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Guest Post: Milk Bikes Part Two

This is the second instalment from Milk bikes. In the build-up to Bespoked 2014, Milk Bikes will be giving us a view into what it takes to present at the show. This post is pretty meaty and a great insight to what Milk Bikes is trying to achieve.

Milk Bikes - Series 1 - Frame Fabrication 9

Milk Bikes: Series 1 – Making a Frame

We’re quite proud of the fact that our first Series bike will be almost entirely made on UK soil.

The frame and forks have literally just been finished (last night!) by an up-and-coming frame builder called Jon Davis. Jon founded Fresh Fabrications last year and he’s based in Croydon. He has a lot od experience, an eye for detail and is meticulous in his work. The frames he produces are beautifully finished and this was why we were keen to work with him on this project, our first homemade frame.

Milk Bikes - Series 1 - Frame Fabrication 7

Once the concepts had evolved into solid designs they were modelled in CAD to see how it all looked. Jon then set about sourcing all the materials we’d need, from tubing to bosses and stainless steel plate to silver for soldering.

One of the key visual aspects of the bike is the curves and these will be nicely highlighted by the paintwork. The bending was very hard to get right. If anyone has ever bent a tube you’ll know how easy it is to make ripples or crush the tube. There’s also a varying amount of spring-back depending on the size and type of tube. It took a couple of attempts before we were happy.

Milk Bikes - Series 1 - Frame Fabrication 8
Milk Bikes - Series 1 - Frame Fabrication 1

The frame has been fabricated using a combination of TIG welding and silver soldering. You’ve got to be on top of your game, particularly on the TIG side of things because the weld bead remains visible on the finished frame. Any dodgy bits will be there for the world to see.

We used a CNC milling machine to do most of the drilling and tube mitring so that we knew the accuracy would be fantastic. We also CNC’d custom dropouts and plates for the fork and chainstay crowns. Getting the various parts setup on the bed and programming the machine took a bit longer than we originally expected so we ended up running over by about a week. It was a bit of a rush to get the frame done and down to Argos Cycles in Bristol on Saturday; we arrived 10 minutes before Gary shut the shop!

Milk Bikes - Series 1 - Frame Fabrication 3
Milk Bikes - Series 1 - Frame Fabrication 4

The project is still on track to be ready before Bespoked. A lot of the parts have arrived at Milk HQ now. The frame is being sprayed this week by the chaps down at Argos. Simon from Woodguards is due to complete the wooden parts by the end of the month, and the wheels will be built over the next week. We’re hoping to have all the parts ready to assemble the bike in time for a photo shoot in Chelmsford the weekend before the show.  Oh and the stand needs to be made at some point too!

Getting bikes ready for shows can be pretty stressful. Don’t try this at home, kids.

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