Jon’s 32″ Tourer

When Jon first got in touch with me, he sent me a picture of the bike he was riding at the time. Jon is very tall, and it was quite possibly the tallest bike I’d ever seen, short of, well, tall bikes. The 700c wheels looked tiny with narrow road tyres, the standard length chain stays meant the sky high saddle was positioned nearly directly above the rear axle. There was a bonus bilateral tube, and an extra pair of stays, but Jon told me that the standard diameter tubes made the frame feel pretty flexy.

Jon wanted a bike that was more proportional, more comfortable, with upright bars and touring capacity. He’d found some 32″ rims and tyres he wanted to use. It took a fair amount of head scratching and readjusting of my sense of scale/normal tube lengths to get the design finalised. Everything on this bike is scaled up to achieve a proportional and balanced ride. I bent the chain stays from large T45 tubing to keep them stiff enough despite their 560mm length. The BB is low, the head tube high, the fork blades long. But Jon’s weight is centred, his hands level with his saddle, the wheelbase stable. We added a dropper post to make mounting and dismounting easier.

I made so much on this bike. I turned the dropouts and the top eyes, and machined a stainless belt drive snubber and dropper lever/bell mount. I traded a bike with a friend for a tube bender so I could rake some tubing to get those long, curved fork blades. The bike has my spring loaded steering lock to make parking and loading easy. The seatpost and stem are secured with brass internal wedges. I hammered the mudguards from aluminium sheet, as (inexplicably!) there aren’t mudguards out there for 32″ unicycle wheels.

It’s a complex bike, but the thing I’m really proud of is the proportions, which are balanced and bicycle like. I want everyone, the whole world, to roll on bicycles and to howl with joy at the glide and freedom. I want everyone to be comfortable, no matter how small or tall. While it was a real challenge to build this bike, it was a privilege for me. It was wonderful to see Jon with a bike the right size for him.

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