The Pashley Guv’nor Plus Four

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The Limited Edition Guv’nor Plus Four was announced in 2009 with production limited to 50 bicycles. The Plus Four features brass plated lugwork, a unique cockpit and a four speed drivetrain comprised of a Sachs Duomatic rear hub paired with a Speed Drive front crankset.

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Above: Duchy Wheeler‘s #20 Plus Four with Izumi gold chain, MKS leather covered deep half toe clips, Pashley leather frame guard, Brooks Challenge honey leather tool bag, Sogreni brass light set and Carradice Alston tweed saddlepack #3/10.

Note: if you’re a Plus Four owner, please let Geoff ‘Duchy Wheeler’ know so that he can add you to his registry (at the bottom of this page)!

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Above: a pre-production Pashley studio shot (note the missing brake lever and X-RD front internal drum brake hub; in the UK, it would be illegal to sell the bike without a front brake)

Like the standard Guv’nor, the Plus Four utilizes a handmade Reynolds 531 frame and includes the usual fine compliment of Guv’nor components, such as the Brooks B17 Titanium saddle, Nitto stem, Brooks grips (in place of Pashley grips on the standard Guv), Westwood profile rims, Schwalbe rubber and a Sturmey X-FD internal drum brake front hub. See my full Pashley Guv’nor review for detailed component, frame and sizing specs.. It should be noted, however, that the Plus Four was not offered in the larger, 24.5″ size (double top tube frame).

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Above: brass lugs and gold badging of the Plus Four

Each Plus Four bears a brass identification badge at the base of the seat tube, just above the bottom bracket (below).
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Above: brass identification plate on Plus Four #25

To many, the most singular feature of the Plus Four is the 2×2 four speed drivetrain, which employs a 2 speed kick-back rear coaster hub with a 2 speed Schlumpf crankset. What the heck does that mean? It means four speeds with no shifters, no derailleurs and no cables!

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Above: the classic-looking Sach Duomatic, coaster brake version

A kickback hub is an internally-geared rear hub that shifts by back-pedaling while coasting. This requires about 15 degrees of backpedal to activate the internal shift. Since there are only two gears in the Duomatic hub, shifting just alternates between the two speeds. Backpedaling further will engage the coaster brake, so any time you brake, you’ll also shift! Obviously, this mode of operation requires a bit of getting used to, and ultimately a bit of finesse to become adept and second nature to the rider.

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Above: the Speed Drive crank (from SeattleGuv #46 at the Guvnor’s Assembly)

Shifting the Schlumpf type crankset is achieved by putting the cranks arms approximately parallel with the ground and then hitting the shift button in the center of the crank (essentially in-line with the axel, where the crank bolt would normally be) with your heel. Again, the Speed Drive is two speeds, so shifting just alternates between the two gears. But in this case, the “button” goes in and out of both sides of the crank. So the button starts out pultruding one one side, then when you hit it, it pops out on the other side! Again, there is probably a bit of a learning curve here, but I don’t hear complaints from Plus Four owners and these cranks have become very popular on MTB fixie-to-two speed conversions.

Below you’ll find some Plus Four reference material, mostly from Duchy Wheeler. DW publishes an e-newsletter, the InFOURmer, for Plus Four owners (and enthusiasts). Contact him to be added to the distribution.

Drivetrain

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“In fact there’s a typo error on this instruction sheet, the Speed-Drive lubricant should read “MoS2″ this is a special grease available in 5ml. ampules and should, according to the makers, keep things running smoothly for 2,000-3,000 miles.
The Schlumpf Speed-Drive equates to 27t in ‘Direct’ and 45t in ‘Overdrive’, so in combination with the Sachs Duomatic hub, with 1:1 and 1.38:1 ratios, gives gear inches of: 38″, 52″, 63″ & 87″.”
-DW (from the Guvnor’s Assembly)

Lubrication

From InFOURmer #3:
“As you probably know the recommended lube for the Speed-Drive is MoS2 grease, which Schlumpf sell in 5ml. ampoules/syringes, priced the last time I enquired at £5 for 5ml.! I think this is very expensive for such a small amount, enough for two applications, and they aren’t easy to source either here in the UK, or Australia from what Ryan #39 tells me.
However, I found from a search on UK eBay a seller listing 80g. GKN Hardy Spicer MoS2 CV ball joint grease for about the same price!!
Ryan suggests avoiding cycle oil at all costs in the Speed-Drive, which will seep out everywhere causing a black oily mess. He strongly recommends using only the correct MoS2 grease. So if you keep your steed indoors and wish to avoid the wrath of ‘er indoors take heed!”

