The little bike that became a big idea
A while back before I started the company, I started building a custom BMX for a friend. It was actually for his nephew, a junior Haro rider, who wanted a dirt bike but couldn’t get one from his sponsor. A world away from the IzoardRR and fast road bikes that we now make.
I love BMX, always have and for me, a big fan of Odyssey, the project represented an opportunity to not only build a bike but actually to build my own dream BMX.
I was completely new to this sort of thing, but the project started nicely. I’d built out the front triangle in T45 - a cold drawn seamless steel alloy that used to be used on Spitfires. I had a Ted James head tube, and he beautifully machined seat tube made especially for the project. I’d got to the rear end too making some overly complicated double s-bend stays in 4130 for the rear end, but there were loads of problems and lots of work still to do.
Then, out of the blue, life hit the skids and I moved to France. I went, leaving a box of half fitted metal work behind me, like a rusting metaphor of what could of been.
I didn’t forget about it entirely and in the odd moment it seemed like it was perhaps the one thing that was salvageable. And, having took some time to figure out how to finish the job and if I could at all, I settled on finishing it come what may.
I’d left the country I was in so had less infrastructure and less to make me think it was possible but I was working part time and figured if I could get the bike finished in the circumstances I’d found myself in, I could build a bike from anywhere and it might just bring the Spoon Custom’s pipe dream back from the near dead.
I made some calls.
One was to Ted James of TJD design. Ted agreed to step in to finish building the frame. He did what he could with the front end, junked the rear end in favour of one of his proven designs and finished the actual frame build for me.
Then a call to Dan Cole. Dan and I worked together on the Sam Dunn frame, and I knew I could call on him. We came up with a few ideas together, even getting one idea onto the frame in paint, before we arrived at the acid green candy that he then patiently re-finished the frame in.
He shared some space with Seabass at that time, so it went in to them next in East London. They did an expert job of building it up with the near all Odyssey parts list that I’d had shipped from IMG Distribution, and then Sam Dunn had a spare afternoon, so she dropped in and shoot it for me.
Now, none of that was easy, for me or the people who had to take the slightly stressed out calls from me, and then do the work, and the whole process made the project so unbelievably uneconomical I could have built a Tesla for the same amount of money, but I'd said I'd finish it, found a way and got it done.
In the end I barely had a hand in the finished work, but it proved to me that it was still possible to build my dream. That expensive lesson gave me the confidence to start the company, and the belief that life could go on outside of London, in the Alps.
Thanks to Sam Dunn (@samdunnsnaps) for the photos.