About

Noviceframebuilder.co.uk is a website for bicycle framebuilders starting out in the United Kingdom. I have started it because I was unable to find a similar resource anywhere that provided relevant information all in one place for prospective bicycle framebuilders, who have probably been on a basic course to build a bike frame and then wish to carry on building more at home with the minimum expense. It does not attempt to instruct you in how to build a bicycle frame from scratch but hopefully will offer information you only realised you needed when you decided to do it yourself. Whilst input from professional framebuilders is more than welcome the site is really for those who will probably never build bicycle frames as a livelihood. The basis of the site reflects my own experiences and the things I did not learn on a course and had to find out for myself. Currently there are several frame building schools and courses in the UK to acquire the necessary basics and some now offering advanced and related subject tuition. Of course most of the site will be dedicated to building in steel which is both the most accessible material and many would say still the best, but there are undoubtedly homebuilders who build in aluminium, carbon fibre and maybe titanium. There is even a course to build your own Bamboo frame.

Any contributions to the site are welcome, be it comments or articles on your own techniques or experiences, or reviews of courses you have attended or books you have read.

Please forward any contributions to stephen@hiltoncycles.com

Stephen Hilton

3 Comments

Dez

about 3 years ago

Hi Stephen I stumbled across your site after searching for building courses in the UK. It's a great read, thanks for posting your experiences! I do not have an engineering/welding background, so would have to start from scratch (both kit and skills). I live in south london so do not have easy access to any of the courses or their facilities, consequently I'd have to buy my own gear. Initial £ outlay looks high, is there any chance you could give me a ballpark amount? This is for a beginner set-up, enough to make my own basic frames post training course. Cheers. Dez

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Stephen Hilton

about 3 years ago

Dear Dez, Thank you for your interest. You are right in that frame building can be an expensive hobby. In terms of how much it costs I would have to say probably more than you think! Despite that apart from the essential tools referred to on the website, and the brazing equipment, I acquired stuff over a period of time. The basic hand tools such as vice, files drills etc, plus wood for blocks and wood drills to make them would come in around £300 if all bought new. This would include a hand reamer for seat tubes which would be the first frame finishing tool I would get. Rear dropout adjusters and a frame alignment tool would add about £80. This doesn't include an electric drill. A drill press would be about £100 and cheap dremmel type tool £60. An oxy propane brazing set up to include regulators and safety wear etc and oxygen and propane bottles including refundable deposits would be around £400-450 (deposit on the oxygen is £80). However welding equipment varies a lot in price and I would shop around. A good book i.e. the paterek manual is about £60 and a Park stand I use for brazing in is£170, but you may manage with something cheaper as I did for quite a while. A decent amount of brass rods and flux would be about £60. So your ball park figure a guess for all new stuff is about £1000. That even surprised me! Frame finishing tools, i.e. headset reamer and facer and bottom bracket cutters and facers are all over £100 a time so I recommend initially you seek a bike shop who has them, there must be loads in London. The question then arises are you going to use a jig to build your frames. All frame building course use them but the cheapest is still probably the Brew Jig which costs about £1600 to import. Second hand ones are rare. It is perfectly possible to assemble frames on a flat surface and the Paterek manual tells you how to do this. A surface table is probably the best way to do this as they are completely flat. They are often available on ebay but a lot are rough. You can probably pick up a big enough one up second hand for less than £200. Ordinary granite slabs or plate glass may be OK but won't be certified accurate. Some have built basic jigs with bolts and spacers attached to plywood boards. My home made fork jig was built for about £100. Gas fluxers can be over £2000 new and flux £50 but reconditioned fluxers occasionally appear. I got mine for £600. Hope this isn't too discouraging. Best wishes Stephen

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Dez

about 3 years ago

Great reply, I really appreciate the time you took to explain. I suspected it would be quite pricy.... You confined it :) Its now a case of saving up. Keep going on the website. Dez.

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