UK built, steel hardtail?

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  • UK built, steel hardtail?
  • Premier Icon letmetalktomark
    Subscriber

    I think I was one of the folk who contacted you albeit maybe 18 months ago.

    For me it would be a Soul esque 120mm travel max though (larger than a 19” though) but made a bit fancier (no offense meant Cy I love my Soul!)i.e fillet brazed/paragon sliders maybe?

    Plenty of mud room, decent tough paint finish but sticking with std 27.2 post and 1 1/8 HT. Personally I think enlarged STs and HTs look out of place on a skinny HT.

    Sub 5 lbs (not sure how realistic this is nowadays).

    853 proteam or such like precious metal 😀

    Like David’s Curtis maybe in 26/29 versions.

    I guess a premium product would command a premium price but sub £1000 would be nice.

    I think UK built means a lot but to some people.

    Strangely there seems to be a fair few that would happily spend £1k or more on a American frame but seemingly not consider UK builders 🙁

    druidh
    Member

    Question: I’m thinking that a large part of the cost, and therefore the “UK premium”, is related to the manpower. That being the case, how much more would it cost to use titanium for which folk are already prepared to pay extra?

    My input is pretty much just a brainfart, so you may choose to ignore me completely, but I like the idea of a well made, super tidy hardcore steel 29er. Maybe I’m being thick, but I don’t think there’s much of that type of thing about? (possibly for a good reason?)

    Something like a Kona Honzo, but all UK made and ‘prestige’, sort of thing?

    No idea what something like that would cost of course, but in theory I’d be happy paying a bit more for something UK made.

    inbred853
    Member

    Steven,

    I would now be looking for dropper post compatability, ie bigger seat tube 30.9/31.6. I could go on, but then it gets into the full custom frame build!
    I would be prepared to pay a premium for a UK built frame.

    tang
    Member

    Hi
    Met you guys at Bristol (I was with the ukyouth pro, and had the same fleece as you!). I would get straight on the 29r/650 bandwagon its where the interest is(more press I reckon also), plenty of great Taiwan 26rs out there. 853 and beat Niner pricing if poss.

    druidh – Member
    Question: I’m thinking that a large part of the cost, and therefore the “UK premium”, is related to the manpower. That being the case, how much more would it cost to use titanium for which folk are already prepared to pay extra?

    I’d guess that economies of scale would make Ti very expensive for a small UK operation.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    See I would say 31.6 seatpost, everyone else does 27.2, no point just making a soul, but more expensive, and I find 27.2 too flexy.

    I would agree on the sliding dropouts.

    -Short travel (100-120mm) and slack.
    -longish top tube.
    -Mud clearance!
    -Normal headtube (for how it looks!)
    -Easily singlespeed/alfineable, I personally am not bothered if it is by ebb, sliding dropouts or slots, but I can’t see why more slotty frames don’t come with brake mount inside rear triangle like the old slotty inbred/scandal.
    -Would a 30.9mm seat tube look wierd on a steel frame? I suppose that would cater for a bigger range of droppy seatposts.
    -I am sure you would be wise enough to consider tweaking the seat tube angles in the larger sizes. Advertising if you did this this would be good.
    -not too crazy colours.
    -decals under laquer as opposed to stickers.
    -WARRANTY!
    -can you consider selling headset, bb and seatpost with frames at near cost price to sweeten the deal? So many ‘standards’ these days you can’t just rely on ‘normal headset and layback 27.2 post to swap to new frames.

    IMHO no need to add cost to the frame with bb30/press fit, crud catcher/canti bosses. Spend it on a nice shiny headtube badge instead.

    Premier Icon StirlingCrispin
    Subscriber

    I would like a pick’n’mix choice of frame sizes and geometry, wheel sizes, drop-outs, and options from bottle bosses, full-length cable routing etc, colour. 853 steel with stickers. Happy to wait a month or three after hitting buy but don’t want to see a batch on CRC.

    Sub £1000 would be nice so I can afford it.

    If it helps, I ride a Sanderson Life, and keep looking longingly at the Shand Cycle website looking for a reason to spend money!

    Kuco
    Member

    For me it would take 26″ wheels, fork travel up to 120mm with 27.2mm seat post with one set of bottle bosses on the down tube with sliding dropouts and standard 1 1/8 external head-tube and 73mm bottom bracket.

    Oh and come in 16″ 🙂

    Cost about £800

    Bimbler
    Member

    I’d like to see a uk built 29er which could run SS or gears, 100-120mm suspension, room for 2.4″ rubber at the back, something combining the best of a Niner Sir 9 and Canfield Nimble 9. I’d pay £800ish for such a bike. That Curtis is yummy.

    druidh
    Member

    honourablegeorge – Member
    I’d guess that economies of scale would make Ti very expensive for a small UK operation.

