Whilst visiting Joe McEwan’s Starling Cycles workshop in Bristol, UK, we met up with Pi Manson, owner of Clandestine. Pi is sharing space at the Starling workshop to hand build steel-framed works of art, it has to be said. We got the low-down on Pi’s new Clandestine Carrier, which is the bike for touring or bikepacking, grocery getting, audax, fire road bashing, – for life. It is a summation of Pi’s ideas around the ideal bike for most people, most of the time.
Clandestine Carrier Bike – Handmade in the UK
The 650b Clandestine Carrier is a fillet brazed steel frame bike composed of a mixture of Reynolds 853 and Columbus Zona tubing. The geometry is designed around 3 main things: Pi’s preferred long head tube, carrying weight over the front, and a comfortable and efficient upright seated position. The low geometry is built around a 70% front loading approach. Though customers can customise the geometry, Pi favors a long head tube with low trail steering, the bottom bracket drop is fixed at 67mm, the fork with a 64mm rake, and generally they feature chainstay lengths of 440mm. It will take 47c tyres, or 2.2″ knobbies, and gearing-wise, has enough clearance for a 38-tooth chainring.
Pi wanted to make something practical and affordable but still have the ability to tailor the sizing and geometry to each customer. To maintain the bike’s affordability, Pi doesn’t bother to file the fillets, instead he makes sure they are pretty neatly brazed from the get-go. The twin-plate high-rake forks are also of Pi’s own design, and are laser cut. He says these are more easily manufactured than traditional lug-style forks.
Pi actually began his fabrication career building bicycle racks, before discovering he might be interested in building a specific bike for these racks to fit onto. The result is that Pi can build his bicycles around the rack that will be used to carry all your important adventure items. The dynamo that the Carrier is fitted with is fully integrated – the cable comes out of the dynamo and inserts into a rack tube, pops out at the front light, goes into the downtube, up the seat tube and into the rear light. A stopper in the seat tube stops the rider from lowering the seat post too far and damaging the cable.
The carrier features 100 x 15mm and 142 x 12mm thru axles, with Bear Frame Supplies dropouts supplying a bolt-on replaceable mech hanger for the thru axle. The Jtek adapter pictured allows for a mountain bike specific rear mech to be run with road bike shifters.
Pricing and Availability
Clandestine bikes are built in Britain to order, with a 2-month wait from order to delivery. Your very own custom sized Clandestine Carrier will cost you £2100. With that you’ll get a frame and fork, a Clandestine stem with Lion brass bell, a front demi-porteur rack with removable lowriders, a rear Carradice bag support, front & rear Supernova E3 dynamo lights and Giles Berthoud stainless mudguards.