Below you’ll find chronological information about past framesets that have been and gone over the years. Some are cooler than others and led me down paths i'm still following, others were more of a dead-end, but all are pretty special to me. The real dream was to have one each of these, fully built up under spotlights in my own personal museum, but time passes and bikes get sold, plus i don't own a museum, so this is what we have instead.
2014 Stooge Mk1
This was the very first production Stooge, released in the summer of 2014. This was available in one size (18" with a 597mm ETT) and 100 frames were produced across 2 colours - Stooge Blue and Plum Crazy Purple. The were also 5 singlespeed specific frames without any gear cable guides. At the time the 69 degree head angle was pretty slack for a rigid bike, and coupled with the short chainstays this was real hoot to ride. The geometry was specifically designed around a 29 x 3" front tyre and a 29 x 2.3 rear and was a nod to my BMX days when the standard set up for a thrasher was a 2.25" front tyre coupled with a 1/75" rear, the idea being a lighter rear wheel and tyre means the bike lights up faster when you push on the cranks.
2015 Stooge Mk2
The MK2 arrived in August 2015. Pretty much the same geometry as the Mk1 but the chainstays were lengthened from 435mm to 445mm and the tyre clearance was increased on the rear to make room for new fangled 27.5 x 3" tyres. Front mech cable guides and cable stop were also removed. A total of 100 frames were produced across 3 colours - Stooge Blue, Bleached Olive and Radberry. Damn, these were happy days!
2017 Stooge MK3
The MK3 arrived in the summer of 2017. 100 frames across 3 colours - Apple Green, Plum Crazier and Moto Orange. I'd been seduced/flattered into taking on an American distributor at some point in 2016, and after selling a handful of MK2s he told me that my frames wouldn't stand a chance in the USA unless they had a 44mm headtube. This was the only time i've ever listened to anyone other than myself, and looking back i completely regret it. The MK3 ended up with oversize tubes to tie in with the larger head tube and tapered forks, and a whole lotta additional weight. The chainstay was shortened to 430mm, and despite the weight, this bike was ALIVE, just sooo agile and fun, but it felt like i was heading down too much of a well trodden path. As an aside, by the time the frames arrived in the UK i no longer had a US distributor and it would take 2 years to sell these 100 frames. In my mind, Stooge was pretty much over by this point. The Brexit vote had also happened, the pound had crashed and the cost of everything had gone through the roof. Another frame was also planned for production at this point, called the Scrambler, but had to be shelved due to the rising costs.
2017 Speedball ti
At some point in 2017 my good friend Taz, then honcho of the UK chapter of Back of the Pack racing, asked me to design him a bonkers titanium race bike. The result was the Speedbomb, a 29+ truss forked monster with more tubes than you could shake a stick at. Initially 2 were produced, one for myself and Taz. The geometry was pretty XC with a 69 degree head angle and in truth, the bike ripped. About 4 others were produced for various customers. Long live the Speedball ti!
The Speedball was too good to end with the tiny batch of ti frames, so a small run of 50 steel frames was commisioned across two colours - Duster Blue and Moby Grape. The geometry was identical to the titanium ones, but being steel the tubes were slimmed down so the end result was more elegant. The steel truss forks shouldn't really have happened. My usual fork builder in Taiwan had been forced to sign a non-compete with a certain bike company that uses truss forks, preventing them from being able to build some for me, so i ended up having to use an unknown (to me) company and the build quality didn't match that of the frame. This was something that really niggled away at me, and in the end i designed and produced the first iteration of the Klunkpacker bi-plane fork at great expense. I offered these for free to people that had already purchased a truss frameset, so it was real lesson in how to lose money for the sake of doing the right thing. I get asked a lot about Speedballs and whether i'll produce any more, but at the time i couldn't give the frames away. They sat on the shelf for so long, months would pass and i wouldn't sell a single frame. In the end i lost money on these and, coupled with the slow sales of the Mk3, i figured Stooge was reaching its natural end.
