Yes we now offer custom sizing on our Signature Steel builds, so if you didn’t fit on a DSS1 or DSS2 before, then now you can! Simple as that. Please get in contact here if you would like to discuss a build or click here for all the info on these award winning machines.

Sept. 20.17. – Tom’s Custom City Bike

Tom came to us with a specific goal. He was after a custom town bike that would accommodate his hip troubles – which have historically caused him pain while riding other bikes.

We started with Reynolds 835 steel tubing and built the frame around Tom’s precise positioning specifications. The frame is equipped with Paragon rockers and features custom racks, forks and stem, not to mention the custom-formed double bend bars to give the bike the short and high reach required to take all the pressure off Tom’s hips.

The belt-driven Shimano Alfine gearing is paired with Middleburn cranks. Paul Klamper mechanical disc brakes, hubs and seat post complete the unique package, designed to help Tom enjoy his riding around town, not to mention stand out on his striking new machine.

  

Sept 06.17 – DSS2 Cyclades

On trails formed from age old donkey tracks, passing ancient farmland and tiny white washed churches, there comes a timelessness not often felt. Surrounded by azure seas, the terrain is steep and rocky and the incredible island views are earned. We took our own adventure worn DSS2 to the Cycladic islands for some further bike/owner bonding and more incredible adventures. Man, I love this bike!

Aug 08.17 – Grinduro Race Report

When we got a call asking if we’d be up for building and racing a bike at the first ever Grinduro Scotland we jumped at it. There’s something really cool about building a bike for a specific purpose and when it’s a race it’s even more exciting. You ever seen that scene from Days of Thunder where Harry is in the barn talking to the race car? Well thats basically the dream.

Grinduro is a unique event in that it is a kind of combined gravel race/ride that takes its inspiration from an MTB style enduro event. Essentially it’s a 60 mile ride over various terrain; gravel, fire roads, single track and tarmac with 4 timed sections along the way. The timed sections only counting towards your final place. It’s a great concept and with food, music and beers its kind of like a mini festival too.

On arrival on the Isle of Arran and the Grinduro venue we were met by a grand Scotsman playing the bag pipes in the rain. The rain didn’t stop until Sunday when the race was over and everyone was headed home. It was something we all somehow reluctantly grew to enjoy by the end of 60 miles of it through forest, over hills and down glens. 

Tent up, it was through to registration and the exhibition hall and to see what the other builders had come up with. Yes there was a little mini custom bike show there, with a handful of select custom frame builders, all of us going head to head, not only on judging of the bikes, but we would actually be racing them too.

Dropping the bike off, while it sat on its plinth, it was time for some beers and food and a little bit of bench racing. At the event there was a lot of talk about which bike would be more suitable and as the weather changed for the worse this subject became more and more important. With 3 flat out gravel sections and 1 tech’ single track downhill, which with the weather worsening was going to be more a case of getting down with the least mistakes, I still felt that a dedicated gravel machine was the right choice, for the timed sections at least. A lot of people were calling a hard tail MTB as the weapon of choice however.

When it came to race day, the rain was still pouring and there was something really satisfying about pulling a bike off a plinth and taking it out for a severe thrashing in appalling conditions. The bike rode great. Running the Clement MSO 40’s soft on the awesome Zipp Firecrest wheels meant the bike flew over the gravel up the first long climb stage. Although coming down the tech DH stage I was definitely under tired, with the shallow tight tread of the tires not giving me much to cut into the loam and mud. In the atrocious weather my brakes had started to fade by this time too, but I dropped my saddle and hung, had a couple of slip off’s getting offline trying to pass people, but couldn’t complain for the conditions. After a lunch break there were two more stages, a fast fire road decent and steep punchy climb. Plus some amazing cliff top single track between stages.

I only saw the results for the top 35 but think I bagged 6th fastest over the tech’ stage, and would be interested to see how many CX/Gravel bikes were in front, it was proper MTB territory through there!  All in at the end of the day I finished 10th overall and 4th in my category, frustratingly only 7 secs behind 3rd!

It was such a cool event, getting to race and hang out on the same ride, then party in the evening too. Sure Scotland delivered some of its famous weather when we were all hoping for a break, but it only bought everyone closer together. Thanks to Giro, Columbus Tubing, SRAM, ZIPP, Clement Tyres, Fabric, the Grinduro family, the Bicycle Academy, all the frame builders  and everyone else who we met and partied with over the weekend. Good beers, good bro’s, good racing!

Photography – Russell Burton, with bike photo by Satchel Cronk.

