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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Off the top of my head here we have Chas Roberts, Dave Yates, Bob Jackson, Kevin Winter, possibly a small collection of frame builders. One of my friends is a very talented frame builder and used to make frames for Arthur Caygill in N.Yorks all those years ago. He posted something about his current job on Facebook and I just typed a reply to say he should get back to making bike frames again. His response was that 'most' people here in the UK look towards American frame builders as opposed to British ones.

My question now is, do you think this is true? My own 'keeper' was made by this guy in question, it's an amazing frame and will probably outlast me! My new frame however has been done by FTW, so in a way I feel as though I'm straddling the Atlantic!

Is there room here in the UK for a 'new' frame builder and will this person be able to survive in today's financial and 'made in taiwan' competition climate?

What say you?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Maybe not as his full time employment until his name gets around and noticed. But there will always be a market fot high quality hand crafted items. Buy right buy once.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:13 pm 
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if i had the funds to have a frame made i would definately look to a uk based builder


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:20 pm 
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Angus Taylor a mate of mine also build his own frames. He does it on fridays and works as an engineer the rest of the week.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:26 pm 
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i think your friend is right, you only have to look at the BOTM competition here, mostly american brands winning (not anything wrong with that at all).

Fat, IndyFab, Merlin, they all seem to have the 'I want' factor and thats because they are cool.

i think it helps when those brands have their image so well sorted aswel, look at Roberts, he's seen as an old school builder but of mainly road/touring frames and hasn't really ever changed in years, as such he is seen as boring by mountain bikers.

brand image i think is what sells it. it has to be cool. Chas Roberts, Dave Yates, Dave lloyd, they aren't cool 'names', Yeti, Fat Chance on the other hand are cool names.

when you spend a lot on a handmade custom frame and a friend asks about it try convincing him it's cool when the brand is 'Arthur Caygill'

i am not suggesting we all need stuff to be cool but if it's built for you, does it's job perfectly, is very good quality and is cool aswell then that hits the spot,

mostly the americans get that right, us? not so much.

my 2p.
:)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:32 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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I'm dipping my toe into the murky waters of framebuilding and have to say the future looks bright. There's plenty of enquiries and a good few orders now placed.

There is a new wave of builders springing up in the UK and all are busy. keV Winter has a very healthy waiting list and young guns like Ricky Feather in York are taking plenty of orders. His bikes really are stunning too which can only be good for the rest of us.

I looked into having a custom frame built a few years back and sadly a fair few of the older more established UK builders came across as slightly disinterested when I asked for certain features. A little stuck in the past maybe or even a little tired and jaded? I'm not sure, but it made me look stateside to get what I wanted. A shame maybe, but if this new generation of builders get a chance, maybe we can enjoy some innovation and ethusiasm for building true bespoke bikes again. It's this excitement for the future of UK framebuilding that has finally driven me to get involved after dreaming of doing it since my teens. I'm not expecting to get rich doing it, but that's not the point. Building someone their dream bike and seeing their faces after a first ride is reward enough for me folks!

Si


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:46 pm 
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With any brand the brand image is key. Taylormade bike (Angus Taylor) is at least a play on his name.

Another chap local to me who I may be sharing shop space with is Glenn Morris. He has called is company Titan Road Sport. He imports Ti and now carbon frames and other carbon components. Again a name with a good brand image he/I hope.

Fat Chance, Yeti are just cool names to begin with and become cooler with what the name is put to. Image is everything.

However Justin Burls seems to make a livng from Burls Cycles. But most big brands have names not associated with their founders. Kona, Orange, Fat Chance, Marin.. Only Bontranger, Fisher, Ricthleys are big brands now swalled up that have names associated with their founders.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Some very valid points, in particular Yeti and Fat Chance, those guys paid a lot for their marketing campaigns in the 80's and 90's, it is still paying off, the UK boys didn't have the budgets, nor perhaps the inclination to get as heavily involved with the racing scenes, thus lacked the exposure?

Could we have some links being added to this thread for the 'young guns' making UK frames these days, I'm intrigued and I'm certain a few others will be too.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:17 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Brand names probably did/do have a bearing on things. As you say 'Dave' and 'Chas' looks better on the side of a tipper truck than on a mountain bike. Mountain bikes are about a fun and carefree existance and should be sexy in both name and design.
In the last few decades the UK frame building scene has for me conjoured up an image of mugs of tea, roll ups, oily sketches, steam engines and brown overalls. You can almost imagine that 'Chas and Dave' built Spitfires whilst bombs fell from the skies.
But its changing. Last years inaugural Bespoked Bristol (the UKs version of NAHBS) was full of young guns with cool tattoos and a sparky eyes.

Its taken a few years for us to catch up with the Yanks (as ever), but the Brits are coming.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Dr S wrote:
Brand names probably did/do have a bearing on things. As you say 'Dave' and 'Chas' looks better on the side of a tipper truck than on a mountain bike. Mountain bikes are about a fun and carefree existance and should be sexy in both name and design.
In the last few decades the UK frame building scene has for me conjoured up an image of mugs of tea, roll ups, oily sketches, steam engines and brown overalls. You can almost imagine that 'Chas and Dave' built Spitfires whilst bombs fell from the skies.
But its changing. Last years inaugural Bespoked Bristol (the UKs version of NAHBS) was full of young guns with cool tattoos and a sparky eyes.

Its taken a few years for us to catch up with the Yanks (as ever), but the Brits are coming.


Why haven't I heard of Bespoked Bristol before????? What you say about the UK framebuilders certainly rings true and indeed some bike shops as well, step forward Edwardes in Camberwell, scary!


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