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Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

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The bicycle is a pure, noble invention, which is probably why it attracts so many people who have prior experience in other industries. Take Adrian Bedford, for example. With a long background in engineering and product design, after two years at Dyson, Adrian found himself working in the aerospace defense industry designing in-flight refueling systems. In spite of being very good at what he does, Adrian said he would “sit there looking at what I was supposed to be working on, but thinking about bikes.” Pretty sure we’ve all been there at some point in our life.

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

The turning point for Adrian came when he was offered a summer job to guide riders in the Alpes. At that point, he had already begun tinkering with bike frames building his first in 2011, and he told himself that if his bike survived the summer, he’d start making bike frames. As you might have guessed, the frame passed with flying colors and Adrian made the switch to building bikes full time in 2014.

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

Originally, Adrian was in a tiny 2.5 x 7m workshop and even though he’s still not in a massive facility, he has quite a bit more room to work. Adrian moved to this space in Peebles, Scotland about six months ago and shares it with his wife who has a chiropractic office on one side, and some friends that do camper van conversions on the other side. Located right in the city center of Peebles, Swarf is very close to some of the best trails in the Tweed Valley which is to say some incredible riding.

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

One of the more interesting features of Adrian’s first bike (green, above), was that it had a carbon fiber rear end with a steel front end. Adrian said the design was completely proven and was plenty durable for production but the swingarm just took him too many hours to manufacture. Since he was cutting his own molds in a machine shop, it took 6 months to get the molds together and then about 50 hours to build each swingarm. He continued with the carbon swingarm through the next version (red and blue, above), which still utilized a high pivot with a chain torque eliminator pulley.

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

However, when 29ers first started to roll out, Adrian decided that he would try out the big wheels by building some hard tail frames. While he liked the wheel size, he thought that a bit of suspension would be nice – which brings us to the current model.

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

Moving to a somewhat standard single pivot design, the Contour 29 is a short travel 29er with 115mm of progressive suspension. The seat stays are shaped to allow for some flex which is required to make the system work without a rear pivot.

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley Swarf Cycles Tour: Scottish steel suspension straight from the Tweed Valley

Designed to work with a 130mm travel fork, this bike was yet again speced with a Cane Creek Helm – which seems to be a very popular option in the UK. Personally, one of my favorite design elements is how the seat stays flow into the top tube giving it the look of a hard tail, but with the ride of a full suspension bike. Claimed weight of the frame is 3.2kg without a shock, and it’s offered with either 142 x 12 or 148 x 12 rear ends with a 73mm threaded BB, 44mm head tube, and internal dropper compatible 30.9mm seat tube.

Available in three colors and four sizes, each bike is hand built by Adrian and prices start at £1950 for a frame and a RockShox Monarch RT3 rear shock. Adrian also still sells hard tail frames with the Spine 29 & 27.5, and can whip up full custom frames as well.

swarfcycles.co.uk

 

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13 Comments
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DougB
DougB
4 years ago

They couldn’t bend the seat tube? that weld makes the bike look DIY 🙁

NellyNel
NellyNel
4 years ago

Builders like this and Starling give me hope for the future of FS MTB. I’d take one of these over Asian carbon any day.

luddite
luddite
4 years ago

A one piece bent seat tube, and post-mount instead of IS mount brakes and this would be an elegant bike.
With all that space in the main triangle you could put even bikepack on it.

Tim
Tim
4 years ago

I like the in-line slope of the top tube and the seatstays, and how the top of the top tube goes to the top of the head tube. Smooth.

Swarf Cycles
4 years ago

@DougB I have to agree that a bent seat tube would look nicer. We decided against bending the seat tube for a couple of reasons. Firstly on the smaller sized frames it would limit dropper insertion length due to the bend radius, we’re all about practicality and having your dropper choice limited by the bend radius could be a deal breaker for some customers.
Secondly bending 35mm diameter tube is actually quite hard to do nicely and requires some pretty hefty kit. It’s not something that makes sense when the kinked solution is perfectly adequate in terms of function.

Cheers Adrian

roboblob
roboblob
4 years ago

Now that is a beautiful bike!

contrarian
contrarian
4 years ago

Seatstay-Toptube Alignment is aesthetics easy button. Always looks good.

Zach
Zach
4 years ago

This Bike looks freaking awesome! Need them Stateside.

CoffeeAddikkt
CoffeeAddikkt
4 years ago

If I can ever afford a second mtb, this will be it!

networkman
networkman
4 years ago

Nice looking bike but it needs many refinements. (look closely at the pictures)

Tim
Tim
4 years ago
Reply to  networkman

I don’t see what you’re talking about. Which specific things look bad to you?

Michael Cleveland
4 years ago

Really nice and I’m an all rigid, no dropper, sort of rider. Makes me actually wonder if having a fully might be interesting at 25 years of mountain biking.

Paul J Krahn
Paul J Krahn
4 years ago

They explain the kinked seat-tube (rather than bent) here: http://www.swarfcycles.co.uk/contour-design-details.html. In short, it’s to allow for enough room for a dropper post.

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