Based in Worcestershire, Filament Bikes (formerly Craddock Bikes) is a custom carbon framebuilder – one of very few in the country.
Hand building frames using tube-to-tube techniques allows for a large degree of customisation in terms of geometry, and the tubes themselves are customised based on the needs of the rider. What this means is that a lot of time and expertise is at work beneath even the most traditional looking of Filament bikes.
I got a chance to take a look at Phil Blacker’s track bike, made by Filament. Living locally to the workshop, Blacker is a Firefighter World Cycling Championships winner and active racer for Team Jewson MI Racing.
Phil’s bike is one of the later frames made by Craddock before the evolution to Filament bikes, and there are a couple of new features that are worth pointing out. For example, this is the first frame to leave the workshop with tapered wraps around the joints. It’s also the first to use a threaded bottom bracket – almost a requirement for a track bike, given the availability of track cranksets. A threaded titanium insert makes this possible.
Another technical feature that might not be seen by most are the handmade dropouts – cut from carbon plate, with stainless steel faces bonded to each side.
Of course, being custom, the rider gets a big input into the design. Working together with the builder, Phil hashed out his brief – a traditional round-tubed track bike that stood in the face of the heavy and homogenous aero machines that are so ubiquitous, with geometry that made for easy riding on the track. To finish? The bright yellow paint job, with a matching stem and saddle.