Rob English of English Cycles builds his unique completely custom bikes in Eugene, Oregon. Rob is known for pushing the envelope with his bike builds creating machines that continually impress his customers and fans of his work. Rob’s bikes seem like they are always on the cutting edge of design yet he builds with mostly steel which to most wouldn’t seem cutting edge at all.
We got to spend a little time with Rob to talk about English Cycles at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show and check out a few of his latest bikes.
Rob talks about his personal rigid 29er he brought to the show:
“These days I mostly ride singlespeed, but some rides it is good to have gears. So I built myself a 1×9 29er. I used a 73mm BB shell and careful shaping of the chainstays, along with a curved seattube, to keep the chainstays nice and short at 415mm (16.3″). This tucks the rear wheel under for good traction and helps even out the weight distribution for my fairly long and low riding position. I really liked the look of curved twin toptubes/seatstays when I did it on a cruiser, so employed the same design here – these tubes also provide very clean direct routing for the derailleur cable and rear hydraulic hose. A titanium seatpost provides a bit of passive suspension, along with 2.4″ tubeless tires at low pressure. With the single ring and not being ready to move up to XX1 yet, I machined a small, lightweight chainkeeper that is attached to a custom mount on the seattube. The front end has a one-piece stem-steerer, and a fork to match, with the hydraulic hose running internally from stem to brake. And I had some carbon tubing left over, so added an insert to the headtube.”
Interview with Rob English:
What is your overall design and focus?
“I like to think I take an engineering approach to building what a customer needs.”
Are all your bikes custom or do you have standard models?
“Everything I build is custom.”
Do you build primarily road or mountain?
“I build everything. I’ve built everything from a 9lb kick bike to a tandem recumbent.”
What is the most common tubing used in your bikes?
“True temper, almost everything I build is steel.”
When did you get started building bikes?
“I built my first bike at 15 (recumbent) then I got a Masters in mechanical engineering and started applying that to building bikes.”
If you weren’t building bikes what would you be doing?
“I would be doing something with bikes.”
Powdercoat or paint?
“I had been doing powdercoat myself and then just started working with ColorWorks in Eugene doing wet paint.”
What was your first childhood bike?
“1991 Specialized Stumpjumper comp. I rode and raced on it for 10 years. In 2001 I bought another one.”
What is your favorite trail?
“Singletrack where I grew up in England.”
How did you end up in Eugene, Oregon?
“I was hired by Bike Friday as their engineer.”
SRAM or Shimano?
“Too tough to call.”
Burrito or taco?
Rob’s Personal Time Trail Bike
This bike is custom from front to back with many one off parts that Rob made himself. You can learn all about this amazing machine at BikeRadar.