Swarf Cycles – an alternative MTB brand
September 28th, 2015
Boutique, bespoke and beautiful
These are the three words that stand most prominent in my mind when I look at the handmade Spline 29 from Swarf Cycles – an alternative MTB brand
Based in Dorchester on the South Coast of the UK and headed up by Adrian Bedford – an ex Aerospace design engineer – Swarf first popped into the public eye in 2014 when they won the ‘Best New Builder’ award at the prestigious Bespoked UK Hand Made Bicycle Show.
The prize was for Adrian’s trail bike wizardry, the Curve, a full suspension frame using a steel front triangle laced to a carbon rear – also hand made – that can take 26 or 27.5 inch wheels.
Sound eccentric or slightly idiosyncratic? It is rather, but I’ve spent a lot of time on one and holy cow is it good! Unfortunately due to the time and consequential cost of making a Curve frame, manufacturing has halted for the time being so Adrian can focus on the Spline 29in hard tail.
Subsequently, the prototype Spline 29 has now since won the ‘Best Offroad’ award at the Bespoked 2015 event too!
It’s clear when you meet Adrian that he likes to do things differently. He doesn’t like to follow the crowd and isn’t too bothered about fashion.
Adrian has one burning desire when it comes to frame manufacturing – to build unique, long lasting bicycles, finished to the best possible grade. All the work is carried out in his garden built workshop come shed and the only other people allowed in there are people delivering coffee, or Bills – the workshop tabby cat – who likes to sporadically fall asleep on the lap top.
Spec one your way
‘The Spline is a light but tough XC frame with modern geometry biased towards descending performance and fun on technical terrain’
Adrian Bedford, Swarf Cycles.
The Spline can be made compatible with all wheel options in mind – 26; 27.5; 27.5+ and in this case 29in.
All frames can be purchased as off-the-shelf versions using fixed geometry options or for an additional fee, areas such as top tube length, head angle and seat tube length can be customised to your preference.
There are various other optional extras should your heart desire and your wallet allow. These include a very unique and distinctive Guilloche bronze head-badges, alternative dropout options (142×12, boost etc), Stealth dropper routing, internal cable routing on small models as well as more complex paint designs.
I should probably just clarify what I mean by ‘more complex’. Adrian uses a frame painting company called Fat Creations – and having now seen some of the designs and colour layering that FC have created, if you’re happy to drop some moolah on painting your frame, the sky is literally the limit!
Fat Creations work is of the highest quality – examples of their custom work could be seen at this years world DH champs under the likes of Aaron Gwin, Troy Brosnan, Greg Minnaar and Josh Bryceland.
All frames are fillet brazed which allows results in a super smooth junction between tubes. The top tube and down tube are made from Reynolds 853 DZB, the head tube is of the 44mm variety allowing any combination of steerer tube to be used and is made from Reynolds 631 tubing.
The seat tube is seamless 4130 with a 30.9 diameter allowing the use of a variety of dropper posts which, looking at the angles of this stunning little menace, it’s going to want to be razzed down some technical trails so you’ll likely need one!
To complete the build, the rear triangle is made from a mixture of Columbus and Dedaccai tubing and the BB is a typical function over form approach at 73mm and threaded for your pleasure!
For riding like you stole it
‘I wanted to build a 29er hardtail that was a scream to ride and was as nimble as it was capable, I feel we may have just done it!’
Adrian Bedford, Swarf Cycles.
It doesn’t take an engineering professor to work out what the Spline’s intentions are from glancing at the geo chart. Its long, low and relatively slack head angle suggest it will be super stable when hauling downhill. A medium frame based around a 120mm fork gives a horizontal toptube measurement of 610mm; a BB height of 305mm and a head angle of 67.5 degrees.
Lace this to its short horizontal chainstay length of 435mm and you’ve got the recipe required for a very capable trail bike. The moderately steep seat angle of 75 degrees should ensure it has a good amount of climbing prowess too. As mentioned above, some of these measurements can be adjusted slightly to your preference should you wish to make your spline truly bespoke.
In a modern day world where steel hardtails are often ten a penny, it can be difficult to choose from one frame and another. However, if you want a bike that has the feeling it was created with passion and utter attention to detail, then a Swarf Spline could be exactly what you’re looking for!
Prices start at £920 for an off-the-shelf frame in a single colour Fat Creations finish.
All information on the Spline 29 as well as all of Swarf Cycles’ products and services, check out www.swarfcycles.co.uk
Are you in to steel frames? Do you like custom options and bespoke builds?
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