April 2014 Posts

Bike Fitting and BikeCad at The Bicycle Academy

Bike Fitting and BikeCad at The Bicycle Academy


In March 2014 I attended a one day course on bike fitting and the use of the computer aided bicycle design software BikeCad which appears to be the market leader. I was unsure as to whether I wanted to purchase this without seeing it in action first as the online version would not run properly on my computer and in any case is limited in function. The idea of the course from a bike builder’s perspective is to learn how to fit a person to a bike and then transfer that information into the BikeCad program to design a perfectly fitted bike.

Bespoke Bicycle Show 2014

Bespoke Bicycle Show 2014

A bigger show again this year at the London Olympic Velodrome. This year there were several toolmakers present, in particular three frame building jigs on display.
The most interesting from the homebuilders point of view is probably the Bicycle Academy jig which was displayed as a pre production model and will retail for £2000.

Home Made Fork Jig

Home Made Fork Jig

I have managed to make a jig for building forks. I have found it very effective and it was not too difficult to make. I used a 8mm thick piece of steel plate as the base plate topped with a 40mm square section and two v blocks. The square section was attached to the base plate by drilling through, tapping the baseplate and inserting bolts This makes for a heavy and solid base and is heat absorptive. I then extended the base with aluminium profile fixed to the baseplate with the matching fittings and screws and added uprights to attach an axle for the dropouts and a mid fork blade support.

Basic Hand Tools

Basic Hand Tools

This of course does not include all the tools you need to build a frame up into a bike!
1. A Vice
2. Soft vice jaw covers
3. Tubing blocks. I made my own by drilling a holes through sections of 4×4 softwood then cutting them in half. The Bicycle Academy often have them for sale.
4. Metal hacksaw
5. Standard files, half round only are really needed, 8, 6 and 4in all are useful depending on preference, but probably in that order, as are all three grades bastard, second cut and smooth with second cut being the most universal. I have never used 10in files.
6. Small needle files. Riffler files can be helpful for final filing of lugs and fillets.

Welding and Brazing Equipment Suppliers

I have at sometime used the services of most of the suppliers listed below:

Gas UK, Contract free gases and a range of welding supplies.
Tel: 0800 133 7490
Email: info@gas-uk.co.uk
Gas UK,
Unit 6/7 Haydock Lane,
St Helens,
WA11 9UY

Hobbyweld, Contract free gases, nationwide agents for local collection.
Tel: 0800 433 4331

Ryval Gas, Contract free oxygen and other welding gases. Home delivery only. also a range of equipment.
Redfield Road, Lenton, Nottingham, NG7 2UJ

Weldability-sif, extensive range of welding equipment and consumables, including gas fluxers. Access via The Bicycle Academy and support a framebuilding school

The Welders Warehouse, General welding supplies

Weld UK, General welding supplies

Cheltenham Welding supplies (Noz-Alls Ltd), General welding supplies and the only place I have been able to find propane gas economisers.

Rapid Welding and Industrial supplies Ltd., General welding supplies, including single stage propane regulators with gauges.

Plasmatech, suppliers of gas fluxers

Welding Safety Links

HSE documents:

Gas welding safety http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg297.pdf

Pneumonia vaccination in welders http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/eis44.htm

Take care with acetylene http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg327.pdf

Safe use of compressed gases in welding and allied processes http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg139.pdf

Welding Health and Safety index http://www.hse.gov.uk/welding/index.htm

American Welding Society Health and Safety fact sheets:


Safety in welding, cutting and allied processes http://www.aws.org/technical/AWS_Z49.pdf

Online-Sign: online sign maker for safety notices to help make your own safety signs


Framebuilding related Suppliers

St John St Cycles, 91-93 St John Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 5HX
Custom framebuilding seems to lead to the need to purchase difficult to obtain parts and sizes. This seems to be the most likely place to source a difficult part.

Atlantic Boulevard, Star Works, Church Street, Bury, Lancashire BL9 6BN.
Telephone: 0161 762 0456
Top class frame restorer and frame repairs. Happy to paint custom frames.

BikeCAD Bicycle design software, Computer aided design program, the industry standard.

Axminster. General metalworking and engineering tools and supplies. National network.

Machine Mart. General metalworking and engineering tools and supplies. National network.

Beesley’s Tools. Excellent source of Dremel and Proxxon rotary tools and bits.

Metal Mania. Suppliers of small quantities of steel and aluminum etc for jig building. Also sells through an Ebay shop

Miles Tool and Machinery centre. Replacement parts for that broken Dremel!

Cromwell. Major supplier of engineering/metalworking and welding equipment and consumables

Chronos. Source of reasonably priced engineering tools

Metallin. Supplier of extruded aluminium profiles cut to length and fittings for jig building.

Forward metals. Suppliers of small quantities of aluminium sheet for custom projects. free cutting service

Cycle Design USA. Manufacturers and suppliers of fine brazing fluxes and metals, available in the UK from Ceeway.

Superstar components. Supplier of budget bicycle parts and accessories, including a low priced Bottom Bracket Cutting and Facing set.

Webbline-UK. Supplier of wide range of bicycle tools, including framebuilding tools

headbadge.co.uk. Pewter headbadges custom made by Geoff Moorhouse to your design. Extremely good value
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/headbadgeUK
email: geoff.moorhouse@gmail.com

RS components. Major suppliers of electrical and electronic equipment but also some engineering stuff and heavy duty metal extrusions for jig building.

