I recently needed some work doing on an old Witcomb frame I am restoring for L'eroica.
Through the auspices of another forum, I came across a young man called Matthew McDonough who has a small workshop in the back of Blue Door Bicycles in Crystal Palace.
Matt was a pleasure to deal with, and did a great job on the Witcomb. He has just launched his own frame building business, Talbot Frameworks - and I have the pleasure of being one of his first customers.
Having a bespoke frame built is, of course, an experience that far too few people get to enjoy these days, but the end result is almost always far more satisfying - and not necessarily any more expensive - than buying an off the peg frame from your local branch of Evans.
I have therefore decided to record this process here, so that other members of this forum might be similarly motivated to take the plunge.
Hanging around in Matt's workshop, it became clear that one of his favoured design features is a wishbone rear monostay - a feature that suits me down to the ground, as I have always fancied a Dave Lloyd project 90, but never been able to find one in my size.
After several chats, we have now come up with an outline design.
I am going to have a frame with a rear monostay, but unlike the project 90, it will have a traditional horizontal top tube. Seat tube will be 58 cm and Top tube will be 57cm (both ctc).
Head and seat tube angles will be 73 degrees.
Tubing will be a Reynolds Mix. The front triangle will be 853, the rear triangle and the forks will be 953, which is stainless, and will be polished (way cheaper than chrome).
Rear dropouts and bottom bracket are Richard Sachs, front dropouts are from Llewelyn. Head tube lugs are going to be bilaminated by the builder.
At the moment, I am going for a 'stealth' look. I have purchased a Graphite Chorus groupset, and Matt is getting a graphite Chris King Headset. Current thinking is that the frame will also be painted in graphite / metallic grey.
The beauty of going bespoke is, of course, that I don't have to commit to the paint scheme ( which I'm not 100% on ) until a later stage.
I am very excited by this project, and would urge others to make the trip up the hill to Crystal Palace - which is a surprisingly nice part of London.
As an added incentive, you should be aware that Matt has special introductory offers on both frame only and full builds.
More details here: http://www.talbotframeworks.com