- TONY’S SUPER BESPOKE RETRO DIRECT FUN MACHINE -
I’m not even sure where to begin with Tony’s RD bike. Almost everything on this bike is custom-made bar a handful of parts. As bad as this may sound, it really took some convincing for me to build this bike. I think Tony first approached me about a year before I accepted a deposit. The main reason was that I just thought the RD System was crazy and complicated and, just like many who have seen this bike, I couldn’t get my head around how it worked or why you would even want it…
As it happens, it’s actually incredibly simple and just looks bonkers. As simple as the mechanism and concept actually is, we really went to town with making it run as smoothly as possible. Tony and I had a Chat with Mark Bentley, the talented man who is responsible for machining my dropouts. After finding that using an off-the-shelf jockey wheel made the most awful of grinding noises, we decided we would design and machine a custom jockey wheel from brass with a spherical bearing. This ran smoothly when misaligned and allowed the jockey wheel freedom to jump around a little bit.
Next up is the custom handlebar/stem/brake lever/light mount/bell mount one piece combo. Tony had been getting all these amazing parts custom-made by the likes of Curtis Odom, Jen Green, Busyman Bicycles, OSOB, and White Industries freewheels. They were modified and had custom bar ends and even dust caps. All this on one bike would have made me feel pretty lame if I had only built the frame and forks, so I told him he was getting some special handlebars - I don’t even think Tony had any idea what I meant by this. I think these bars are one of the most fun things I have ever made. Every last part on them was made either by myself from steel tubing and plate, or by Mark from steel and brass round bar. I finally brazed everything together into the ultimate cockpit combo.
The jockey wheel bracket was machined from stainless steel and TIG-welded onto the stainless steel chain stay before being ground into an ultra-smooth fillet and painstakingly rubbed back to a super smooth finish to match the rest of the beautifully brushed stainless-steel.
The stainless-steel lugs were, as you would expect on this bike, hand-carved into my signature swallow shaped lugs. Hours and hours of cutting, rough shaping, final filing, drilling, and rubbing back to that ever-beautiful finish is one thing I pride myself on. Whether it’s polished, brushed, blasted or painted, it has to be perfect.
It’s almost impossible for me to do this bike justice on a page of a website, so please enjoy the gallery and have a good look at the astronomical amount of detail in this bike as an overall build. So much kudos to everyone involved with this project.