Bath Uni Student Miles, Boxes clever.

As well as locally souring materials and labour for our bikes, we have recently been working with a local University on some box designs for our 600 series box bike. The brief was to look at the aspect of carrying children safely and to maximise storage with passengers on board. Also to consider materials, weight, manufacturing costs and production techniques to design a box that is both functional and affordable.

Pictured below is a box developed by Master's student Miles Ingram. Miles produced an Aluminium frame with wooden panels and devised some specific innovations to reduce rattles and increase comfort. He also included lockable storage and a rain cover, requirements which were highlighted by his market research to be desirable.

It's always good to have a fresh pair of eyes look at a 'challenge', Miles has come up with some fresh ideas and certainly confirmed to us that a good versatile cargo box is a desirable thing but difficult to achieve. Miles design is innovative and will help develop our box designs for the future. for sure.    

We look forward to more collaborations with academic institutions in the future. In the meantime good luck to Miles with his future career.

Bespoked 2017

Once again this year we were proud to be part of Bespoked the handbuilt bicycle show, a showcase of world-class, hand-made bikes from all over the world......and little local 'Rodford Built' with our own sturdy handbuilt style. Highlights from the show included Feather cycles, always quality, August bicycles with their handsome city bike and Sven bikes who craft some of the finest looking touring and city bikes (and a cargobike last year). Bespoked is always a chance to catch up with old friends and so it was nice to see our friends at Boneshaker, the very super Ted James and Darron (and many others)
A personal highlight was a chance meeting of the mighty Mr Schmitt and his masterful SON dynamo hubs, (selfie time).

We were showcasing our range of box bikes featuring two load decks lengths, various box options and electric assist. Below is a studio photo of our short model ready for adventure in our standard grey paint finish with orange accents. Contact us to talk about cargo or transport bikes, custom build requirements or a test ride.

Photo courtesy of Ben Broomfield Photography.

Photo courtesy of Ben Broomfield Photography.

Food Distribution..by Bicycle.

Great to be able to finally talk about our latest collaboration. We have been working with Fareshare (food redistribution) and Boston Tea Party (Cafe chain). Fareshares wonderful initiative to fight hunger and reduce food waste now has a Rodfordbuilt cargobike to help with their Bristol Logistics. Thanks to Boston tea Party for facilitating the purchase. A great partnership. http://www.fareshare.org.uk/http://www.bostonteaparty.co.uk/ (can recommend, (no bias))

We work with good people....with bikes built for life.....

Boxbikes, .....actual boxbikes...with some bits on....

Today, 13th Jan 2017 we began to build up our production model boxbike, it will be ready to be test riden in a few weeks, pics of the built up bikes will be posted with a final spec very soon. Sneak peeks can be found on instagram and our facebook page..
There will be 6 week lead times and a choice of standard colours plus the option of your custom colour for an additional fee...10 speed Zee and Alfine options. Possibly a drum braked 8 speed version too...Short and long versions 400mm and 600mm respectively. Versatile load bay...box, deck and a flight box style too for delivery bikes.     

These are hand-built bikes, designed here, assembled and welded here...Ecoated and painted locally and put together and ridden here...you can soon visit and take a test ride.

This is a UK Cargobike to challenge the established brands...fresh and versatile. It's good, and it can only get better,  

A happy new year starts with 2 layers for protection and longevity.

We have some frames at our powder coaters, its a chance to test the system and work through issues with production. Its a good start to the new year,  we want our bicycles to last, to be handed down the generations...we want them to look good for a long time...which is why we wanted the best covering that money can buy. Not just a good thick layer of luscious powder coat but a good covering, inside and out, of an electro-deposited undercoat. 

So what's the difference....and why do both..?

E-COATING VS POWDER COATING

Among the vast array of industrial metal finishing options are two comparable processes known as electro-phoretic deposition (colloquially known as electro-coating or e-coating) and powder coating. These two processes are similar, as they both involve the application of a coating to a substrate for purposes such as enhancing corrosion protection, increasing wear resistance and promoting adhesion.