    I agree – but surely those same “economies of scale” would make 853 expensive for that same small UK operation too? I’m just wondering how much the cost of tubing adds to the total.

    Premier Icon speaker2animals
    Subscriber

    While I agree with the comment of oversize head tube looking a bit out of place on steel Ht the problem is forks. How much longer will fork manu’s offer straight 1.125″ steerers? Surely from their POV it is poor economics to keep offering straight and tapered and as I imagine the vast majority are sold as OEM for alli/carbon frames the tapered head won’t go away.

    I also think to maximise appeal these days you would be silly not to offer seat tube in dropper friendly size.

    Ideally I think sub £1K needs to be a target price.

    I assume we are talking about a production frame? Maybe made in a tubeset (or mix) in a sub 853 grade if that keeps price lower (toward the £500 bracket) and offer a semi-production in a premium grade?

    As said I think now it will also need to be a 29er.

    benman
    Member

    I think its difficult – to sell in quantity I think the spec has to be similar to a 456 / Soul – just see how many people own a bike of this type. But then you may have trouble with pricing, as your only USP is being ‘UK made’

    But then if you add nicheness to the design then you add USP but may lose sales.

    To answer the original question then something like this:

    For me it would take 26″ wheels, fork travel up to 120mm with 27.2mm seat post with one set of bottle bosses on the down tube with sliding dropouts and standard 1 1/8 external head-tube and 73mm bottom bracket.

    But for £600. Otherwise people will just buy a Soul!

    skywalker
    Member

    Tapered head tube would be nice, not many (if any) longish travel hardtails offer that at the moment, and 953 tubing.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I’d like to see a Charge Blender-esque hardtail, with a slightly steeper seat tube so that its a bit more capable for xc.

    Price- £350-400 frame only.

    tomlevell
    Member

    What’s the premium worth for built in the UK?

    A Soul is £480.00 so maybe £650 max? for off the peg UK built but it would have to be up to the same build quality.

    Minor customisation is the key as seen above and you can charge for it.
    Fixed angles in each size + different seat tube/head tube sizes and dropout options.

    Full custom for a large premium.

    For me the basic bike should be
    Gears OR singlespeed
    31.6 seat tube
    44mm head tube
    2 sets bottle bosses

    What about collaboration with the likes of Cotic/Sanderson etc for a UK built version?

    Premier Icon mintimperial
    Subscriber

    See I would say 31.6 seatpost, everyone else does 27.2, no point just making a soul, but more expensive, and I find 27.2 too flexy.

    I agree. I love my Soul but I’d love it that little bit more with a 30.9mm seat tube so I could run a Reverb. A headtube that could take tapered steerers (44mm I suppose) would futureproof it a bit and allow a bit more flexibility in spec. Erm. A wide range of colour options to order like what Orange do for their full sussers would be a nice thing to have I suppose?

    Personally I’d not be bothered about sliding drop outs. I do ride singlespeed, but my main bike for big days out will always have gears, and I’d prefer a really nice geared bike to have no compromises like that.

    I would definitely pay a bit extra for a UK built frame, but I don’t think I could quantify how much without having specific details on the frame – if it was exactly what I wanted I’d pay a significant amount more, if it was less than ideal spec-wise I’d have to think about it.

    bikebouy
    Member

    I’d like to see a 29er Steely. Not too bothered about seat post sizes nor dropout configs TBH, just something that’ll be more XC 80-100mm up front than slack angled 140mm thingumybob. Made in UK, sub £800 for frame and dropouts, could be run SS or with gearidge.
    Simple colourways, not BMX’ie, bit like a Pace129er I guess.

    Hey,

    since we launched our production ‘cross and allroad frames this year, we’re getting a ton of requests for a steel hardtail built in the UK. My gut feeling is that it’s almost impossible to compete with the Asian frames being brought into the UK. However, we’re doing some research and the mods have kindly allowed us to post a question to STW to try and get some more data.

    So basically, I’d like to know what people would want from a UK built frame and what kind cost they’d expect to pay? Do you even care where the frame is built and would you pay a premium for something built here in the UK?

    If you feel you have something useful to say on the subject but don’t feel like posting it on the forum, that’s fine just drop us an email.

