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New British company offers custom carbon frames made in the UK

How many British carbon fibre frame manufacturers can you name? You might struggle to name any at all, but newly launched Craddock Cycles aims to change that.

The new company has its own composite production facility in Worcestershire and can produce a bespoke carbon frame, with a maximum production run of 50 frames a year. They’re not cheap, at £3,100 each, but remember these are frames manufactured right here in the UK.

The brand is named after founder Richard Craddock. He has loads of experience in the cycle industry with a composites research, engineering and fabrication background. He’s just complete the research and development on the laminates and joining methods for the frames, and says that the first test batch have passed rig stress testing and been ridden hard on the road. 

Craddock construct each frame with precisely mitred roll wrapped carbon tubes before wrapping the joints with pre-impregnated carbon fibre, and then curing the frame under pressure in an oven, much the same process as many top-end carbon frames. The process allows for custom geometry, as well as being able to optimise the frame for its intended use and rider weight through tube choice. The fitting process involves using body dimensions, weight, agility, handling preference, required stiffness and compliance, and colour choice, to create a fully custom frame.

The frame, based on the photos we’ve been sent, certainly look the business, with smooth lines and a clean finish. Attention to detail extends to moulded carbon cable stops, bonded to the tube to avoid the use of drilled holes and rivets, along with carbon dropouts and bottle cage mounts bonded to the tube, rather than drilling the tube. You can choose any colour paint you want as well.

We’re going to work on getting a closer look and hopefully a ride on one next year. In the meantime, head over to the website for a closer look www.craddockcycles.co.uk

The only other example of a UK built carbon frames is Moda with their development of a carbon frame made by an automotive company. That has yet to see the light of day though. 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

34 comments

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Yes! about time, so good to see a british company doing this. Long may it continue and flourish!

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William Black [193 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice to see a USE finishing kit.

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pmr [198 posts] 2 years ago
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At last the circle is complete, now I am the master.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Fanny

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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When I started reading this, I thought the retail price would be about £500

With the "factory gate" price of a Chinese carbon frame rumoured to be just 17 (yes, seventeen) dollars, the only reason for high prices is the supply chain and shipping, costs that would arguably be less for UK manufactured products. Sure, labour would be more, but how many hours does it take to mould a frame? Surely it's a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Nice looking frame, shame the name isnt a little more evocative or dynamic.

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David Arthur @d... [702 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Neil753 wrote:

When I started reading this, I thought the retail price would be about £500

With the "factory gate" price of a Chinese carbon frame rumoured to be just 17 (yes, seventeen) dollars, the only reason for high prices is the supply chain and shipping, costs that would arguably be less for UK manufactured products. Sure, labour would be more, but how many hours does it take to mould a frame? Surely it's a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

Investment in equipment, materials, workshop, not to mention the countless hours of development that has gone into each frame, has to be factored in here.

It's not quite as easy as popping some carbon in a mould, cook for 30mins at 200 degrees, whack a sticker on the down tube and you're done. The costs of carbon fibre frames have only reduced to the prices they have as a result of several decades of development and manufacturing expertise. Carbon was mighty expensive when it first arrived in the cycling industry, it was far from affordable, like it could be argued it is now

Avatar
dreamlx10 [166 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
allez neg wrote:

Fanny

You can just imagine can't you, "What kind of bike have you got ?".
I suppose it could appeal to sportive riders as they're mostly.........

Avatar
David Arthur @d... [702 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
dreamlx10 wrote:
allez neg wrote:

Fanny

You can just imagine can't you, "What kind of bike have you got ?".
I suppose it could appeal to sportive riders as they're mostly.........

You realise this is the guys name?

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dreamlx10 [166 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
David Arthur wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:
allez neg wrote:

Fanny

You can just imagine can't you, "What kind of bike have you got ?".
I suppose it could appeal to sportive riders as they're mostly.........

You realise this is the guys name?

