FEATHER CY­CLES

Retro splen­dour de­lights all

Urban Cyclist - - Bespoked -

Ricky Feather of Feather Cy­cles at­tracted a huge amount of in­ter­est at Bespoked. Yes, it helped that Ricky had neatly po­si­tioned him­self by the main en­trance, but that Bris­tol pop­u­lar­ity pre­dom­i­nantly arose from the stun­ning cyan model that fea­tured a retro- di­rect groupset. “The idea be­hind it came from Tony [Bickle], who I made the bike for,” ex­plains Ricky, in a deep York­shire ac­cent nur­tured from liv­ing in York for much of his life. “He’d seen a few on­line but they’re noth­ing new – I think they were de­signed and built by a Ger­man chap at the end of the 19th cen­tury.” For those not blessed in the time­line of Ger­man cy­cle engi­neer­ing, the con­cept of a retro di­rect is sim­ple: when you pedal for­wards, you ac­ti­vate the high gear; when you pedal back­wards, you ac­ti­vate a lower gear. It’s why the chain goes back on it­self. “The top and bot­tom of the front chain­ring drives the rear wheel be­cause the chain trav­els from the bot­tom of the chain­ring and flows over the top of the big cog on the rear wheel,” Feather ex­plains in an ap­pre­ci­ated at­tempt at clarification. “The chain com­ing from the top of the chain­ring then goes over the smaller cog on the rear wheel, which is why you have a hangar that lets the chain come back on it­self. And now you have a lower gear.” Got it? Ei­ther way, the last retro di­rect Feather spot­ted was bolted- on an old Raleigh. But with Ricky’s ver­sion, off-the-peg is a rare event. “I think there were just seven parts on the bike that weren’t cus­tom-made. I made ev­ery­thing from the hangar to the jockey wheel, han­dle­bars, stem, brake levers… It’s prob­a­bly one of the most time­con­sum­ing jobs that I’ve taken on. I reckon it took up to 200hrs to build. That com­pares to the road bike I made my­self, which took just 16!” As you can see, it was clearly time well spent.

“I think there were just seven parts on the bike that weren’t cus­tommade… It took 200hrs to build”

TOP

Com­pass’ cen­tre- pull brakes are a con­sid­ered choice for such a so­phis­ti­cated steed

MI D D L E

Things are go­ing well, with Ricky re­cently mov­ing to a larger work­shop in York

R IG H T

Have you ever seen end plugs that stylish? That’s why the build took 200hrs

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