Kick Plate

From InFOURmer #2:
“I acquired my Plus Four #20 in October last year from a chap in Kent, the original careful owner since March 2010, it still had the dimples on the tyres! Whilst fettling it was noticed that one of the concave chrome plated washers on the Speed-Drive kick plates had split! I contacted Pashley, who found a replacement and posted it free of charge.

I also thought it would be prudent to purchase a spare pair for the future and found that Schlumpf are now part of Haberstock Mobility in Germany http://www.haberstock-mobility.com who promptly dispatched a pair, interestingly they aren’t chrome plated, so maybe there has been an know material fatigue issue with this component?”

Chain

The stock Plus Four chain was a KMC model with a Taya Sigma removable link that seems to have reliability issues. As with the standard Guv’nor, some are replacing the chain and link. DW has noted that the Guvnor chains are wider and so you have to be sentient of this fact when shopping for a replacement. For the Plus Four, the gold Izumi chain mentioned below is a nice compliment to the brass lugs, without being garish. I say, well done!

From InFOURmer #2:
“Talking of metal fatigue, you may recall my previous mention of the ‘iffy’ Taya Sigma chain connecting link fitted by Pashley to the Guv’nor cycles, well here’s the evidence – for the record this isn’t my chain!

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Personally I think the problem is the elongated pin openings on the Taya Sigma link. This link also doubles as a chain outer plate and as a consequence transfers the load unevenly onto the opposite outer plate which eventually fails. This isn’t very reassuring if the chain is an integral part of the braking system!”

And from InFOURmer #7:
“Looking for a top quality chain for your Plus Four? Then check out the 1/2” x 1/8” x 116 link Izumi gold chain, which comes with a sturdy spring clip connecting link. Remember to fit this spring clip facing inboard so it clears the trouser guard on the Speed-Drive!”

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“The standard Izumi cycle chain is top notch quality and by the way they are also available in black and silver finish if that is your preference. Interestingly, Izumi’s V-Bike Super-Toughness chain is the choice for top track and keirin racers and has the NJS approved rating, which I understand is about as good as it gets!”

“You may have noticed on the above image that Ryan has fitted chain tugs to the rear drop outs on #39, he tells me he had a problem with hub slippage and fitting chain tugs solved this issue. Have any of you experienced this problem?
There are many different types of chain tugs on the market, varying in price from about £2 for a pressed steel type to about £30 for a top line MKS, which is NJS approved! Check out this review on the MSK type, I must say they do look rather nice:
http://www.thefootdown.co.uk/2011/04/26/mks-njs-track-chain-tensioner-review/

Brakes

There were apparently as many as three different brake levers fitted to the Plus Fours. Many of the earlier models appear with silver Dia-Compe 189’s, although #21 and #27 at least have black 189’s. Many of the later models seem to have appeared with black Tektro or Cane Creek levers – see the notes below.

From InFOURmer #1:
“It seems that different brake levers were fitted to the Plus Four, [edited] the Dia-Compe 189, these have the brake cable partly within the handlebar, [edited] the Tektro RX 4.1 and Cane Creek 200TT. The latter is, so I understand, a rebranded Tektro, the brake cable on this setup runs outside the handlebar.”

