The Great British custom bike surge

Framebuilding is seeing a resurgence in Britain to meet the rising demand from consumers, indicate industry sources
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The UK is seeing growth in the custom build market, according to leading players in the industry.

Increasing numbers of custom bike builders and a rise in the number of frames being turned out by existing custom providers is servicing a growing demand, probably fuelled by the expansion of frame building courses like those provided by The Bicycle Academy.

The iconic Reynolds Technology brand has told BikeBiz that it has seen a rise in demand for its steel from the custom sector.

Reynolds Technologies managing director Keith Noronha told us: “In the last three to four years we have seen more interest from the growing band of small custom builders who have set up businesses to cater for tailored bike frames. This growth is reflected in the number of ‘custom bike’ shows like NAMBS and Bespoked.”

The UK Handmade Bicycle Show, Bespoked, launched in 2011 and has tripled in size since then. “Knowing the provenance of what you are riding is part of the alchemy,” Bespoked founder Phil Taylor told BikeBiz. “The history and legacy of UK cycling manufactory is the stuff of legend. UK framebuilding is in resurgence and there’s no better time to seek out your local framebuilder and have a bicycle made for you.”

On a wider scale, British bicycle manufacture is set to increase vastly in 2016 with the launch of Brompton new site in Greenford, London. Brompton will double production through the move.

The UK is also seeing innovation in cycle frame manufacture. Reynolds boss Noronha revealed: “We started a project with a Birmingham-based partner to make 3D printed titanium dropouts for early 2016 linked to our tube-set designs. The next development is a maraging steel version – so a high end lugged steel bike with the latest compact flatmount disc unit (mechanical actuation) could be on the cards!”

There’s more on the British manufacturing sector in our special feature in the latest issue of BikeBiz, starting on page 17.

Meanwhile the BBC is airing a half-hour programme on English cycle manufacturing as part of its Inside the Factory series, with the broadcast date yet to be set.

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