Sorry  2

Avatar
Karbon Kev [688 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Neil753 wrote:

When I started reading this, I thought the retail price would be about £500

With the "factory gate" price of a Chinese carbon frame rumoured to be just 17 (yes, seventeen) dollars, the only reason for high prices is the supply chain and shipping, costs that would arguably be less for UK manufactured products. Sure, labour would be more, but how many hours does it take to mould a frame? Surely it's a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

Why one earth would it be 500 quid? Really ....  105

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

What's the difference to a ride on a Craddock bike and a cook....ones a pant in the country and the other bakes a fine cake.

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ashfanman [123 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Really like that. Very tidy.

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dreamlx10 [166 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Guyz2010 wrote:

What's the difference to a ride on a Craddock bike and a cook....ones a pant in the country and the other bakes a fine cake.

I thank you....

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The _Kaner [843 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

...yet another 'recession busting' frame...cos' we can all afford a frame that costs much more than a car these days....  24

Avatar
allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
The _Kaner wrote:

...yet another 'recession busting' frame...cos' we can all afford a frame that costs much more than a car these days....  24

I'll never afford a McLaren MP4-12C however I'm glad they exist and that they provide good jobs for skilled and qualified people in Britain. Isn't making stuff and employing people generally a good way of increasing the nation's economy?

If nowt else its something to aspire to, and one day you might just get the chance to overtake some chubby banker MAMIL who's got one.  4

Avatar
allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
dreamlx10 wrote:
Guyz2010 wrote:

What's the difference to a ride on a Craddock bike and a cook....ones a pant in the country and the other bakes a fine cake.

I thank you....

He's here all week, available for birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, reasonable rates apply etc etc  4

Avatar
pwake [388 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
David Arthur wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

When I started reading this, I thought the retail price would be about £500

With the "factory gate" price of a Chinese carbon frame rumoured to be just 17 (yes, seventeen) dollars, the only reason for high prices is the supply chain and shipping, costs that would arguably be less for UK manufactured products. Sure, labour would be more, but how many hours does it take to mould a frame? Surely it's a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

Investment in equipment, materials, workshop, not to mention the countless hours of development that has gone into each frame, has to be factored in here.

It's not quite as easy as popping some carbon in a mould, cook for 30mins at 200 degrees, whack a sticker on the down tube and you're done. The costs of carbon fibre frames have only reduced to the prices they have as a result of several decades of development and manufacturing expertise. Carbon was mighty expensive when it first arrived in the cycling industry, it was far from affordable, like it could be argued it is now

All the above and also, if you read the article and it's clear from looking at the pictures, this is not a 'cookie cutter' moulded frame but is produced from mitred tubes with wrapped joints. This is the same method as the Condor Legerro, of which a video of the manufacturing method was featured on this site recently.
Production batch size is always a factor and these frames being 'made to measure' effectively have a batch size of one, as opposed to, possibly, thousands for a far-eastern moulded frame. It's like comparing Saville Row to Primark.

Avatar
William Black [193 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

How much does the frameset weigh?

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Madi [5 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

£3100 for that thing? That's about the same as a Guru Photon SL custom. If I'm paying that much, why am I not getting internally routed cables? There is very little color choice compared with the guru as well and it doesn't look like they do builds... Not sure why I would buy one of these over the guru...

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Old Man Miller [11 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

When you compare the price with similar offerings from Parlee, Legend etc, it is on a par. Add to that it's built in the UK and it's not unattractive.

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evo111 [20 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Price debate aside it looks the business. Nice one!  26

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Chuck [556 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
The _Kaner wrote:

...yet another 'recession busting' frame...cos' we can all afford a frame that costs much more than a car these days....  24

I don't really get this. It's right at the top end and it has a price to match. If you can't afford it, get one of the pretty much infinite number of excellent options > £2k cheaper. I sure couldn't afford one, but I can say that about lots of other things too.
Your logic seems to be that nobody should make anything that not everybody can afford?

Anyway, I really like it. Nice and simple. Reminds me a bit of a CF version of some of the Shand steel bikes. Good luck to him. Although I have to say in his position I'd maybe have chosen another name to put on it. Shallow maybe but there it is.

