Custom build process
Why might an English frame be right for you? There is a proliferation of custom frame builders, especially in Oregon, but it seems to me that many are focused on the aesthetic and old-school styling in their creations. Which certainly has it’s place, but as an avid racer I tend to focus more on performance. Therefore, my priorities are fit, and appropriate weight/stiffness/aerodynamics for the intended purpose. I have been doing all my racing on frames I have designed for some time – from road racing and time trialling to mountain biking and recumbents; my designs are a culmination of over 20 years of bike racing, building and general immersion in performance cycle culture. But performance isn’t just for racing – Misha and I have been car free for many years, relying instead on appropriately designed, durable and weather proof bikes for all trips and errands. For me that includes fetching materials and gas bottles, then delivering boxed bikes for shipping.
My material of choice is steel. Carbon fibre may have stolen the limelight for the past few years, but steel alloys have quietly gotten better and better. With careful choice of tubing diameters and shapes, a steel bike can be built to match the performance requirements of the rider. And don’t think a steel bike will be heavy – my race bike weighs in at 10.8lbs…. I use tubing from True Temper, Reynolds and Columbus, with fillet brazed construction.
If you think that I might be the right builder for your next bike, then the first step is a conversation to see if I can meet (or hopefully exceed!) your expectations. Every English is a unique bicycle built for one particular rider, with none of the constraints of a production bike. A non-refundable deposit holds a scheduled build slot for you, and we can begin the design process.
I consider the most important aspect of a bicycle to be fit – it should fit the rider correctly for the intended purpose. Often I am working remotely from my customers, so there are a few ways to work this out.
- If you already have a bike with the position perfected, then I have a fit form which will capture the numbers from that bike, enabling it to be duplicated with the new frame.
- If you are uncertain about your position then there are now many professional fit services and likely one local to you. They can work through the fit process with you, and then provide me with the numbers to use for the design.
- I can work on fit remotely using photos and video – this is particularly effective with time trial position, as with video clips from the front, rear and side of the rider pedalling on a trainer I can make suggestions for improvements, and the position can be gradually optimised – or at least it can be adjusted close and the final optimisation achieved with the custom design.
Once we have a final set of numbers, I will draft a design and send it to you for approval – this process can go through as many iterations as needed until everything is just right. At the same time (if ordering a complete bike), we will work through the specification and options. Wheels and parts are discounted when purchased with a frame.
Prior to starting construction there is a final check on both design and specification, and I request 50% of the total due at this time. The build generally takes three to four weeks, then the balance is due prior to shipping the bike to you.
Some examples of the options available on a custom English frame:
- Integrated, adjustable seatmast – round or oval, with Enve or Thomson saddle clamping hardware.
- Internal cable routing.
- Niner Eccentric Bottom Bracket.
- Custom Di2 internal battery with frame mounted micro-usb charging port.
- Custom stem with special pocket for Di2 control box.
- ‘Upside down’ aheadset with one-piece stem/steerer for very clean appearance.
- Custom split dropout for Gates belt drive.