2018 Dirtbomb ti
The Dirtbomb happened because i really wanted a klunker, but also because i wanted to test out some new geometry, and if it was going to be a testbed then it might as well look cool as all hell. So one frameset was built with a 66 degree head-angle and a truss fork with a whopping 80mm offset, all designed around 29x3" tyres. The end result was a revelation, ther steering was sooo light, and yet when you got it up to speed the sense of stability was through the roof. The bike skipped through the roughest terrain, as light on its feet as a ballet dancer, just amazing. My genuine thought at the time was that if the steel frame business is over then i might as well have a last hurrah designing a couple of titanium bikes for myself, more of which in the next post. In the end about 5 of these were produced and sold.
2018 Gravel Bastard
Much like the Dirtbomb, the Gravel Bastard was a platform for me to test some geometry ideas out for a drop bar bike, and much like the Dirtbomb, i figured i might as well have some fun and create a bike that looked thoroughly ridiculous. This one was for me, it wasn't like i was actually goimg to sell any. The basic premise for the GB was forward geometry for a gravel bike, coupled with a 69 degree head angle and 65mm offset truss forks. At the time gravel bikes were still short as all hell with 73 degree head angles and 100mm long stems, read sketchy as hell on any terrain other than a smooth canal path. The ride and handling on this was a revelation, and to prove how ace it is, i'm still riding this bike every day 5 years down the line. One of the beauties of titanium is its all-weather durability. This bike is on its third wheelset and umpteenth drivetrain, it gets washed once a year at the end of every winter, but still comes up like new, as shiny as the day it built up. Years later it would be reborn as the Rambler, the greatest drop bar bike of all time 😉
2019 CK Flyer
This is an old story, but in late 2018 i had Charlie Kelly come to stay, which was a wow moment. He'd been a personal hero for years, and one of my earliest MTB memories was a photo of him riding a blue Breezer in BMX Action mag, back when i was a full blooded BMXer haunted by the idea that the bubble might burst soon and i'd have to grow up. And that pic showed the way. So anyway, long story short, Charlie's UK guy really wanted a signature frame to exist for Charlie. Charlie liked the idea too, and i got the gig after hosting him for 3 days and giving him a guided tour of the castles and hostelries of North Wales. The CK Flyer is an obvious homage to the Breezer and the plan was to produce 10, just like the first run of Breezers. This bike caused a bit too much noise on various forums and social media platforms and i found myself being accused by various 'friends' of CK of using his name to sell bikes, an accusation that couldn't be further from the truth considering the circumstances of its inception and the fact Charlie was due to take the bulk of the profit, but it was enough to leave a pretty bitter taste in my mouth. I love Charlie and it was an absolute honour to get to do this with his blessing, but it also taught me a valuable lesson about the internet and the stalkers and hawkers that are out there. In the end the production run didn't go ahead and i learnt another valuable lesson: that from this point on every bike i designed would be for me and me only, and if anyone hated what i was doing enough they felt they had to tell me (which they did) then i could give them a solid solution to their woes, which was to not buy one of my bikes and then forget they ever existed and walk the other way, which is pretty arrogant but also a good survival technique.
