Last issue we featured frame builder Ted James as part of our new ‘some time regular/once in a while’ snapshot series on small craft workshops. There has been a resurgence in the ‘hand built’ (just look at the recent Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol for evidence of that), bespoke frame building outfits. This time around we check out Tom Warmerdam of Demon Frameworks in Southampton…
From Dirt Issue 137 – July 2013
Words by Ali Todd and Ben Winder. Photos by Ben Winder.
Frame building… why do people do it? A love of bikes, steel tubing and an overriding sense that even perfect isn’t quite good enough…and that’s what Tom Warmerdam is all about. The other thing he has is personality – we were hardly five minutes inside his workshop and it felt like we’d known him for a lifetime, and it’s that personality that shines through in what he makes. The nearly finished frames in the hanging up (they’re all ‘nearly finished’ according to Tom) are more works of art than anything else.
Tom grew up in Switzerland, and from a very young age had a passion for design and making things. From designing bikes in school to wanting to be a cabinetmaker after he had completed his A levels, he eventually started making frames in a tiny workshop about four years ago, which is when he first established ‘Demon Frameworks’.
Tom is tucked away in a little trading estate just outside of the centre of Southampton (he’s actually in the process of moving). The place is damp and musky yet some of the most beautiful bike frames I have ever seen have emerged from here. He has an unbelievable attention to detail and a high level of craftsmanship, and that’s what makes these frames so special. The details in the dropouts, the seat clamp and the lugs…it’s not function over form at any point, everything on each bike needs to be perfect. Just to give you an idea about how much effort he puts into his bikes, he spends about two weeks on each frame, where other builders can do one in about two days. Every one he makes is made to order and there is a lot of customer input, thus creating each customer’s ‘dream bike’.
So what is Demon Frameworks? It’s one of those rare things – a place that is really driven by perfection, headed–up by a person who won’t stop at ‘just good enough’. If it’s a clean–lined frame you’re after and you don’t mind a bit of a wait, have a look at Demon.