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24 April 2015 No comments

Big Guv’nor, Little Guv’nor?

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Big Guv’nor, Little Guv’nor?

Little Guv'nor - Big Guv'nor
While I ride along the serpentine in Hyde Park, the mood is mellowed to the sound of 70’s disco. ‘Ring my bell’ by Anita Ward, plays from a makeshift stereo; crudely strapped to the back of a bicycle in front of me. I glance back, and I’m confronted by a sea of tweed; with faces beaming in the glorious spring sunshine. My stead for the tweed run this year was equally mellow; it was the latest offering from Pashley Cycles in Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s not often you get a chance to test a pre-production bicycle and particularly one with its roots firmly established in the bicycle hall of fame. The new Guv’nor Twenty-Six was kindly lent to me by Pashley for the day and what better occasion than the London Tweed Run to find out what makes this new Guv’nor, different to the original Guv’nor.

First launched back in 2007, it was inspired by an original Pashley catalogue from the 1930s and has been turning heads and drawing in the crowds ever since. At first glance; there’s no obvious difference, but it’s not until you park the new against the original, do you see the difference; and the clue is in the name. The Guv’nor Twenty-Six is the new 26 inch wheeled model. The drop in wheel diameter, gives the bike a more nimble and responsive ride and although the wheelbase has not changed, it has the appearance of being longer due to the Guv’nor’s relaxed geometry. This ‘look’, reminds me of the single speed racing bicycles from the 1920’s. The lower stand-over height of the cross bar, means it’s also perfect for the younger generation; maybe whose father has a big Guv’nor, and wants to compete with ‘Dad’? It may also appeal to a lady looking for a period style ‘scorcher’. The gearing is the simple tried and tested Sturmey Archer XRD3 hub gear with integral drum brakes, while the frame is hand-built using Reynolds 531 main frame tubes with the same simple clean lines as the original Guv’nor, all topped off with a fine cherry; the Brooks B17 Titanium.

I found it was perfect for riding in the normal everyday hustle and bustle of town traffic and the smaller wheel diameter made it more ‘twitchy’ than the original, which is something that came in handy while riding with seven hundred tweed clad cyclists through London traffic.

Rumour has it from the Pashley development team, that production of the new Guv’nor Twenty-Six is due to start in early summer, so a little wait yet.  www.pashleycycles.co.uk Pashley have also built a one-off bicycle for the Tweed Run, which is being auctioned for charity. Aptly named ‘The Tweed 5’, if you fancy a chance at winning it? All the proceeds going to the London Cycling Campaign.