The bike you see here is a Keirin track bike we made for Sir Chris Hoy during the summer of 2014, the culmination of joint collaboration between Sir Chris, James Olsen (designer for Evans Cycles) and ourselves.
Chris had launched his own range of bikes under the Hoy brand in 2013, but wanted a one-off British made Keirin bike for himself and asked if we’d be interested. You’d think we’d have jumped at the chance, but with little or no experience of racing on the track we declined. However, with a little persistence we were persuaded that working as a team we’d achieve what was required.
This was helped greatly by Chris knowing exactly what he wanted along with other non-negotiable factors such as rider position and fixed measurements such as BB drop, trail and chainstay length. Our job was to take those parameters and make sure the tube selection we wanted to use would work for the intended use.
The initial frame we built reflected the Hoy bicycle brand, but in the end this was dropped for the one you see here as it better reflects the style of our usual builds which James and Chris were really happy with.
The tubing used is a mix, mostly being Columbus MAX with a single tube of Reynolds. The frame is finished in a super dark metallic black with gold and silver rings reflecting Chris’s Olympic success on the track. An impressive feat indeed and made all the more interesting as it all started on a BMX track a not a stone's throw from our workshop here in Livingston.
If the British Cycling scene has changed a huge amount in the elite sphere, there has been almost as much of a revolution at grassrootes level. 'I do still pinch myself when I see so many riders everywhere,' admits Hoy. As if to prove the point, a gardener had earlier spotted Hoy and began discussing his love of bikes, in between trimming a hedge. This wasn’t always the case, even for the sport’s big stars. ‘Twenty years ago people might know Chris Boardman, that’s it. Now most people could easily name six cyclists.’
Today Hoy has also brought along a bespoke steel keirin bike built for him by Scottish bike-maker Shand. Hoy developed the geometry, Shand worked its magic, and the bike was completed with a Dura-Ace chainset, a Thompson stem and Nitto bars and post. Hoy’s name is printed in Japanese on the top tube – or so he thinks. ‘It might just say “Gullible Scotsman”,’ he laughs. As we chat, Hoy makes regular admiring glances at the bike propped up in the pub, alongside his impressive pimped up Sa Calobra. ‘Seeing that bike was genuinely my first “wow” for a long while,’ he says, clearly besotted. ‘I loved the design process because it got me back in love with bikes again. For a while, a bike became a tool to do my job on the track. It wasn’t a bike, it was just a series of components that were constantly replaced. Now I have that bond again. I remember as a kid stripping down a bike, leaving it spotless and then sitting on my bed looking at it. I have the same feeling now with my own bikes’. Hoy takes another proud peek at his bike. ‘It’s funny, isn’t it? That you become so attached to a lump of metal. But I love it.’