC, 1980 Bianchi SC, PX-10 X 2

Mentioned: 156 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2280 Post(s)
Liked 1,428 Times in 971 Posts
Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Yeah, what a guy. I know he stepped down from running Cupertino Bikes in the mid-'70s. I have found some of his stuff (MAFAC racer brake booster plate) as far east as Vermont. I've used his design as inspiration for my own booster plate for Paul Racer brakes.

Interesting also how a few guys out west have such an outsize impact on US cycling. Three such people probably share the credit for bringing 650b back in America: Grant Petersen for starting it and Jan Heine and Kirk Pacenti for perfecting it.

And you're right, at first blush the 650b wheels or at least the front end geometry and the lower bottom brackets make the Taylor handle much more easily than my Colin Laing 700c tandem. It will be interesting to see on some longer rides how much of the Bicycle Quarterly talk about the handling is true.
Spence had Merz build many frames for him and his customers, kindred spirits and like minded touring bike wizards IMO.
merziac is online now  
Likes For merziac:
Old 09-05-19, 01:52 PM
  #25  
scarlson 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
scarlson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Medford MA
Posts: 1,261

Bikes: Ron Cooper touring, 1959 Jack Taylor 650b ladyback touring tandem, Vitus 979, Joe Bell painted Claud Butler Dalesman, Colin Laing curved tube tandem, heavily-Dilberted 1982 Trek 6xx, René Herse tandem

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 663 Times in 383 Posts
Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
One thing that's weird is the bolt for the Cyclo twin-cable shifter. I think it might be the wrong one... It's a 10-24 American bolt, with some weird head. I wonder if the correct bolt for a "Le Cyclo" lever is one of those French M5x1 bolts as found on Simplex shifters. Luckily I have one and I will report back on whether it fits, as long as the original threads haven't been damaged too much by the American bolt screwed in there. Does anyone know if it was meant to be M5x1? It seems like it could be, only because of its size and the fact that other French shifter bolts are this size.
I tried the M5x1.0 bolt from a Simplex shifter. It threads in easily, coming to a stop only at what I think is either the bottom of the boss or a damaged thread from the 10-24 bolt. Between this and my VAR pin tool it seems I'm collecting weird metric threadforms. The only M5x1.0 tap available is in Germany, not France, which is crazy. I'll get it sent to my German friend Doktor Wagner and grab it from him when I attend his wedding next spring in Neunkirchen.

This bike has been a total trip when it comes to threading. Anybody want to bet on whether the bottom bracket threads are English, French, or Swiss? I haven't overhauled those yet...
scarlson is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.