London-based 8ball Bikes have just launched their new Author collection of bikes. There are eight singlespeeds priced from £495 up to £599.
“The Author collection is a series of bicycles that hearken back to an age when cycling was a gentlemanly sport, enjoyed by participants clad in tweed and leather rather than the carbon and Lycra of today,” says 8ball Bikes’ James Middleton. “The frames, made from cromoly 4130 steel, are more reminiscent in geometry of a 1930’s path racer rather than a modern day road bike, with a long wheelbase and enough room for chunky tyres to soak up the worst of Britain’s urban and country roads.”
The bikes use Sturmey Archer for components like the bottom bracket, chainset and hubs, the idea being to give them a classic feel. They’re all finished with full leather trim including handlebar tape, toe straps and saddle. Those saddles are 8ball Bikes’ own, made from Australian cowhide. Each bicycle is hand assembled to order.
The Byron (above, £545), for example, is designed as a singlespeed randonneur, coming with a drop bar and Dia Compe bar end levers. It is supplied with a freewheel but you can run it fixed with the addition of a cog. The wheels comprise Black Rigida rims on Sturmey Archer hubs with chunky (35mm) Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tyres to add comfort. As well as a brown leather saddle, bar tape and toe straps, you get a leather saddlebag here.
Like the other bikes in the Author range, the Byron is available in three different sizes and three different colours: black, white and red.
The Stoker (£599) gets a moustache handlebar from California’s Soma Fabrications, along with wooden mudguards and a Soma Bullet headlight and rear light. There’s a brass Temple bell on there too. Across the range the tyres feature a reflective safety line and a Kevlar puncture-protection layer, and the bottom brackets use sealed cartridge bearings.
“We’re all about keeping maintenance to a minimum and the pleasure of riding to a maximum,” says James. “Why have style over substance when you can have both? That’s what an 8ball bike is all about: powered by humans, driven by style.
“At present the focus is on singlespeed / flipflop hubs, but I will be introducing some Sturmey Archer hub-geared models. I've also got a new batch of frames en route which are lugged and have a tighter geometry.”
For more information on the range head over to the 8ball Bikes website.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.