Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • Bob Jackson of Leeds closing
  • Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    If I’d have lived closer I’d have loved to have learned that skill

    Premier Icon plus-one
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    Had few bob Jackson’s lovely frames 🙁

    Premier Icon ampthill
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    It’s a sad reason to close. Presumably the works not brilliant paid? But if we can’t find people to make bikes then what hope is there going forward

    Premier Icon trumpton
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    Shame but times change.glad it sounds like they’ve been busy to the end

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
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    Sad to see a well respected business close but I would say that the state of frame building in the UK is pretty healthy. Lots of other frame builders out there now but clearly people want to start up on their own and not work for others

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
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    It is a massive shame, although I’m always pleasantly amazed at how UK frame building seems to be surviving.

    If you think about the competition from Chinese direct sales, this week’s latest have & obsolete tomorrow gear from the big boys, the Planet X’s etc it’s amazing (and brilliant) that there’s enough of a market left. No criticism of any of them they make great product.

    Biking is very different now to even when I was a kid. In my teens mountain bikes were a new thing. My parents toured and raced (time trials) and bikes were bought and maintained to last for years. Handbuilt and long lasting were key for them, it was an investment not a consumable. If you planned to keep it 10+ years you bought something special if you could.

    When the current mass produced bikes in my shed are worn out I hope the industry is still there as I think it might be time to go steel and custom.

    Premier Icon thepodge
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    Not a rant aimed at Bob Jackson specifically but…

    On the few occasions I’ve been without a job over the years I’ve often contacted frame builders to see if they want some free labour and I always get one of two answers, they are either too busy or too quiet. No one is really that interested in passing along skills.

    As mentioned in the post above, there are a lot of small independent start up brands that are doing frame building and I suspect that there are quite a few people that would jump at the chance to work somewhere like this.

    Why does UK manufacturing / engineering always blame the youth? Go down on almost any shop floor and you’ll find a bunch of old guys banging on about apprenticeships but if anyone shows any interest they get given to the most miserable person down there who effectively says “I hate my job, work hard for the next 40 years and you’ll hate it too”.

    Also why do the same people think the business plan of “we’ve been doing it 50 years, lets not change” show surprise that no one wants to buy their stuff.

    Premier Icon kelvin
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    Shame.

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
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    I can’t believe they didn’t try to sell up. Might be some issues keeping the name?

    I imagine someone will snap up the workshop if the demand remains

    Premier Icon footflaps
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    Why does UK manufacturing / engineering always blame the youth?

    Brompton don’t seem to have trouble finding people to solder their frames…..

    Premier Icon thepodge
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    They might not seem to have trouble but maybe they have a good training program or maybe they coincidentally have a lot of people in the area that can do the work.

    Premier Icon nealglover
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    It would be interesting to know what they offered in terms of pay etc for a trainee and beyond.
    Because it seems to me that if it was in any way decent they wouldn’t have any trouble at all finding people keen.

    There isn’t a shortage of Amazon warehouse staff or people riding around in the rain on dark nights delivering burgers for deliveroo.

    Can’t imagine the people in those jobs do it because it’s well payed with awesome progression opportunities.

    Premier Icon TheBrick
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    Lots of other frame builders out there now but clearly people want to start up on their own and not work for others

    I suspect this is it. It’s a job that really only works if you work for yourself. Get trained under someone, but hang around? Low pay, probably very little chance to “do your own thing”. Not a chance.

    Bob Jackson bike are lovely but you may not be interested in just doing that “type” of bike for the long term.

    Premier Icon TheBrick
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    Why does UK manufacturing / engineering always blame the youth? Go down on almost any shop floor and you’ll find a bunch of old guys banging on about apprenticeships but if anyone shows any interest they get given to the most miserable person down there who effectively says “I hate my job, work hard for the next 40 years and you’ll hate it too”

    This is true. The thing with engineering (imo) is the experience tends to be very product specific. You get good, get good money then have golden handcuffs. Then get bord but but becomes hard to move job because of massive pay cut required. Engineering is massively interesting but can also be a trap if you’re not careful.

    Premier Icon paton
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    Norman Taylor (of Taylor Brothers / Jack Taylor Cycles) speaking before they closed (1990):
    “I’ve taught thirty lads to build frames over the fifty years. And out of thirty lads the average is one in ten turn out to be any good. Only certain people fit in to do the particular job and get the feel of it”

    Premier Icon paton
    Free Member

    The Bob Jackson cycles / JRJ company name has changed hands more than once.
    Bob Jackson sold the company in 1986, feeling it was a good time to retire, but the new owners drove the company into the ground. Donald Thomas convinced Bob to come rescue this grand old company and he bought it back in 1993. As General Manager, Donald turned the company completely around and by 1997 needed larger, more permanent facilities. The company was moved to its current location at Bramley, Leeds.

    https://biciak.blogspot.com/2014/04/bob-jackson.html

    http://www.hetchins.org/history2.htm#:~:text=%28Bob%20Jackson%20came%20out%20of%20retirement%20and%20bought,1950s%20lug%20blanks%20seen%20as%20late%20as%201982.

