1977 Jack Taylor 650b Tandem

2014-09-21 001 031 1977 Jack Taylor Tandem

This is an unrestored Jack Taylor Touring Tandem, built for 650b wheels.  I had it shipped from England several years ago, but haven’t started work on it yet.

Even in its present state, it’s quite a pretty bike.  The frame color is silver, but with plenty of bright highlights that include red, yellow, green, blue and white.

The frame is built with Reynolds 531 tubing, and is fillet brazed.  It features a sloping top tube, giving 23″ and 21″ seat tube lengths for the front and rear positions.  Components include Maxi-car hubs, Campagnolo shifters and derailleurs, Weinmann 650b rims, Taylor Bros hammered fenders, front and rear constructeur racks, Mafac cantilever brakes, plus a front Maxi-car drum brake.

2014-09-21 001 010

Double front brakes – cantilevers + drum; Mafac levers and hoods in great shape.

2014-09-21 001 045

Jack Taylor transfers in really nice condition

2014-09-21 001 003


2014-09-21 001 007

Smooth brazing and a U.K. touring club sticker

2014-09-21 001 042

Simple cable stop,, elegantly brazed seat stays

2014-09-21 001 001

2014-09-21 001 008

Reynolds transfers in great shape

2014-09-21 001 009

Pin striping is still in really nice shape

2014-09-21 001 006

Maxi Car hubs, Campagnolo dropouts – with SN 7183

2014-09-19 001 001

TA crankset – there are two cranksets and each has at least one chain ring mounted on each side

2014-09-21 001 005

A type of presta valve I hadn’t seen before – there’s nothing under this cap – just an open valve – but I popped my presta fitting on anyway and pumped air into the tube.

2014-09-19 001 005

TA triple crankset with 50/40/28 rings

2014-09-21 001 041

Eccentric bottom bracket plus internal routing for the dynamo wiring

2014-09-21 001 026

Redundant chainring on the drive side front crank

2014-09-21 001 047

Campagnolo front derailleur

2014-09-21 001 049

Very cool Zefal pump

2014-09-21 001 046

Mafac cantilevers

2014-09-21 001 020

Campagnolo Rally rear derailleur, with Suntour Perfect 14/24 freewheel

2014-09-21 001 013

Color matched Milremo stem, Stronglight headset

2014-09-21 001 012

Dynamo and wiring

2014-09-19 001 006

Brooks saddles – a B-72 in the back and a B-17 in front

2014-09-21 001 022

2014-09-21 001 043

Some pitting in the top tube’s stoker section.

2014-09-21 001 039

Fork blades feature brazeons for the drum cable routing.

One of the things that surprised me about this bike was how similar it is in many ways to my 1973 Jack Taylor.  That bike is is also fillet brazed, and sports the exact same lighting system and rack design as this tandem.  In fact, its rear reflector is also broken, just like this.

2014-09-21 001 011

Another broken reflector

However, this reflector got broken in the shipping process.  One thing that I did was to have the bike shipped intact from England.  It boarded the Rio Mediera in Southampton, but was detained when it reached port in New York as suspected contraband.  The large container, built by Sheffpack, bore a suspicious resemblance to an arms shipment, and so it had to be x-rayed before it could continue its journey to the Port of Portland.  Consequently, the bike spent many weeks inside its shipping container, before it was finally literally broken open by port workers using hammers and tire irons.

However, it is safe and sound now, and with the fall and winter months looming ahead, this might be the perfect project to occupy the colder and wetter days ahead.

29 thoughts on “1977 Jack Taylor 650b Tandem

  1. I think,whenever you decide to restore it…as with your other work..it will be a beautiful build..enjoy your restored bikes…Cecil

  2. Hello Nola,

    I’m glad it got there, eventually. It was quite a box!
    Please do not repaint this frame. It does not need it, and will be another original lost to restoration. The top tube is not pitting, merely specs in the paint. These can be got out using cutting compounds, applied gently of course. It is proberly the most original condition machine which has ever passed through my hands. Slightly bigger and I would have kept it. Perhaps a strip down, re-grease and cleaning of components, but please, nothing else. It’s history is there in your hands. Even the broken rear lens, which is unfortunate, but is now part of the bike’s story.



