George Bamford knows what he likes and how he likes it, and has over the years customized all types of vehicles and products for his personal use. The knowledge gained through those many product experiences is what led him to create his eponymous Bamford Watch Department, sharing his knowledge of customizing watches for others who seek stealthy and colorful palettes and "super matte" powder coatings that the luxury brands rarely succeed in delivering. The latest extension to his family of custom designed products is the recently launched (and similarly named) Bamford Cycle Department, a like-minded brand based on creating personalized bicycles for the discerning cyclist that we were able to experience first hand on a recent visit to the UK. While one is many times larger than the other, the process of customizing a bicycle verses a watch is actually quite similar: both feature a great sum of intricate components fit for custom colorways and detail tweaks. "I think that in both cases it is all about individuality and creating something that is unique to you—instead of following the trend, making your own mark on the world," Bamford tells CH.
While true hand-builders like Airtight and Horse Cycles have always existed for the most dedicated riders, recent years have seen the industry flooded with low budget, trend humping "custom" bike design services that popped up to feed the fixed gear phenomenon, offering little more than the ability to alter frame and tire color. Bamford Cycle Department is poised to strike a balance between the two.
Similar in style to his watches, Bamford often seeks to reduce and simplify rather than to decorate. His own BCD bike is blacked out, with only a single, small logo on it. In fact, the frustration in finding a bike to suit his technical, performance and style needs is what led him to create his own custom bike, and how he found a way to work with his favorite manufacturers to create frames and components that come together to suit the needs of just about any rider with style.
All BCD needs to know is your height and what you intend to use your new bike for—commuting, racing, long distance or just getting groceries. With this, the frame's DNA is adjusted with personalized geometry and a range of different carbon composites arranged in up to twelve different weave patterns. "By changing the layering of the carbon composites which make up the tubes of our bikes, we can make a bike comfortable to ride while keeping it fast and efficient," explains Bamford. "Alternatively, we can make a bike for those who like the precision and direct feeling that only a very stiff bike can give. The options are wide open."
By consulting celebrated bicycle designs and nerding out on what bit makes each bike the best, BCD has created what they call the "Bamford Factor," a correlated index of design notes. Alongside the custom geometry and adjusted rigidity, Bamford believes BCD is capable of building a superior bike for the individual. Of course a fine selection of top level components and a custom paint job doesn't hurt. Visit Bamford Cycle Department for more information. As each bike is custom prices vary, but you can expect to pay in the mid to high four figures to bring your dream cycle to life.
Images courtesy of Bamford Cycle Department