    Cheers

    Steven

    uwe-r
    Member

    There are obvious competitors here – why not look into setting up a uk carbon frames production line. Carbon will become just as cheep as steel / Alu once the production lines step and it becomes main stream. I can see the uk based steel manufactures struggling to compete at the higher price points and all just badging up imports. There is already a certain uk manufacturer importing and badging up carbon frames that are excellent and in my view a game changer. Anticipating the move to carbon, bring the production to the uk and you would have a real niche / edge over the rest.

    for an off-the-peg uk built frame, i’m not sure i’d pay more than 600. i paid 750 for a custom solitude (back in ’06 though). if i were looking to spend more than that, i’d be looking at FS, tbh.

    i’d also be after tapered or 44mm head tube, dropper capability, sliding (NOT slot) dropouts and 29er wheel size.

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    Fortunateson09 – Member
    My input is pretty much just a brainfart, so you may choose to ignore me completely, but I like the idea of a well made, super tidy hardcore steel 29er. Maybe I’m being thick, but I don’t think there’s much of that type of thing about? (possibly for a good reason?)

    You are talking about a Singular Buzzard

    avdave2
    Member

    I want my next steel frame to have an EBB (I’ve been using one for 5 years with no issues and it looks so much better than the alternatives) and be belt drive compatible with Rohloff dropouts as an option. Definitely 2 sets of bottle cage mounts not worried about headtube size or seattube size. Fillet brazing would be nice too, I’ve an old Roberts frame hanging in the garage and despite having no paint and being a little rusty it still looks beautiful.

    I think a custom colour option would be nice, if I’m going to pay a premium then I want something that looks different.

    So from reading this thread I guess the only conclusion is that we all really want custom built steel. I think that’s what your competing against in terms of price, you have to be significantly cheaper than going custom

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    The fact a frame is built in the UK would be a tie-breaker. It would have to be of same quality and price as a British designed Asian built frame. I would not pay extra just because is was entirely built in the UK. As far as I’m concerned Cotic and Dialled Bikes are British for example. Hope Technology is the “design model” fantastic products and customer service, the fact they are British built is a plus but not the deciding factor in of itself.

    I see from posts above that I’m perhaps not the target market as there is no way I’d pay £600-£1000 for a hard tail frame.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    All things being equal I’d prefer a British made product, I’d perhaps pay a very small premium for it but not much. (We all live in a globalised economy and there’s no point pretending otherwise).

    The Soul proves there is a market for steel HT frames at what I would consider a ‘premium’ price, and I’d think that’s the price point you would need to aim for.

    I do place some value on the fact that the Soul has British DNA – it was designed in the UK, and for UK conditions (rather than for instance California!) – plus support is on the end of the phone. So I guess it could be argued I already paid a premium for the UKishness of my Soul.

    Hope that helps, and if you believe in it, do it.

    I think the key would be some sort of “custom for a fixed price” or at leas a shopping list? I.e. the basic frame is the same price and the client can pick and chose ruin the geomtery as much as they like. Then ontop of that there’s a list of extras.

    e.g. if you could do a ‘standard’ 525 hardtail for £600 then people would probably consider buying it. You could then have a list of options,
    £100 for 725,
    £200 for 853,
    bottle bosses £30,
    track ends £20,
    sliding dropouts or EBB £100,
    44mm headtube £30,
    tapered £100,
    etc etc etc.

    The only problem is I can see a lot of people having sub 4lb 853 29ers being built with 66deg headtubes and huge oversized headtubes and generaly being horrible!

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    The fact a frame is built in the UK would be a tie-breaker. It would have to be of same quality and price as a British designed Asian built frame. I would not pay extra just because is was entirely built in the UK. As far as I’m concerned Cotic and Dialled Bikes are British for example. Hope Technology is the “design model” fantastic products and customer service, the fact they are British built is a plus but not the deciding factor in of itself.

    I see from posts above that I’m perhaps not the target market as there is no way I’d pay £600-£1000 for a hard tail frame.

    Well put.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    Julian wilson +1

    Spot on, no one needs a dropper post on a HT, normal headtube, non of that “on trend” bent top tubes and make it a 29er and i’m in, where do i sign?

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez
    Subscriber

    My wishlist is: beautiful (tough) finish, 26in wheels, 853 or similar, light as poss, singlespeed-specific, 27.2 seat tube, standard head tube, matching rigid fork.

    However… I know I wouldn’t pay what it would cost. I wonder how many of those above would.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Reading through the spec-lists above, I’m reminded of the famous Henry Ford quote: If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said “a faster horse”.

    Spot on, no one needs a dropper post on a HT, normal headtube, non of that “on trend” bent top tubes and make it a 29er and i’m in, where do i sign?

    On the Singular Swift or On-One websites?

    I’d argue that a dropper post is far more use on a hardtail than a suspension bike though, riding with the seat up on the pitch is possible, riding the Swift the same way is really hard work!

