Even the masters had teachers. It’s a good point to remember, when you’re learning something new, that knowledge is a continuous path and even those with great experience are still learning themselves.
Living legends like Richard Sachs and Dario Pegoretti had to start somewhere. This elf-green forest racer is the first frame by Joshua Elliff, from Leeds, built under the tutelage of Darren Barber of Phoenix Hotworks, a master frame builder in London.
Darren himself learned how to build frames from Tom Board, master builder at Condor and director and partner at the Paris Lightweight Cycle Company Ltd. A small amount of research reveals how entwined the English frame building family tree is.
For a novice embarking on a frame building course, a traditional lugged frame is the ideal starting point. It’s best to leave curved tubes and elaborate lug work for more than a few frames down the track, but a straight-up design leaves less room for mistakes.
Just over a year ago, Josh spent a week in hospital after being hit by a car, and he didn’t want that to ruin his love for riding. The money accrued from the insurance settlement didn’t feel like he’d earned it, so he signed up for a frame building course with Darren.
Darren, who exhibited his own work at Bespoked Bristol in 2015, instructed Josh in how to put together this ‘All-Weather Fast Bike’ — built completely from a Columbus Zona tube set. They’re not the lightest tubes, but are stiff and reliable.
Once the frame was complete, Josh built it up with Shimano’s 105 group, a H Plus Son Archetype/Hope Pro 2 Evo wheel set and a Ritchey finishing kit. It turned out well, and Josh is hooked. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of his frames on Cycle EXIF in the future.