First and foremost, we build transport cycles (or cargobikes) because we like what they do and we like the design challenges. We like that they can change our inner cities and our own way of life. We like that our workshop has a swarfy lathe in one corner, welding machines in the other and that we can make stuff, we would like more youngsters to be involved one day, engineering is great. Our bikes are ‘built’ not assembled, our style is from the function and the ride is from the seat of our pants and the experience that only riding these beasts of burden can give you. Steve and Rob are not your average riders, more of your ‘average joe’s. We design with both male and female inmind, cyclist and non cyclist, and whilst our frames are built in one size, because we handbuild them here, we can (in some circumstances) make changes to individual chassis, like a tailor. To make our product affordable we try to keep things standard, with just a few considered options.
So here some answers to questions you might have asked, feel free to ask more.
Why do we fit disc brakes?
A fully loaded cargo bike descending a hill contains a fair amount of energy, energy you need to loose quickly if you are to stop. Disc brakes offer the most efficient way of turning motion into heat and also offer the quickest recovery rate of any brake system. This is why we recommend discs for our E-bikes. They also do not wear the rim adding longevity to our strong wheels.
Do we fit roller brakes?
Yes, on special request, made by Shimano, for rugged durability and a maintenance free life, roller brakes are unbeatable. Not common in the UK they are used a lot in the Netherlands where a bike is used for transport, where they don’t want to have to fix things, and where its mainly flat . They are very effective in all weathers and are particularly good for those not wanting the maintenance overhead of disc brakes.
Why do you like to fit a dynamo hub?
Once again, if your bike is for transport you’ll want lights to be there when you need them. Dynamo lights are always available on tap. Being integrated there is less concern of theft and battery free running and LED lamp technology means they will never let you down. Even on our Ebikes, we sometimes spec a dynamo front hub for piece of mind and for added light capacity.
Why we like to fit hub gears?
We favour hub gears for their durability and reduced maintenance regime. Derailleur gears can be more efficient and certainly lighter and we do use them on our faster urban bikes, but hub gears can give a practical range of easy pedaling ratios for the non-racing, urban cyclist. a massive advantage of hub gears is being able to change gear whilst stopped. in addition, after the initial cost difference (hub gears are more expensive up front) there is very little maintenance cost going forward. If your hub gears are not suiting the hills you ride up…we/you can change the rear sprocket to make hills easier..(but with reduced top speed.)
Why we use a solid steering bar on the box bikes?
The box bike steering bar is a critical component. The ability to balance your bike and avoid shimmy are both linked to the design of the steering bar. The steering needs to be progressive and predictable and the strength of the bar directly relates to bike control.
Why we have a twin spar chassis on our box bike?
Single spar box bikes are OK. They are light and comfortable, relatively simple to built but require a box or at least a deck fitted to the spar to be of any practical use. However there is a length penalty caused by having the front wheel and chassis in line. The twin spar chassis allows a longer deck for the same wheel base, improves rigidity and allows a steeper front to the chassis for a more practical box design.
Why does your boxbike have a splitable chassis?
Longevity…a word that we hear a lot of when people are thinking about spending a fair crack of cash on something that they think might only be needed for a few years. We build our bikes for life, and lives change, personal transport might become a business tool, kids arrive, kids gain Independence and thier own bikes, you might want to upgrade to Ebike or detune to pedal power…convert from family wagon to nippy grocery hauler. Rodford Built bikes are #builtforlife , lives change, our bikes do too.
Can you really ride with no hands on the handlebars?
Yes you can, and this is a symptom of the steering geometry and neutral handling that has been designed into the bike. The steering is neither light nor heavy and shimmy is practically eliminated at regular riding speeds.
Can I adjust the handlebar height?
Yes. The standard bar height is designed for the majority of riders and to give clearance over the cargo area, but you can change the height and the bars too if you wish. We also offer a choice of three basic handlebars which also affect the height of the bars and also the pullback to bring hands closer to you.
Is your centre stand easy to use and will the bike fall over if my kids do the rumba whilst standing in it?
