Well Milk bikes have only gone and done it! A lovely finished bike for the Bespoke show that is just about ready to kick off in it’s new venue. A big thanks to those involved for sharing with us and there might be more to come (if they have time). So here it is and what is it.
Milk Bikes Series 1 – A City Bike is Born
The idea for a step-through city bike has been rumbling around at Milk for a couple of years now. The UK Handmade Bike Show gave us a deadline and the focus we needed to get those ideas built into something physical. And here it is!
It’s almost entirely UK designed and made. Something we’re super-stoked about. The overall design was ‘brained’ in Chelmsford. The metal work was fashioned in Croydon by Jon Davis at Fresh Fabrications; the wooden porter rack, belt-guard and mudguards – with built-in wiring for the rear light – were crafted in Edinburgh by Simon Muir at Woodguards; also from Edinburgh and courtesy of Rebecca J Kaye came the colours and graphics; Gary, Mark and the guys down at Argos Racing Cycles in Bristol did the colouring-in; the wheels were laced and trued in Preston by Adam and the boys at trials specialists Tarty Bikes; Mark put all the bits together at Milk Bikes HQ and then, last weekend these gorgeous images were taken by Julia Jarmulska in Chelmsford.
The bike features a raft of very carefully chosen components to ensure that it rides well. And it does; like a dream! That’s probably one of the most successful aspects of the bikes, the way it handles. So stable. Fills you with confidence from the first pedal stroke. Anyway, we’re going off piste. I wanted to tell you more about the components.
As with all Milk Bikes, this one is driven by a Gates belt. Chains are so 19th century! Belts and hub gears make for beautifully clean and quiet bikes that just don’t need any maintaining. Three of Shimano’s finest gears are all you really need around town; a nice easy one for pushing off from the lights/going uphill, a middle one for cruising and a top gear for when you’re going downhill/are late for something. Roller brakes are consistent and reliable. The weather doesn’t affect them and they don’t need any fiddling.
The pedals were a great find; they’re from a little company in Germany called Moto Bicycles. They look like they’ve been carved from a skateboard but there’s a lot more going on inside them. They perform so well; feels like you’ve got your foot on the ground. Mrs Milk Bikes managed to ride for the first time in heels when we did the shoot last week. Easy-peazy lemon squeezey.
The saddle is very impressive. The newest design from the classic saddle makers Brooks, it has made from vulcanised rubber and cotton canvas. The best features are that it is waterproof and comfy from the start; no breaking in required here. Brooks are responsible for the grips too.
The lights are powered by the front hub. No batteries to go flat half way home, or remember to charge when you get to the office. Internally routed cabling helps keep the bike looking clean and neat, and means that the lights are less vulnerable to theft.
So that’s the Milk Bikes Series 1 prototype for you. What do you think? The Series will consist of just 12 of these bikes. That’s all we’re going to make and we don’t plan to repeat a design again. Each bike in the Series will be unique. For example we’re going to name each one, and for Series 1 they will all be named after islands from around the UK, predominantly Scottish islands. There will be 4 colour-ways available, and Rebecca has taken inspiration for these from old maps and also from the geography of the various islands. This prototype is named after the Isle of Barra and the colours represent the sea and amazing beaches found there.
Come down to the UK Handmade Bike Show to see it for yourself.