English Cycles Naked time trial bike

Stunning low profile TT bike from English Cycle

by David Arthur   December 18, 2012  

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

29 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

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 Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8699 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:11

like this
Like (4)

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

posted by NeilXDavis [111 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:14

like this
Like (2)

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

Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7937 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:15

like this
Like (2)

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?

The world seemed flatter years ago?

brittleware's picture

posted by brittleware [30 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:21

like this
Like (3)

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

posted by mad_scot_rider [538 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:21

like this
Like (3)

I like this a very lot.

posted by BigDummy [280 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:30

like this
Like (2)

Need to change my under pants.

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [191 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:41

like this
Like (4)

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

posted by Huw Watkins [54 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:45

like this
Like (2)

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?

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
18th December 2012 - 12:49

like this
Like (2)

Porn on tuesday, i love it Smile

posted by mandy [84 posts]
18th December 2012 - 13:43

like this
Like (2)

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.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [2966 posts]
18th December 2012 - 14:35

like this
Like (2)

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

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
18th December 2012 - 14:58

like this
Like (2)

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?

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1191 posts]
18th December 2012 - 15:59

like this
Like (3)

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

posted by andyp [807 posts]
18th December 2012 - 16:00

like this
Like (3)

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...

posted by step-hent [653 posts]
18th December 2012 - 17:46

like this
Like (4)

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.

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1191 posts]
18th December 2012 - 18:26

like this
Like (2)

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.

posted by andyp [807 posts]
18th December 2012 - 19:57

like this
Like (1)

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 Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7937 posts]
18th December 2012 - 20:06

like this
Like (5)

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...

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [177 posts]
18th December 2012 - 20:49

like this
Like (3)

Beautiful.

posted by Linkinbassist [33 posts]
18th December 2012 - 21:09

like this
Like (2)

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.

posted by Flippa [36 posts]
18th December 2012 - 22:10

like this
Like (2)

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...

posted by pwake [280 posts]
19th December 2012 - 2:49

like this
Like (4)

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

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7262 posts]
19th December 2012 - 10:40

like this
Like (3)

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.

The world seemed flatter years ago?

brittleware's picture

posted by brittleware [30 posts]
19th December 2012 - 12:42

like this
Like (2)

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

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [177 posts]
19th December 2012 - 21:35

like this
Like (2)

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.

posted by SideBurn [765 posts]
20th December 2012 - 4:57

like this
Like (4)

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.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
20th December 2012 - 15:41

like this
Like (3)

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

liam.cahill1's picture

posted by liam.cahill1 [41 posts]
20th December 2012 - 16:36

like this
Like (1)

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...

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [278 posts]
21st December 2012 - 14:23

like this
Like (5)