Handmade: Robin Mather Cycles

Bicycle workshop are petite havens of bike love: homes to geometry doodles, frame jigs, welding goggles, wood-handled files, old and oily machinery, and lengths of tubing that spell raw potential. From this clutter, somehow, bikes are born, creations that far exceed the sum of their parts. Bicycle alchemy.

During my brief return to the UK, I had the chance to visit Robin Mather’s (relatively) new workshop in Bristol. I’ve known Robin for a few years now – as well as helping me with such menial tasks such as adding water bottle eyelets to my Surly Troll frame, we’ve enjoyed many a late night session of tea drinking and bicycle debate.

To those unfamiliar with the name, Robin’s a bespoke framebuilder from South West England. He’s been lovingly crafting bicycles since the early ’90s – you can read more about him here. Most recently, Robin was featured in the beautiful black and white tome of UK framebuilders, Made in England.

The photos taken outdoors are of his Camponneur, a 650b touring steed built for last year’s Bespoke Bristol handmade bike show, where it won ‘Best of Show’. The event will be held again this year, in mid April, a smaller but no less worthy version of its American counterpart.

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A brief potter around the workshop.

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650b, a pink fixie, and some titanium goodness.

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Robin’s headbadges are particularly pretty…

Tools of the trade.

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It’s the subtle details – representing hours of love and labour – that set small scale, handmade bicycle apart.

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A matching, fillet-brazed stem, with integrated brake cable guide and stem cap.

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Polished stainless carriers and Honjo mudguards, with dynamo-powered Supernova lights.

The award winning Camponneur.

The award winning Camponneur, a classic, 650b randonneur, built around a lugged steel frame.

A full set of photos can be seen on my Flickr photostream.

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