RDG Tools.  Source of reasonable priced engineering tools, also has an Ebay shop

Toolstop. Online low price tool retailer. The only source I could find of Rigid tube benders in the UK

Metal Polishing Supplies. Unit 19 Fairway Business Centre, Airport Service Road, Portsmouth, PO3 5NU
Telephone: 0800 988 7020
Email: sales@metalpolishingsupplies.co.uk
One stop online supplier of metal polishing (incl stainless steel) equipment and consumables

Framebuilding related Resources

Matt Wilkinson’s grant sponsored report on frame building in the USA 2011.

The Custom Bicycle. pdf download of 1979 book with chapters on framebuilders from around the world

Sheldon Brown’s technical information homepage, needs no introduction.

CTC, The Cycle Touring Club, now the National Cycling Charity – JOIN!

Bespoked (formerly Bespoke Bristol), the annual custom builders show.

Bikecad, the leading computer aided design software, based in Canada but downloaded worldwide. Limited online try out.

Useful Online Bicycle Trail Calculator

Pipe Layout Calculator. This is an app for iphone, ipad and ipod touch which, although designed for pipefitters, will produce fish-mouth templates suitable for mitring bicycle tubes.

Tubemiter for Mac. Free software download for producing mitre templates, only works on Apple macs. Basic program similar to tubemiter exe. Does not offer any centre line on the template.

Tubemiter exe. This program can still be found by searching the internet. Runs only on Windows but in my experience it will not run on any windows platform later than XP

Lathes.co.uk. Detailed advice on choosing a lathe and other lathe related resources.

Towergate Insurance. Downs view House, 141-145 Station Road East, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0QE.
Tel: 0344 346 0409     Email: Commercialnb.riskline@towergate.co.uk   At one time the only broker I have been able to find to offer Liability insurance to home custom framebuilders.

The Seatpost Man. John Lee (based in Chorley, Lancashire), can remove any seized seatpost from all frame types.
Tel: 07539474088
http://www.theseatpostman.com                    https://www.facebook.com/theseatpostman1



Framebuilding Supplies

CEEWAY: 80/82 West Street, Erith, Kent, DA8 1AQ, UK
Telephone: 01322 442 990
Website: http://www.framebuilding.com  http://www.ceeway.com
One stop supplier for all framebuilding requisites.

THE BICYCLE ACADEMY: Welsh Mill, Park Hill Drive, Frome, Somerset BA11 2LE Telephone 01373 473767
Website: http://www.thebicycleacademy.org
Stockists of a range of Columbus and Reynolds tubing and other
parts and tools. Now selling a range of jigs and tools through their Academy Tools brand www.thebicycleacademy.org/academytools. Also a full range of welding equipment and consumables through their Sif shop.

Shaftmoor Industrial Estate, 226 Shaftmoor Lane, Hall Green, Birmingham B28 8SP
Tel : 0121 7773 853
Website: http://reynoldstechnology.biz
Sell their own tubing and lugs. Contact with your requirements and
they will forward price lists etc. Minimum order £150. Will sell to
amateur framebuilders but will ask for your experience.

ANVIL TOOLS:  formerly 502 Violet Street,Golden, Colorado 80401
Superb framebuilding jigs and tools.
Unfortunately Anvil have now closed due to retirement so will only be available second hand.

SPUTNIK TOOL: 370 Old County Road, Sedgwick, Maine ME 04676
Website: http://www.sputniktool.com
All tools made individually by Jeff Buchholz

COFA ENGINEERING: Cottage Farm workshops, Whale Wharf lane, Littleton, BS35 1NW
Tel: 01454 411720 07872 330444
Website: http://www.cofa-eng.co.uk
Manufacturers of custom bicycle frame building parts and frame building jigs

BEAR FRAME BUILDING SUPPLIES: Unit 8, Acacia Close, Cherrycourt Way, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 4QE
Tel: 01525 851337
Website: http://bearframesupplies.co.uk

REVOLUCION FRAMES: David Protheroe sells a limited range of Carbon fibre tube sets for the home builder
email:01stimpressions@googlemail.com, or contact directly on 0755141474

Framebuilding Courses

THE BICYCLE ACADEMY: Welsh Mill, Park Hill Drive, Frome, Somerset BA11 2LE Telephone 01373 473767
Website: http://www.thebicycleacademy.org
The Bicycle Academy also offers hire of full workshop and jig facilities for builders who wish to build their own bikes after completing a course, Marvelous if you find this convenient enough.

DOWNLANDS CYCLES: Downland Cycles Training Centre
2 Stone Cottages, Lynsore Bottom, Canterbury, Kent CT4 6EG
01227 709706
Website: http://www.downlandcycles.co.uk

BICYCLES BY DESIGN (Home of Swallow bicycles):
The John Rose Building, High Street, Coalport, Shropshire TF8 7HT
Telephone 01952 459900
Website: http://www.bicycles-by-design.co.uk

DAVE YATES CYCLES: Ivy House Farm, Hawthorn Hill, Coningsby, Lincoln
LN4 4UW (The original framebuilding course)
Telephone 01526 343322 (During opening hours only please, Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri 9am – 5pm)
Website: http://daveyatescycles.co.uk

PHOENIX HOTWORKS: London Frame builder Darren Barber offers 5 day courses only, but they are 1:1.
Website: http://www.phoenixhotworks.com/home/4591045992

NERVE BIKES: Unit 3, 83 Railway Road, Newhaven, East Sussex BN9 0AP
Telephone 01273 515994
Website: http://www.nervebikes.com