Aug. 8.17 – Grinduro DSS3

Grinduro is a unique kind of bike race, a combination of gravel grinding and mountain bike enduro over one loop made up of a mix of surfaces. It is also a celebration of the best things about cycling, as much about the party as the ride with food, art, live music, and a whole host of handmade bikes.

We were invited by Grinduro to build a custom bike and exhibit it at the event, and then to compete in the race. We knew we’d need a machine which could cope with fast gravel sections, punchy climbs, a technical downhill section, and a very real chance of inclement Scottish weather. So we took our DSS3 CX racer and tweaked it to suit the gravel style of racing required at Grinduro. We dropped in the Columbus Futura Gravel fork, increased the tyre size, and made some adjustments to the frame.

The DSS3 frame is built around a 3D-printed seat lug which allows the seat stays to splay wider apart for greater tyre clearance and also allows us to increase stiffness and shouldering comfort by using the custom-formed ovalized top tube. The frame also features a 44mm head tube, thru-axle dropouts and flat mount disc mounts.

For the design, we took the fun-loving spirit of the event and splattered the frame with it. Essentially, it’s a flame job, but using actual paint drips rather than flames for a punk rock vibe. We basically just employed minimal masking and went wild with a paint brush! Ultimately, the splatter paint did a great job of hiding the dirt following a wet and muddy event.

Equipped with Zipp Firecrest tubeless disc wheels, wide Clement MSO 40c tyres and SRAM Force1 groupset, this is a fast-rolling and reliable racer ready for everything but the wettest descents.

Zipp Service Course finishing kit and Fabric saddle round off the bike and serve to sustain comfort over the tough 60 mile Grinduro route.

It was a dream to ride on the day. Though the conditions were wet and muddy, the weather helped build camaraderie and turned it into a brilliantly exciting event.

   

July. 26.17 – Callum’s audax weapon

It takes a special sort of cyclist to ride audaxes. It’s fair to say the long, solo rides between checkpoints, frequently exceeding 300km in length and often on terrible semi off-road surfaces, are not everyone’s cup of tea.

When Callum asked us to create him an audax bike, we knew that stability and durability would be crucial in meeting the demands of these brutal endurance missions.

The frame is built with Columbus XCR tubing and the geometric paintjob, which has that weird, almost optical illusion-style, was inspired by artist Bridget Riley.

We took the buzz dot design and went with exposed stainless for the oval features, to add more noise to the design as Riley might have done. Red highlights were added to pick out the Chris King components and the design was incorporated in the matching mudguards. Finally, to add the real personal touch, we hid Callum’s children’s names within the design.

Equipped with flat mount disc brakes, an ENVE GRD Fork with integrated mudguard and Swarf carbon rear fender to match, this frame is ready for the toughest terrain Callum can find.

The Chris King R45 hubs, headset and bottom bracket come together to ensure a fast-rolling and smooth ride. For sharp and reliable shifting, the bike is equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2 which, paired with the disc brakes, offers great control and confidence.

We finished up the bike with Fizik finishing kit, and Callum’s chosen Brooks Cambium saddle – hopefully that’ll keep him comfortable on those very long days on the road.

May. 25.17 – DSS3 teaser pics

Having walked away earlier in the year with the coveted Best CX award at NAHBS, things are really gathering pace for the DSS3, the forthcoming new frame set in our Signature Steel series.

Just like the two bikes that came before it, the DSS3 was built with a clear purpose in mind; to make riding cyclocross as fun and fast as possible. We don’t want to give too much of the details away while we finalise this bike, but this is one we haven’t been able to leave alone, hence it being a year behind release! All the extra work means this is going to be one awesome machine.

The key distinguishing feature is the seat lug. 3D printed, this is central to the bikes design, allowing us to design in multiple features to make racing cross both faster and with the most ease.

As well as Tom’s own input, to ensure we were creating the best CX machine possible we took our prototype and put it into the hands of Neil Phillips, Kibosh rider, Trans Con racer, CX thrasher and all-round rad dude. Neil really put the bike through its paces this past season, with appearances and podiums at events including Yorkshire’s epic 3 Peaks race, the National Champs and the fiercely competitive London X League. From the sounds of things he had a blast riding the DSS3 and his feedback has been invaluable in fine-tuning it.

“Whether it was the steps and rocks of the 3 Peaks or hucking it through the trees, the bike carried its speed, stayed planted and never faltered. We made some tweaks through the season and the bike rips!”  – Neil.

We now have a few more final tweaks to make before we make this frame set available for pre-order in the coming months, so keep your peepers peeled.

