Found a replacement for the Bob Jackson touring bike that is suitable for commuting to work with. It was sitting right there for sale on the floor at Cyclesport. I noticed it when I first found out about the broken frame, but initially dismissed it because the price seemed like more than I wanted to spend.
After a search for a new frame on Craigslist turned up nothing within 100 miles, I headed to eBay where I got a couple of close matches. One was a complete 25″ Takara touring frame. This was an emotional favorite because an early 80’s 25″ Takara is the origin of the Bob Jackson touring bike. All the components on Bob came from this bike after I had to buy a new frame because of a crash (an interesting story for another day.) But the $200 frame lacked several key frame braze-ons it required to make it suitable for the task.
The second was a $100 (+$60 for shipping) 63cm Raleigh. It had the bare minimum of correct braze-ons for mounting racks, etc. and it was in Brian’s favorite color – blue. It was lacking a headset though, so that additional cost made it comparable to the Takara. But all Bob’s componentry is set up for a 27″ wheels making brakes and wheel fitment a very real issue on a frame designed for 700C wheels. Plus the pretty blue paint is not original, so has this been repaired for some reason or just painted to freshen it up?
Neither of these options were ideal. Even if I did buy one of them I still had to add the cost of bike shop labor to transfer parts from one frame to the next, plus any modifications needed, to the original eBay cost. The Bianchi sitting on the shop floor, was nearly perfect, its frame was one size smaller than perfect at 61cm, but it had all the correct braze-ons needed for front and rear racks (even the ones on the front forks that Bob didn’t.) So I made a low-ball offer to start the negotiations. Much to my surprise it was accepted.1
Now I kind of wish I had taken a picture of the bike in its as purchased state, because what you see above looks vastly different than that. Do you see the color of the lettering on the frame? That is called Bianchi Green or Italian Sky Blue or just Celeste, and is the traditional color of Bianchi bicycles. The bike was swimming in that color, the clipless pedals, the seat, the handle bar tape and even the sidewall of the tires where that color. I guess if you are a Bianchi purist you would have liked it, but to me it reminded me of the Splash Green color that came on Miatas in 2003 which I despised.