Project: RIGHT

Project: RIGHT

Last year, Jason at Fairwheel bikes in Tucson approached me about building a frame for a customer who wanted a singlespeed road bike to have custom paint by artist Geoff McFetridge. Seemed simple enough. But then Jason had an idea about doing a single-sided frame…. Generally always being up for a design challenge, I said sure, and set about figuring out how I would do it.

I decided I wanted to keep the single chainstay as close to the center line of the bike as possible, which would also enable me to put the drive cog on the outside of the frame. And being a belt drive bike, this makes belt installation very easy (no frame split required!). The rear hub is custom designed – the shell and axle are one piece, which I machined myself, had anodised and then built the wheel. The bearings are press-fitted into the tube at the end of the chainstay – the axle slides through this, then the freewheel carrier is  splined onto the end of the axle with a cap bolts in place to hold everything together. An eccentric bottom bracket allows for tensioning the belt.

I modelled the whole rear end in 3D CAD to enable me to check for wheel center-line, tire clearance and belt line.

The front ‘fork’ was comparatively straight forward – I machined a Lefty style aluminium axle, which press fits into a socket at the base of the leg. The fork crown has a clamp to accept a one-piece stem/steerer, which also allows the front brake cable to run through the stem, steerer and fork leg to the caliper. Which was a problem itself – to mount it on the right meant that it was upside down. But some modifications of the caliper – removing the outer cable stop and repositioning the leverage arm to pull upwards – plus adding an internal cable stop to the leg, allowed it to work correctly in this unconventional location.

Once I had brazed everything together and test ridden the bike, it went off to Co-Motion for the striking green base paint, and then onto Geoff for the custom artwork. And it all came together in time to show at NAHBS. There are a bunch of construction shots in my news pages if you’d like to see the project in progress.



  1. Great looking bike with a really cool idea.

    Came here from

    • Nice work. That bike is very innovative especially the way you did the single sided rear end.

  2. amazing! Steel is REAL but could you do carbon? how much does it weigh now?

  3. Pouahhh !! Exactly what i want to do since a couple of year.. :-/

  4. Absolutely incredible! I have never seen such painstaking attention to functional detail (no fancy but pointless lugs here!) on any other builders bikes. Phenomenal.

  5. I stumbled here today following threads and am amazed at this wonderful ride. It is interesting to remember that it takes more thinking and calculation to remove parts than just adding more. Simplicity takes some thought, but feels so good.

    I’ll be following English’s work regularly now that I found ’em.

    Paddy O’Furniture

  6. Curious how it rides, be interesting to take it for a spin.

  7. nice work!!! great work on the details, both functional and artistic.

    id like to see it with gears, and maybe with out the bar between the crank and the seat-post like the kestrel bikes, and a integrated stem like the one on the new look bikes.

    too much to ask?

    • Thanks Daniel, potentially your ideas could be incorporated, it would just require some more structural engineering. On this build low weight was a priority so keeping the frame triangulated was the best way to go.

  8. Just awesome work. If I ever get a custom, it’ll be an English.

  9. I love this (and many of the others too, especially newest TT bike). Completely refreshing and beautifully refined.

    Curious to know if having the weight not evenly distributed about the centreline matters? I think I recall reading somewhere a long time ago that the part of the reasoning for the Lefty forks was to offset the weight of the drivetrain on right hand side. I presume it doesn’t make much of a difference, but curious to hear from the expert.

    Keep up the great work. Can’t wait to see what’s next on the drawing board..

    • Hi Jamie,

      Thanks for the kind words. There is no perceptible difference in feel with the single sided frame – the weight difference is tiny compared to the weight of the rider, and is so close to the center line that it has very little effect. I should be doing another couple of single sided bikes soon!

      Best regards,

  10. hi there,
    how is the life of the bike after few years? Any mechanical issues with rear wheel?