Note from DW:
“Roger #27 and Jonathan #21 have already got back to me advising that they have Dia-Compe 189 brake levers, I was unaware they were produced in black! … Nevertheless I know some of the Plus Fours did have black Tektro/Cane Creek lever fitted…”

GUV’NOR PLUS FOUR REGISTER
as of 3 May 2014

NUMBER OWNER LOCATION SIZE FRAME #
1 KEITH SHAFFOR – ‘INFADELL187’ (Purchased in UK, shipped to USA) EUGENE, OREGON USA 20.5″ ?
4 SIMON MILLER – ‘Dogbreath’ BALDOCK, HERTFORDSHIRE UK 22.5″ 148096
6 JAMES WIEMER LONDON UK ?
7 BRETT (Supplied by Bobbins Cycles Dec. 2009 and shipped to Australia?) ? AUSTRALIA ? ?
13 FOR SALE AT VELORUTION, LONDON. JANUARY 2010 ? UK ? ?
15 BELMONT DISTRIBUTION, SHIPPED OUT 23/02/2010 TO STEVE’S BIKES, WA ? USA 20.5″ 147275
16 BELMONT DISTRIBUTION, SHIPPED OUT 14/02/2011 TO STEVE’S BIKES, WA ? USA 22.5″ 148094
17 CHRIS BALTIMORE, MARYLAND USA 22.5″ 147250
19 MARTIN PINK – ‘STRAKER01’ PUTNEY, LONDON UK 22.5″ 150547
20 GEOFF BAKER – ‘Duchy Wheeler’. Since 13/10/2012 BODMIN, CORNWALL UK 22.5″ 150555
21 JONATHAN SEELY -‘jseely’ (Purchased in UK, shipped to USA, April 2010) PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND USA 20.5″ 150542
24 NIGEL HIGGINS, JOHN ATKINS CYCLES LEAMINGTON SPA, WARKS. UK 22.5″ 150527
25 STAN BRUTON. Since 06/12/2011 FAREHAM, HAMPSHIRE UK 22.5″ 150525
26 JOE & CHRISTINE WARDE, NORTH ROAD BIKE SHOP VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA 20.5″ ?
27 ROGER NELSON, HALIFAX CYCLES HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA CANADA 22.5″ 150511
34 ENRIQUE CORBI ALICANTE SPAIN 20.5″ 154350
36 WIM VRIENS – ‘Black and Brass’ / ‘The Swordfish’ BOECHOUT BELGIUM 22.5″ ?
38 IONUT-OCTAVIAN SAUCA BUCHAREST ROMANIA 20.5″ 154374
39 RYAN BREARLEY – ‘RB’ / ‘MillbankStokes’ BREAKWATER, VICTORIA AUSTRALIA 22.5″ 154360
41 ROSS VASTA BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA 20.5″ 154324
46 GREG KESTERSON – ‘SeattleGuv’ SEATTLE, WASHINGTON USA 22.5″ 154366
47 UNKNOWN VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA 22.5″ 156769
48 MARK DEMPSEY. Since 23/04/2013 SEATTLE, WASHINGTON USA 20.5″ 154303
50 ELLIOTT NORRIS – ‘TeaInTheCountry’ / ‘EastCoastGuv’ EYE, SUFFOLK UK 20.5″ 150529
? TRAVIS (Believed to have been purchased in UK & shipped to Australia?) SYDNEY? AUSTRALIA ? ?
? WALLAH CALIFORNIA? USA ? ?
? FOR SALE AT DIATECH PRODUCTS, KYOTO, JAPAN. FEBRUARY 2013 ? JAPAN 20.5″ ?

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12 thoughts on “The Pashley Guv’nor Plus Four

  1. Hello Dave, I now own 25/50 it was purchased from Manfred Schotten Antiques on the 06/12/2011. Many thanks

    Stan Bruton. Hampshire.

  2. Duchy Wheeler‘s rig is very nice indeed. I’d like to acquire one. Unfortunately, I would be too big for it though. What a disappointment that the 24.5 frame wasn’t offered. Us tall folks really get left out quite often by the bike manufacturers. This I have recently discovered while soaking up all I can cycle wise. I just special ordered a Dutch bike in 66cm. None were on site when I committed to the purchase. I had to test ride a smaller framed unit.