E-COATING

E-coating is more similar to electroplating than powder coating. With e-coating, the substrate is immersed in a bath that may consist of paint, epoxy or other water-based solution. An electric current is then used to attract the particles that are suspended in the liquid solution and deposit them onto the surface of the substrate. The electro-deposition continues until the desired level of coating thickness is achieved, which can be regulated by increasing or decreasing the voltage level. The coated substrate is then cured in an oven to promote cross-linking.

POWDER COATING

While e-coating is considered to be a “wet” process, powder coating involves the application of a dry powder consisting of a precise combination of epoxy resins and various curing agents. A spray gun is used to electro-statically apply the particles onto the surface of the substrate. The fact that the particles are electrically charged is what causes them to adhere to the surface. Curing is also used as the finishing step in the powder coating process. Curing causes the particles to melt and also serves as the catalyst for a chemical reaction that produces the desired finish.

WHEN DOES E-COATING MAKE THE MOST SENSE?

Because of the e-coating’s application, it is typically the better option when coating parts that contain hard-to-reach areas. That’s because the immersion of an object into a liquid promotes a more even and thorough distribution of the coating than can normally be achieved with a spray gun. The powder coating application process also tends to produce a thicker coating.

In contrast, the e-coating process provides greater ease of regulation of the thickness level — it’s much easier to produce a thinner coating with e-coating than with powder coating. These two advantages are particularly important in the auto industry, where an e-coating is typically applied as a primer coat prior to painting for increased corrosion protection.

Why do both?

there is a cost implication...which is a big consideration when trying to built a bike that will be as affordable to as many people as possible; but if your spending a fair chunk of money, then a little bit more to keep it looking good and rust free is a good investment.

We have thought this over long and hard, Rodford Built is a solid proposition, our bikes will give good service and your workhorse of a bike should maintain its good looks for many years, this will help resale and ultimately will be a boon. We could make the bike cheaper...we want it to be as affordable as we can, but some things are worth paying for. We think all bikes should be being E-coated, prior to being powder coated.

The Ecoat room...this picture was taken during the Christmas shut down....

The Ecoat room...this picture was taken during the Christmas shut down....

  

The process typically involves a number of stages including a cleaning stage followed by a phosphate conversion coating which enhances the corrosion resistance of the metal and also provides an improved base for the subsequent coating. After the metal is properly prepared the electro-painting process can take place. This is then followed by oven curing.

The complete process stages are as follows:

Alkali Cleaner
Water rinse
Refiner rinse
Zinc phosphate pre-treatment
Water rinse
De-mineralised water rinse
Electropainting
3 stage ultra-filtration rinse
Curing

A lot of work for a Frame that will last you many years.

This where the process starts,  after the manual loading of the parts onto a frame...the rest of the process is automated. 

This where the process starts,  after the manual loading of the parts onto a frame...the rest of the process is automated. 

Introducing Little John (one of our band of merry men)

This is our latest acquisition. The Raglan "Little John" metal working Lathe.
This model is the MKII and features a screw cutting gearbox and power cross feed.

Built some time in the 1940's the Little John's were notable for being at the top end of the hobby sized machines in terms of capacity and ability. The chuck centre height is 5.125" above the bed and the headstock spindle has a through hole of just over 1". Spindle speeds are controlled by a clever variable drive assembly which gives open speeds of 290rpm to 1750rpm.
There is a power cross and saddle feed plus an all important back gear for large diameter and thread cutting work.

We're slowly improving the machine, cleaning and oiling parts, adding to the selection of accessories. We've fitted a modern NVR switch and a lamp.

The Rodford Raglan Little John MKII

The Rodford Raglan Little John MKII

Of course being old, it has imperial feedscrews which take some getting used to, but it's a very capable machine, with many uses and will open up possibilities for our prototyping work.

Excitement Builds.

