Steampunk Cycles

Tired of conventional? With its have Blue ti/carbon hybrid, Sick Bikes may have the answer.

>>> The new wave of steel frame full suspension bikes

UPDATE: “Since writing the article Sick Bicycle Co have suspended manufacture of Have Blue to source a more ethically produced swingarm, once manufacture was set to upscale they started asking alot of questions about the chain of production that could not be answered. Tim Allen “We try to practice what we preach and we could not receive guarantees that waste was not going to sea fill, this has been a big problem and has driven us away from producing offshore, we were a bit naive to how bad outsourced production can be when not properly managed, a good lesson to learn early in business” Jordan said “Making something out of titanium and carbon is the 90s cyclists dream, I think we got a bit starstruck by what we could achieve, but as soon as we started interrogating the process, it was fairly clear we were not being given the whole story, for us, its better to be safe and sleep at night, we’re in this for the long haul and we should start as we mean to go on” Sick have been experimenting with different materials for replacing the carbon swingarm.”

Let your imagination run riot and you’d probably doodle a dream bike like this too: made form carbon and titanium, with geometry aggressive enough to make Geometron look tiddly. Oh, and maybe even some cooling fins on the shock for the kind of gnarly riding that you’ll do.

Sick Bikes has made this dream a reality: its second bike and first-ever full-susser is called the Have Blue and like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

sick bikes have blue

Have Blue is a 160mm-travel enduro bike, designed around a DVO Topaz T3 air shock (not included in the the £2,200 frame-only price) Pic: Geoff Waugh

“We cannot put the Have Blue into a category,” say Sick Bike honcho Jordan Childs, who founds the brand with Tim Allen. It is a modern mountain bike that goes downhill and uphill. If we were to do the initials things then it is the AMFM, or All Mountain F*ck Machine. It’s really an anti-genre bike.”

sick bikes have blue

Pic: Geoff Waugh

Who in their right mind would make a full suspension bike out of titanium and carbon though? How about two Brighton-based riders who dived into mountain bike design when they just couldn’t find the bike of their dreams.

“We decide to go on a fitness drive, thought about running but decided a bike would be better and bought mountain bikes,” Jordan says. “they were fun but the geometry was always trying to kill us. At that point we decided to make our own bike.

“Knowing that a couple of rookies like us wouldn’t be able to go down the carbon lay-ups, £50k-mould roots, we had to look at another angle.

“We knew it would be hard, so we went on a frame-building course to make a single bike. But in the interim I was riding in Wales and saw this crazy-long black bike and thought: this is it! The exact opposite of what I ride. I now know that the bike was a Geometron and this formed the basis of the Have Blue.”

sick bikes have blue

Big just got bigger: the XXL frame has a 1,420mm wheelbase and aggressive geometry with a 62° head angle. Pic: Geoff Waugh

The SBCOHB160, to give its full name – Have Blue is named after the Lockheed Stealth bomber prototype – features an oversize straight gauge titanium front triangle and brags a 62° “slaximum” head angle and a 77° seat angle on the small/medium frame. The box-section carbon swing arm works around a twin-link system to drive a DVO shock.

sick bikes have blue

Pic: Geoff Waugh

This Have Blue build centred around DVO’s new Topaz T3 Air shock which features three ‘on the fly’ compression setting adjustments, easily accessed via a glove-friendly lever to the side of the shock body. Both positive and negative chambers can be tuned to allow for a progressive or linear feel to the stroke and this is achieved by installing tuning bands that come with the unit. Dependant on frame, this can be done with the shock in situ. According to DVO cooling fins on the piggyback retain optimal performance when riding harsh terrain.

sick bikes have blue

The box-section carbon swing arm dives a twin-link suspension system and attaches to a titanium front triangle. Pic: Geoff Waugh

“The framer won’t come with a shock but the DVO is our preference and what the frame was built around,” says Tim. “We could spec a coil shock, but we realised we would have to alter the bike too much. The small/medium bike has a 1,358mm wheelbase; it’s a big bike.”

sick bikes have blue

Designed for 27.5in wheels only, but Sick says you’re best off running a 29er fork for the extra height and mud clearance with chunky tyres. Pic: Geoff Waugh

Bare brazing and gussets at the top/down tube to head tube junctions and bottom bracket give the frame a steampunk appearance. the head tube is machined from a single aluminium billet, the centre of which is used to make the lower suspension linkage. Sick Bike’s head-tube logo is art.

“The Have Blue is a radical bike, but one we know delivers. Some people weren’t ready for the Gnarcissist [their 29er hardtail], but this is the bike we really wanted to make in the first place. In the right hands it can get down a World Cup downhill and up a World Cup climb.”