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.
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.
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.
I think,whenever you decide to restore it…as with your other work..it will be a beautiful build..enjoy your restored bikes…Cecil
Thank you, Cecil. This bike really gives me an appreciation for the complexity of building a tandem frame properly. Restoring it will be a fun and interesting endeavor.
HI WHAT A FIND THANK YOU DONAL
Yes, it is a treasure.
Fantastic bike. Why the redundant chainring?
Hi Jorge, I am not sure of the purpose for the redundant chainring. I hope to find out!
It was for my sisters kiddie crank. I was towed in a trailer behind. Later I used the kiddie crank and my sister peddled an articulating stoker contraption. This tandem was built for my parents! Pleased to see it’s found a good new home.
Tim, great to hear from you! If you would like to share more of your stories about the JT Tandem, and if you have any photos from this times, please get in touch with me. You can send me an email via my contact page at: https://restoringvintagebicycles.com/about/
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.
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.
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 🙂
Hi Patrick, it’s nice to hear that your Jack Taylor tandem is still rolling along – albeit below its terminal velocity!
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!
Melvin, thank you for sharing your experience with these one of a kind bicycles. You can find my email address on my WordPress avatar. I look forward to seeing what you have.
Thank you Melvin. I would love to see the photos of your machines. I will follow up with you via email.
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.
Thanks John – yes, the tube has a “Woods” valve aka Dunlop valve, which can be inflated with a presta pump fitting- patented in the late 1800’s by C. H. Woods. Here’s some additional info from Sheldon Brown: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/inner-tubes.html
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 !
Have you not seen a 650b JT? There are a few examples out there – including Ken Taylor’s own 1965 tandem: http://www.blackbirdsf.org/taylor/unk9.html
My 1977 tandem is definitely a bike to be kept preserved as originally built!
It’s been a few years – is the bike done, and have you ridden it?
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?
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.
Thank you Bruce.
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.
Is this tandem available?
Hi Mike, it’s currently being restored. You’ll see recent posts regarding the progress. It will probably be ready in late spring.