If you want to learn how to make a bicycle frame, The Bicycle Academy is the UK’s premier destination. Its alumni include many names that are already gaining a reputation for their craft, as well as countless enthusiasts.
That’s no surprise, considering TBA employs teachers such as Ted James and Robin Mather. Andy Carr is a recent graduate who has completed his first road frame, which was handed to illustrator and cyclist Sam Dunn, and the end result is one of the most eye-catching bikes of the year.
Andy is now building under the raison sociale of Spoon Customs and specialises in custom motorcycles as well. Andy wrote a press release: This first bike from wannabe custom bicycle and motorcycle builder Spoon Customs is a lightweight steel, fast road bike, hand mitred and fillet brazed under the watchful eye of Andrew Denham at The Bicycle Academy and Paul Burf (one half of the eponymous partnership Burf and Tam Racing — BTR). The bike’s geometry is expertly tuned by fit and design ninja, Tony Corke.
The frame itself is built with Columbus Spirit HSS tubing and weighs in at 1700g, with the full build at less than 7.5kg. Steering is through a Columbus Fel lightweight carbon fork and head tube. Ends and PF30BB shell are supplied by Paragon Machine Works.
A lightweight wheelset built by August Wheelworks, using August Carbon rims, Sapim spokes and Aivee Edition One hubs are driven by Campagnolo Record. Anchors are from Ted Ciamillo, and the finishing kit is Zipp, supplied by UK distributor, Fisher Outdoor.
The paint is a collaboration between Spoon Customs and Sam Dunn — a London based illustrator and fixed gear junkie who has worked for brands such as Adidas and Vans. The illustration – personal to the builder and Sam herself and inspired by the work of Jim Phillips — is hand painted over more than thirty hours with a brush and acrylic paint, before being finished by Dan Cole at Cole Coatings, in Peckham, South East London.
Commenting, Andy said, “This first Spoon Custom is about an amazing journey to create emotional things with my own hands. I had a dream chance to work with Sam Dunn to capture a style that I’ve loved since the 90s from skate and BMX brands – and she nailed it.
The actual frame isn’t perfect, but it’s better than good and I love it. It’s going to get ridden hard as often as possible. That’s what it’s all about. It looks rad and it’s for thrashing.”
The artwork includes a nod to everyone that has helped bring this project to life, including Themba, the famous workshop dog from BTR Fabrications. Much of the finishing and build was possible because of a special friendship Spoon struck up with Timmy Rowan of Rowan Frameworks.
“For completely irrelevant personal reasons the bike nearly didn’t get built, but it was Timmy and his advice and friendship that got the thing over the line in the end. Timmy’s kindness and ability to inspire anyone around him got me through a couple of dark bits.
Bike building isn’t dark or hard in that sense, it’s fun, frivolous perhaps, but sometimes life tries to get in the way, and I’m very grateful to Tim for encouraging all the skids and wheelies, and getting things back on track. Sam and I ripped off his headtube design, and hid his logo in the paint. Don’t tell him.”
“Sam Dunn also designed the Spoon Customs head badge, which will appear on all future projects; cycle related and otherwise. The bike is a prototype that will inform the development of a new line of fast road-inspired frames to be crowd funded and manufactured in small batches in 2016.”
Spoon Customs is about to build up a BMX project with the famous British thrash bike builder Ted James Design and Spoon is also designing one-off custom motorcycles — the first of which (another collaboration) will take shape over the winter, and Spoon plans to exhibit the bike at Bike Shed 2016.
Special thanks to James Williamson for the photography.