Among vintage cycle enthusiasts, Major Taylor is considered the most enigmatic and inspiring of all the world’s racing cyclists since the bicycle was invented. We feel an extra connection with him because he designed a particular sort of adjustable handlebar stem (seen above and below). It allowed the handlebar to be moved forward on the stem so that he could lean right over the front of the bicycle.
Major Taylor stems were manufactured over many decades and examples often come up for sale for us to add to our racing bicycles. The version shown below must surely be the oddest fitment of one, but it’s as logical an application as on a racing machine – rather than leaning further forward on your cycle to reduce wind resistance, the ‘rider’ sat on this bicycle to establish what size bicycle he needed to order. It belonged to a cycle shop and was their customer ‘fitting’ bicycle.
1970s ‘Buck Fit’ Bicycle
a customer fitting bicycle from Graham Buck’s Cycle Shop, Clapgate Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk
Rear wheel 27″
This is a unique cycle, built specially by Graham Buck for his cycle shop. If you examine the photos you can see how the frame adjusts to work out a customer’s requirements for a new bicycle.
It’s in extremely well-preserved condition, with its original paintwork and transfers (decals). I’ll add a pair of pedals and a handlebar. It would be an ideal display for a museum.
A LETTER PUBLISHED ONLINE ABOUT BUCKS CYCLE SHOP
I’m an English guy now living in South Australia, but during the 1970s and 1980s was a member of the Ipswich Bicycle Club in Suffolk, England.
Bucks Cycles of Clapgate Lane Ipswich was the mecca for keen cyclists in the area then. It was a family business, run by Roland Buck his wife, and their son Graham, who eventually inherited the business.
Roland was a superb wheelbuilder and the Super Champion Arc-en-ciels on Campag Record hubs he built for me in 1980 were still running true in 2006.
His wife, only ever addressed as Mrs Buck, was in charge of day-to-day running of the shop. She was the epitome of that wonderful breed of shopkeeper we rarely see these days, carrying the location, price, merits and demerits of every item of stock in her head, never having to refer to any documentation.
I knew Graham (G.E.) Buck well. He was an ace bike mechanic, active on the racing scene, and he provided sponsored frames to top local riders, including Steve Lawrence, who was national road champion at the time. You could order a frame from Graham but I think they were actually built by one of the famous London frame builders, perhaps Condor Cycles.
Graham is semi-retired now and Bucks Cycles has gone. The last I heard of him (six months ago) he was working part-time in a cycling/running establishment in Colchester, Essex UK.
During the 1980s the USAF bases at nearby Bentwaters and Woodbridge were active and Graham sold a lot of GE Buck frames especially with Campag equipment to airmen serving there.