We have featured a few homemade bikes recently, Adrian Bedford’s foray into steel and carbon full suspension bikes, the Curve has been a great development from the first full bouncer he built in his shed. Adrian also built a hardtail and we have another hardtail here from Rob Farrer.
Front end in the jig.
Rob’s from Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire and after finishing school he started and apprenticeship as a TIG welder at Forum Engineering Technology building remote underwater vehicles. Pretty bonkers stuff welding sea going machines and being a biker it wasn’t long before the penny plopped into the sea and Rob figured he should build his own bike.
Over to Rob:
I’ve been riding bikes for the past 5 years, done a bit of racing too, mainly in the UK Gravity Enduro Series. I worked in a bike shop as a mechanic for three years when I was at school so I know my way round a bike. Mountain bikes today have come a long way from what they use to be, especially full suspension bikes. To me hard tails haven’t seen the same level of development so I wanted to build my own. I’ve always wanted to create my own bike ever since I started welding now having the space and equipment at home, it was a no brainer.
The first of hopefully many sets of dropouts.
I started around Christmas last year, after what seemed like weeks on CAD, I came up with my hard tail. I used relatively new standards such as Shimano E-thru 142×14 rear axle, 44mm internal diameter head tube and a 30.9 dropper compatible seat tube (with optional internal routing).
Front end in Rob’s homemade jig.
I did go a bit wild with the geometry, I wanted a 150mm travel fork, with it slack and low front end and a short back end without being too long in the top tube. This created a longish wheel base with with a perfect cockpit.
Head tube – 64 degrees
Seat tube length – 460mm
Virtual Top tube – 580mm
Chain stay – 415mm
Head tube length – 120mm
Fork length – 430mm axle to crown
Then the tubing was ordered, a mixture of Reynolds 631 for the front triangle and Columbus Gara for the rear. This tubing ratio provided the perfect strength the weight, with a nice springy ride.
Amazing what you can do with some steel channel and aluminium scraps.
Next job was the jig. I want a jig to do any sized frame, from the biggest 29er to the littlest kids bike. After many hours on CAD drawing up ideas, I finally came up with a simple design. I used three lengths of 100×50 mild steel channel, then faced and slotted for different sized frames. Then the fixtures to hold the head tube, bottom bracket, seat tube and rear dropouts in place were made from some scrap aluminium I found at work.
Nice CNC dropouts from the other side.
Actual working on the frame started around February this year. One of my good friends Mark CNC machined my dropout design, which was very helpful. Also another mate Phil, laser cut out my disc brake and ISCG mounts.
Laser cut brake mount tacked in place.
I first made the front triangle, mitred it all be hand then TIG welded it up. It was a lot easier than I first imagined but then came the rear end. Which proved to be a lot a work to start with, because I had to make my own bender! It all went well and I’m very happy with the results.
The finished article pre paint.
First ride was about June I think initial impressions were great, it rode so nice, very stable at high speed, yet easy to pop over stuff when going slow. I rode I without any paint on to start with, to check for cracking but all went well. Paint went on next and a very stealth satin black for this, big thanks to Mark for this!
And now in satin black.
After a few months of hard riding its still going strong. I’m looking to start a frame building company up soon, making a small number of custom hard tails, the only thing I need to work out is the name! Seems to be the hardest bit.
Well that’s about all there is. The next one is in the designing stage at the moment, and it will be better for sure!
So there you have it, Rob has taken his skills learned in his job and built himself a pretty tidy looking bike. If you have built your own bike or just knocked something up to bolt on to your steed then fire it to firstname.lastname@example.org.