I had the chance to take a trip across southern England with a friend so it seemed a good opportunity to make a bike specifically for the task. It was something i’d want to build, taking on board a number learnings from other builds to create a bikepacking bike. Room for 2.6 tyres, stable geometry and enough braze ons for racks and bottles. So my friend Scott agreed to test this one whilst I took my faithful old green steed (which was the first mountain bike i’d built some time ago!).
June 22, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Tracklocross So-Ez forks
My son had wanted a tracklocross bike for a while so we designed one with a few specific requirements that could also double as a geared tourer if needed. We had hoped to go to the Tracklocross champs in Sacramento but for obvious reasons that looks unlikely now. He wanted to avoid any toe overlap when using larger (42c) tyres, wanted the ability to run gears so needed 135mm axle, removable cable guides and we ended up getting hold of some Squid Bikes So-ez forks. He then chose a selection of components from Hope, Nukeproof, Gusset, Onza, DT Swiss, SRAM, BLB and WTB to try out going tubeless. The geometry was aimed at being fairly stable for surefooted Tracklocross offroad and possible touring action. He spent some timing sorting out the Spray.Bike paint as a homage to Ken Block’s Cossie v2 and the Hoonitruck. From the first tests, he’s pretty happy with how it rides.
May 9, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Copper Tracklocross
I modified my old copper singlespeed removing the carbon seatpost to replace it with a curved steel one to give clearance for the larger tyres. That meant replacing the chainstays too. Repainted in Spray.bike copper and green paint. Some time ago I had made some curvy forks. They were so curvy they didn’t really go with any frame with straight tubes but seemed to match these seats stays pretty well. Still have the option to run either fork.
April 20, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Longtail Cargo Bike paint
Finally got round to choosing the paint scheme for the longtail cargo bike. After some thought I decided to keep the original paint on the front. It had some memorable scars from our previous life together but wasn’t too bad overall. Once finished, it also allowed me to get a few miles on it. I was originally going to run a hub gear setup, which still may happen but the shifter I had wouldn’t work so started off with a derailleur setup. It would benefit from an extra chain tensioner in this form so that may happen if it stays like this for long.
April 6, 2020 by jon |
Comments Off on Bike packing bags
I was planning a big trip for this year and as well as making the bike I fancied a go at making some bags for the trip. I’d never done anything like that before so got hold of a sewing machine and a very welcome bit of help from a friend for how to use it. These are the first attempts. Some cordura, wax-cotton and a bit of recycled climbing gear. Testing so far has gone well. Looking forward to doing more.
March 22, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Ritchey Breakaway Gravel Bike
After helping a friend build his Breakaway frame I thought i’d do one for myself too as the thought of being able to travel baggage charge free seemed like a great idea at the time! Using some interchangeable dropouts so I can run it geared or single speed with discs. Final braze ons to do to finish the build then decide on the paint scheme.
March 6, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Tall bike packing
The third part of our tall bike quest was to give them a proper bike packing trial. The frame size makes packing them relatively easy and seems to leave the handling pretty much unaffected. They also make surprisingly good touring bikes with plenty of stability and provide fantastic views over hedges.
March 6, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Tall bike test ride
After finishing the build and paint of Cass’ tallbike we arranged a meet in Bristol for the build and test ride. We lucked out with the weather and had a great time cruising the town. To fully appreciate a tallbike you really have to ride one. The number of conversations you have and smiles you see never cease to amaze me. Good times.
March 6, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Cass’ On-One tallbike
After meeting Cass Gilbert at the Bespoked show last year we agreed to make him a tall bike after he’d had taken some photos and had a quick test ride of mine. He had an On-One Inbred 29er that he had a strong bond with but wasn’t being used any more so it seemed like the perfect candidate. We spent a very enjoyable weekend massaging it into something a little taller. He looked a bit less worried as things started going back together!
January 25, 2020
by jon Comments Off on Longtail Cargo bike
I almost couldn’t bring myself to do this, other than I had two of these lovely old Kona A’ha frames and this was one was looking a bit tired so why not! I wanted to try out a long tail cargo bike design with some Xtracycle bags or the ability to run 4 panniers if desired. This should definitely handle the weekly shop! Need to decide on the paint scheme now – always the hardest part of the build.
December 2, 2019
by jon Comments Off on Sticker bombed track bike
A Tomo gravel bike made it’s way out Iceland for The Rift gravel bike event with Peter. The bike did the business and the photos look amazing. This was my first proper gravel build and we learnt a few things. Columbus Zona tubing, Shimano 105 group, Ritchey, WTB, Salsa, Brooks bits. Rolls pretty nicely with 2.1 29er tyres. The long Ti seatpost seems to make it really plush. Just makes me want to go now.
November 25, 2019
by jon Comments Off on Frame building space
When starting out framebuilding there are plenty of challenges. Having a space to work, tools, brazing gear, frame jig, the list goes on. Having made made own way along part of that journey it was nice to be able to help Chris out with the loan of some space and gear whilst offering the occasional bit of advice along the way. It was useful for me as he was building a crossbike Ritchey Breakaway fixture and flat mounts which meant I could build a jig for that too. Turned out nice.
