The long-awaited new frame!

Those of you who followed some of the thrills and spills of my Bespoke journey Down Under, may remember that the frame of my expedition bike broke just outside of Queenstown, on South Island of NZ. Delayed by only 24 hours, I had been able to find a local welder to patch up my frame, sufficient for it to see out the rest of the ride.

The welded repair

The welded repair

I brought the bike back home, despite the advice of some that I should ditch it somewhere in the middle of Melbourne, and it has now been relegated to an occasional-use-bike for off-roading, and local luggage carrying journeys. Of course, its absence as an expedition bike left a serious gap in my stable of bikes.

So, since getting back to the UK, much research has been done, inspired by a visit to the Bespoke Exhibition of frame builders in Bristol. I decided to pay a visit to Dave Yates in deepest Lincolnshire (though he is a Geordie, born and bred), not only a frame builder with some 40 years experience, but also a teacher of frame building to the aspiring new generation.2013-07-31 20.17.06

Just like being fitted for a new bespoke suit, I had to be measured up after detailed discussion of my requirements, and after two hours, before I left, he informed me I was in luck, I would only have to wait about three months! (And I was not to ring him to make enquiries about how things were progressing in the meantime. This man knows his business, and he doesn’t welcome interruptions……….)

That three month wait came to an end today, and I picked up the finished product with just a twinge of excitement. Long-distance purists will appreciate that a good solid expedition frame has simply got to be made of steel (in my case, Reynolds 525 chromoly), though many will argue about the benefits of lighter composite materials. Dave Yates is one of those stern-looking dinosaurs who relegates materials like alloy, carbon fibre and titanuim to the level of “recycled milk bottle tops” or even “plastic”. He doesn’t mince his words.

Being the first time I’ve had a bespoke frame built, never before did I have to make a decision about the colour. I have always bought my bikes on the strength of their value and functionality, never for their colour. So what colour does and ex-Spanish teacher, who habitually wears red lycra, choose? Yellow, of course…..and this will ensure a warmer-than-normal welcome when I next go touring in Spain!2013-07-31 20.16.27

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on July 31, 2013, in Cycling UK and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Keith Watkins

    Congratulations on the new frameset. I understand the loyalty to classic materials. When I had a new frame built for me in my old age, I chose titanium, however. My custom builder (35 yrs of experience) does both metals very nicely. I like the ti bike, although I could easily have gone with a Reynolds steel alloy.

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  2. Sweet! Are you going to fit the components yourself? I have never seen that type of fork crown before. The photo looks cool too how the reflection of the frame in the window makes it look like it is glowing with a yellow aura!

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  3. Great to read that you have replaced your trusty frame with something so stunning. You will look very flash on your rides.

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  4. Peter Staples

    Wow, it looks the business, Frank.

    Love the colour.

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  5. I have to admit, Keith, that for my next road bike (one that I will use for club riding and audax/sportives) I am tempted to check out ti frames.

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  6. Chris, the fork crown is not properly assembled in the photo. I’ve fitted it so that the frame and forks will simply stand up for the photo.

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  7. Glad you like it Heather. It’s not what you would call a “quiet colour”……

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  8. You’re absolutely sure it’s not the Only Fools and Horses paint job? It looks like a lovely frame though, any thoughts what you’re going to equip it with?

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  9. Yep, took my list of possibilities to the lads at Grafham Cycling today, and talked through most of the details. There’s going to be a lot of Deore XT, Chris King headset and bottom bracket, hand-built wheels based on Mavic rims, Swiss spokes and probably Deore XT hubs…………Watch this space.

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  10. Nice one Frank. “We” are so lucky to have so many good frame builders in the UK – difficult choice wasn’t it? Love the colour, of course, though not entirely sure it will get a warm welcome with your matching lycra in certain regions of Spain 😉 As for the wheels, when I was doing my research for our tourers, I found that mavic rims A719 (the ones I ended up choosing) had been reported to crack by a few fellow bloggers. Went for Sputniks on Lucy’s bike. Look forward to seeing the final complete bike.

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  11. You’re right, Alberto, we are spoilt for good frame builders in this country. And thanks for the heads-up about Mavic rims.

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