On Bike Building

part of Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft

Close up of Saffron Frameworks bike-building studio featuring bike building tools

Join us for a series of talks, demos and displays celebrating the craft of designing and building the tailor-made bike. 

With the revival of craft, there's a fresh appreciation for the handmade and the personal. As cycling becomes more and more popular, so too has the demand for the bespoke bike.

As part of Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft in the Barbican Shop, we're inviting leading bike-builders to showcase their craft in a series of installations, panel discussions and live demos.


Bike Building Demo with The Bicycle Academy

1 Apr, 12-5pm

Andrew Denham from The Bicycle Academy will provide a series of demonstrations throughout the day on how to build a bicycle frame. The Bicycle Academy specialises in teaching frame-building, providing courses for novices, enthusiasts and professionals. Uniquely, The Bicycle Academy also design and produce a range of frame-building tools and offer fully equipped workshop hire for enthusiastic builders.

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On Bike Building: A Panel Discussion

3 May, 7–9pm

Get tips, tricks and inspiration from leading bike-builders in this panel discussion, chaired by The Bicycle Academy.

As cycling becomes more and more popular, so too has the demand for the bespoke bike. In this discussion, our panellists will look at the how the craft of bike building has changed in recent years, outlining the process of collaborating with clients on tailor-made bikes and considering how their unique skills shape their practice. 

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Hartley Cycles Display

3–8 May

From a small workshop in south London, award-winning frame builder Caren Hartley creates bespoke bicycles uniquely tailored to each client, with signature silver embellishments hinting at her fine art/jewellery/metalwork background. Her beautiful Copper Leaf Light Tourer bike will be on display in the Barbican Shop.

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Isen Workshop Display

3–8 May

Isen Workshop is the brainchild of award-winning frame builders Caren Hartley of Hartley cycles and Matt McDonough of Talbot Frameworks. Their Isen All Season Road bicycle, designed in line with their ethos of creating beautiful, handmade bikes that incorporate new technologies into traditional frame building, will be on display in Barbican Shop

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Copper Plated Gravel by Saffron Frameworks

21–27 May

Matthew Sowter channels his love of bikes into Saffron Frameworks:'I’d reached a turning point in my life where I was unsatisfied with my daily routine and so I decided to bring my love of bicycles to the forefront and get my hands dirty by creating a tangible object - one which gives me much happiness'

One of his creations will be on display in the Barbican Shop from 21–27 May

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Mixed Material Bicycle by Saffron Frameworks

21–27 May

This mixed–material, multifunctional bike perfectly captures bike builder Matthew Sowter’s creative vision. It is a collaborative fusion of specialist skills, never before seen in a bespoke bike, with hand carved ash by Sebastian Cox, custom carbon by Enve Composites and steel by Reynolds and Columbus, with stainless steel dropouts and parts machined in the studio. 

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Budding crafter?

Create your own handmade notebook and personalised rings in our members-only craft workshops, part of Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft.


In partnership with