Voila! Il est Bob

In March’s post about my post-apocalyptic snow ride across the Pennines, I pointed to difficulties in ‘real life’. I’m afraid more ‘life events’ have monopolised my time and energy of late. To say things have been difficult would be an understatement. Nevertheless, life must roll on and, with a deep breath, I can now quickly post about the Bob Jackson I started to build last year.

After many a false start and component challenge, the bike I will ride at this year’s Eroica Britannia looks a bit like this…


I’ve had to make one or two compromises along the way but I’m pretty happy with the final result. I say ‘final’ but the pedals need to change to meet l’eroica specifications (clips and straps) and it needs some bottle cages. You get the idea though.

And before the purists start squealing, I know this is not really kosher… it’s not a road bike, but sourcing a pre-1987 bike in the right size (ginormous) was nigh on impossible. It apes the old French randonneur and touring bikes and is very much in that spirit, but with (hopefully) more reliable modern replica components. And besides, it’s a fair old stretch for those downtube shifters on a frame of this size. I guess they make it heroic if nothing else!

The chainset is now a triple – a simple Stronglight Impact – after supply problems from Middleburn and Velo Orange. This was not my original plan as I hoped to fit a ‘super-compact’ double. The Stronglight works well though and is aesthetically right.


The brake levers are positioned a bit high too, I will adjust them ahead of the ride if I get the time.

The build is as follows:

Frame: Bob Jackson World Tour 26.5 inch, Reynolds 631 (yes, it’s a monster)
Bars: Velo Orange ‘Rando’ 46 cm
Levers: Dia Compe Gran Cru drilled
Bar tape: Brooks tan
Stem: 3ttt Status quill 130mm
Headset: Chris King threaded
Mudguards: Velo Orange 45mm hammered finish
Tyres: Panaracer Pasela Tourguard 32mm
Hubs: Dia Compe Gran Compe ENE, 36-hole
Rims: H Plus Son TB 14, Polished
Brakes: Velo Orange Zeste Cantilevers with anti squeal blocks, Dia Compe roller hangers.
Shifters: Dia Compe downtube micro-ratchet shifters
Front mech: Campagnolo Veloce
Chainset: Stronglight Comp triple 175mm, 50,40,30t
Bottom bracket: Stronglight JP 400, alloy
Rear mech: Campagnolo Comp triple
Cassette: Sram 8 spd, 11-28t
Seat post: Velo Orange Gran Cru (layback)
Saddle: Brooks Imperial
Saddlebag: Caradice zip roll

I’m riding the 100-miler on Sunday. It’s a lovely route on roads and paths I know well. I can’t wait!

9 thoughts on “Voila! Il est Bob

  1. Matt, The bike looks great! I like the component setup though I might have checked out some of the bits Compass Bicycles has(brakes, cranks and such).

    I will not make this years Eroica but we have purchased a home in Wirksworth and in a year or two will be at least in a general sense, your neighbors. Cannot blame you and your blog for this but it certainly bears some responsibility. The riding and hiking in the U.S. is fine but I look forward to the short jaunts from pub to pub throughout northern England and Scotland.

    Sorry you’ve been in a rough patch, happens to all of us I’m afraid. Get back on the bike or strap on the hiking boots and move on.

    Cheers, John Q.

  2. Hi John,

    Thanks for dropping by and your comments. I did check out some of the Compass gear and my initial intention was to go that route but other matters got in the way. Might be a bit of retro-retrofitting taking place in time for next year.

    Pub to pub jaunts are highly recommended, obviously!

    My best, Matt

  3. Hi Matt,

    That’s a beautiful bike! In fact, I’m about to order my frame today, so quite excited about that. Just wondering, did you ever try to fit a larger tire than 32mm with he Velo orange fenders? I would appreciate keeping my Conti winter tires (700×37)…



    1. Hi Bjorn, Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I think it may be tight to fight anything more than a 32mm. That said, tyres from different manufacturers vary. The hardware on the VO guards (i.e. underneath the fender) may restrict you. Hope you are enjoying your new steed. I am very fond of mine… and I’ve put some serious miles on it over the past few months.

      1. no worries. I just got the frame a few weeks ago. I managed to fit my 700x37c winter tires with fenders from gilles berthoud, so I’m really happy with it.

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