We headed to the inaugural Yorkshire Bicycle Show and came back with a stack of pictures and the lowdown on a host of handbuilt machines.
Historic Leeds Town Hall was filled with handmade finery, with Brother Cycles, Baldwin Titanium, and Tokyo Fixed among the exhibitors.
Here’s a close look at new offerings from each of the three brands, including ‘cross, track, and single speed bikes.
Tokyo Fixed is the house brand of Soho emporium, Kinoko Cycles: a range of machines made in China to the designs of Kinoko’s Max Lewis.
A prototype of this year’s Tokyo Fixed Dart was shown at the Yorkshire Bicycle Show, a triple-butted chromoly frame that retains the geometry of its predecessor, but whose pipes have been oversized to create a stiffer ride, a trait most obvious at the 44mm headtube; one that accommodates a ‘zero stack’ (internal) headset.
While this year’s Dart will be sold as a frame only at £275, the bike shown at Leeds Town Hall was paired with a carbon-bladed, Columbus track fork available separately at £140.
Other features of note on the prototype Dart, included a Shimano Dura Ace track chainset, paired with an increasingly rare square taper bottom bracket (Octalink is now more common, Matthews assured us), a Thompson stem, Deda Zero 100 handlebar, and Ritchey-designed Kalloy stem. The wheels are from American Classic, but unbuilt, sprayed black, and rebuilt by Kinoko.
Among the other new machines from Tokyo Fixed exhibited by Kinoko, the track-style Ono was perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing: a filet brazed frameset, with ‘shot in’ seat-stays containing an integrated seat clamp on the driveside. The ‘low pro’ geometry features a dramatically forward-sloping top tube that creates the illusion of a machine with differently sized wheels. The frame and forks will sell for £775.
The super deep, and very stiff, Deda Pista track bars were the most visually striking feature of the build deployed on the Ono show bike, but also of note were the house ‘Deadly Disc’ wheels: a 19mm carbon clincher rim laced to sealed hubs.
The Trooper CX, made from Columbus Zona, is another new chassis for Tokyo Fixed, and another that will be sold as a frame only (at £350), this time to encourage potential customers to take advantage of its versatility.
The cable routing along the top tube makes it suitable for shouldering, and so racing if paired with a lightweight carbon fork, but it’s also fitted with mudguard and rack mounts, making it suitable as a winter commuting bike, and for light touring. “A bit of a do anything bike,” Matthews said. ‘There is a matching steel fork that will be sold separately for £90.
Richard Baldwin has run his handmade, titanium frame business from Beverley, East Yorkshire for just a year, having ridden ‘seriously’ on the road for a decade. Baldwin prepares the tubes and assembles the finished bike, and employs two specialist welders on an ‘as needed’ basis, such are the demands of the material, which is sourced from the USA.
Baldwin does not carry stock frames: each is made to a bespoke design and, like Feather Cycles, he recommends his customers to York Cycleworks for fitting, and designs the frame from the data supplied. Customers can also provide their own measurements.
Baldwin showed two bikes at the Yorkshire Bicycle Show, including his wife’s machine, one with a relaxed and compact geometry, dressed in Campagnolo Record and Enve components, that tips the scales at a claimed 6.7kg. The oversized headtube on the machine pictured contains a ‘straight’, 1-1/8” fork steerer with an internal lower bearing, but Baldwin also accommodate tapered steerers with an external lower bearing.
When we caught up with James and Will Meyer at the Yorkshire Bicycle Show, Will had just finished a roller racing session and was still recovering his breath. The brothers’ immersion in the cycle industry began five years ago by restoring old machines bought in markets and selling them to friends. James, who studied chemistry but “loves building things” soon signed up to the Dave Yates’ frame building course (“The best week of my life”) and the brothers now import frames made to James’ designs by a partner in Taiwan, with the single-speed Classic, introduced in 2010, their earliest model. “Each year since then, we’ve pretty much added a frame,” said James.
A new Tig-welded frame, the Swift, was among those shown at the Leeds Town Hall, along with a prototype cyclo-cross chassis, set to be “thrashed about” by the brothers before the final design is agreed. “It’s quite a long process, but we don’t just order off-the-shelf factory products,” said James. “We work with the factory to refine each one to our specs.” The bikes are sold through the Brother Cycles.com website and an extensive dealer network, including London, Europe, North America, and Singapore, with whom they deal direct.