Home
Stunning low profile TT bike from English Cycle

Rob English is a British frame builder currently based in Eugene, Oregon, where he built this stunning time trial bike. We’re used to see some extremely aerodynamic road bikes from the big brands, but it's nice to see such an innovative design from a small bespoke frame builder.

You might remember Rob's svelte carbon and steel 4.9kg (10.8lb) super bike from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) earlier this year. Dave’s Naked TT is his latest build. It’s actually based on a steel time trial bike that Rob first designed and built a few years ago, but no one has ever stepped up and asked Rob to build them one. Dave is a rider local to Rob who has the necessary flexibility to adopt the low position an extreme time trial bike like this demands.

The defining feature is the integrated fork/bar/aerobar which places the controls very low, just millimetres above the front wheel. There's no stem. The top of the forks are fillet brazed directly to the handlebars with the attack bars and brake levers attached to the ends. Short vertical struts support the arm rests, leaving the top of the head tube oddly free of protusions.

This build is completed with a Shimano Di2 groupset, powered by a custom battery concealed inside the seat tube. A micro USB port in the seatmast cap makes for easy charging. All wires and brake cables are internally routed.

A TRP V-brake is fitted to the back of the forks, while a Tri-rig Omega brake is mounted to the underside of the chainstays. That keeps them out of the wind to reduce drag.

The frame has been specially painted by Colourworks, a local frame sprayer. They carefully masked the frame and sandblasted the logos. Best of all, the raw finish shows off the fillet brazing, which is really rather tidy.

A super steep 76° seat angle forces the rider forwards and gives a very flat back aero posture. Despite being made from steel, a material considered by many to be too heavy for modern performance bikes, this example weighs just 18lb (8.16kg),

It looks fast, doesn’t it? And it’s proven to be fast too. Rob raced his own to victory in the Oregon State TT champs back in 2009. Let’s hope Dave can do it justice.

Check out Rob's work at www.englishcycles.com

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.

29 comments

Avatar
Gkam84 [9068 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I just can't decide if this is beautiful or pig ugly.....Its got my fighting myself.

Also, it looks like Obree's been at the front end to put the riders nose on the front tyre  3

Avatar
NeilXDavis [120 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

That is a stunner...not that I could do it justice in the engine room but shes damm sexy...

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Union flag next to the word 'English'? As Samuel Goldwyn said, "Include me out."

 3

Avatar
brittleware [30 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Chunky (Colin) Chapman would have a few things to say about this - for instance why are the seat stays welded half way up the seat post, rather than helping triangulation further up?

Avatar
mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

must admit on the flag front I'd have had more respect had they just gone for the St. George's Cross

I'll probably never ride a monster like that, but I love the finish - the whole brushed steel thing is gorgeous

Avatar
BigDummy [314 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I like this a very lot.

Avatar
mingmong [253 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Need to change my under pants.

Avatar
Huw Watkins [88 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Strictly speaking, it's filet brazed - not welded. The brass is the giveaway.

Avatar
SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Mentioning Colin Chapman in a cycling forum Brittleware? Should be ashamed of yourself! However, it would be interesting to speculate on what effect his, "Simplicate, then add lightness" principle would change on this bike. Along with his ability to interpret the rules to his advantage?

Avatar
mandy [94 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Porn on tuesday, i love it  1

Avatar
notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

That looks damn fine - provided I don't get on it. I wouldn't even be able to adopt the position, never mind ride it.

Also, I get that his name is English, and it's a British brand, and that this is reflected on the bars. However, that's *really* going to confuse foreigners. It would have been better to go with a St George Cross. Unless he turns out to be Scottish.

Avatar
The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Lovely bike. UCI approved? (Just saying...)

Avatar
Leviathan [1773 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Sounds like he might need a Venn diagram, however, if his name is English and he was in the Olympics for team GB this is how his name would come up on the graphics with a little Union Jack (yes, Jack, I say Jack) beside it.

Anyway he is based in the US were they are less likely to notice the incongruity. Some languages don't even make a distinction between England, Great Britain and the UK.

Rosbifs anyone?

Avatar
andyp [1436 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Want. And Scotland and Wales aren't real countries anyway, so it really doesn't matter about the flag.

Avatar
step-hent [718 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well, it's not really a union jack anyway, is it? Just a geometric design with a similarity but no colours. So I think we can let him off....

