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2012 Exhibitors:
English Cycles

What is it about the bicycle? Something about the freedom and sheer joy of the supreme efficiency of the marriage of man and machine. Something about the zen of the meditative state during riding. The ability to mentally ‘switch off’ during long road rides. The intensity of concentration when being absolutely ‘on’ riding technical singletrack. Going fast, with less than a square inch of rubber connecting you to the road. The private world of pain of hillclimbing and time trialling. And even the simple ability to cover ground and haul stuff around town.

I had bikes like most kids, and started riding to school on a 24″ wheeled 5-speed at age 11. At 13 I got my first ‘proper’ bike, an early ‘mountain bike’ that was too big for me, but which introduced me to what became my first love: off-road riding. Two years later I upgraded to a much more competent machine (a 1991 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp – which I still have!), and entered my first race. The ’90s were the years of exotic machined components in crazy anodised colors; as a kid I couldn’t afford the fancy parts, but having access to machine tools at school I started making my own. Some were successful, others not, but I learnt a lot, and wanting to learn more, I went on from high school to study mechanical engineering at Cambridge University.

Four years later I graduated with my Masters, and despite sending applications to the big bike companies (no doubt like a lot of graduating bike nuts!), I wasn’t making progress towards working in the industry. I took a job with a company in Cambridge – great people and I liked the work but had no interest in the product. A year later an opportunity arose to work with a recumbent start-up company in Massachusetts; I ended up as the product manager as well as the designer for a future line – unfortunately after a year the funding fell through and we weren’t able to capitalise on the good start we’d made. That led me to spending the next five years as a somewhat itinerant bike bum – I worked in bike shops and built wheels to fund travelling each winter to avoid the bad weather. I spent six months working as a mechanic and guide in the Canary island, and picked up some contract design work doing all the design and geometry for a Danish bike company. I lived in Japan for four months, I toured across the US, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. And I raced a fair bit, with a reasonable amount of success. Highlights include four 12 hour mountain bike wins (3 in the UK, 1 in New Zealand), 7th in the British National Time Trial championship, 4th in the Hillclimb championship, podiums in France and Italy. But I was still holding out for that ‘perfect’ job: I wanted to find a company where I could be involved with all parts of the process, from design to prototyping and testing to manufacturing. This means a relatively small company, and there aren’t many that size that are hiring! Just as I was thinking I would have to settle for not working full time with bikes, I was offered a job with Bike Friday, makers of performance folding bikes in Oregon. And after sometime to figure out getting a work visa, I duly packed up and shipped myself off to Eugene. In a small company one must wear many hats, and over the last four years I have been involved and been responsible for almost every part of the process at Bike Friday, culminating in running the production line and being in charge of all engineering and development. During that time I was also fortunate enough to meet my wonderful wife, and I now have a green card and am well settled in Eugene.

Time trialling is a big deal in the UK (one can – and many do – ride four or five a week all season), and I have been fairly successful at it, but also had some ideas of how to go faster using bike design and position. So the first bike with my name on it was my TT bike – which did make me faster (and has won three state championships to date), and also attracted considerable attention. After building a road frame to match I had several friends ask if I would build them a bike – so I started to set up a shop at home and English Cycles became a reality.

English Cycles custom 29er:

This is for a rider in Wales, so lots of rain! To make the bike as low maintenance as possible we have the Gates belt drive (with Niner EBB for tensioning and split dropout for belt installation), the Shimano Alfine 11spd internally geared hub, sealed frame tubes and a White Brothers rigid fork. As a nod to comfort we have Notubes rims with big Schwalbe tires – 2.4″ in front and 2.25″ in back. Run tubeless these can be set around 20lbs of pressure for good cushioning and traction. Helping out is an Eriksen titanium seatpost, with the frame designed to have the post close to it’s maximum extension, for cantilevered passive suspension. Cranks from The Hive and bar/stem from FSA round out the components. Total weight with saddle and pedals is under 24lbs.

English Cycles custom road:

A stealthy build heading to England. Custom butted and ovalised integrated seatmast, True Temper tubes elsewhere and internal cable routing. Custom built super durable training wheels with Alchemy hubs, Kinlin rims and Sapim CX-ray spokes, weighing in at 1498g. Lightning carbon cranks with compact rings for trips to the Alps. SRAM Red and Ciamilo brakes. Total weight just over 14.5lbs.

English Cycles Di2 Custom Road:

For this road bike I was given free reign on the design with the Di2, and my goal was to make everything as cleanly integrated as possible – this starts with a custom stem featuring a special pocket to house the Di2 control box. The cables then run inside the stem, the steerer and the frame before exiting right at the derailleurs. The custom battery is inside the seattube.