    Sheffield, England

    • Hey Mark! Thanks for getting in touch. I am glad you share my views on restoration. I will be making the bike rideable again with a focus on keeping it as original as possible. Painting such a beautiful frame would be a serious no-no. The rear portion of the frame’s top tube and down tube has significantly more pitting than the front section, probably caused by the stoker not being able to benefit from the wind’s evaporative cooling, leading to beads of sweat hitting the frame. That’s my theory, at least. It will be important to select the right cleaning product that does not take away too much of the paint’s beautiful luster. Interesting comment about the rear reflector! Maybe I will leave it as is, as you are right that it is now a piece of this bike’s legendary history.

      For other readers, Mark was the seller of this bike, which I believe he acquired from the original owners. He was a great steward of this Jack Taylor. Thanks again, Mark!

      • Thank goodness for that! I look forward to seeing it with a bit of a spruce up then.
        The ‘redundant’ chainring was for a kiddy crank. The chain rising up toward the seat tube of the little stoker. The cranks were removed as the child grew, but I guess they didn’t feel the need to remove the ring.

  3. Nice, I have a 77 JT tandem, black, white pinstripe. Same brooks but 40 spoke 27″ phil wood super champ wheels, campy pedals, suntour barends and rear shifter. Lacquer paint not too strong but black was easy to find and patch small spots. TA half/step granny, no redundant, shifting to granny sometimes dropped chain and got stuck behind TA bolts so added a chain catcher. Not stiff, would feel sketchy to some but handles well once rolling. Fine at speed (have yet to determine its terminal velocity 🙂

  4. Hi. I am a huge fan of Taylor brothers cycles. My life has been enriched by them.
    I do own a number of great marques eg Mercian, Sun Wasp, Holdsworth, etc but Taylor’s are keepers. My ’61 tandem was refinished in the Taylor factory and is simply stunning. I also have a Tour of Britain solo, again refinished but bought from the Stockton on Tees area, so could be repainted by Jack & co.
    Send me your email if you would like to see either.
    I have to add, they are not for sale- just for interest. Glad to see cousins across the pond with good taste; something becoming rare!

  5. Nola The valve is a Woods valve. Inside there is a small rubber tube that lets the air in when you pump but then seals again to stop the air getting out.

  6. Nola Are you sure the wheels are 650b ? I doubt the Taylors would have built to this size unless by special request. More likely to be an old British size 26 x 1 1/4″, ertro 597 compared to 650b ertro 584.
    Lovely bike. Keep it original please !

  7. Hey, that link to Ken’s tandem show the wall of the house I used to live in. I bought Ken’s tamdem directly from Ken in about 2002. It was defintely 650B whels. I rode it a couple of tmes but sold it on. I remember him telling me that he was touring in the Pyrenees, with his wife Honor, on that tandem the day the Tom Simpson died. As for the redundant chainring, I reckon that would be there to replace a broken RH tandem crank. Standard RH TA chainring cranks are cheeper and easier to find than RH tandem cranks. Hope the bike turned out nice. I wish I had not sold the tandem I had. But my wife and i reide a nice Higgins ultra light from the 1940s now.

    • Wow. That’s an amazing piece of history. Thanks for sharing it. The redundant crank turned out to be for a kiddo to ride the tandem. See comments above. I wonder where Ken Taylor’s tandem is now?

  8. I also have a pristine Jack Taylor tandem that was shipped with a broken tail light. I took me over a year to find the correct one and then bought several. If you still need one contact me.

  9. So nice to see these wonderful bikes. My dad was a good friend of the Taylor’s, and I spent many days in their shop in Teeside as a little kid.

Leave a Reply