VIDEO: Donhou Bicycles - 'Experiments in Speed'

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VIDEO: Donhou Bicycles – ‘Experiments in Speed’

There is a certain thrill about feeling the wind rush past you and seeing the world racing by as you and your two wheels speed down a hillside.

So imagine what it would feel like if you crank up the speed a bit further to, say, 80mph or maybe even faster still?

One man no longer has to imagine as, inspired by land-speed record breakers of the past, frame builder Tom Donhou built a bike capable of doing exactly that in his ‘Experiments in Speed’.

Crafted from Columbus Max tubing and boasting an extraordinary 104-tooth Royce chain ring, Tom took his home-made steed for a spin on a former airstrip with incredible results as shown in this video.

So, how do you go about crafting a machine capable of such speed?

“Building speed bikes is all new to me, so I did as much research as I could and had to go with what I thought best,” he said.

“It would have been great to build prototypes and test but there was no budget for that kind of luxury.”

Donhou Bicycles was founded after Tom returned from his two-wheeled travels around Asia set on becoming a bespoke frame builder.

In 2011 he was named Best in Show at Bespoked Bristol and has since relocated to new premises.

His ‘speed bike’ also features heavy dropped bars to enable the best position for generating enough power and wheels built by August Wheelworks, featuring tubs, ENVE SES rims and Sapim CX-Ray spokes, with the whole machine taking around two weeks to build.

Tom Donhou exhibited his creation for Rapha’s Continental project at the 2012 Bespoked Bristol show. pic: ©Kayti Peschke

The ‘Experiments in Speed’ also saw Tom modifying his vintage Zephyr to create the best possible draft for the bike.

However, the day job, Donhou Bicycles relocation and this year’s Bespoked Bristol meant there was little time to train.

After seeing his bike reach up to 80mph on the air strip and perform even faster on the cylinders however, Tom admitted he was delighted with the result.

“The ride was terrifying,” he said. “But you’re in the moment. You just try and ride through whatever you’re feeling.

“It was important to stay in the slipstream as you don’t want to all of a sudden get battered by a load of turbulent air as you drop out of it.

“But that said the bike was solid, it performed great and was super stable. Had I been on a lesser bike that sort of thing could easily have set off a speed wobble.”

Having ended the video with the teasing suggestion of more to come, Tom admits he now has several ideas to work on – but not before he has returned to the day job.

“I’m not sure what we can achieve,” he explained, “We’re just waiting for the dust to settle a little with what we’ve done so far then I’ll look at revisiting the project.

“Whether we go again on the same bike or go for a redesign is another thing I need to consider – but right now I need to get back to building frames!”

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