Thanks to Jim Holland for the awesome photos and to Ritchey Logic, Hope and Middleburn for their support.

 

There’s not many team riders that get their hands dirty building their own machines, grafting before they’ve even stepped astride their bike, earning the closest connection possible with the machine they’ll ride and race. The boys were working late into the evenings in Donhou’s east London workshop, drilling, mitering, prep’ing and carrying out the all important beer and pizza runs, helping turn a collection of tubes into something fit for lighting it up at the front of the bunch. Under the watchful eye of Tom Donhou they helped craft their own stunning steel race machines.

Built from a mix of Columbus HSS and Spirit tubing and utilising the world’s lightest steel dropouts, Donhou has pieced together a fit for purpose bike with both punch and glide. The frames feature an opposed oval teardrop down tube and heavily ovalised top tube, with wide set stays putting stiffness where it’s needed, all with that feel of a finely tuned steel machine. 

The bikes are finished off with the excellent new Columbus Futura fork and Ritchey WCS wheels and finishing kit, all of them dressed in Donhou’s famed deep glossy paint, taking obvious cues from a certain womanising race car drivers ‘77 F1 McLaren… 

As for the team, you won’t see them warming up on the turbo. They’d rather crash and burn than play safe, hungry for the art of racing, when racing was about guts, not incremental gains… and of course, the cold beer at the finish line.

Kibosh Racing, punching above their weight since 2016, coming to a local road race soon. 

#YouAintProBro

With support from ColumbusRitcheyFourPureScratch Labs and Kask.

Photography – George Marshall

Apr. 25.17 – The ultimate modern town bike

At first glance this build seems like a classic town run-around, but look a little closer and you’ll see that it’s very much a modern beast.

The frame is built completely with Reynolds 953 – that’s a stainless steel with a remarkably high strength to weight ratio. The fact it’s stainless gives a really excellent level of weather resistance and also allowed us to create the super-fine detailing on the frame. You’ll notice we’ve left the frame unpainted in some places to create a really eye-catching box-lined effect. It looks especially amazing when the brushed, unpainted sections catch the light. The fenders are painted stainless too, to continue the effect through the whole build.

The sleek look of this Midnight Green beauty is really enhanced with the clean, custom stem and bars, while the locking top-cap adds a bit of extra security. The fork and front rack are also custom-made for this build, allowing us to give the customer exactly the right specifications – in this case, as a professional photographer, he needed enough room on the rack to carry his camera bag securely.

The bike runs fixed and is propelled with a Gates Carbon Drive belt. This is a winner for any sort of urban riding, requiring no maintenance and going for many, many miles before wearing out. Disc brakes add the assured stopping power you need for emergency stops in unpredictable London traffic.

A braze-on bell mount, exposed stainless at the top of the seat tube top and on the fender tips, and Brooks saddle add the finishing details.

Often the greatest pleasure in building someone’s perfect bike for them comes from actually seeing them on it – when the owner collected this one it was immediately clear it was a match made in heaven. 

 

 

Apr. 4.17 – Best custom CX at NAHBS 17

We crossed the Atlantic for the esteemed North American Handmade Bicycle Show show this year, a pinnacle in the world of frame building and are super stoked to come away with the award for ‘Best Cyclocross’ bike for our soon to be released DSS3. 

Our latest Signature Steel machine, purpose-built for cyclocross and the needs of a racer, was on display at NAHBS where we partnered with Brooks on their stand. We’re especially pleased given the rigorous judging criteria the guys at NAHBS always stick to. They have a separate category for adventure/gravel bikes – so it was nice to see the DSS3 get recognition for being a purebred CXer. A true honour!

The fact the head judge, Padraig from Red Kite Prayer, picked up on a detail as technical as this is testament to how much the panel knows about bikes!

“The lynchpin of this bike was the 3D-printed seat lug. What made it unusual was that it permitted the top tube to be heavily ovalized and when the seatstays were joined, they extended beyond the seat lug, which allowed Donhou to pass continuous derailleur housing all the way through the frame until it passed out of the seatstay and ran to the rear derailleur.”

The seat lug achieves much more than this, we’ll have more details when we’re ready to release the bike.

Personal show highlights included meeting the guys at Black Magic Paint – they’re technical ability with paint is incredible, stealing themselves the ‘Best Finish’ award.

The US has a way different perspective on custom MTB, so it was really cool to see what’s going on over there, particularly stuff like the coaster braked clunkers by Black Sheep.

Oh and it didn’t hurt being able to escape out into Moab for a ride post-show!

 

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