    • I think a lot of people are in the same boat, which is why I wrote such a long review of the Guv. Duchy Wheeler writes a newsletter in which he once showed a 24.5 Guv that someone had converted into a Plus 4!

      • Do you have a link to that newsletter?
        By the way, I caught the ‘Guv’ fever and ordered one last night through a local dealer here in New York. Then I started reading again and thought about how cool it would be to acquire the ‘brass detailing’ offered on the ‘Fours’ . I shot DW an email just now inquiring about that idea. Perhaps a ‘special’ order could be managed? So that newsletter would be very interesting to read……

  3. Hello Dave,
    I am now the proud owner of 48/50, acquired on 04.23.13.
    Was in contact with Duchy Wheeler to let him know, however reading your page, thought I’d update you as well. Cheers.

  4. Hello,
    I own n. 34/50, ordered directly at Pasley back in March 2009. I must say it was a pleasure dealing with Dave thorough e-mails going backwards and forwards during the process. Greetings from Spain.

  5. Hello Enric…… I would be delighted to hear from you, my email address is: sjb.gfb@virgin.net.
    I’m compiling a Register of the 50 Plus Four cycles, so would really like the frame size and frame number of 34/50. I also issue an eNewsletter “The InFOURmer., which I’m sure you would find of interest…… safe rides, Geoff “Duchy Wheeler”

  6. The Guv’nor Plus Four frames where made especially, this was due to production methods used for the brass plating of the frames. The frames were spray painted, not powder coated, this was done to achieve a crisp edge between the black frame finish and the brass detailing. Also of note, compared to the standard frame, is the lack of the two cable retainers on the down tube compared to the standard frame and the rear fork spacing is narrower, this was to accommodate the Sachs Duomatic hub. They were assembled individually by one person over a period of about 2 months. Two types of brake levers were fitted and from what I can gather, 01-30 are fitted with the Dia-Compe 189 in silver and black and 30-50 have Cane Creek 200TT in black. The 189 lever required the handle bar to be drilled, as the brake cable is rove part way inside the ‘bar, the 200TT are rove fully outside the ‘bar.

  7. Interesting write up Dave. The Plus 4 has me curious. Its looks like a great concept, but having hub gears front AND back tells me there would be quite a bit of drag. Do any owners experience this ? Im also curious (yes I know weight isn’t as issue with Pashley’s, and Pashley owners) as to how heavy this would be ? But it does raise the question. 4 gears on the Plus 4 with planetary gears front and back, versus only one hub on the Speed 5 out back and giving it an extra gear. Is the extra complexity of the Plus 4 beneficial in comparison to the Speed 5 ? And also, maintenance seems like it would be a little more finicky with this model than say, the Speed 5 or 3 speed model, which have just one hub gear at the back. I don’t mean this as a criticism as such. More so as to how it all works from a practical point of view living with the bike.

    Really love the frame though ! Those brass lugs would be awesome ! I’m going to ask a silly question now. What are the chances of the Pashley Guv’nor being available as a frame only ? After reading this review, I’m now curious as to how the Guv’nor would like my Rohloff mated to her !

    • Hi Steve! I’ll let some of the Plus 4 gang address your questions, as I have no experience outside my 3 speed Guv. My only useful comment is that one of the most attractive things about the Guv is its simplicity. I’m not a member of the single speed cult (though I do own a single speed Bianchi), but I appreciate their less-is-more mantra. Keep in mind that, for most folks, a Guv is a good 3rd or 4th bike rather than their main bike (aside, perhaps, for a few English country gents)!
      Cheers,
      Dave

  8. Steve…. I’m one of the Pus Four owners and issue an eNewsletter – “The InFOURmer”, you can contact me on my NEW email address: duchywheeler@gmail.com I also have a closed Facebook group – Guv’nor Owners’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/290779011118199/
    I think it very unlikely that Pashley Cycles will ever do a re-run, they had lots of issues in production, the whole frame was brass plated then tubing sprayed black, not powder coated as per the standard production models.

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