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Thread: Granville Bicycles

  1. #1
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    Default Granville Bicycles

    My name is Tim To - and I make Granville Bicycles.

    First a big Thank You to all for making this a place for inspiration and learning and to the MODS for the encouragement to post.

    The Journey's Start
    I have a varied cycling back ground - I've commuted year round through Canadian winters, I've done poorly at racing :), enjoyed the local rando scene, spent miles doing unsupported touring and have even completed the multi day Transrockies MTB race.

    My true love is the road bike followed closely by all the glorious/whacky forms of city bikes rolling and serving people in their daily needs.
    I simply wanted more from my relationship / obsession with the bike and I decided to enroll in Doug Fattic's class and that excellent start gave me confidence to carry on in my home workshop.

    It is an amazing thing to hold a beautiful frame in your hands knowing YOU DID THAT!! That 'high' has been worth the toil, expense, repetition, failure, overcoming, doubt, and self-loathing that were features of my early efforts.

    "My Way"
    Early on there were nuggets of advice that spoke to me - culled from hours spent on frame builder forums. Some of the standouts; don't hang out a shingle till you have something to offer, start with the basics, repeat, ask questions, know your craft, bikes are vehicles, learn from failures, K.I.S.S., don't go broke, have integrity, know thyself. There is more than a little Sachs/Garro wisdom in there.

    I am not an artisan. I prefer basic, utilitarian outcomes that remain aesthetically clean and become beautiful in their simplicity. Smooth fillets, crisp shorelines and design purpose and balance get me excited. I had a friend ask me to carve their initials in some lugs. I respectfully declined.

    I started with a vice and files and a straight edge...honed my process over time and am at a place where the Anvil I have now is a 'nice' but not essential. My most used tools remain my intuition, experience, hands, eyes, the vice and files. I love working with the metal and fire. I'm excited to continually improve.

    As I close in on the 30 frame mark - things 'click'. Bikes take shape smoothly; I can make what I envision, with quality I'm proud of. I am grateful to the continued guidance and advice from the masters on this very forum. I have been able to ask questions, get advice, apply it and repeat. My journey has been slow, but the learning has been invaluable. I wouldn't trade “My Way" for any other.

    What's next?
    I have a very nice work/life balance with frame building being a hobby. I live in an expensive town and I am a family man with various responsibilities. Many days I'd rather hike at Light House Park with my kids and wife and see bald eagles than pound out miles. My day job enables me both family time and bike time.

    The dream of going 'live' may one day happen. When the circumstances are 'right' for all aspects of my life - I'll know it. Till then I remain grateful for this venue that allows me to share.

    Granville Bicycles
    This name is inspired by my amazing home town of Vancouver and specifically a place called Granville Island. It’s a unique gem - a public market, an art and design college, a wharf, artist studios and industrial fabricators all mashed up into one glorious place. It is the most precious place in the whole city for my family. We ride there on our long tail and play at the water park and eat fresh bagels. There is an ethos of handmade, local and fun that is inspiring to me. I hope to build bikes that live up to that spirit.

    Thank you for reading.

    Sincerely
    Tim
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    And some pictures of a recent build
    P1013461.JPG
    P1013462.JPG
    P1013470.JPG
    P1013479.JPG
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Hey Tim good to see you here. Really liked the part of having a high end jig not being essential! I always check out your pics and have a silly question. Are you building in some sort of cement bunker! I always notice the plywood in prints on the walls and ceiling. Anyways nice read and look forward to seeing more of your work.
    NATE

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Welcome Tim, nice headbadge and colour!

    Nate, you should know better, Canada is under nuclear war scenario :o
    Aimar Fraga Angoitia
    www.amarobikes.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Thank you Nate, Aimar - I'm a huge fan of the both of you.

    Ha - yes my 'bunker' is actually my garage ontop of which my town home is built. I live in a tall skinny townhome in East Vancouver. It's neat tho because I can hacksaw and file and not disturb anyone!

    Regarding holding tubes - I actually built a jig - copied the Henry James style - used aluminum plates and the HT holder off my Bringheli alignment channel. I learned a lot from that experience too - I abandoned it for some Alex Meade flat plate fixtures which I love. Even though I now have the Anvil it's big and heavy and I will always keep the Meade for it's compactness and infinite possibilities. So i've climbed each run of the "Fixturing" ladder one by one...sorry no pics of the earliest efforts of tube holding or jig

    Some of the best money I've spent remains my Bringheli alignment chanel.

    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Tim congrats on being Smoked Out! Cool story and even cooler bikes.

    I really admire your steady and no hurry approach to frame building. From what I read it sounds like you have taken the time to go about it smartly and have learned some valuable lessons whether it being through instruction or through failure.

    What is a valuable lesson that you have learned from a failure?
    Facebook - Flickr - Instagram
    Darrel Williams

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Hi Darrel
    Thanks for the question. Love the yellow roadie you posted!

    The best/hardest/most valuable lesson I learned is to keep standards high. I did a bad job on one bike where when I drilled the wb holes, i dented the tubing on the other side (hand drill, leaning on drill, bit must have went through too quick). I didn't notice till it was in my buddy's hands. Felt horrible. I built him a new frame.

    Another bike early on had bad heat control and I distored a tube - didn't notice till after paint. Only I would even know it was there. I cut that one up.

    I'll tell you this - it feels as good to move on from the mistakes than to linger on them or try to make it 'work'.

    Tim
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Gorgeous work! So stoke to see local builders in Vancouver. Got my hopes up for a home-brewed frame one day not too far away...

    -Michael
     

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Thanks Michael. Let's keep in contact. Still need to arrange a studio visit here right?
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Good stuff.

    Vancouver needs an informal gathering of builders. Get the pro's, hobbyists, and enthusiasts together for a show-n-shine with beers.
    Brian Earle
    North Vancouver, BC
    Built 2 frames in my garage so far.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Yeah, would absolutely love to see your work in person sometime.
     

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    About to start a disc touring bike for a friend. We located these most excellent drop outs made on Quadra Island by Naked Bikes/Sam Whittingham. I feel fortunate to have such great folks around me to be inspired by. This past year alone I've met Paul Brodie, Chris Dekerf and am now going to build with some of these drop outs!

    Gian pinecone is also local - from Stanley Park. ;)

    IMG_0003.jpg
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Maiden voyage on new rig for this year
    a Granville Bicycles looks out at Granville Island. ;)
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    REALLY love your story and the bikes are right on.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    If you're around Vancouver Sept 10th come say hi!


    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Can I just say how beyond stoked I am on this :D

    IMG_1270.JPG
     

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    And this!
    Cannot wait to finish speccing and the build it...
    29116179704_ec3c3109c8_o.jpg

    29452092540_628028f2d3_o.jpg
     

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    One of my favourite beers...and I had a refreshing Granville Island beer today...so your bikes will be easy to remember. Nice work, I'm keeping an eye out for more of your frames. Glad to see a Canadian builder.
     

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Quote Originally Posted by mwynne View Post
    And this!
    Cannot wait to finish speccing and the build it...
    29116179704_ec3c3109c8_o.jpg

    29452092540_628028f2d3_o.jpg
    Saw that on Tim's insta. Sexy paint. A Toxic paint job?
    Brian Earle
    North Vancouver, BC
    Built 2 frames in my garage so far.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Granville Bicycles

    Hey Brian - yes another from Toxic Harald
    Tim To | Granville Bicycles | flickr | instagram | Smoked Out

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