The last bike by ERA Cycles was a primary-coloured tribute to one of the greatest professional motorcyclists of all time: Barry Sheene. The details incorporated into it earned it the August spread on the 2014 Cycle EXIF Custom Bicycle Calendar, and the latest ERA is full of the same level of features.
ERA Cycles is Ped Baker, digital editor at Motorcycle News, the world’s biggest motorbike publication and website so, as you can imagine, his love for anything two-wheeled is strong. A natural tinkerer, he was ripping apart Sturmey-Archer hubs and Bonneville engines when he was very young.
Ped built this road frame from maraging Reynolds 953 stainless steel for an architect called Chris Haylock — a 40th birthday present to himself — and paired it with an 853 fork. It seems the English art of elaborate lugwork has not died, thankfully, as these skull-shaped sleeves exemplify.
After fabricating the lugs, Ped formed the skulls with hours of work with needle files. Getting all three faces was the tricky bit, he says, but sometimes the slight imperfections you’ll find in a handmade frame is what sets them apart from the carbon-copy clones you find in a high street bike shop.
Once the frame was finished, it was sent to Ali at Fat Creations in Chichester who did a sterling job of applying the colour. Ped built the wheels himself — H Plus Son Archetype rims on Dura Ace hubs — and finished the bike with a SRAM Red group.