It’s been a busy but exciting last few days at the Sven Cycles workshop in Weymouth, Dorset. I’m spending a few days with Darron and Mog while they demonstrate the processes involved in building a custom frame. The wind is bracing, to say the least, but the company — and the beer — is warm.
As evidenced by the first glimpse inside the shop, Darron Coppin and Andrew ‘Mog’ Mogford have a deep-seated passion for English manufacturing and its heritage. Their focus is the classic English roadster and touring bikes but they truly enjoy being a local workshop that can build your dream bike.
Having said that, their customer list now extends all over the world, even down to Wollongong, Australia. The first day I was there, the boys were finishing off a gorgeous burgundy roadster with a custom stem, all the Velo Orange accouterments, a set of Compass Cycles’ René Herse cranks and a pair of Babyshoe Pass tires.
The workshop is located in a small industrial area in Weymouth, surrounded by garages inhabited by mechanics and engine-tweakers in the great British privateer speed-seeking tradition, another by some guy who fabricates chopper frames for the Hells Angels and others by, well, who knows.
We took the burgundy roadster up to the top of Portland — the original source of the name — which is a massive rock in the middle of Weymouth harbor Portland is very famous for the stone quarried from its innards — St Paul’s Cathedral is built from it. It was blowing an icy gale up there, but the views were exhilarating.
After a photo shoot, we headed back to the refuge of the shop. I watched while Steve, the Master’s Apprentice, brazed a seat post binder and finished off an eccentric bottom bracket shell, and admired a couple of previous Sven orders that were either back for modifications or for updates to their components.
This touring MTB in Keswick Green was in for a respray — Sven Cycles paint all their frames in-house, unless it’s a special order, in which case they’ll send it to Ali at Fat Creations. It’s an awesome little rig that the owner has ridden thousands of miles over Dorset, through the Alps, and across Sweden.
Darron loves his motorbikes, too. This is his race-tuned Ducati 900SS, which he takes out for quick blasts around the Dorset countryside, terrorizing badgers and squirrels. He’s in close contact with Dave Cartwright, who raced it in numerous TT events for the legendary Mick Walker Motorcycles, including the 1978 Isle of Man TT.
Sven Cycles are garnering a reputation among the locals for preserving the vintage cycling spirit, and have been bestowed with a lot of brochures, books, and ephemera from previous members of the British Cyclists’ Touring Club, as well as sales brochures from obsolete brands like Phillips — this one shows their paint options.
These classic roadsters are the inspiration for a lot of Sven Cycles builds. In the spirit of Triumph Motorcycles, Land Rovers and the Mini, Darron and Mog believe these style of bikes are the perfect vehicle for the UK terrain and urban environment and are dedicated to developing a modern interpretation of them, suited for today’s customer.
MADE IN DORSET: SVEN CYCLES WORKSHOP VISIT DAY 1