2019 Stooge Mk4
For the MK4 it was back to the skinny steel tubes and 1 1/8th head tube of the earlier frames. The geometry was taken from the titanium Dirtbomb - slackened out 66 degree head angle and a biplane fork with 80mm offset. At the time i genuinely thought this would be the Stooge swansong so i threw all caution to the wind, along with convention, and designed a frameset that really excited me. I finally made the transition to thru-axles and internal dropper routing, dropped the axle to crown on the fork to make sure suspension fork weren't an option and lenghtened the head tube. Although it was fundementally the same frame as the MK1 and 2, it couldn't have looked more different when the full bike was built up. I loved the way the top of the front tyre sat above the fork crown, like some crazy flat-tracker from the mists of time. But the proof was in the pudding, and this bike rode like a demon, its ability to descend at full chat was through the roof. The front end was specifically designed around a Duro Crux 29 x 3.25 tyre, anything else and the steering was verging on the too quick, but the whole package rocked. I quetly released this frameset with much trepidation, fully expecting them not to sell. And then the strangest thing happened - they started selling, and quickly. Singletrack got in touch and did a full review and loved it enough for the tester to buy the test bike, Matt decided he was going to race a Southern Enduro race season one one, and started getting podium places and a spot for the bike on Pinkbike. The rigid enduro bike was born, and before i knew it i'd sold out. The sensible thing would have been to get some more produced, but there was the small matter of the adventure bike i'd designed years earlier but couldn't afford to produce at the time due to the Brexit vote/pound crash. And then Covid struck!
Colours: Blue - Pantone 5405, Red -Pantone 187, Green - Pantone 5487
The Scrambler arrived in September 2020, slap bang in the downtime between two covid lockdowns. Available in 2 sizes (18" and 20") and 3 colours (ochre, highland green and vintage pink), this was my idea of what an adventure bike should be. The handling was, and is, sublime, with a 67 degree head angle and 57mm offset fork, very much a magic combination. This frameset sold out in a few weeks and i was blown away. The covid effect was a real thing. I also got a great review from Morgan on the Radavist with this frame, months after it had sold out, and the effect was instantly positive.
Colours: Ochre - Pantone 131, Green - Pantone 5625, Pink - Pantone 4995
The steel Dirtbomb was loosely based on the earlier titanium frameset, but with a taller head tube and the Klunkpacker biplane forks with 57mm offset. This was only available in one size - 18" with a 625mm ETT, and 3 colours - Purple, Mustardy Yellow and Pale Blue. Klunkers have always been a 'thing' in the bike world, and every few years another company will come out with another klunker, and yet they're always marketed as a retro novelty bike, not to be taken too seriously as a machine. So the idea for the Dirtbomb was to create a klunker that actually ripped, that embraced modern geometry and standards and all the good things that come with that. 29+, slack head angle, long top tube, low BB; this was the closest i'd come to a rigid DH bike. Matt Lakin did his second enduro season on one of these, regularly standing on the podium and embarrasing much more 'capable' sprung steeds. Needles to say it sold out very quickly. This was also the point where the infamous Covid production delays suddenly hit home. Production times stretched from 4 months to closer to 2 years. Shortly after this frame sold out i redesigned it with twin top tubes and a new moniker, the Speedbomb. It would be the summer of 2023 before the Speedbomb follow up finally saw the light of day.
Colours: Pale Blue - Pantone 5565, Yellow - Pantone 111, Purple - Pantone 295c
2021 Stooge Mk5
The MK5 arrived in late 2021. The frame was more or less identical to the MK4 but was now available in two sizes - 18" with 610ETT and 19.5" with 625mm ETT - across 2 colours - Ochre and Swamp Green. The fork offset was reduced to 57mm, mainly because i was back in love with 27.5+ wheels and tyres and the steering with the 80mm offset just felt too quick with this wheel size. The ideal setup for this bike is either a 27.5x3R/27.5x3.25F or 29x2.6R/29x3F.
Colours: Ochre - Pantone 131, Swamp green - Pantone 147
Stooge R-Buckle fat bike
The R-Buckle is a fat bike that rather sadly never made it to production but is still worthy of being shown. The idea was to build an aggressive trail shredder that utilised the benefits of fat rubber for their increased capability rather than build yet another snow chugging slowcoach. It's a heavy bike, but set up with a 120mm Bluto and 4" tyres, this thing rips like no other. The steering is super-quick, you can place it anywhere on the trail and the big rubber, plush forks and progressive geometry means it'll carry you through and over and down anything, its like a ruddy great 'Get out of Jail Free' card in bicycle form and is completely rad.