As for the bike - it's awesome to see people still pushing the boundaries with all the materials available, not just the obvious ones for the purpose. A great piece of engineering - wish I could get into the position required to ride one...

Avatar
Leviathan [1773 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
andyp wrote:

Scotland and Wales aren't real countries anyway,

O-oh, I hope Gkam84 doesn't here about that. The Celtic mafia will be after you. Obviously for balance you would also have to say that England is then not a country either. I think the government call the UK a country of countries, which is helpful.

Avatar
andyp [1436 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

England is definitely a country. Wales and Scotland are just little off-shoots of England, a bit like the appendix - not necessary, and couldn't cope on its own.

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
andyp wrote:

England is definitely a country. Wales and Scotland are just little off-shoots of England, a bit like the appendix - not necessary, and couldn't cope on its own.

That would be why the mighty Roman Empire had to stick a wall up to keep us out  3

Avatar
stealth [254 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I, too, love this muchly. In fact it looks just like what I was planning to build for myself. Inspiration for the forks/bar combo must surely come from the Chris Boardman film "The Final Hour". As for it being steel, why not? Geometry looks a lot like my setup, but a little more extreme...

Avatar
Linkinbassist [33 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Beautiful.

Avatar
Flippa [37 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Hope we get to find out how the rider does in the race.
The maker's name is English, and he's from Britain, therefore the Union Flag and the name English. Don't know why it is a problem for him to put his name and country on the bike.

Avatar
pwake [374 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
stealth wrote:

I, too, love this muchly. In fact it looks just like what I was planning to build for myself. Inspiration for the forks/bar combo must surely come from the Chris Boardman film "The Final Hour". As for it being steel, why not? Geometry looks a lot like my setup, but a little more extreme...

Further back to the future than that. The front end is very similar to the Cycles Gitane time trial bike that Laurent Fignon et al rode on the Renault-Elf team in the early to mid eighties.
Nothing new under the sun...

Avatar
dave atkinson [6139 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
brittleware wrote:

Chunky (Colin) Chapman would have a few things to say about this - for instance why are the seat stays welded half way up the seat post, rather than helping triangulation further up?

probably because it's aerodynamically better without being a major strength sacrifice. many new generation tt bikes have lowered seatstays, canyon speedmax and wilier twin foil are two that spring to mind

Avatar
brittleware [30 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
SideBurn wrote:

Mentioning Colin Chapman in a cycling forum Brittleware? Should be ashamed of yourself! However, it would be interesting to speculate on what effect his, "Simplicate, then add lightness" principle would change on this bike. Along with his ability to interpret the rules to his advantage?

Well, Lotus' involvement (the Lotus type 108) sort of showed the way, didn't it? (Even though Chunky obvs. had nothing to do with it!) On a certain F1 forum I quite often mention cycling and bikes, btw... Like F1, rules are restricting progress in bike design.

Avatar
stealth [254 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I keep having to come back to this page to look again, oh dear...

Avatar
SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I would agree that the Lotus 108 progect was a great step forward http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_108 it certainly would have been interesting to see where this progect was going, F1 and cycling could make great companions! Along with other ideas like Graeme Obree's Superman position, but many people attribute Jochen Rindt's death to Colin Chapman's obsession with weight saving http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jochen_Rindt. I know we do not really know what happened, but no-one should die for want of strength due to excessive weight reduction.

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
andyp wrote:

England is definitely a country. Wales and Scotland are just little off-shoots of England, a bit like the appendix - not necessary, and couldn't cope on its own.

Ok, can we have all the oil money you've siphoned off us over the last 30 years then? And please don't repeat all that guff about Scotland getting more money than anywhere else in the UK, as the South East of England actually gets the most.

Anyway, I like the look of this bike and wouldn't mind trying out a fixed wheel variant at the velodrome. I'm not sure how it scores in terms of ergonomics though.

Avatar
liam.cahill1 [42 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I wish Wiggo had ridden this (and won) in the Olympic TT! That would have been a very British win  1

Avatar
hairyairey [296 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Just to get my bit of pedantry in, it's only a Union Jack if it's flown from a ship. It's a flag everywhere else.

I just hope that the name doesn't mean that "Johnny English" is planning to ride this...