On the shoulders of giants
Over the last few years I’ve been inspired by and in some cases lucky enough to be taught by some amazing builders. I met most of them through Andrew Denham and The Bicycle Academy where him and Paul Burf (of BTR) helped me build the Spoon Custom’s Sam Dunn bike.
I can’t include everyone here obviously, but I thought I’d share a bit of work from the people that inspired the idea and then later helped me take the very first steps to making Spoon Custom’s happen.
You can describe something that is fit for purpose as being 'good enough'. That is, it’s above the line and it will do the job. Between there and perfection is where we all have to be. Robin gets about as close to that mark as it’s possible to get. Out and out my favourite builder - with some of the most stubbornly understated and utilitarian bikes around.
Tom’s built bikes for Rapha and Liberty and he’s one of the few builders who can do everything in house, including complex paint. His short film ‘Experiments in Speed’ tells the story of his 100mph bike. Check out his Kibosh Team race frames and the latest bike in his Signature Series. There’s a really strong thread running through all of his work - for me his work is all really cohesive and unmistakably his.
Super Ted. Ted is comfortable machining bespoke parts, brazing up his own steel dirt bikes and welding Titanium. He rides bikes round walls, eats roadkill and has the best head badge in the business. I’ll have a TJD BMX one day.
A few years ago when I was traipsing round the bike shows wondering how I’d get into the business, Steven Shand’s, Shand Cycles were at most of them and pretty much inspired this whole adventure for me. Shand is a proper contemporary hand made bike brand, building lovely bikes. And, have you seen Matt Stitt’s TIG work?
Fiercely independent. Rad paint, rad bikes and the best patches. One of the most revered and at times polarising builders in the business. It’s all done in house too. He’s got two really strong bike brands (Wraith Fabrication is his too) and if you don’t like what he does, he definitely won’t care. Check out his collaborations with Death Spray.
Tim Rowan (Rowan Frameworks)
His first bike won the UK Handmade Bike Show, Bespoke. His most recent the bonkers fun EDC has had so much thought go into it even the coating is specially developed for the bike. His cable guides are brass and turned by hand on his own mill. No one obsesses about detail like Timmy does. With the EDC you can jump the wait list now.