    Premier Icon speaker2animals
    Subscriber

    Is it the camel that is said to be designed by committee? Whichever animal it is, but lets stick with camel, I believe you now have the MTB equivalent.

    The answer being “Don’t ask people what they want”.

    Moon on a stick some of the replies.

    batfink
    Member

    thisisnotaspoon is spot-on in my opinion….. is being British-built enough of a USP alone to be sucessful in such a competetive marketplace?

    Personally I doubt it.

    I think your real USP is that manufacturing your frames locally would give you the ability to make several similar models (eg: with diferent dropout options?) and allow customes to spec their bikes with extras like thisisnotaspoon has listed. Add to that things like custom paint options (see people like Nicolai) a gold standard warantee, free powdercoating after 5 years? What about offering some “exclusive” hope coloured parts to match some of your more interesting colours?

    Lots of things tht you could do…. but it’s all down to the maths.

    inbred853
    Member

    Drop outs – Black Cat swing style, similar to whats on my Salsa El Mar, easliy convertable from geared to single or t’other way.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    I’d argue that a dropper post is far more use on a hardtail than a suspension bike though, riding with the seat up on the pitch is possible, riding the Swift the same way is really hard work!

    I’d rather have a 27.2 post (whoever said above that they are too flexy has either too much post showing or is a bit lardy) than a heavy rattly dropper that needs servicing every 5 mins or is constantly going back for warranty work, just get your arse back behind the saddle like everyone used to.

    A custom Swift would be lovely you are right, maybe a steel one as light as my Pegasus ?

    I have a Robin Mather Steel hardtail (bought in 2004) and is still my main mtb and plenty of grins. 🙂 It’s also very versatile.

    I think 2 frames:
    29er and 26er (or 650b?!)
    swinging drops (paragon sliders look gash) like black sheep or salsa.
    2 sets of bottle mounts.
    crud mounts.
    120 max fork on 29, 140 max on 26. but built for adjustable forks.
    30.9 seat tube for more dropper post options.
    rack mounts.
    clearance for 2.4 tyres.
    hard paint coat.

    Options:
    hub gear guides.
    split seat stay. for belt drive.

    I think ‘off the peg’ UK built frames should cost around 650 mark. Whether that would tempt people over the soul I’m unsure.

    If you can match soul pricing with a lower grade steel (725 or similar instead of 853) then I would be swayed to UK build.

    Crell
    Member

    Yep, that’s just about every combination and permutation covered.

    I’m not convinced there’s a market that will allow you to make money / a sustainable margin. Up to 600 you’re competing with mass market frames. Over 1000 it’s custom. That 600-1000 area is too expensive for those looking at perfectly good off the shelf Taiwan made steel, and probably not “custom” enough for those who were prepared to spend over 1000.

    You’d need some USP to pull people from either end. Not sure what that is. Having said that, Speedvagen have got it off to a tee – and at a premium price.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
    Subscriber

    I’m guessing a price point on par with your other stock frames? Around £1K, for that I’d love to see a fillet brazed steel 29er, on trend geo( tight back end/slackish), dropper and tapered HT, possibly with upgradeable rear dropouts all built on the lighter side rather than burly. Matching forks would be a boon, either rigid or colour coded sus. At 1k your beyond funtional and some nice touches would need to be included, internal routing or something.

    belugabob
    Member

    29 inches
    Split chainstays or dropouts, to allow for belt drive.
    Slotted dropouts for single speed.
    Cable guides to support full length cable outers, or internally routed cables, to help reduce cable rub.
    Forward facing seatpost slot, to reduce water ingress.
    Larger seatpost diameter, to support wider range of dropper posts.
    Two sets of bottle mounting bosses within the frame triangle.
    Decent mud clearance on the chainstays.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Never mind mountain bikes, I’ve just seen that cross bike of yours Mr Shand – schweet! 😀

    I’d rather have a 27.2 post (whoever said above that they are too flexy has either too much post showing or is a bit lardy) than a heavy rattly dropper that needs servicing every 5 mins or is constantly going back for warranty work, just get your arse back behind the saddle like everyone used to.

    My reverb is none of those things, well, maybe it’s 200g more than a thompson, but it’s never rattled or needed a warrenty replacement or a service.

    On the 2nd point I did used to use a QR, then I went to not bothering (took a while to re lear how to do stuff like jump/pump with the saddle up), then back to QR (which made life easier goig downhill), the to a reverb, which had all the benifits of a QR with the lack of faff of a bolt up collar.

    And why would you want a custom steel pegasus if you already have a pegasus?

    brant
    Member

    Selling direct instead of via dealers should get back some of the price differential compared to conventionally distributed models of course.
    I’d hope £500 would be achievable for something mini production with “nice tubing”.

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