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THE PROCESS


The following process information pertains mostly to the manufacture of our steel frames. In 2016 we have started to produce frames manufactured with carbon fibre. The process for these frames is different and will be documented soon.

Design and fit

How your bike fits is the single most important aspect of what we do. Many customers know what size of frame they require, but for others we can help ensure the correct fit for the type of riding you do.

To work out sizing, we take key measurements of your body (and any current bikes) via an online form, or from a professional fitting you may have had, then make our recommendations. For customers with fit requirements outside our stock frame sizes, we can modify our stock frame designs as required. You can also visit us for a personal fitting if practicable.

Production frame designs are available in five different sizes, typically utilising a mixture of Reynolds, Columbus and Dedacciai tubsets selected specifically for the ride characteristics of a specific frame. Tubes vary in specification between frame sizes to maintain the ride characteristics across different sized riders. We also build our own forks and believe the very best bikes come from a design where the frame and fork is considered as a whole, rather than just designing around an aftermarket fork.

Components and accessories have been chosen from experience of what works well for our designs and provides the best value against quality. Again, as everything is built to order, other components and accessories can be specified to create your perfect build – along with custom paint schemes and graphics.

Mitering and tube prep

As we TIG weld the majority of our frames, accurate measurement and mitering of tubes is vital to achieving perfectly aligned frames with minimal distortion during the welding process.

After measurement and cutting on dedicated jigs and fixtures, tubes are then slotted and/or drilled for dropouts and bosses as required. Any burs left over from mitering, cutting, slotting, drilling etc, are removed as well as any mill scale left over from manufacturing of the tube.

Fabrication

Once a tubeset has been mitered it’s placed in a customer bundle ready for welding. To ensure everything is correct, the tubeset is then ‘fitted up in the frame jig to check for inaccuracies that might lead to distortion during welding.

The tubeset is then removed and cleaned thoroughly to eliminate any possibility of contamination during welding. The tubes are then placed back in the jig and tacked to securely hold the whole structure together. With the frame now taking shape, it’s removed from the jig and checked for alignment before being moved to a specific stand for welding. The main joints are then TIG welded with dropouts fillet brazed.

TIG welding is a fast, high temperature, welding process using an electric arc to melt the parent metals while adding a filler rod to complete the joint. It produces a neat stack of weld ‘beads’ round the tube junctions. Fillet brazing uses an oxy/fuel torch and brass filler material that requires filing afterwards to create an aesthetically smooth joint.

We like TIG for many reasons. It’s a more predictable, accurate and consistent process for joining tubes than brazed or lugged construction. Although we focus on high-end heat-treated steels for our production bikes, TIG welding can also be used on stainless steels as well as titanium.

Alignment and finishing

After welding, the frame is checked again for alignment. Braze-ons for bottle bosses and cable guides are then added along with the addition of a stainless steel frame number.

Any brazed joints such as dropouts, bridges and fork disk mounts are filed and shaped to achieve a perfect finish prior to paint. Reaming and facing of head tube and bottom bracket shell is also carried out at this stage.

Paint

We take pride in facilitating the whole fabrication process in-house and this also extends to paint. Our paint process starts with blasting the bare frame with aluminium oxide to clean the metal of any contaminants and provide a ‘key’ for an etch primer to prevent oxidisation and provide a suitable base coat.

Two coats of primer are then applied (rubbed down between coats) prior to a colour base coat. Graphics are also applied at this stage in paint through careful masking and then coated with two coats of clear (gloss or matte) lacquer.

After curing, the frame is then ‘de-nibbed’ to remove any imperfections in the lacquer, then polished and sealed with carnuaba wax as a way of providing external protection from the elements. Internally your frame is coated with a wax-based solution to prevent oxidisation. All threads and faces are then tapped and faced prior to component assembly.

Assembly and packing

Components are assembled on the finished frame along with any accessories and wiring system for lights and USB chargers. Our wheels are handbuilt built in-house with the same attention to detail as our frames. After a test ride and final sign-off, the front wheel and bars are removed and the whole bike safely packed in a sturdy bike box using foam tubes, bubble wrap and paper packing.

All that’s left to do is for you sign for your delivery, fit the front wheel and bars and go for a ride!

Start to finish

Every steel Shand bike begins and ends its production life in our workshop. We deal with the raw tubing from our suppliers, frames are welded and tested and then painted in-house. The final step is assembly using quality components before being test-ridden and sent to the customer.

To see more of what we do and how we do it, visit our Flickr or Instagram sites to keep up-to-date with what’s happening.

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