    • I’m assuming all is well, since I haven’t heard from my customer! As far as I know the bike is being ridden regularly without any issues.
      Thanks, Rob.

  11. Hello,
    Just wonder if this bike rideable and how often ?
    Really amazing!



    • Hi, this bike is being used regular by the customer. Rides just like a bike!

      • Hey there. As the owner I just wanted to add a couple things:

        First, Rob is terrific to work with. He’s a great innovator and – if you’re in the market for a custom bike – he’s a leader in the field. You won’t be disappointed.

        Second, I’ve ridden apx. 20,000 miles on the bike since completion at an annual service cost of $150. The only modification I had to make was to remove the front disc brake due to torsion generated during climbs which means I update my rear pads more frequently than I would on a regular set up.

        It’s a bike that brings me joy both to look at and ride and for this I will forever be grateful to Rob and the team. Thanks Rob!

        • Thank you so much for taking the time to give the update Stephen – amazing that your bike was built ten years ago! Really wonderful to hear that it has served you so well – you and Jason pushed me to some creative engineering and I’m glad you continue to enjoy it. Here is to the next ten years :-
          Best, Rob.

          • Hello !

            I was searching about mono chainstay bikes and found this blog post.
            First of all, congrats on this very nice bike !

            Main reason for my search is that I recently acquired a Laiti MTB from the 90s which also feature the same mono fork & chainstay.

            I was wondering if you took inspiration from that ?


            Have a great day !


          • Hi Pierre,

            A great collectors bike you have there! I was not aware of that bike before I built the first Project Right, but I like that they used a similar arrangement of putting the drivetrain on the outside of the frame. If anything, I took inspiration from various designs by Mike Burrows.

            thanks, Rob.

  12. This design would make fixing flat tires quickly and easily. No need to take the wheel off the bike. Just pop one side of the tire and you’re good to go.

  13. Would this frame idea work well with a drive shaft hidden in the chain stay and a small gearbox at the hub, multi gear transmission at the bb, non-spoked rims and hinges in the frame angled to bring the hubs together and latch when folded? Very flat when folded easily carried full size bike, good travel or apartment bike.

    • That sounds like a nice concept – but would require a lot of proprietary engineering. Previous shaft drives have also had issues with achieving good efficiency. There would be a challenge keeping the weight down too. The Mike Burrows designed Giant Halfway had a similar idea (without the shaft drive).

  14. Paul V. Cassidy: Ireland: British Ireland: Scandinavia/Russia: EUAF: AIOP: American::::


  15. Excellent work …. marvelous very very nice bike

  16. Cool bike Rob! (I love your TT builds too!)

    Do you think if the lower half of the seat tube is removed, the bike frame could still handle it? Assuming chainstay is made thicker if needed. And let’s say the seat stay extends to meet the top tube directly. Upper half of seat tube connects to this extended seat stay (instead of going all the way down to the BB).

    In other words, everything mostly looks the same, but the lower half of the seat tube disappears. Would it work?

    PS : Why don’t belt drive models (from bike companies) have the rear sprocket on the outside like you’ve done? You’ve cleverly eliminated the need to have a ‘break’ in the rear triangle to fit the belt.

    – Interested engineer in Australia, exploring parametric design in bikes, and very keen to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Hi Vin – I would have to do a feasibility study and some testing to be able to give you a real answer. Theoretically it is possible, with sufficient reinforcement elsewhere to account for the lose of triangulation.

      Putting the sprocket outside the frame requires a special hub and frame; harder for big companies to invest in and tool up for non-standard parts.

      best regards,

      • Thanks. Good to know.
        Also curious : If this was a Project “Left” bike, could you manage without a drive side chainstay?
        Cheers. Keep up the great work!

        • Well, for a Left bike I would probably put the drivetrain on that side….! Having the drive away from the structure means the pedaling force is creating a moment about the anchor point. But the axle could be stationary, which is easier to deal with. Then would have to determine just how much to stiffen the chainstay.


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