Harris mod. Professional Test by Nimrod.
Frame: 22 in. with 73' Parallel angles, 22 in. top tube, 17 1/2 in.
chainstays, 10 1/2 in. bottom bracket height. Reynolds 531 butted tubing throughout, with
Italian style long-point lugs and semi-wrapover seat cluster, Huret solid forged rear
ends, brazed-on gear cable guides, also gear control lever boss. Mafac seat stay bridge
for rear centrepull brake, and mudguard stay eyes in fork ends.
Saddle: Unica plastic, with special seat pillar.
BOUT a year ago I tested Reg Harris's first product, the International model. For an
all-purpose machine at 25 LB 7s. 6d. it was a good buy, but the former world sprint
champion is now producing (from Champion Works, Beech Lane, Macclesfield) models more
worthy of the racing reputation he gained.
The Reg Harris Professional, it's price more than double that of the International, has a frame in Reynolds 531 butted tubing through-out, the design of which is regarded as similar to that used by Andrd Darrigade in this year's Tour de France.
The frame of the 22" test model had 73' parallel angles, and a short 22 in. top tube, making for greater rigidity, and this was amplified by the 17 in. chainstays. Other variations of frame angles available include 72' parallel, 73'/72' and 72'/73', with sizes varying from 21 in. to 23 in. By itself the Professional frame costs 14 LB 10s., plus f5 extra for the new Chrylcoat finish.
A series of rides were included in the test of the Professional - "bunch racing" with London traffic, a 60-mile rail strike-breaking ride, a time trial, and a few miles on the HampshireDowns. The machine reached me without the Super. Impero pump with Campagnolo adaptor,and the full or half mudguards which are included in the normal specification, but the omissions had little or no effect on either the test or my opinion of the machine.
The Professional IS what one expects of a bicycle labelled Reg Harris. A first class, rigid, lively and responsive frame, -fitted withequipment of similarly high standard, one on which the paid or unpaid racing man could ride in any road racing classic with the best' and feel handicapped only by his own short-comings, if any. I hadn't ridden in any competitive event this year, having had little time for riding, less for training. My entry form for the time trial, therefore, was an application for a "thrash-ing," for aching limbs and 'bursting lungs.
But in the end it turned out to be comparatively easy if a trifle on the slow side. The Professional was in no way to blame for that - it reacted as well as any previous mount ever did to my efforts, its 82.5 in. and 86.4 in., ratios meeting my requirements adequately, except for the final two miles when I tried 99.7 in.and 108 in. I was nearly among the list of non-starters, a bell had to commandeered at the last minute.An appointment some 30 miles from home on October 3, to which I had intended travelling by rail, had to be kept. The Reg Harris Professional had but recently arrived,and I took the opportunity to get more closely acquainted. Attaching my saddlebag, with cape on aboard, to the Unica saddle with the aid of a Leech quick-release attachment, I lost little "door to door" time and gained by the exercise, chiefly on 70.2 in. and 76.2 in. gears.
My visit to the Hampshire Downs had in mind the ascent out of Hurstbourne Tarrant in the direction of Andover. Approaching from Newbury one gets a rehearsal climb out of Highclere. The south-west wind fortunately was light as I pushed into it. Highclere was topped on 64.8 in., with little trouble, but the "big one" called for the 23-teeth sprocket and both chainrings- 56.3 in. up the "agony section," then 61 in. to the top. After Enham Alamein I headed eastwards via St. MaryBourne and Egbury, to pick up the Whit-church-Kingsclere road, my objective being the thrillingly fast drop down King John's Hillto Kingsclere - a tractor pulling out of a field half-way down spoilt the plan, and fully tested the Universal brakes.
Before setting out on this run I had changed the Vittoria Competizione tubulars for a slightly more robust pair of my own, and found the M.M. Atom/Milremo quick-release hub mechanism smooth in operation, accurate in setting; there was no subsequent movement on the tough hill climbs.