Brazin’ is a new cycling show dedicated to highlighting the best small-scale cycling manufacturers in the UK, with a particular focus on Scottish brands and builders.
Based in Civic House near the centre of Glasgow, the first edition of the show was stowed out with committed bike nerds taking a break from the 2023 World Championships action to check out the finest artisan tech on display.
BikeRadar was among their number and we loved snooping around the intimate show and meeting the builders in attendance. Here are our highlights from what looks set to become a fixture in the custom bike show calendar.
Armour Cycles’ repaired Mercx MX Leader and chunky fixie
This “bonny but excessively stiff” modern fixie has been built by Armour Cycles for a “big lad who likes to shred”.
The oversized steel frameset uses an unusually large 31.6mm seatpost (most steel road-going bikes have 27.2mm posts), boosting stiffness.
The bike has been built with an oversized head tube so the owner can switch to a carbon fork if they wish.
A wide flat bar should provide plenty of oomph for punchy climbs around Edinburgh, while the ISM PN 3.1 saddle reflects the bike’s aggressive position (and rider’s personal taste).
Armour also repairs, restores and repaints frames.
This Mercx MX Leader frameset has had its driveside chainstay replaced and a replica paintjob. It’s genuinely impossible to tell it’s not original.
A gravel tandem and a singlespeed fat bike – Broc Bikes’ wonderfully niche show debut
Broc Bikes is the new venture of Stuart Allan – a former fabricator at Scottish custom bike manufacturer, Shand Bicycles.
Allan is best known in the Scottish cycling scene for devising the Badger Divide – a popular 338km gravel bikepacking route from Inverness to Glasgow – so you can be sure his new bikes will be up to the rigours of adventurous Highland rambling.
His first two bikes to officially wear the Broc marque couldn’t be more different.
The first is a gravel tandem frameset (a niche within a niche). This is designed to take 50mm-wide 700c gravel bike tyres.
The frameset holds a custom frame bag made by mechanic and part-time bag maker, Stephen Vear. This double-decker bag can be split in half to decrease the capacity for shorter jollies.
Allan suggested the bike will make its racing debut on the 200km-long version of the Dirty Reiver next spring. The possibility of riding a super randonneur series on it was also suggested.
Broc’s matching grey fat bike was originally a Singular Puffin that has been chopped in half and extended to modernise its geometry.
The bike is built with a singlespeed drivetrain and is intended for year-round hassle-free rumbling.
Allan says Broc Bikes will likely be a supplementary project that will sit alongside his work as a fabricator at a specialist wheelchair manufacturer. However, he bashfully invites enquiries if you’re interested in commissioning a bike.
C3Cycles’ surprisingly affordable cargo bike
C3Cycles is a small-scale cargo and custom bike manufacturer based on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Manufactured from 6082 aluminium and heat-treated in-house, each C3Cycles bike is made to customer specification.
Despite the one-off construction, its bikes are surprisingly affordable.
For example, this heavy-duty electric cargo bike costs £4,575 as pictured – not bad for a UK-made bike with a solid do-it-all build. Non-assist bikes can be had for £3,400. Bikes are generally available with a six-week turnaround
C3Cycles uses as many off-the-shelf parts as possible.
For example, while most cargo bikes have a 20in front wheel, few wheel manufacturers produce complete 20in wheels with disc hubs.
C3Cycles instead opts for a 24in front wheel, which can be found easily new or second-hand. This is also said to improve the rollover of the bike on rougher terrain.
This is all done with a view to easing long-term ownership costs.
With few proprietary or niche parts, an owner should be able to take their bike into any bike shop and expect a relatively affordable service. This goes as far as ensuring internally routed cables are fully sleeved.
Straight Cut bikepacking luggage
Based in a small workshop in Edinburgh, owner and chief seamster Ross O’Reilly has been producing custom and stock bikepacking bags full-time under the Straight Cut label for six years now.
In that time, he’s developed an array of designs and had his full range on show in a fetching all-white colourway at Brazin’.
While white is a woefully impractical colour for Scottish bog bothering, it sure does look cool and shows off the impeccable quality of Straight Cut’s sewing work.
O’Reilly’s stock designs can also be used as the basis for custom designs. He specialises in custom frame bags for bikes of all shapes and sizes.
While designed primarily with lightweight backpacking in mind, O’Reilly is working on a design for an ultralight rucksack that could work well for bikepacking. He’s also developing a hip pack that’s nearly ready for production.
He encourages prospective buyers to pester him for additional details.
C. Brenn’s beautiful traditional luggage
On the other end of the cycling luggage aesthetic scale are Cory Brenn’s beautiful traditional panniers, bar bags and saddle bags.
Manufactured using traditional materials, Brenn’s attention to detail is exquisite.
If you’re into cycling from the golden days of touring, his custom bags and personal collection of classic bikes are as good as it gets.
Frame Cycles’ sustainable cork finishing kit
The upper of Frame Cycles’ saddle is manufactured using moulded conglomerated cork. This is a sustainable byproduct of the wine cork industry.
Like a traditional leather saddle, the cork saddle must be ‘worn in’, eventually moulding to the shape of a rider’s butt.
Frame Cycles is also experimenting with designs that incorporate pockets or larger chunks of cork to improve the shock-absorbancy of the saddle. Cork grips are also in testing.
The cork is treated with a water-based waterproof coating. The same coating is used on cork flooring and improves durability.
Expected to be available from September onwards, the saddle will retail for around £100 (international pricing TBC).
Rothair Cycles’ personal fixed-gear shredder
This handsome green fixed gear is the personal bike of Rothair Cycles owner (and fellow former Shand fabricator), Matthew Finlayson.
The new bike replaces Finlayson’s previous fixed-gear bike with a few key swaps to make it easier to live with.
To start, his old bike used traditional rear-facing track ends. These make puncture repairs or gearing swaps much more complicated on a mudguard-equipped bike because the wheel fouls the guards.
Finlayson’s new bike is built using a pair of new old stock forward-facing Campagnolo semi-sloping dropouts, so the wheel moves forward in these dropouts when being removed.
His new bike also uses a skinny steel fork. This should improve front-end compliance versus the old bike’s chunky carbon fork and also give him the option to mount additional luggage for longer adventures.
A pair of colour-matched alloy mudguards finish the build.
In addition to producing custom bikes, Finlayson is now offering frame-building classes.
Lightweight alloy to make a comeback with Stout Cycles?
Rounding out the who’s-who of former Shand contemporaries is Stout Cycles/Hrok Cycles – the new venture of former Shand co-owner, Russell Stout.
Stout was keen to stress his air-hardening 7000-series aluminium frames are far from ready for customers to purchase – his manufacturing experience is focused primarily on steel and he’s still “finding the limits of alloy”.
Brazin’ Handmade was instead an opportunity to share his new venture and gauge interest for future semi-custom models.
We were particularly drawn to his almost old-school lightweight alloy road bike.
With generous tyre clearances, a classic double-triangle design, good ol’ rim brakes and unfussy internal cable routing, this bike picks up where the likes of the Cannondale CAAD12 left off.
We will be watching this venture closely.