It may not be a road bike but… the Ragley frame from Shedfire, the new bike brand from Brant Richards the man who gave the world the On One Pompino, is definitely worth a look. First off, it may not be a road bike but those tyre clearances would easily take a set of 700 x 38s (or something slightly svelter) which opens up a world of possibilities - particularly with a rigid fork in there.
Richards went out on his own a few months back – with a mission to design and market his own range of bikes and components “that can go up and down hills around and over things without the rider falling off too much”.
The Ragley certainly looks to be a good start on that front, made from Titanium the first thing that snagged our eye were those chainstays which from above look like a fairly classic wishbone construction… side on though you can see that they are different – the tube profile isn't ovalised for a start, Brant explains:
“Titanium doesn't like being ovalised. Either you have to have a very soft, thick walled tube (crap) or the tube cracks after a short time (crap), or you can't get good ring/tyre clearance (crap).
"This design fixes it, quite elegantly, from one piece of plate - not a complex 3d machined CNC piece. It's also very chain-suck proof. We'll be replicating this design in steel and alloy too”.
As well as steel and alloy versions of the Ragley Brant has plans in the pipeline for something with more direct appeal to road-going types or indeed those who want a bike that can go anywhere.
“Expect to see an alloy and a ti cross-type bike. Discs, gears... that sort of thing. We'll be doing something quite normal, but just a nice crossy-type "gentleman's offroad" bike which will also let you do extended touring. So kind of monster cross, baby 29er. That sort of thing. “
Sounds dreamy. More on that soon. Brant remained tight-lipped on the possibilities of any road singlespeed or fixed frames being in the pipeline, but that was probably because he'd gone to bed when we fired off the email – we'll let you know.
The Shedfire brand is due to launch on 1st May with a range of frames and components designed in Calderdale and built in Taiwan, beef jerky and hats may also be involved. Thanks to a tie-up with a major UK distributor the bikes and bits will, says Brant, be coming to bike shops nation-wide.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.