[CR]Major Nichols Pics/1st Ride

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From: "Thomas R. Adams, Jr." <kctommy@msn.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Sun, 09 Mar 2003 20:01:24 +0000
Subject: [CR]Major Nichols Pics/1st Ride

I finally got to take my first ride on the Major Nichols today. Actually I shouldn't have, as the roads are still filthy with salt, sand, grit and other fond remembrances from the slowly retreating winter season, but you know how it is when you just have to try a new bike out---. I was worried, but the bike felt happier and in it's element with a fine spray of mud, water and grit on everything. After all, it IS an English bike.

The ride is very good for a bike of any generation, not just for a 45 year old frame. I was surprised at how solid the road feel was, and how neutral and un-twitchy the handling was without any wallow, uncertainty or sway, given the relaxed angles, long wheel base and lavish fork rake. Just goes to show that a frame has to be designed as a whole, and each parameter affects all the others. No doubt adjustments were made in the angles and tube lengths to keep everything working. The braking was adequate especially considering the flexy arms of the long reach Universal 68's, although the heretical Mathehauser pads help. No hand's stability is good, and I can climb standing without any front derailer grind or excessive frame whip, although the bike seems happier when I'm sitting. The only hills were a couple of highway overpasses, so a more comprehensive evaluation of the climbing ability will have to wait. Shock absorbtion was fine, although the frame didn't feel really plush in spite of the well broken in Brooks b17 saddle. Of course the lack of plushness could be because of the appalling condition of our road surfaces right now.

The paint, of course, is humorously funky, with the prior owner's somewhat shaky brush work around the lugs and lettering showing that this wasn't a pro job. It's the first time I've seem lug lining done on the top edge of the lug, not in/on the tube/lug joint (but I'm sure it's easier to do that way). Somehow I like it this way. She needs to be a good rider and not a show quality bike anyway (all of the parts are 20 years too new).

Pictures are at


I'm currently planning on bringing her to the Cirque, if my prior recon work shows the gearing is adequately low.

Thanks to Sarah Gibson for ace wrenching and final help with the parts, and Harris Cyclery/Sheldon Brown for the handle bar waterbottle cage mount and baby Carradice saddle bag.

Tom Adams, Shrewsbury NJ

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