Bespoked - a celebration of handmade bicycles & those who make them
FRAMEBUILDER OF THE WEEK
Getting to know the people that make the bikes
Richard Hallett - Hallett Handbuilt Cycles
With more than 20 year experience testing and writing about bicycles for the UK's cycling publications, Richard knows what makes a good one. So five years ago he decided to do just that and has been making them ever since.
How long have you been framebuilding and how did you get into it?
I have been building commercially for five years. I learned to use machine tools and the basics of brazing when wheel builder Ken Bird and I constructed a car and took part in the 1993 World Solar Challenge in Australia. I spent 10 years as technical editor of Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport, visited many custom frame builders and factories and had numerous custom frames built for me to test, so I had a good idea of the frame-building process when, a few years back, I wrote a book on road bike technology. This got me thinking about cycle construction so I asked the legendary Cliff Shrubb, an old friend, to teach me how to build a bike frame using some ideas I had on geometry. The result handled well and, in the usual way, I was asked by a couple of friends to build them something similar. This meant I had to acquire or build the equipment and could then build as many frames as I liked.
How would you define your style of building?
Progressive and versatile using traditional techniques
Who or what has inspired you?
As a young racing cyclist I mostly rode Roberts frames and always admired their fine detailing. Dave Yates for his willingness to build anything I asked for as a journalist; André Sablière, the Sorcerer of St. Etienne, for his sheer artistry in metal and, of course, the modest but immensely talented Cliff Shrubb.
How many frames have you built and which has been your favourite?
I’m working on #39 right now. Hard to say which is my favourite but I do the most riding on the first 650B I built, five years ago. It’s still my first choice for anything from winter club runs to long-distance all-roads touring.
If someone wants a custom bike from you, what’s the ordering process and how long is your waiting list?
Details are on my website, halletthandbuiltcycles.com. Customers usually get in touch with an outline of what they want, from which I can work out some specification and pricing options. If the customer decides to proceed, I’ll put them on the build list and then take a detailed look at specifics, from tyre and tubeset choice to colour scheme, rider build and riding style. I can carry out a personal fitting or build using frame dimensions supplied by another fitting service. I’ll ask for a deposit before starting the build. Current lead time is about 20-24 weeks.
Where is your favourite place to ride and why?
Around the Teifi valley in west Wales, where I live. A particular favourite is goes from Newcastle Emlyn to Newport, Pembrokeshire and back but the whole region is scenic, very hilly and largely traffic-free.
What can we expect to see from you at Bespoked 2019?
The idea is to show a hub-braked and hub-geared gent’s roadster and an all-roads tourer.
And finally, if you weren’t a framebuilder, what would you be?
I write for Cycle, the CTC magazine, and would probably still be a cycling journo, but making bikes is more fun than writing about them. I weren’t in the world of cycling I might be restoring old motorcycles or making furniture..
hallet handbuilt cycles
I build cycles and framesets for anything from laden touring and audax-style riding to competitive cycling, in steel, using the traditional techniques of brazing, fillet brazing and silver soldering.
I began building cycle frames having spent more than 20 years testing and reviewing bikes and writing about the intricacies of cycling technology for publications including Cycling Weekly, Cycle Sport, Rouleur, Procycling and Cycling Plus.
Maker - Richard Hallett
Designer - Richard Hallett
Where - Wales