April 10.15 – Donhou inspires new Thames bridge

Now for something on a completely different scale. We’ve been working with architecture and urban design practice Studio Egret West on an exciting new bridge project which was, believe it or not, inspired by one of our bikes. The design was entered into the Nine Elms to Pimlico Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge competition and placed runner up out of 86 entries.

The ‘V Bridge’ is a beautiful piece of architectural design and as you’d expect for a combined pedestrian and cycle bridge, it captures the spirit of cycling brilliantly. The design of the bridge was approached in the same way one would approach the design of a bicycle, to be strong, light, minimum use of materials and the aesthetics are pared back and beautiful.

It was in fact inspired by a bike we built for Chris and you can clearly see the influences when you look at the two side by side. The central span of the bridge is imagined as the top-tube of a bike frame, while the bracing and landing points where the bridge meets the banks echo the head tube / forks and seat tube / seat stay of Chris’ machine – the V-shapes that give the bridge its name.

The two landings are intended to enhance their own side of the river. The Pimlico side blending into the park without disturbing the existing greenery and the south side landing integrating a glazed cafe with a small open terrace at the very edge of the river and ample cycle parking. These tailored aspects of the design are another nod to the functional excellence you get with a custom bicycle.




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March 20.15 – Donhou Owners Ride

The inaugural Donhou Bicycles Owners Ride will take place on 17 May 2015 where we’ll be getting back to Donhou Bicycles’ roots, exploring the beautiful and tranquil roads around North Norfolk. This is the first time we’ll be getting all the bikes and owners back together in one place and look forward to sharing stories and experiences…

The finer details are yet to be finalised, but rest assured there will be cake and coffee, wonderfully empty Norfolk roads and of course we’ll be warming down in one of the many fine pubs! Most importantly, we’ll be keeping things relaxed and friendly.

When we hand over a lovingly crafted Donhou bicycle to its new owner, its the life ahead of it that is most exciting for us. This ride is our way celebrating this. Every bike we make should be unique to its owner and have a fittingly individual story that begins when you receive your completed build. As an owner, the connection between you and us doesn’t end when you wheel your machine away from the workshop. In fact, it’s just the beginning…

If you own a Donhou and haven’t heard from us yet, please get in contact to register your interest.


March 11.15 – Santiago’s Disc Road

Santiago came to us looking for a custom disc-equipped road frame after he had seen the Continental build as featured in the Rapha films. Santiago had already designed the paint scheme himself, as a designer I love working on this part of the process, but it’s also great when a customer has a really clear idea of what they want their machine to look like and we can make it happen for them in the workshop.

One of the first things you’ll notice is the flashes of pink that run through the bike, with matching Chris King componentry on the headset and hubs, plus the eye-catching bands on the fork and seat tube. The hand-carved bi-lam seat cluster is a subtle way of finishing off the theme.

The dropouts and post mount are both Donhou, specifically designed for disc brakes and made in our workshop. The groupset is SRAM Red and the frame is rigged for internal cabling, to keep the lines of Santiago’s ride looking as clean as possible while he’s exploring the Catalonian roads around his home.

A Fizik saddle and finishing kit adds the final bits of Italian flair on this truly international machine.


January 07.15 – Rebecca Kaye’s Gravel Racer

Becky had her first Donhou a couple of years back, a beautiful 650c CMYK track bike. Shortly after she comisinioned her second, but this time one that she can ride a bit further, a gravel racer suited to the wild and empty tracks and roads of the Scottish Highlands.

Becky is a very talented illustrator and I’m sure a lot of you are probably already familiar with her work. Her latest project though is the Middle of Nowhere website, documenting the wilderness of Scotland and other similarly inspiring places around the world. Its a great project with incredible photography for anyone that yearns for the empty road. For all this exploration Becky needed a suited bike and here it is all painted up in its Middle of Nowhere livery.

So that Becky has a bike thats fits and handles perfectly for her size we built it around 26″ wheels. Constructed from Reynolds 853 the frame and fork has plenty of tire clearance so it can even run treaded MTB tires if the terrain requires it. Finished with a mix of SRAM Force and Rival and running the awesome limited edition Chris King Turquoise hubs and headset its a stunning looking bike and the perfect tool for wild exploring…

As always, thanks to George Marshall for the studio shots.


December 18.14 – Signature Steel Cyclist Magazine Test

Cyclist Magazine recently had one of the Signature Steel DSS1’s on test in their January issue and had some fantastic things to say about it. Having been blown away by just how much of a joy the DSS1 is to ride and how well it handles the road, here are a few snippets to give you an idea:

“Its got ample spring in its step and a level of comfort that will save you winces if you encounter, as I did, the occasional pothole disguised as a puddle.”

