Coming from the same workshop as the fully custom bikes of Swallow Bespoke, the same frame builders of Bicycles By Design have debuted a new bike brand aiming to make top quality British steel bikes more attainable through a semi-stock line. The new Ironbridge bikes draw on Bicycles By Design’s expertise to craft traditionally built, contemporary steel bikes more quickly and at a lower price than getting a custom bike made. But while they give up the full custom geometry of a bespoke bike, there certainly is a lot of room left for customization as each bike is still built to order…
The village of Ironbridge, Shropshire in England (and in turn its iron bridge) gives its name to the new brand manufacturing bikes in the UK, the same town where the Industrial Revolution got underway with the more readily available production of iron. There’s a movement to reinvigorate bike building in the UK, and Ironbridge Bicycles is the latest project of the made-to-measure bike builders at Bicycles By Design (home of the Swallow mark) to expand their output.
Bicycles By Design founders Pete Bird and Robert Wade say the production frame brand is a project they’ve been working on with other local small frame builders and industry partners in an effort to develop a new working model to keep their skills viable as the market continues to evolve, especially with Brexit on the horizon. They hope the Made-in-the-UK bikes will both cement themselves at home and open up more opportunities for export, with the bikes British Built by British Frame builders in British Steel.
Ironbridge is offering three different road-oriented bikes at start-up, each named (numbered?) after key dates of the Industrial Revolution. The bikes will be available either as framesets from ~£1690 to £2250 or as complete bikes from £2900 to £5000. Each bike will be available in a wide 15 size range, and is still going to be built-to-order with a 12-14 week turn around.
The first bike in the line is the 1779 (numbered for the opening of the Iron bridge.) It is a dirt & gravel road touring frame fillet brazed for either derailleur-geared or internal geared hubs, or even a Pinion gearbox. It is a good example of the flexibility that Ironbridge is building into their semi-custom, semi-stock bikes and can be built adapted for a belt-drive, 700c/26”/650b wheels, rim or disc brake compatibility, and even get S&S couplers as well, all based on buyer needs.
Next in chronological order is their 1851 all rounder. This Union Jack themed bike gets named for the year of The Great Exhibition showcasing British manufacturing to the rest of the world. Seen as a do-it-all road, gravel & cross bike, the 1851 mixes fillet brazed construction and a lugged bottom bracket for its Reynolds 853 main triangle and S-bend Columbus CX stays. A bit fewer options around its 700c wheels, the bike still gets a full suite of braze-ons and has the option for couplers among other things. Designed around disc brakes and a 1x drivetrain, you can always slap a front derailleur on its round seattube.
Last is the 1952 which recreates the bikes from the heyday of British custom frame production. The 1952 is totally lugged to get that classic style, but still builds in options like rim or disc brakes, and a level or sloping toptube layout and is built with a 1.125″ headset. You can also upgrade the lugs to something a bit more fancy and filed if you so choose. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing a lugged all-road bike with disc brakes thrown in for a modern touch.
Get the full details & pricing for major options on Ironbridge’s website, and start the ordering process…