English Cycles b-skinny project:

This was a fun project – Brandon had some very specific ideas he wanted to try out, and we worked through the design to come up with something to try and meet those concepts. He is a very light rider, so the frame could use undersized tubes (hence the name!), and we ended up with a 12lb bike with custom steel frame, fork and handlebar.

Brandon has put up a nice photostream of the project and why it was designed this way. It will certainly be unique being ridden around the streets of Singapore!

 

English Cycles ‘cross:

This bike is for a taller rider, so has an oversize, bi-ovalised downtube for a stiff, strong front end. A custom wishbone to provide a firm base for the rear cantilever brake, with slightly curved seatstays and S-bend chainstays for tire, heel and crank clearance. No chainstay bridge for mud clearance. Rear brake and derailleur cables are run over the toptube with the front derailleur taking the most direct route under the bottom bracket. The stem is custom to match with an internal stop for the front brake cable – featuring titanium bolts it weighs 182g. The frame and stem are powdercoated matte black with gloss black panels, nicely matching the Enve ‘cross fork. Bottle cages mean the bike can be ridden for training as well as on race day! The build features a mix of lightweight parts from SRAM, Avid, Zipp and Lightning. Weight is 16.5lbs complete as shown.

English Cycles travel adventure bikes:

Steve and Jan have a private plane, and like to ride centuries, tours and other bicycle adventures. So they needed bikes that would be easy to pack in their plane, and be adaptable for whatever sort of riding they want to do. What we came up with are disc brake road bikes with two sets of handlebars (drops and flat), with cable splitters for ease of changeover, two sets of wheels – lightweight road wheels (with Alpha 340 rims and tubeless tires) and ‘cross wheels with 38C Schwable Marathon Plus tires for touring. In less than five minutes the bikes can be converted from one mode to the other, and the rear triangle folds in either configuration for ease of packing.

English Cycles custom road:

“It’s been three weeks now with the new bike so enough time has gone by for me to get a general idea of how the frame behaves and my overall thoughts. Last weekend I decided to do my first race of the season considering I couldn’t make any excuses any more because of a bike. The wisdom of jumping into the first race at the height of the season is questionable and I was positive by half way through I’d be cooked. But somehow 42 miles in with 1 mile left I was still in the front group. I was saved from attempting the sprint by the guy in front of me nearly taking out half the back of the pack. The bike performed beautifully. My initial impression still stands, that the frame feels smooth. NYC is very bumpy and bikes take some serious abuse, When I lived in Vermont even the dirt roads were smoother than many of the NYC streets. The frame is not beating me up compared to the Reynolds 953 which had oversized seatstays and I could feel every bump and vibration. The difference is very striking, on the new frame I feel a lot more energy going to into forward momentum instead of my bum trying to absorb shocks. As for the front end well I didn’t know what to expect but it looks way cool and man is it stiff. My hands hurt a lot more from hard efforts or sprints as I can really push on the bars a lot harder. Not a negative just need to readjust my style, I used to keep a vulcan death grip on the bars to keep the front end chatter down, now I can relax and just concentrate on the effort. Last but not least the bike just looks cool. Bike riding is a mental sport, your body can do so much more if the brain just goes along. To be riding on a bike that looks good just adds that little extra to the ride.”

English Cycles TT:

This was actually the first bike I built as English Cycles. I couldn’t achieve the position I wanted on a production time trial bike, so decided I should just build my own and see if I couldn’t make myself faster! With the bars needing to be low, I decided to eliminate a conventional stem and integrate the handlebars and aerobar into the fork. The aero extensions bolt on to allow some adjustment. At the time there weren’t many options for TT brakes, so I designed and machined my own, with a pulley operated single pivot on the back of the fork, and a scissor-link center-pull under the chainstays. Being my personal bike, I could make the seat height fixed (it does have a small amount of adjustment by changing out the clamping shims). All internal cable routing and my custom narrow front hub finish it off. This bike has since won four Oregon time trial championships, including setting a new course record last year. Steel lives on!

English Cycles Superlight Road:

This one has been my personal race bike for the last three seasons. 11.5lbs as shown, it has helped me win many stage races and hillclimbs! Light but stiff and great handling, everything a race bike should be, and very careful component selection achieves the remarkable low weight.

English Cycles SS 29er:

One speed, big tires, go ride! Belt drive with a split dropout and EBB, internally routed hydraulic hoses and an integrated, adjustable seatmast. 18lbs, ready for race or play!

