If any city merits a good, solid track bike or singlespeed, it’s London. The traffic is like an organism. Sometimes predatory, othertimes symbiotic. It’ll swallow you whole, or let you surf the wave of continuous flow. Die-hard fixed gear and track bike riders will sing their bike’s praises in these conditions, while guys like Charlie will take all that and run a different direction.
Charlie is the owner of Seabass Cycles. He’s had this Ted James Design ESB, or extra strong bike for a few years as a fixed gear. The premise behind these frames was to take a track geometry and tweak it with a few BMX or MTB influences: bigger tire clearances, gussets and body language.
Ted fillet brazes his bikes and likes to leave them raw, save for a few thick layers of clear coat. They patina over time, show use and in this case, make additions easier down the road.
Adding a disc tab to a track end isn’t easy. Cable stops, sure. Disc tabs, not so much. There’s the whole chain tension thing to consider and while this retrofit isn’t free of errors, it works, resulting in a tight rear end for maneuverability and wheelies, while a little bit of “oh shit” stopping power required in a dense city like London.
Other details to note: the head tube angle, which rests aroun 73º with around a 30mm rake. The Hope Disc lever and calipers are made in the UK and I really love the zip tie hack to keep the grips from slipping.
While at the Oakley In Residence Workshop, I asked Charlie to shoot a few photos of this bike. Frame builder connoisseurs, fixed gear riders, commuters, MTB and BMX shredders alike will find a few details to drool over… If you’d like to see this bike in person, swing through the Workshop or head over to Seabass Cycles to holler. In fact, why not just do both anyway!