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Major Brothers touring - 1959

Posted: Wednesday 19th August 2020

Owned By: Steve Griffith

Major Bros, 1959  ‘Touring’  model, the last owner being a  keen member of the Rough Stuff Fellowship this bike has conquered many of the  blue-riband  Scottish and Welsh rough stuff crossings notably the toughest challenge of them all the Lairig Ghru (27 miles from Aviemore to Braemer much of it across a boulder field  carrying the bike).
Major Bros were a small shop/builder based in Thornton Heath SE London , popular with local CTC riders the half dozen or so Major’s  I have seen have  all been touring.clubman machines, this one features some unique engineering solutions. The brothers Frank and Arthur ended up falling out and setting up rival shops. The orginal shop finally closed in 1969 although no frames were built after about 1962.

It is interesting to compare this to a clubman /racing frame of the time. Tourists recognised the advantages of cantillever brakes –  tremenduous stopping power and less mechanism to get clogged up with mud. Sturmeys were viewed as less prone to damage and the FM (four-speed medium) was the favoured gear. Alloy cranks were expensive and viewed as not as durable as steel, the 26″ wheels gave better mudguard clearance, nevertheless there are some things in common with more sportier machines eg the Brooks B17, FB front hub and the Campag headset.

Steve would like to get hold of some Major Brothers transfers – if you are able to help contact via the webmaster, email address on home page.

FrameMajor Brothers 'Touring' 531 Nervex lugs. Built for 26 x 1¼ which continued to be popular with tourists who enjoyed rough stuff due to the far greater mudguard clearance and giving a slightly stronger wheel. Braze-on for dynamo on rear seat stay, concealed dynamo cabling. Lamp bracket on left-hand fork for continental touring. Braze-on for a rear mech. as the cycle was designed orginally for hybrid gearing.
WheelsConloy Boa (the heavier solid version) on Sturmey FM rear and front small flange FB (the worlds finest hub according to Arthur Major). One advantage of this combination is that you can have the same spoke length if rear built 4x and front 3x
ChainsetWilliams C34 with 44t ring
PedalsLyotard 460D wide double sided so can be used with walking type shoes and without clips (useful when pushing the bike on a rough track)
GearsSturmey-Archer FM
BrakesWeinmann Cantilevers (originally Mafac driver which had become badly corroded) with Mafac Guidonnet levers which allow braking from the top of the bars
Stem/BarsGB Maes bars on GB alloy spearpoint stem,Steel Campag record headset
SaddleBrooks B17
Extras Special features the front brake has no outer cable, it runs around a pulley after exiting the lever straight down to the brake. The rear straddle cable starts under the top tube and pulleys placed either side allow it to run to the brake. Pulleys are fitted on an adapted Huret bottom bracket cable guide. See images below.
Thanks for reading

Posted: Wednesday 19th August 2020

Owned By: Steve Griffith

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