Last year, we posted Petor’s Shop Visit to UK-based Sturdy Cycles, and to supplement that coverage, we’re re-visiting their Fiadh disc all road bike, shot in a studio environment. These bikes blend modern tech with very subtle and classic proportions. Read on below for words by Tom Sturdy and more photos of these stunning 3D printed assemblage frames!
Andrew stops mid-sentence, pauses, “ooooooh!…….. Oooooh…. oooooh!” his pitch rises to a maniacal school child giggle of surprise and wild childlike delight, like a two-year-olds first taste of cake. Visceral and uncontrollable joy. “Tom!?! Is this a prototype or is this a FUCKING!…. ok…. That’ll do it!” a long pause of wild-eyed observation glancing desperately around the room, eyes hungry for an affirming reaction but forced to settle for Tom’s grinning but nonchalant response of “yea, they’ve gotten lighter as well”. Another longer pause as dust from Tom’s stoic “yogi bear” response settles, a mumbled and affectionate “asshole.” The recording tapers off into minor expletives, mumblings, and the low noises people make to indicate affection for bits of metal when they’re together in sheds.
It’s always the unintended creations that receive the most attention. That’s the case with this Sturdy Cycles all-road. Tom Sturdy is an instructor at the Bicycle Academy and this bike was intended to be an experiment of sorts. He wanted to show students that building a frame isn’t rocket science and intended to build the bike complete in less than 24 hours. That included painting it. Then, to make it even more interesting, Tom used scrap tubes and pieces of steel that had imperfections of various sorts. That includes crimps, dents and even buckling. In short, this bike is far from perfect and far from the level of craftsmanship Tom and Sturdy Cycles is capable of. Yet, this bike receives loads of attention wherever it rolls. All it takes is a detail-attentive eye to notice the dented and buckled steel.
About the bike itself. Tom wanted to make an all-road bike that was closer to a road bike than a mountain bike. Lots of bikes today align themselves on one side or the other and Tom felt that running a higher volume, lower pressure tire, along with a very flexy frame would achieve “passive suspension” versus relying on other forms of technology making the rounds. Now, this bike mostly takes Tom to and from his job at the Bicycle Academy. Since building the bike, he’s put both it and himself to the test, learning from not only building but riding his creation.
For Tom, this process of making, testing, refining is what building bikes is all about.