 

Production looms...the excitement builds

We have been working on the CAD designs for our husky and the boxbike..daily we go through the details so that once we commit to small scale mass production we don't get bitten on the bottom. 
You might say that "small scale" and "mass production" are phrases that do not sit easy in the same sentence.... We are committed to local production, by the very nature of our business the bikes will be handmade...but to ensure consistency and provide the means to create an economic affordable frame-set we must use modern techniques. 
So designs are evolving, drawings are being amended...experience is being gathered..
exciting times.

Rodford Built. 

The Husky from RODFORD

It's time we introduced the Rodford long tail bike - the Husky.
This is the first fully working prototype of our design following months of trialling different aspects and the conclusion of various safety tests. The bike is now on loan to a family in North Bristol where they will be using it for shopping errands, days out, commuting and local family transport trips.

The bike is long enough to accommodate 2 children on the back, or four panniers. Additional load carrying can be added to the front end in the form of a basket or porter rack (see www.reallyusefulbikes.co.uk for a complete range of accessories).

Husky's are available with a choice of hub or dérailleur gears and in a choice of colours. Despite the extra length of the frame, the bike is designed to be easy to ride, handle and store.

One of the most important features of the Husky is the low step through frame which enables the rider to have children on board and still get on the bike easily. This aspect is missing from some long tail models on the market, it is significantly difficult to engineer without excessive weight. The 24" rear wheel gives a low but accessible rear deck height and the.riding position is comfortable for adults of many sizes.

Available for pre-order today. Please register your interest with us or call to discuss.

Rodford Built 'Moor beer' Beer bike

We wanted to build something a bit eye catching for Bespoke 2016...beer bikes have always held a special place in our hearts, they just look pretty cool as as a way of showing what can be carried by bike..well it's a bit out there isn't it but what a great combo..... The resident beer for the handbuilt show bar was supplied by local brewer Moor beer. We chatted, went to see them and had a look around the brewery...took some branding stuff away and worked on the theme for the show bike.

Black and red were the stand out colours from Moor Beers logo so we went with that, although we are an English company and love the English colours and style for our bikes, we just had to go American hotrods for this one and make our bike feel like it was a moonshine runner, a middle of the night muscle bike that would look like it would outrun the feds. So we ended up with this...the bootlegger....we like it, it works well, Moor beer like it, the judges liked it...so all good,

We can built a customised bike for your business too, a great way to promote your business whilst making local deliveries more efficient (sometimes). just drop us a line and we can chat and see what we can build for you.

       

Baker Bike Update

A year on and over 8000 miles of city riding; our Baker bike is in for a service and an overhaul. Aside from the expected wear and tear our only concern was a fork fault, looking like a fatigue event and a combination of miles, cobbles and tons of bread.

So we took the opportunity to upgrade to a stronger fork design and revise the front end geometry in line with our latest improvements and understanding. There's a new steering link to go with it and a test ride showed the improvement we hoped for. Slowly and surely we're getting the hang for this bike building business and this baker bike is a great proving ground for our design and component testing. Here's to the next 8000 miles.

Bespoked 2016

Here are a couple of proud moments from this year's Bespoked.

One photo shows us collecting our award for "Best Urban and Load Carrying Bike" (whilst trying not to look too surprised).
Also a studio shot of our city bike from show photographer Ben Broomfield.
See Ben's other photos of Bespoked's finest on this link.

If you missed this year's show then put it on your 'To Do' list for next year. The craftsmanship on display is staggering and some of the innovations are remarkable such as Ted James' 1kg Titanium frame and Robin Mather's genius variable rake and trail bike.

Oh and if you get the chance to see the Hack Bike Derby film - check it out.

More at http://www.bespoked.cc/

 

Bespoke handbuilt bicycle show 2016,

We are currently exhibiting at the UK handbuilt bicycle show in Bristol's Temple Meads engine shed..part of/next to the temple meads station, it's a great show with an increasing diverse range of bicycles....come see us and see some of the finest bikes in the world... (I'm not kidding)....

Also pleased to win a rosette ....the 3rd award Rodford Built has won in the show since 2011.

We must be doing something right....production bikes to come ...prices and photos will arrive on your website browsers soon...

