I'm Steven Shand, one half of Shand Cycles based in Scotland, UK. I've been building frames commercially now for nearly ten years. From 2003 up until 2011, I was building one-off custom made to measure frames. A lot of mountain bikes (mostly off-road tourers, not race machines), some audax/sportive frames, a spattering of road and cross frames, but mostly what I call AllRoad frames. 'Cross frames for people who think they want a 'cross frame but really they don't.
I don't think I ever built more than 20 frames in a year and since 2003, I was probably only building frames full time for about a year in total. I wanted to build full time but was finding it hard to find a way for it to work financially. Framebuilding in the UK as recently 3 or 4 years ago was a different beast to how it is now. There were hardly any one-man frame shops and the price the market seemed willing to pay was relatively low compared to what I was seeing across the pond. 5 years ago, guys were banging out made to measure frames for less than £500. It was impossible (or very difficult) for guys like me to charge what I thought my time was worth. This made paying the mortgage and putting food on the table very difficult. Having just started a small family, stuff like that was important.
Things have changed dramatically in the last 2 or 3 years in the UK and it seems finally the bike buying public over here are starting to really appreciate the craft of frame building and more importantly (if we want to sustain a healthy framebuilding scene in the UK), are much more willing to put their hand in their pocket.
Shand Cycles as it is now changed in the middle of last year. The business was restructured and importantly it stopped being just me. Shand is now half owned by Russell Stout who came into the bike business from a long career in design, having founded one of the top design agencies in the UK over 15 years ago, he felt he needed a change and so we joined forces and relaunched Shand.
The focus shifted to making sure we could run a profitable and sustainable business and at the same time allowing us to build and sell high end bicycles the way we wanted, without compromise.
We moved into much larger premises at the beginning of this year and launched our range of handbuilt production frames to a huge amount of interest from the public here in the UK and in mainland Europe and we continue to build bespoke, made-to-measure stuff too.
At the core of our design ethos is the desire to "keep it simple". While we see other mainstream cycling brands adding more and more to their frame offerings, we stick to what we know, what works and continue to make those basic elements as refined as they can be. I like to think we maintain that principle right through the business, from how we lay out the shop, how we build, who we use as primary suppliers, all the way through to our paint schemes, logos and communication.
Anyway, Richard kindly asked me to get involved with Smoked Out and I appreciate being able to join in. And since it's supposed to be a Q&A channel, I better stop typing or I'll end up answering all the questions.
Please feel free to bombard me with anything you have to ask and I'll do my best to answer as much as I can as quickly as I can.
Oh, and if you don't know us, you can see what we're all about here :
Custom and production steel bike frames