Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

This looks worth a watch tonight at 8pm or on iPlayer afterwards. It includes a visit to the Brooks saddle  factory in Smethwick.

Gregg Wallace explores the largest bicycle factory in Britain, which produces 150 folding bicycles every 24 hours, and joins a multi-stage manual production line to make his very own bike. He learns how to put together 1,200 individual parts and attempt to braze a bike frame together using extreme heat of a thousand degrees, a skill that takes years to master. He also visits a leather saddle maker in Birmingham that has been making saddles for 150 years and discovers how they use cowhide from UK and Ireland cows because the cold weather means they have thicker skins.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07pmyd6

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It started off well but I got bored before the end and went off doing stuff. The Brompton documentary that did the rounds a few years back was better. Imho. The "first hour after an accident" A&E thing after was far more gripping I thought!

I thought it was good apart from the presenters over acting the playing dim bit...like that woman saying "what, you bake the frame?" (or words to that effect) in a way that you'd expect her to be saying "what, you've killed all of my family?"

Plus, I think that I own the brompton that Wallace assembled judging by the way nothing works on it ;-)

I got bored.  Probably the most interesting thing was the frames making a 300 mile round-trip to Wales to be powder coated.  You'd have thought they could have found somewhere nearer.

Simon

Isn't your Brompton the one that came from Sustrans and was deemed beyond economic repair by them as it had been ridden into the ground (ie not surprising if things on it don't work)?

Stu

Yep, the Wallace comment was a joke - mine's black for a start!  I've now beaten it back into shape for a great deal less than they thought they'd have to pay to have it repaired...the wonders of internet second hand sales and a big box of spares at the back of the shed, plus not having to factor labour costs in.  Just got to jigger a bit with the gear change and I'll have a 6spd brommie for under £200 (inc virtually brand new wheels).  :-)

The new factory at Greenford has room for growth to at least double the production, and I hear it will be doing more on site in a process of staged development. I'd expect it to have its own powder coating section eventually but, knowing the prudence of having dual source supply, there may be a balance of retaining some contracted suppliers and in house delivery. Brompton gains greatly from having UK suppliers for much of their material, as this cuts the burden of having 2-3 container-loads in transit between supplier and Greenford, and opening the latest one to arrive to find a production issue to resolve. With a UK supplier it is at most 2-3 hours and you can be sorting out a problem with  much smaller quantity of parts to immunise in the system.

CKS said:

I got bored.  Probably the most interesting thing was the frames making a 300 mile round-trip to Wales to be powder coated.  You'd have thought they could have found somewhere nearer.

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