An effective centre stand can make the difference between a handy, easy to use machine and a clumsy, unsafe bike. Through several design iterations we have settled on a spring return, two legged stand. This stand can be deployed and retracted whilst you are over the bike allowing you to easily maintain control. The spring return is simple and rattle free; and when deployed the leg transfers the bike weight directly to the road, by-passing the pivot to reduce wear and tear on the assembly. once the bike is on the centre stand, the length of the stand legs can be tuned so that on flat ground the stand legs and the tyres can all touch at once. even with wheels off the ground (probably not both wheels) the stand cannot retract without a good push, and gets harder to retract when you have weight in the box or on the deck. If you have kids being kids in the box, you need to be sure the bike will stay put. so the legs are easily adjustable for height (different height tyres, or stand leg/foot wear and tear,) will not flip up without you wanting it too, yet is easy to deploy and retract, making it a hassle free, confident stop and park technique.
Why do you sell direct?
Selling direct allows us to work closely with our customers to ensure they get the bike the want and the right bike for their needs.
It also allows us to follow up with servicing and spares as needed. It also means we keep more of the money that you pay us, which in turn means we can make more bikes, feed our kids, bathe in Champagne, as our production numbers build so we can buy our components with more discount (in theory), be more efficient, then we can make it even easier for you to buy a RodfordBuilt more locally. We do/can ship nationwide, and are always looking at ways to help you test ride before you buy so if you have a good idea to help that happen, and want to share it with us, please do.
Why is your frame made of steel, aren’t all bikes made of aluminium these days?
Aluminium is lightweight which we like, but it is expensive and requires very careful design to avoid fractures, Fractures can occur through too much frame flex resulting in fatigue failures. Steel on the other hand will happily flex without affecting the life of the chassis. It is also more easy to repair. we only say this because the original Longjohns from Denmark are cropping up and even though they can be 30, 50 years old, they are being stripped back, adapted for more modern components and brought back into service. A steel frame can be lighter or equal to the weight of an ali frame because you may need more aluminium to avoid crack inducing flex. Steel, because it can accommodate movement, makes for a more comfortable ride. where aluminium does score big points is ease of manufacture, there are millions of aluminium bikes, mostly made in Asia. it’s easily cast, formed, and fabricated by machine, so if we made 50 +bikes at a time, ali would be the easier route. We are building our bikes in the UK from steel because we like the material…and we want the bike to be build-able in the UK. (The Netherlands still has factories making steel bicycle frames although the vogue is now for ali, aficionados still love a steel framed city bike,)
How much does the box bike weight?
The final bike weight will depend mostly on what components are fitted. The chassis weight of our largest box bike including forks, centre stand and steering bar is 13kgs. This is comparable to the leading cargo bikes including aluminium ones.
Will you be building other bikes?
Yes, we have some game changing uses for our boxbike , uses that might change the way some folk think about the bicycle. We also have other models on the drawing board and the workshop table. We think the UK needs a small utility Ebike and a short Elongtail…a midtail plus if you like.
Is the bike actually built in the UK?
Yes. definitely, Without disclosing our supply chain entirely; our steel parts are designed on CAD by us in Bristol, manufactured by a company in Yate, (actually cut on a machine in the midlands), Frame painting is in Bristol or Cardiff, chassis assembly and welding is done on-site in our workshops in Rodford, Bristol. Apart from making our bikes “British”, this also allows us to monitor quality and make changes much more easily. Our components are mainly from Shimano but we always look to design accessories and parts so that local (small) producers can conceivably produce them for us. We also work with local Bath and Bristol University students with input on Degree projects, they are our engineering future and a massive part of what we want RodfordBult to be about. “Made in Britain” is a choice that builds on our industrial history and helps our younger ones build a better future
Can I order my bike with special custom parts and paint?
If you must Ha! we might do you a deal.
We can do custom colours, but there is a cost premium and possibly an extra wait, not all colours are available, depends on the availability. but talk to us….we handbuild our bikes. we like ideas and we like custom….