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james-o [235 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"With the "factory gate" price of a Chinese carbon frame rumoured to be just 17 (yes, seventeen) dollars, "

I heard that one, a bloke said, down the pub. Must be true )

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I with they were $17, there are agents in China selling them direct for about £400

I would think if they were $17 the agents would sell them for around £100 and there would be thousands of "custom" Chinerello builders setting up business

Avatar
Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
pwake wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

When I started reading this, I thought the retail price would be about £500

With the "factory gate" price of a Chinese carbon frame rumoured to be just 17 (yes, seventeen) dollars, the only reason for high prices is the supply chain and shipping, costs that would arguably be less for UK manufactured products. Sure, labour would be more, but how many hours does it take to mould a frame? Surely it's a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

Investment in equipment, materials, workshop, not to mention the countless hours of development that has gone into each frame, has to be factored in here.

It's not quite as easy as popping some carbon in a mould, cook for 30mins at 200 degrees, whack a sticker on the down tube and you're done. The costs of carbon fibre frames have only reduced to the prices they have as a result of several decades of development and manufacturing expertise. Carbon was mighty expensive when it first arrived in the cycling industry, it was far from affordable, like it could be argued it is now

All the above and also, if you read the article and it's clear from looking at the pictures, this is not a 'cookie cutter' moulded frame but is produced from mitred tubes with wrapped joints. This is the same method as the Condor Legerro, of which a video of the manufacturing method was featured on this site recently.
Production batch size is always a factor and these frames being 'made to measure' effectively have a batch size of one, as opposed to, possibly, thousands for a far-eastern moulded frame. It's like comparing Saville Row to Primark.

I did indeed read the full article, noting the construction method (in other words, no expensive mould required, just a jig, like any traditional frame builder would have) and the location (in other words, no expensive global shipping required).

The input price of carbon is surprisingly low, as evidenced by FOB prices of eastern frames (as I write this the cheapest one I can find is $19), and at least part of the manufacturing process appears to be cutting and mitering tubes, and mounting them in a jig, similar to the method used by steel frame builders.

A custom frame sounds great, but I was merely expressing surprise at the price being asked.

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Cycle_Jim [264 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Just to note as far as location and global shipping -

Where I work (litho print) we lost a few companies to overseas (china) and they can do the printing, finishing and packaging of products as well as shipping for far less that what we can do for just the printing. Were not over priced, thats just how it is I guess.

I should also say that I heard from another printers that they had a client having advent calendars printed in China, they got the calendars back and were missing a vital piece, the numbers.
There still trying to get a refund but its not looking good, and ended up printing with a UK based company.

Moral of the story? You get what you pay for.

Avatar
jollygoodvelo [1477 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
allez neg wrote:
The _Kaner wrote:

...yet another 'recession busting' frame...cos' we can all afford a frame that costs much more than a car these days....  24

I'll never afford a McLaren MP4-12C however I'm glad they exist and that they provide good jobs for skilled and qualified people in Britain. Isn't making stuff and employing people generally a good way of increasing the nation's economy?

If nowt else its something to aspire to, and one day you might just get the chance to overtake some chubby banker MAMIL who's got one.  4

Hear hear.

Avatar
Madi [5 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The price doesn't seem that out there after looking at how guru makes their bikes, I'd bet the process is similar. Guru runs a clean room for part of their process, having worked in a silicon clean room those are incredibly expensive to build and run. We actually rented ours out sometimes, it was crazy how much an hour in there went for. Just that makes me think the price is worthy, but to go on they cnc their own molds in house. I don't really care for this bike because I feel like they didn't do their design well, external cables are just annoying these days. Also looks like di2 would be annoying to get on it. Guru's website is quite a bit more robust too.

Check out the process, it's pretty neat and makes you appreciate the cost of custom carbon.

http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/12/10/factory-tour-guru-cycles-part-1-offi...

http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/12/11/factory-tour-guru-cycles-part-2-buil...

Avatar
Welsh boy [300 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Madi wrote:

£3100 for that thing? That's about the same as a Guru Photon SL custom. If I'm paying that much, why am I not getting internally routed cables? There is very little color choice compared with the guru as well and it doesn't look like they do builds... Not sure why I would buy one of these over the guru...

Madi, not everyone wants internal cables, personally i would not buy a frame with internal cables. As for very little colour choice, did you read the bit where it said you could have any colour you like?

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