Retro splendour delights all
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”
Compass’ centre- pull brakes are a considered choice for such a sophisticated steed
Things are going well, with Ricky recently moving to a larger workshop in York
Have you ever seen end plugs that stylish? That’s why the build took 200hrs