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.