Sure, it’s a funny name. And the geometry might not be what you’re used to seeing either. But the story behind the latest build from Massachusetts’s Royal H Cycles is one of a very tall customer who needed a bike that only a custom frame builder could supply.
The paint? That was, indeed, inspired by an old man’s sweater.
The whole raison d’être of Cycle EXIF is to profile the beauty of the custom bicycle, and in particular the skill of the handmade frame builder. Where that really comes to the fore is for customers who need or want a bike that can’t be supplied by the mass market.
Viz Bryan Hollingsworth, of Royal H Cycles, who was approached by a taller rider that, years ago, had hurt his neck and had “since tried every bar, stem, and spacer combination possible, all with unsuccessful results.”
Finally, an ‘almost’ comfortable combination had been found, which included “as many spacers that will fit, a steep stem, and Nitto Bosco bars” — the only thing lacking was the fact he wanted to ride with drop bars.
For Bryan, this sounded like the perfect justification for a custom frame — not to mention a worthy challenge. He designed a solution with a sloping top tube and a slightly relaxed head angle to get the brake levers within reach.
True Temper tubing was used for the front triangle, which Bryan prefers when he has to route the cables inside the tubes, as they offer the most variety of butt lengths, allowing for the entry/exit points to be placed at the thicker sections. The tubes were joined with Llewellyn lugs.
While Bryan’s customer offered an ‘old man sweater’ for the colour reference, the customer is anything but old, he’s actually a musician and guitar builder; and another local. Never before have those faded russet tones looked so good.
The older 9-speed Octalink Dura-Ace crankset and Ultegra rear mech were retained from the customer’s previous bike not for budget restraints but simply because they still worked fine and look great. Which is quite a refreshing sentiment: why needlessly create more waste?
Bryan is an alumnus of another Massachusetts’ local, Seven Cycles, but he continues to pave his own way as a sympathetic, flexible and highly refined builder under his own ensign as Royal H Cycles. Special thanks to Eric Baumann for the photos.