“Over several weeks of testing, with a handful of other highly desirable, top-end carbon bikes sat by its side in the garage, I found myself repeatedly picking the Donhou for a ride.”

“Donhou has sincerely delivered on the promise of something ‘for all roads, all day’. Its a charming bike”

If you want to experience the amazing ride quality and feel of genuinely hand crafted steel, then you can find the full specification and pricing here.


November 16.14 – Simon’s Di2 disc road machine

We built this one for Simon who wanted an all round road bike that he could use for weekend rides and sportives, but more importantly he wanted it for a trip across the Alps.

Simon is a member of the Fireflies, a group of riders that each year ride across the alps raising money for charity and finishing their ride at the Cairns festival. We went for DA Di2 and cable operated discs brakes and a mix of Thomson, 3T finishing kit, all tied together with a light weight Reynolds 953 fillet brazed frame.

Now as this bike was being built for the Fireflies ride, we had to give it a fitting paint job. Simon wanted the Fireflies logo on his bike so we used this as the basis for the abstract beating wings design you can see here. The most important part of which is that it glows in the dark, so when Simon and the rest of the guys rode into those long alpine tunnels there’d be no mistaking who they were…


October 21.14 – Cycle Challenge Canada

A few months back we posted Ollie’s gravel tourer, that we had built him for his attempt of the world record circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Well, we are pleased to say that he got the record!

It was a distance of 1436 miles on a combination of road and logging tracks and trails, with 151,763ft of climbing in 15 days. If you are interested to read more, there is loads of info and pictures on the Cycle Challenge Canada Facebook page.

For the trip we built Ollie a disc equipped, thru axle’d 853 gravel tourer, featuring a totem paint design inspired by the Pacific Northwest. The bike performed flawlessly, rolling with speed and comfort and eating up the roughest of the logging roads. On asking how the ride itself was Ollie had this to say:

“It was certainly even harder than I expected, and that’s saying a lot! Not only did I get lost a few times in the pouring rain at the same time as having popped tyres and bears in the vicinity, the weather also swung right the way to the other extreme.”

The challenges that the road throws at you are often unexpected and sometimes even defeating, but its that potential of what lies out in front of you around that next corner, that however difficult that ride was today, you can’t help but get straight back on it and see just what else it has to offer tomorrow…



August 05.14 – Chris’s XCR Road Bike

This beautifully elegant Columbus XCR frame finished in a deep pearl white with a “slit of the skirt” revealing that sexy fillet brazed stainless underneath.

We went with a 44mm head tube and oversized tubes to keep the bike nice and stiff for its size and finished it with a full set of stainless badges. With a no holds barred built kit of ENVE, Chris King and Dura Ace this is a really special road bike.

Geometry wise, its fast and comfortable, short rear end coupled with a 27.2 post, nippy out of the saddle but a bit of give when you’re in it.

This bike will serve Chris for many years. If you ride out Suffolk way you may see him fly past some time, you’ll know from the flash of that pearl and stainless in the sun….

Higher resolution pics in the gallery.


July 14.14 – Yorkshire Continental

We were recently up in Yorkshire for the latest Rapha Continental ride. Amazing riding, lots of climbing and some incredible scenery. I won’t say too much as you can read more through Tom Southams words here and watch the film here, both of which give you a great view of what the Continental rides are all about.

The film features two of the Donhou Continental builds. The bike is designed for long all day riding and combines comfort and speed in a perfect mix, to create a bike that you just want to keep going further and further on. Get in contact if you would like to commission a similar build.


May 12.14 – Ollie’s Gravel Tourer

Ollie called me one morning saying he needed a bike for an adventure… He was planning to circumnavigate Vancouver Island by road and gravel track and as soon as I heard the words “Vancouver Island” I was really keen to build this bike.

My own experience of Vancouver Island is one of coming face to face with a Cougar and that’s something that stays with you. Now you see, cougars attack from above and behind, so we included a Totem paint scheme with eyes in the back and sides to protect him from those big cats! Thanks to Gus Farnes for working up the amazing illustration.

The bike sports thru axles keeping everything nice and stiff whilst loaded, cable routing suitable for the potentially muddy conditions and discs to give him plenty of comfortable stopping power in all conditions whilst loaded. The bike is built for purpose, but there has also been consideration for its life after the trip where it will see cross and touring duties.

Go to the gallery for more pics and you can learn more about Ollie’s trip here where you can also donate to help him reach his target for the Big C Appeal.

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