A case for the transport bike

Many bikes sold in the U.K are tailored towards sport and leisure riding. There's nowt wrong with that and if you enjoy fast road cycling or getting proper muddy up in the hills, then you should carry on; good on you for getting out there.

However here at Rodford we think there is a case for owning a transport bike too. A bike that is low on maintenance and high on comfort. A bike you can ride in your city civvies without getting muddy and wet. A bike that has built in lighting, easy gearing and the ability to carry cargo are all things that a convenient urban bike should have as desirable in a standard spec.

That's why all Rodford bikes are designed to be comfortable, reliable and convenient. They are all designed to be fitted with guards, racks and lights so that you don't have to worry about accessorising and you won't need to own masses of cycle clothing to look great when you're out about town. With a Rodford you can arrive in style and not in a sweat, ready to start the day's work or do the shopping run.

Titfer optional, style not optional...

Simple, transport bikes from Rodford.

Comfortable bikes for transport................. (dog carrying options are in our design brief)

Comfortable bikes for transport................. (dog carrying options are in our design brief)

Bespoke Bikes

As you might gather if you have read our previous blog entries, we're off to the Bristol Handbuilt Bicycle Show in about 7 weeks, held in Bristol's Temple Meads it gives Europe's finest frame-builders the change to show off their wares. We will be there (as we normally are) to add a bit of utility to the rather fancy affair. 

Construction is now well under way for our show bikes. We are working flat out on the notching welding and alignment of the bike frames. We have a box bike already resting on its wheels while we decide on how to build the body work. (yes, some bikes have body work).
The city bike we're bringing is commissioned by a customer and she has kindly let us bring it to the show to before she takes ownership. It's been very much a joint effort, finished in her choice of colours and very much taking her style of riding into account.

The bikes will be off the the powder coaters soon, the parts bin is filling up, that slight tingle in the belly is growing....the evenings will be getting lighter too, which coming up to show time can only be a good thing.

We are both excited about what we hope to show you in April.

Steve and Rob 

Finding Moor Beer

We made contact with the nice chaps at Moor Beer this week. They'll be serving the drinks at the Bespoke Handbuilt bicycle show in Bristol  this year and we're serving up a secret collaboration too. Shhhhh.

more-beer.jpg

Moor strive to produce strongly flavoured beers of exceptional character.  All their beers are brewed using only natural ingredients.  They put a lot into their beers by using the finest malt, hops, yeast and water – but they don’t take anything out.  All their beers are unfiltered so they retain the yeast that is so vital to producing exceptional flavour, as well as providing vitamins.  They are the leaders of Britain’s unfined ‘natural’ beer movement, and you can fin d (sic) out moor (sic) at http://moorbeer.co.uk/

 

Taking Stock of Headstocks

We start building in earnest this week for the Bespoked show in April. We have room for two bikes on the stand (maybe more) and we have some orders to fulfil too; so we're building four bikes in total.
Laser parts are ordered and headstocks are machined. Tube notching and mitring next..........
We are also working out how to fit 80 litres of craft beer and associated paraphernalia onto a Rodford Bicycle. We'll let you know how it goes...   
 

Flyer and Sherpa Headstocks

More on Bespoked - April 15th 2016

We just received our exhibitors information for Bespoked and we'll be on stand 62, the far side from the main entrance, but (importantly) good and close to the refreshments.

In the meantime have a look at the latest "Meet the maker" film featuring our good friend Steve from COFA engineering. Steve is a local mechanical engineer, machinist and all round decent bloke. The film takes you through some of the interesting projects he has been involved in and the services he can offer.

Click to view the film

Click to view the film

PS, we made Steve his wheels... 

Onwards in a sort of retro modern manner.

We have been finally taking time from working on the shell of our new workshop,  to doing what we really love, working on our bikes... The flyer city bike was tweaked and parts checked for fit and suitability...it's going together well, some detail changes to components are required but its been a good day and we are step closer to our show at the UK handbuilt show in Bristol and a bit closer to having a lovely practical city bike for you to buy.