17 September 2011

Hand-made British cycles

The UK has historically been one of the world mecas for bike builders, and lots of amazing designs that we see nowadays on the roads come from bright English minds (e.g. Alex Moulton and his high-pressure small-wheeled bicycles).

We all know that most of our current bikes, well, frames (unless you're into fixies or old bycicle frames, or indeed have plenty of pounds/euros in your pocket) originate from Taiwan. Even expensive top-end bikes come from that tiny island in the far East. They do produce amazing stuff, but as you get into the whole bycicle culture, you realised that they're no longer unique...and they're mostly mass produced.

Now, a few countries such as the USA, Italy, France and the UK are still going strong in hand-made frame building. Unfortunately I am not aware of any Spanish bike builders...! A few UK examples are:

- Roberts
- Dave Yates
- Moulton
- Bromptom
- Burls

A few pictures of each of these manufacturers' beauties are below (all images obtained from their websites). I have not yet had the opportunity to try any of these, and I am not sure I really want to, as this would certainly add to the n+1 number of bikes that I want to own... But if I were to pick one, I find the Moultons a fascinating piece of art (and apparently they are extremely comfortable and fast!).

Roberts Audax bike

Dave Yates mtb
Top-end Moulton (note the full suspension, design from the sixties!)

Folded Brompton

Burls racer (with mudguards!)

The funny thing is...most of these models would not cost more than a medium off-the-peg mass-produced bike!

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