- Paint and Custom Graphics -
We usually powder coat all of our bike frames, but we wanted to do something extra special for this one-off bike. We linked up with Tim Cox, who is a specialist frame painter based in Bristol and asked him to paint the frame, along with the custom graphics. The result is a beautifully pearly paint job in a rich ivory shade, finished with custom metallic graphics along the top tube and seat tube. Now it was just a case of getting the frame back to the workshop, stressing not to damage it at any point through its journey.
The frame sat in the beam hooks (where we hang all painted frames) in the workshop for a couple of weeks while we designed and discussed the bike. We wanted to keep things simple and practical, but also have some parts that would add a certain wow factor!
- Wheels -
First of all, and probably the star of the show, Ryan from Ryan-Builds-Wheels (Check him out, he is our friend from Roll For the Soul Bike Cafe, and has some serious wheel building skills). These things are awesome. Ryan builds them with such precision and attention to detail. He showed me his setup, and his P&KLie truing stand is a thing of engineering beauty. This is the gold standard for wheel building with ridiculous accuracy.
We went for H-Plus-Son TB40 rims, laced up to some Ambrosia Superlight hubs with Sapim double butted spokes.
We usually fit Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres, but wanted something lighter for this build so chose the Panracer Pasella tyres which have a folding bead, keeping the weight down.
- Drivetrain -
With most components for gearing being manufactured by Shimano in Malaysia, we wanted to incorporate some drivetrain parts that were made here in the UK. That’s pretty difficult, as Shimano have decades of engineering development, huge manufacturing capabilities and a highly functional and effective product. What we did manage to find was a British made CNC chainring to use on the front. This adopts the narrow-wide tech that has filtered through from the mountain bike world. Basically the teeth alternate between narrow and wide, which correspond with the narrow and wide links of a bicycle chain. This means the chain grips to the chainring, so your chain is never going to fall off! We attached this to a set of polished Sturmey Archer cranks, and of course, some gold anodised chainring bolts! looking shiny…
As for the gearing itself, we went for a simple wide range 9-speed set up. Plenty of gears for most day rides and urban riding. The spread of the cassette is from 12-36t, and combined with a 38t up front, this bike has a good range for most riders.
- Cockpit -
The bike has been designed as a stylish commuter or town bike, so we went for some handlebars with about 2cm of rise and a nice amount of sweep to give easy handling and a semi-upright riding position (so you can keep a watchful eye on the traffic). We supplied the bike to Brooks without the grips (as these would be fitted when in the shop). The 1x9 drivetrain meant that we could keep things simple with a single gear shifter to the right of the handlebar.
- Extras -
The finishing components for the bike included the lovely hammered alloy mudguards from Velo Orange. We love the parts that Velo Orange produce, and their mudguards finish off our bikes so well. They have neat leather washers and stainless hardware, come in very light and in a variety of widths and finishes.
We swapped the Saddle for a Special edition B17 when the bike got to the shop, and fitted a pair of Brooks Lock on grips and a saddle bag.
- Delivery to the Shop -
Probably the hardest part of this project was working out how we would get the bike to the Brooks shop in central London. I could have driven it all the way up there from Somerset, but that would have taken at least 4 hours, and the van isn’t the most efficient either so would have cost at least £80 in fuel! I also like to avoid using cars and vans where possible and instead opt for pedal power or public transport.
So the plan was hatched! I would catch the train from Taunton to Paddington with the bike preciously in tow, and cycle the remaining distance across London. To avoid any disasters, I padded the bike up with foam and zip ties!
The weather fortunately held out, and the ride across London was great fun. Despite the foam cladding, the bike rode beautifully. I could really feel the difference with these precision made and lightweight wheels and the bike skipped along reaching the Brooks Shop in about 45 minutes, albeit with a few wrong turns!
- Extra Notes -
- You can see the bike at the Brooks B1866 store at 36 Earldom Street, Covent Garden, London
- The bike is a one-off and available to buy for £1900. It’s a medium size frame.
- Find out about the Brooks B1866 store here: http://www.b1866.com
Thanks for reading,