English Cycles Folding Road Concept:

Airline fees for bikes keep getting higher, so I was looking for a solution for a no compromise race bike that could be flown without incurring extra charges. The solution I came up with adds just 120g to the frame weight, and enables easy packing into an airline checkable case. I call it my folding road concept, as the rear triangle folds around the bottom bracket shell and enables a compact package for packing, but the joints are barely noticeable when unfolded.

Built up as shown, the bike weighs 13.5lbs. To fold the bike, the rear brake cable must be unclamped (I intend to modify the brake to have a quick release feature), then just loosen the clamp at the wishbone and the two around the BB shell, and the rear triangle (with wheels removed) will rotate under the mainframe, with the seatstays pivoting at the dropouts to fold flat on top of the chainstays. The seatstay pivots are designed as sockets so that the (titanium) bolts have no shear loading. To fit in the case requires removing the cranks, seatpost and handlebars.

I recently took this bike on a trip back to my homeland of the UK, and placed 11th in the British Hillclimb championships.

English Cycles Di2 Tri bike:

This bike features fully integrated Di2 shifting with an internal battery and micro-usb charging port. The cockpit has a custom English stem/bar/aerobar (800g) with adjustable/interchangeable extensions and elbow pads, complete with internal routing for the brakes and Di2 TT shifters. Rear wheel cut out with the dropouts angled back to allow for vertical dropouts (easy wheel changes) but still having the wheel close to the frame. Rear brake mounted under the chainstay with internal cable routing. English aero hubs built onto Enve 6.7 rims with custom painted spokes to match.

English Cycles compact road:

This bike was built around a long titanium seatpost, to give a passive suspension whilst the compact frame and rear triangle keep things stiff and efficient. My go-to bike for long road rides and rough races!

English Cycles JV’s commuter:

This bike was created for all-weather Portland commuting. A mix of disc brakes, internally geared hub and belt drive means very low maintenance,  and the frame has an integrated rear pannier rack. The rear hub is Shimano’s Alfine 11spd, controlled by Versa integrated brake/shifters. There is a matching Alfine dynohub, with internal wiring inside the fork leg to the crown mounted front lamp, and further internal wiring through the toptube and rack to the rear LED light on the back of the rack. The fenders are carbon fiber models from Ruckus, complete with carbon stays! Custom painted NoTubes Alpha 340 rims enable tubeless tires with sealant for no worries about punctures.

The frame has a Niner EBB for tensioning the belt, and a split dropout for belt installation. The geometry of the rack was based around using the small Ortlieb panniers whilst providing for heel clearance. And finally a chameleon-like green/blue sparkly paint job to finish it off!

English Cycles Nuvinci Cruiser:

Sometimes it is good just to sit up, ride easy and watch the world go by! So why not do that in style and comfort? Massive 29″ tires and and a supple frame give a very smooth ride. Helping the smoothness is the NuVinci continuously variable internally geared hub. No more trying to find the ‘right’ gear, just twist the shifter until the pedalling rate feels comfortable. And with the Gates belt drive, the drivetrain is completely silent. Beautiful wooden fenders from Creative Openings in Washington add to the style and function. Internal cables for the rear disc brake and gears run inside the twin toptubes, whilst the front brake cable runs through the stem, steerer and fork. The twin bladed fork was designed to give the wide clearance needed for the fender and tire, but also adds a certain amount of ‘give’, and a nice styling to the front end.

English Cycles Di2 special:

I first thought Shimano’s Di2 was a bit of a gimmick, after all, steel cables have always shifted pretty well haven’t they? But then I tried it…. Is it necessary? No, but it is very nice to use! And it allows for a very high level of integration. It always seemed that the control box was an afterthought, being cable-tied to the brake cables. So I made a custom stem to house it underneath. By also making an ‘upside down’ headset arrangement, such that the steerer is part of the stem and bolts into the fork crown, I was able to run the Di2 cables completely inside from the stem to the derailleurs. Then of course the battery needed to be hidden too – Icarus lights in Portland provided a custom battery (half the weight and 150% of the capacity of the stock Shimano one) that fits inside the integrated seatmast, with a custom micro-usb port on the seattube for recharging.

The frame features a Columbus aero downtube, custom butted and ovalised seattube, my signature skinny wishbone seatstays and True Temper S3 chainstays. Retro Sweet Wings steel cranks complete the steel theme, but the bike still comes in under 15lbs.

design/programming: todd@consumedesign.com