Swallow frames have only ever been made as one off bespoke items for each customer, with around 2,500 being made between 1981 to 1999. Since re-launching earlier this year, the company has been overwhelmed by the goodwill of past customers, many of whom still proudly own original Swallow frames and bikes from the 1980s and '90s.
“We can make a bespoke frame for a client starting from £1500, and that is a frame made just for that client, to their specification and style, it's personal,” said Peter Bird. “There are no middle men, bean counters, forecasters and warehousing costs and it's not shipped halfway around the world – the client deals with us: the people who make it with their hands”. Robert Wade Commented: “Our clients are looking for an attention to detail and a personal element in the whole process of buying a quality bike. Something, no matter how much you might pay, is not possible from the big brands.”
As a sideline to Swallow, Bicycles By Design owners Peter and Robert have also created the Landescape brand of made-to-measure frames that are outsourced to two small specialist manufacturers in Europe who also hand-build.
“Working with a French company, we are launching what we believe to be one the first made-to-measure carbon fibre tandem frames in the UK.” commented Robert, adding: “Bicycles can still be made in the UK and Europe and equipped with British and European components.”
Bicycles By Design have also offered frame building courses since 1993 at its Jackfield workshop in the World Heritage Site of the Ironbridge Gorge Shropshire, home of the Industrial revolution.
For more on the Swallow brand, framebuilding courses and the Landescape label the Bicycles By Design office is contactable on 01952 458342.