November 25, 2019
by jon Comments Off on H to C Gravel Bike Ride
For some time my brother and I had been planning a ride from his place in Huntingdon to mine in Chertsey using as much off road as possible. It turned out to be nearly bang on 100 miles of decent trails, good cafes and reasonable weather. Interesting comparing the Tomo Cross and Gravel bikes too.
November 25, 2019
by jon Comments Off on Cinelli Gazzetta repair
One of our race team has a rather nice Cinelli Gazzetta that had unfortunately broken its chainstays. Both had split near the bottom bracket. We had tried a quick repair in the past but it didn’t last so it was time to replace them with some new metal. A couple of new Columbus Cromor stays brazed in whilst also straightening out the rear end. Job done.
August 14, 2019
by jon Comments Off on Tomo Cargo Bike
I’ve always liked the idea and utility of cargo bikes and fancied the challenge of building one. For the first one (!) I decided to go for the front loading design. To ease the ability to fit it in the workshop I wanted it to be a reasonable size but also made the cargo platform removable so it’s narrower. It also makes it a surprisingly fun race bike!
March 27, 2019 by jon |
Comments Off on Track Bike Tourer
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go over to the North American Handmade Bike Show this year. The decision was made quite late but I wanted to make something nice to ride over there on. I really like the look of old steel track bikes so wanted make something reminiscent of those and then make a few concessions to see how well it can do the touring thing. Touring accessories included raise handlebars, 5 speed Sturmey Archer hub, front rack, dynamo hub lighting and a bunch of bike packing bags. Overall it rode really well, was perfectly comfortable and didn’t get too battered by the journey.
January 21, 2019 by jon |
Comments Off on Raf’s track bike
Having got heavily into riding fixed geared bikes over the last year my son wanted the chance to have a go on the track. After a thoroughly good initial outing with Sutton cycling club at Lee Valley we got down to design his own bike. We used Columbus Max and Spirit tubing, some specially made aero tubing for the seat tube and a whopping tapered head tube. Topped off with some Cinelli components and carbon wheels.
December 16, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Gravel Bike
This took some time to get to fruition but finished at last and speedily built up by brother. Columbus Zona tubing with enough room for 2.1s and compact chainset. We used thinner curved rear seatstays for a bit more long distance comfort.
October 17, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Tomo Fixies @RedHookCrit Milano
Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances we were pretty late pulling the Tomobikes together for Milan. We ended up having two ready but only completed in the week of the race; a fully bespoke Columbus steel fixie and a custom designed titanium one. The selection of Columbus tubes were specifically to make it stiff and give good power transfer with a selection of Max, Spirit and Zona tubing where as the Ti one was a bit more traditional with only round tubes and built for a bit more long distance comfort. It was interesting the feel the difference in the rides. They obviously have different components and I think those Spin On These wheels help but the steel bike certainly had some get up and go. We’ll be doing some back to back tests including a carbon frame and component swapping in the near future.
October 14, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Red Hook Crit Milan 2
As well as the race in Milan, it was a pretty busy weekend. The drive down through France and Switzerland, track day at the fabulous Vigorelli Velodrome, riding the city, bike cafes and our fair amount of pizza. It was nice to be able to ride Milan with my son and for him to see all the excitement. We had a great visit to our friends at Cicli Drali, had posh coffee at the Bianchi Cafe and hung out in a bunch of local bike shops like the great Velociclista. Roll on next year.
October 14, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Red Hook Crit Milano
About 6 months ago we got together with a couple of riders who had never raced before and set the objective to help them start racing with the lofty aim of entering the Red Hook Crit in Milan in October. Well it’s been a journey but we made it and what an experience it has been. It’s been great to help some dreams come true, progress our own and make some friends along the way. Milan was a blast. We were down to one rider for the race but Jamal Benmoussa did himself proud. Thanks to everyone who helped and encouraged us along the way. Now to the excitement of what comes next…
September 15, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Red Hook Crit Milan Fixie
Running a bit late but trying to get this bike together to take to Milan Red Hook Crit. High bottom bracket, Columbus Max, Spirit and Zona tubing. Bentley Components dropouts. The first full frame build on my new Bicycle Academy jig. Seems to be working out alright. Definitely quicker to setup than my home made version. Can’t wait to ride this thing.
August 24, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Red Hook Crit Milano
Earlier in the year we started a fixed gear crit race team to help a couple of guys go racing with the ultimate aim to get to the Red Hook Crit in Milan in October. It’s been a bit of a journey but the guys have done really well in the Thundercrit, Nocturne and Minet crit races. It’s been a joy to help them through the races so far and we’ve just got an entry into the Red Hook crit race in Milan. Looks like a cool skunk works roadtrip to Italy coming up.
August 24, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Jenny’s ladies town bike
It was some considerable time in the making but finally finished Jenny’s bespoke town bike. Columbus Chromor tubing, a few bends, hub gear, custom stainless basket rack and lovely Velo Orange mudguards.
