Things are starting to take shape, and some new bikes are on the way! I thought I would take some time to write down my thoughts about what Temple Cycles is trying to do, what you can expect to see in the coming weeks, and my opinions on the bike industry and what buying a bike should entail.
I have designed a men’s and a ladies frame. They are intended to be versatile, simple and practical. For example, they include all the mounts/fittings to attach a full set of mudguards, rear pannier rack, front low rider rack and enough room for up to 42c tyres for the ladies frame, and 32c tyres for the men’s. The frames are made using a mix of traditional brazing and TIG welding, and constructed from double butted 4130 steel tubes. Without getting too technical, which I often find myself doing, I want to explain the finer details about the steel tubes…
Steel has been used for bicycle frames for decades, and was adopted early on in the long history of bicycle production. Steel frames tend to last a long time if looked after properly, and offer a ride feel that so many people swear by. Steel is an alloy of Iron and carbon, but it can also have other elements that will change the properties, such as Chromium and Molybdenum (Chromoly), which is what 4130 steel contains. The double butted term refers to the tube thicknesses. The tubing of our frames is thicker in certain areas, close to junctions, where the stress levels will be higher, and thinner along the central sections. This allows the bicycle frame to be made lighter and stiffer.
After 6 months of testing and prototyping, I have developed a strong relationship with a Taiwanese frame manufacturer whom I first met at Eurobike in Germany. They have been making high quality bike frames for decades, and were able to produce small batches of my frames at a reasonable price. I chose to go down this route, as the Taiwanese bicycle industry is very advanced, and most of the mid to high end bike frames in the world are manufactured there, paying fair wages and providing very good working environments. The UK has had a strong bicycle frame manufacturing industry in the past, with the likes of Raleigh having their heyday in the mid 70’s. However, most manufacturing is outsourced to China or Taiwan now, and that which remains is highly skilled artisan frame builders, creating one-offs and small custom batches for the very top of the market.
The frames are shipped to the workshop in a raw form. They are then taken to the powder-coaters just down the M5 to be sand-blasted, phosphated, etch primed and finally painted and lacquered. Finishing touches include facing of the bearing surfaces, applying the decals, and applying the pewter headbadge that is hand-made by a nice chap called Geoff Moorhouse.
I see so many generic bikes these days, branded with different logos, but they are essentially the same thing, with identical components and parts. These sorts of bikes tend to be the sub £500 fixies and singlespeeds ,or the cheap classic style town bikes. The parts are generally budget options, and these bikes have been built down to a price point, and normally always assembled abroad.
This is something that I definitely don’t want Temple Cycles to be. Our bikes will be built up with carefully selected parts and components that have been chosen for their reliability, quality and aesthetic. No half measures have been taken, which will result in a really solid all-round bike that will last for a long time. I have also tried to select interesting parts with nice details when looked at closely.
As Temple cycles hopefully scales up, there will be an excess of parts and accessories to sell separately. You can expect beautiful crank-sets, interesting handlebars, a range of mudguards, racks and much more.
There will be a good variety of bike designs to buy from the website, all made in small batches in the workshop, but I also want to encourage customers to get in contact to consider a custom build. This will mean we can make any changes to the bike and upgrade/downgrade certain parts depending on the budget, or develop a bike from scratch to suit the customers’ requirements perfectly.
Being a small bike company, and not having distribution through bike shops yet, means that it may be difficult to arrange test-rides. This is something I think is important when buying a bike, but not essential. There will be detailed size-guides on the website, and the geometry of the bikes fall within industry standards, meaning the bikes are going to ride similar to other makes and models. However, I will be going round to several events with test bikes, so please stay tuned!
The bikes will be delivered mail order. Many other companies deliver the bikes 90% assembled, meaning the customer has to attach the front wheel, pedals and handlebars. This will be an option, but we will also be offering a ‘ready to ride’ delivery service, meaning the bike will be ready to go straight out of the box. Of course, if you are local, we can deliver to you, or you can come to us!
Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read this and stay tuned for the bikes coming next week. There is a load more things I could write about in regard to bike design, I just need to think of ways to describe it concisely!