Following on from the last post, this is what I came up with!!
Provisionally entitled the CK Flyer, this may or may not see production, but none of that matters right now, because for me, just owning this beast is reason enough to be happy right now. But first a disclaimer, if you don’t like this bike then terribly sorry old bean but its not my fault, it just means the bike has done its first job which is to weedle out Modern Man. Au revoir. Out of the first 5 people I showed this to in the flesh, two of them vomited, another was just plain bemused, and the other two were very excited indeed.
So for the rest of us, here we are then. But first, a little history behind this thing. Enter Benji from Fat Tyre Flyer UK and Europe. Benji is both hilarious and a dude, I met him at Malverns Classic last year where we were competing for the ‘shittest trade stand award’ (I won), but in short, Benji is a massive advocate of Charlie Kelly here in the UK, so much so that he started a company to take care of his business. He sells a cool line of t-shirts etc and organises Charlie’s UK tours. He works bloody hard at this for very little, maybe even no return, and because of that I admire him greatly, we have a lot in common. Anyway, one of Benji’s great injustices in the world is that CK, despite a life spent as an MTB legend, had never had his own signature frameset. He really wants to take care of CKs legacy here in the UK and to keep his name alive, just because. So he asked me if i’d be interested in the project! Well heal yeah! And that’s basically why the CK Flyer exists.
Time to design a bike then! Damn, i’d just designed the Dirtbomb which would’ve been perfect for this project. Oh well. Moving on. And lets face it, that would have been too obvious anyway. But for me, the photos that really resonated were the pics of the Breezers, they were like a transmission from some whakko parallel universe where Raleigh Bombers and olde English Track bikes were some kind of sick joke. I remember first seeing one of these in issue one of BMX Action mag, and at the time mountain bikes quite simply didn’t exist in the UK. It was the first realisation that all was not lost and there would be life after BMX. I love the fact that the most radical Mountain bike ever made also happened to be the first one, after the first ten Breezers everything got very boring very quickly, to my eyes at least. We of course were having too much fun to care, chasing progress for the next 30+ years.
So the CK Flyer isn’t a copy of the original Breezer, but it borrows both its spirit and its top tube, heading down from the saddle to the headtube. This has freaked a lot of people out who haven’t seen the original bike, and I appreciate that back then it was a design necessity due to there being no long seatposts available. Designing this bike also made me realise how small the original must have been, because designing in that top tube was a pain in the arse on a modern 27+ platform. This really is a collision of form and function – the headtube had to be shorter than I might normally have wanted, and the seat tube is certainly longer than I would have wanted, but needs must. this bike had to look like this, and as luck would have it, at 5’11 it fits me perfectly. Any shorter and you’d be buggered though.
The front end has a 67 degree head angle and a 65mm offset truss fork. The steering is quick yet planted. The seat tube angle is 71 degrees, that’s slack by modern standards, but the pedalling position is actually really rather nice. I’ve yet to get out and do some proper miles on this, but so far it feels really capable. I can’t wait for that sun to start shining again so I can head out to the hills and live the dream for a little while. I’m obsessed with making rigid mountain bikes better, and this one certainly isn’t a part of ‘project progress’, that’s the job of my production bikes, but what this is, is a throwback to simpler times but with modern luxuries like plus tyres and disc brakes.
So this is a prototype, a rolling concept bike if you like, but it would be great to see it make it to a small production run of 10 frames. I’d like it to be available via the Fat Tyre Flyer website and need to speak to Benji about that, because this was about paying tribute to the earliest days of MTB in that post klunker dawning, and more specifically, to the guy that pestered Joe Breeze enough that he eventually relented and built those first 10 game changing frames. In the meantime, if you’d be interested in one of these then let me know. A large percentage of the profit from any frames produced would go directly to Charlie. But anyway, there we are, the CK Flyer.