UPDATE: Wednesday 11th July 2018
Today I drove over to Leeds to pay a visit to Woodrup Cycles and spent about an hour chatting to one of the guys who works in the shop. It was an interesting conversation and took place whilst standing over this bike (I think). A Rohloff – carbon belt drive combination doesn’t come cheap but it would be great to have on a bespoke tourer. I’d also insist on butterfly bars and probably bigger ‘normal’ size wheels…
After having posted Bespoke Touring Bicycles: The Search Begins (Perhaps) a few days ago, an interesting comment from ‘Chikashi’ about his experience of working with Woodrup Cycles in Leeds which deserves to be elevated to a post in itself. It will make more sense if you read the original post first:
I am a very satisfied Woodrup customer. Mine is not a tourer but an all roader, which incidentally was on display at Bespoked this year along with the Mr Williams you noticed. They’re one of the most experienced builders around and are very pleasant people with whom to work. There’s no point in starting a bespoke commission with people you don’t get along with or those that don’t listen to your needs. The former is simply a matter of having a pleasant experience or not during the process, but the latter will have a direct and enduring impact on your experience riding the end product. The boys at Woodrup listen: the type of riding I do, how I expect the bike to behave, how I expect the bike to look, etc. Of course, the customer has the responsibility to articulate his / her needs and wants (and don’t wants) clearly for any of the expectations to be met. It’s very much a collaborative process, so the customer must be prepared to do his bit, as well.
To be honest, I had very high expectations and wasn’t sure they would be met. What I got exceeded expectations.
I am based in Belgium, so I flew to Leeds for the project. If you are in or near Leeds, then you should take advantage of your geographical happenstance! I recommend that you go have a chat with them in the first instance.
Chikashi’s Instagram page is here and contains many photographs of the Woodrup bike that he bought, including one of the bike on the stand at Bespoke 2018:
(Photo credit: Chikashi Miyamoto)
Update, 7pm: Chikashi has added the following comments about Woodrup:
One critical thing is the builder’s ability to actually take the requirements and build the frame set according to those requirements. That is where nice theories must turn into tangible reality, which is always harder than it sounds. I think that that transformation is heavily dependent on the depth and breadth of experience. It’s not about a sexy IG feed or a slick web site.
A fact that may be of interest for someone looking to have a tourer built, Woodrup’s master builder Kevin Sayles spent a few years with Thorn, the tourer specialists in Somerset, in-between his two tenures with Woodrup. And, as you noticed, he has continued to build tourers at Woodrup.
I sense a trip to Leeds coming very soon… In the meantime, take a look at some of Woodrup’s custom made bikes on their Flickr stream.
(Header image and crest image & other images: Woodrup Cycles).