    Premier Icon paton
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    When M Steel shut they just went their separate ways.

    https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/joe-waugh-m-steel-cycles-29974

    Premier Icon paton
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    18 to 24 months to get up to speed brazing

    Premier Icon thepodge
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    @TheBrick / @nealglover Maybe they pay and conditions were really good but people had the foresight that joining a company with a diminishing customer base was a bad career move. Not that Amazon packing is exactly a good move but I don’t feel people would invest the same in that. Spending years training and finding there’s nothing at the end could be far more demoralising than just getting on with a job that is relatively easy to pick up. I remember being in the dole queue behind a guy who was (said) he was one of the best guys in the steel industry at what he did, they kept telling him he’d have to retain and work in a call centre but he wouldn’t accept it, he couldn’t get how could there be no jobs for someone as good as him. Said he could turn his hand to anything but had trained and worked as something in the foundries and that’s what he wanted to do otherwise he could have just taken a generic job from the start and saved himself all the hassle.

    To me its just like the UK car and motorbike industry, very little innovation or change over the years and then its gets obliterated by the far east who bought our old designs and instead of thinking “that’ll do” they learned from it and now lead the way.

    I’ve never felt particularly trapped in engineering but I have often felt that I’m stagnating which isn’t exactly ideal in what is essentially a creative industry.

    Premier Icon paton
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    Premier Icon thepodge
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    “Norman Taylor (of Taylor Brothers / Jack Taylor Cycles) speaking before they closed (1990):
    “I’ve taught thirty lads to build frames over the fifty years. And out of thirty lads the average is one in ten turn out to be any good. Only certain people fit in to do the particular job and get the feel of it”

    While I understand no everyone can do every job, can you imagine if that was a school talking about maths or English? The head would be sacked in the blink of an eye. Sometimes you have to look at the teacher as much as the student.

    Premier Icon hatter
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    From my times talking to a few frame builders the real problem seems to be that very few people who want to learm frame building want to do so so that they can work for a larger builder, they may want to get trained up but but as soon as they get good they leave to set up a their own 1-2 man micro-brand.

    30 years ago, if you wanted to start a bike brand you needed to support racers, advertise in the mags, employ sales people etc etc, now all you need is a kitted out workshop and a web connection.

    That and the need to be competetive price-wise with the resultant low wages makes it very hard for the larger UK builders to hang onto good staff.

    Premier Icon brant
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    I emailed them and told them I want to buy it.
    I’ve not had a reply yet.

    I was offered an apprenticeship by Mr Jackson when I was 16 but declined it in the end to do my A levels.

    Premier Icon thepodge
    Free Member

    @hatter I think that is common for any industry, surely the answer is to adapt your business to hold onto staff not shrug shoulders and stop training people then shut up shop?

    Premier Icon velocipede
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    @brant – I’m amazed it’s not been bought already – surely there’s at least a brand worth having, and a fully kitted out workshop – must be something more to this story?

    Premier Icon mt
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    They have no one young enough to want to carry the business on, no apprentices or trainee’s over a number of years. You would know this if you picked up the phone and asked (Brant, I did) as I was hoping help. They made the decision and they are all retiring, its a shame. Agree the name must be worth something though not slapped onto a frame made in asia. The Bob jackson frame has to be built by some grumpy Yorkshire bloke to extract the full value, sort bloke that thinks answering emails is not important as getting the torching done.

    “Why does UK manufacturing / engineering always blame the youth? Go down on almost any shop floor and you’ll find a bunch of old guys banging on about apprenticeships but if anyone shows any interest they get given to the most miserable person down there who effectively says “I hate my job, work hard for the next 40 years and you’ll hate it too”.
    Also why do the same people think the business plan of “we’ve been doing it 50 years, lets not change” show surprise that no one wants to buy their stuff.”

    This is so not true of much of the UK’s manufacturing, there are some around but any manufacturing company that wants to get on know they need youngster coming through. Its hard at times but you need to work on getting the right people employed and not waste time on the wrong people.

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
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    must be something more to this story?

    +1

    Premier Icon TheBrick
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    I’ve never felt particularly trapped in engineering but I have often felt that I’m stagnating which isn’t exactly ideal in what is essentially a creative industry.

    Maybe stagnate is a better phrase you’re right. I have however definitely meet people who are trapped in o e company for the reasons I gave above.

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