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Design and Creation - Burrow meet Buckenlei

Jamie Burrow is our new kid on the kid block, based in Italy, the winner of the infamous Maratone des Dolomiti and with a talent and penchant for creativity and design. From t shirt graphics, to graffiti, to screenprinted saddles, to iced cakes to blow your mind. He is extremely talented and a key signing for planet x or an ex pro who had far too much time on his hands.

So instead of launching a new cup cake line we decided to set Jamie loose with Artisan frame builder Enrico Sarto to produce two signature lines for 2013 and beyond. One is a signature Burrow inspired creation with the brief "just make something you would want for yourself" and the other an aero inspired triathlon road machine designed to "sort the Germans out".

Now sorting the Germans out does not have any connection to a Fawlty Towers sketch, but refers to creating a new race machine for Planet X stalwart and long standing uber-woman Susa Buckenlei and her toy boy but also super-quick triathlete Danish boyfriend Hans. Susa, for those not in the know, is a multi winner of the worlds hardest triathlon the Norseman and she will be attempting to regain her title in 2013 after injury kept her out of the race in 2012. 

Anyway - Burrows reports on stage 1 of his journey! 

This may well look like some kind of medieval torture device, but its actually a frame jig, for precision, hand made carbon bicycle frames.

In an age of mass production, the specialist, artisan craftsmen of this world are now few and far between, and the bicycle industry is a prime example of this. I grew up in a cycling family, and have always had bicycles running through my veins. My father taught me to build a bike at about 6 years of age, at school i studied design technology, and when i wasn’t riding my bike as a child, i was a permanent fixture at my local frame builder’s work shop. i cleaned up, swept the floors, but what i was really doing, was learning everything about building handmade custom frames. Sizing, Geometry, tubing, welding... the whole lot.

A fascination that lead me to design and have full input in all my bikes from the age of 17. 18 years on, and with the same amount of time dedicated to testing and pushing bikes as a full time elite racing cyclist. I jumped at the chance When given the opportunity to put my knowledge and passion back to the test with some custom designed and hand made carbon frames.

Although very rare in an industry of frames coming straight from a one piece mold, there are still a few craftsmen out there, and i had the fortune to use the services of one of the best out there. Tucked away in the north east corner of Italy, the home of Italian masterpieces, i made the trip to Sarto frame builders. A family run business with years of experience. In the beginning with hand crafted steel frames, and then one of the first companies to master the art of building hand cut and wrapped, made to measure carbon fiber frames.

On my first visit we discussed tubing. The shape of each individual tube, its purpose, the ideal carbon weave for the job at hand. The possibilities of developing and bonding different combinations together, the list goes on.. Like any good design, the ideas started in my head, then a sketch in a note book, and finally step by step technical designs made with a complex CAD program.

I had been given the task of coming up with two models of frame. The first a top end road race bike, using my own sizing and geometry. The second, and a very fun project, was to design a frame for our pro triathletes. Simple you may think! A time trial bike. No, not this one. Now i have very limited knowledge in triathlon, but enough to see most iron man athletes riding full on T.T bikes, and short distance, Olympic competitors on simple road bikes, due to the drafting rules.

This is something that just doesn’t make sense! The majority of commercial road frames are made for comfort over long distances, and not for an hour long, threshold effort, to be followed by a run. My theory was seconded by our pro triathletes, so i wasn’t mad! With my confirmed theory, i got straight to work on designing an aerodynamic road frame, with slightly aggressive geometry. Ideal for shorter, extreme efforts, but with comfort and great handling ability on the corners and descents.

With all my designs on paper, and the CAD drawings complete, it was back to Sarto, this time with our pro athletes, so they could be measured for a custom bike that fits like a glove. We went through the designs in detail, with the tubing and geometry i had chosen. Then to my delight, it was decided to start cutting and positioning the tubes for one of the frames, as it seems Sarto themselves where just as eager as i was to see what the design would look like in real life. Its only phase one, in a 12 stage process that sees each hand built frame pass from station to station. Each step handled with absolute care and attention, on its way to becoming an individual piece of art.




18 December 2012


  • Francis

    Too bad you guess aren't lowering that downtube to close up the gap between front wheel, forkcrown, downtube. That would ease transition of airflow. Other then that, nice looking frame... Hope you get the internal wiring right, that frame screams for electronic shifting and system integration. Cheers, a fan from Belgium

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