Press & Reviews / Sir Chris Hoy Project
Written by Sophie Hurcom
Scottish bike manufacturer Shand Cycles creates built-to-order flagship bikes, as well as providing bespoke frames. Then there’s that collaboration with Sir Chris Hoy….
Customers don’t come much more high profile than the UK’s greatest Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy – even more so for a Scottish bicycle manufacturer. This summer Shand Cycles collaborated with Hoy on a new hand-built keirin track bike with a prototype frame that was designed to the Olympian’s exact specifications.
Based in Livingston, just outside Edinburgh, Shand Cycles has been making bikes for 11 years. Around 18 months ago, Steven Shand and his business partner Russell Stout were approached by James Olsen, a designer for Evans Cycles who works with Hoy Bikes, with the idea for them to launch a hand-built track model into their range.
Initially, Shand was sceptical as to how much the former rider would be involved, yet he found Hoy had a very hands-on approach. “He was very enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable,” said Shand. “He came to the workshop and knew to the nearest half a millimetre where his handlebars were in relation to his saddle, as well as some technical aspects.”
The fact that the duo is Scottish made the project all the more fitting. “Chris used to race BMX half a mile from where our workshop is in Livingston,” Shand added. A start date for the production of the Hoy- Shand project is yet to be confirmed, but Shand isn’t just about making bikes for Olympians. The company began in 2003, building bikes part-time. “I was working out of a workshop that was joined onto the outside of my house, only building 20 bikes a year,” he explained. “We were making all kinds of bikes. Every bike was a complete project, different, made to measure.
Shand and Stout formed a partnership, moved to bigger premises and relaunched the brand in 2011. Today, the business is split in two; a “production” range of two flagship bikes all built to order, and a totally bespoke frame-building service. The Stoater is its bestselling production model, which also comes in a Rohloff hub-compatible version, combining off-road and cyclo-cross DNA with a road bike. It’s described as “a fun, fast bike that’s also versatile with 35mm tyres, mudguards and disc brakes The Skinnymalinky is a performance bike with quick geometry to which you can fit mudguards and 28mm tyres and ride all year long.
“In Scotland if you have a good bike and a winter bike, you’re riding your winter bike 10 months of the year,” said Shand. “Why can’t you have a nice bike that’s practical?” The company now employs six fulltime staff and is planning to launch a clothing range with a soon-to-be-unveiled Scottish designer.
“The main thing that we focus on is simplicity. Shand explained. “We’ll step back and look at a bike and say, ‘Does it really need that detail?’ Less is undeniably more. It’s about not putting things on bikes that really don’t need to be there.”
Japanese keirin racing played a big part in Sir Chris Hoy’s career [his wins include two Olympic keirin golds and three Worlds golds], and the Shand/Hoy bike is a tribute to his love of it. For the prototype, Hoy had his name written in Japanese on the top tube, next to six gold rings, and one silver, to celebrate his Olympic medals. Hoy chose Reynolds and Columbus tubing, a Dura-Ace chainset, Nitto bars, Thomson stem, and it’s finished with hand-built wheels, Dura Ace hubs and Mavic Reflex rims.