August 5, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on TeamTomo at Minet Crit
What an awesome time we had at MinetCrit3 yesterday. Sun was out and the racing was hot. We welcomed Arthur to the team as our 3rd rider, they all did well in the races and it was a pleasure to take the next step on our journey.
July 9, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Mr Porter Nocturne results
Just an amazing day at the Nocturne in the centre of London. Drama from off when our man Jamal was hit by a taxi on the way to the start. Frankly we were just happy he was ok and able to start although pretty sore. Pretty daunting circuit not to mention the pace at the front. Jamal did himself proud and it was a great day. Next stop the Minet crit at Hillingdon.
June 5, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Fixed Gear Race Team
This seems to have happened a bit quickly but due to a few quirks of fate, meeting a few people and a desire to take another step into the unknown we seem to have ended up with a fledgling Fixed Gear Race Team! This road may have already had a few twists and turns in it but we’ve been able to help two brilliant guys get to their first Fixed Gear Crit Race at the Thundercrit3 race at the Olympic Park in London. Fantastic event it was too. Not sure where this journey goes next other than Mr Port Nocturne next weekend:-)
April 22, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Last minute tall bike
When prepping for our tall bike ride to Bristol, having built the later two out of full cromo donor frames I realised I might be slightly under gunned with my old Raleigh and Viner mix. The excuse of someone expressing an interest in buying it was all I needed to convince me to build another. It also gave me the opportunity to test out building some long forks in preparation for another up coming project. So on the Saturday before the Bespoked show the hammer (angle grinder) dropped and my old On-One Inbred frame went to a higher place. Just about finished in time as the last parts only arrived on the Thursday before we left on the Friday. We did manage to give it a 400 yard test ride Thursday night just as it got dark and packed it for the first time as we left on Friday and it worked out great. I will probably fit a stabiliser bar to the front fork which I ran out of time to complete before the off. Will probably reduce the load on the fork crown as there’s quite a moment on those forks and help once I get the front disc mount sorted too.
April 21, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Bespoked 18 tall bike ride
For a bit of fun we wanted to ride down to Bespoked 18 on tallbikes. Having built the first one my brother, Pete, and friend Scott ended up with number 2 and 3. To ensure I could keep up number 4 was built in the week before the show. Awesome weather had dried the trail. Bikepacking gear came into it’s own. Started at 7am to make the first 50 miles to meet up with Scott for lunch as he was coming up from deepest Hampshire. Going along the Sustrans route 4 which was just beautiful. 100 miles on the first day put us in Devizes for the night. We then polished off the last 40 into Bristol on Saturday morning whilst picking my son up in Bradford Upon Avon after a stonking breakfast in the Lock Inn Cafe. 4 test rides given on route, one BMX track ridden and a lot of smiles raised. Raising funds for the Mind mental health charity and having a blast along the way. (http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mindthebikebespoked2018)
April 3, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Tall bike ride to Bespoked 18
In one of our less sane moments we thought what better idea than to ride down to the Bespoked bike show this year. To make it slightly more entertaining we thought this was a good opportunity to test out the tall bikes which also meant finishing 3 of them and having them in a fit state to do about 260 miles over the weekend for the return trip from London to Bristol. Seemed like a good idea at the time but as it gets a little closer, well it seems like a long way. To ensure we didn’t think about changing our mind we added the prospect of supporting a good cause into the bargain so will be raising funds for the mental health charity, Mind, through the justgiving link below. Any support anyone wants to offer up will be gratefully received to help such a worthy cause.
Having met Eske for the first time last year when she was just one, a secret plan was hatched to build her a balance bike for her second birthday. It was a surprise for her dad, Sjoerd also. We’re looking for him to apply some of his Velowland magic to the finish too.
February 7, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Slightly less fat bike
When I first built my fat bike, it was an experiment to try one out. I had collected a few bits and picked up a pair of relatively cheap wheel to suit. They happened to have 100mm rims. I ended up fitting 4.0 tyres as that’s what I had.
Although it was great fun, it always had slightly peculiar handling – tram lined like a bugger and was super sensitive to camber on the road and trail. I experimented with a 80mm front (as I picked one up). It seemed a bit better but the back didn’t want lean over. Finally splashed out on some Halo Tundra 80mm rims and fitted to the back to match the width of the front. What a revelation. Handles properly, turns well and dropped about 150 grams. All round an interesting learning process.
It also proved that you could just about fit a 190mm axle in a park tools wheel jig which was a relief!
January 16, 2018 by jon |
Comments Off on Roadster build
Got a new build on the jig. Classic style roadster with Alfine hub gear, disc brakes, porteur bars, Columbus frame tubing with Reynolds 631 forks. Plenty of coffee required to keep temperature up in the workshop.
October 22, 2017 by jon |
Comments Off on Brompton stainless rack
I’ve made a few custom racks and realised I hadn’t got one on my Brompton. I wanted to create one that would help with wheeling it around as well being able to carry some stuff. Pretty happy with how this turned out.