Wheel building is often referred to as a ‘dark art’, although everyone who has built a pair themselves will tell you otherwise. It is a measurable and exacting work of engineering, although there’s something quietly zen about a master wheel builder who can lace a perfectly trued set without a tensiometer.
Gavin Buxton is one of those wheel building wizards, but he also presented the first official August Wheelworks frame at the 2015 Bespoked Bristol show: this stylishly utilitarian all-road rider.
Gavin’s a versatile guy: he taught himself how to build wheels out of necessity on the UK downhill circuit back in the 90s. Then, he worked for 15 years as a sports car engineer. He now applies that knowledge and wisdom to his wheel and frame building.
Previously, Gavin had been riding a single speed ‘crosser that had become his ‘do everything’ ride, so he built the first August Wheelworks frame to do all it did, and more.
The SRAM CX1 drivetrain provides a little more access than the single speed did, and discs provide reliable braking in any weather and terrain. It’s designed around road-riding geometry, but caters for big-tyre clearances, like the chequerboard Jack Browns it’s currently riding on.
It can also accommodate fenders and racks, in case you’d like to take it on something like the micro-adventures Alastair Humphreys has made so popular — the potential for which the UK has in abundance. As Gavin says, “If I am riding on the road but see a little green lane that piques my curiosity, I can bomb down it for a razz”.
The frame and Whiskey Parts Co forks were painted by Gavin’s former workshop mate and racing buddy, Tom Donhou (Gavin represented the UK in downhill at the World Champs in ’97). The shade is ‘Maus Grey’ with mango accents. Tom did a sterling job, as “fading polka dots are not easy”.
Naturally, Gavin built the wheels, with mango Chris King R45 disc hubs, CX spokes and Pacenti SL25 rims, held with matching Paul Components QR Skewers. The King InSet 7 headset means the collars match the cuffs, and sits inside the Paragon Machine Works 44mm head tube.
The frame itself is fillet brazed with Columbus Life and Zona tubes; the rear dropouts and all faces of callipers, bottle bosses and rack/mudguard mounts are stainless too. The stem is custom, to match the frame, which has full internal cable routing for the hydraulic brake hoses and gear cables.
If you’re after a bike that’s more Land Rover Defender than anything else — with a personally built set of wheels, get in touch with Gavin through the August Wheelworks website.