The Cycle Life

Our Favorite Bicycles From NAHBS 2013: English Cycles TT MK2

Of the more than 200 small bicycle manufacturers that gathered to show off their designs at the 9th annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Denver last week, these seven stood out

Our Favorite Bicycles From NAHBS 2013: English Cycles TT MK2

Photo: © Farid A. Abraham

Rob English showed six unique steel bikes at his booth, and each one was as well thought out and staggering as the next. Among the stable was a travel bike, an aero road bike, a 29er hardtail with graceful dual top tubes, a Tour Divide adventure bike complete with bolt-on custom packs, and English’s own time trial bike, which won the frame builder Best In Show. “I don’t really have designs, which is sort of difficult for people to understand at first,” says English, who produces just 18 to 20 bikes annually. “Every bike is a one-off that results from conversations with a client and a new set of needs and demands. It’s all about problem-solving, and I like to solve problems.”

For his time trial bike, English sought to build an aggressive drop position to suit his long arms and torso. The bike’s form is deceptively simple, concealing an impressively slender profile (the tubing is just 18mm across from the front), full Di2 integration (with the battery concealed in the tubes and a USB charging port built into the integrated seatpost), and an integrated bar, stem, and fork assembly that elegantly bolts together from the base. English constructed almost every part on the bike by hand, including the steel crank with ovalized tubing, the narrow airfoil front hub, and the aero-bar Di2 push button controllers. “In England there’s a unique culture of time trialing. Some cyclists will do nothing but the discipline year-round,” English explained of his creation. “I have raced as many as 50 TTs in a year, so I wanted the best equipment for the task.” English said he couldn’t put a price tag on the TT MK2 given how many custom bits and pieces went into it, but said that his other bikes at the booth would go for no less than $10,000.

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