Documentary: BTR Fabrications - From The Ground Up

Apr 9, 2013
by Fraktiv  
Walking into the workshop at BTR Fabrications, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in an ironmongers, a car repair shop or a man-shed of epic proportions. Surrounded by both familiar and 'what on earth does that do' engineering machinery, you quickly realise you're at the heart of where something special happens.

This is where bikes are born.


Views: 24,313    Faves: 233    Comments: 16


Borne from the ambition to design and build bikes for individual riders, rather than a one-size-fits-all bike for the masses, the bespoke cycle industry centres around the passion and craftsmanship of people like Paul Burford and Tam Hamilton, who are Burf and Tam Racing Fabrications. Working from their shed in Littlehampton, UK, BTR have delivered frames to customers around the world, specialising in their steel hardtail models, the Belter, Ranger and Ripper, whilst developing prototypes such as the 4X-specific Ignitor and the Enduro DH full-sus Thrasher.


Despite the organised chaos of the workshop, Burf and Tam both have established backgrounds in engineering, expertly combining their knowledge of materials, techniques, design and CAD, to produce these handbuilt beauties. And whilst their frames can be bought off-the-peg with standard BTR geometry, the guys pride themselves on being able to customise numerous aspects of their stock frames to their customers requirement, such as a half-degree angle here or an extra few millimetres there, so no two bikes are ever really alike!


After seeing how their bikes and team riders perform in local grassroots races (they're currently on a winning streak), and seeing their popularity and customer service in the field...literally, we approached the guys with a view to making this film about them, to show their expertise and skill, together with their enthusiasm and personal enjoyment in crafting these bikes.


During our two day shoot alongside the guys in the shed, it was clear that, like a tight sounding band, Burf and Tam didn't really need to talk to each other that much, with each of them concentrating on the task in hand, then handing their work back and forth until the tubes started to resemble those trusted parts we see each day. After a lot of precision cutting, milling, notching, de-burring, cleaning and welding, Ripper frame number 021, for local rider Aaron Bennett, gradually started to take shape on the jig. As the second day drew to a close, the signature BTR 'X' tube gussets were welded into place by Burf, and the frame was finally born.

“Two guys with a dream, in a shed...and it's actually happening.”



About BTR's bikes:

The Belter is BTR's downhill-specific, long, low, slack, and tough frameset, offering loads of grip and incredible stability. The Ranger is their Gravity Enduro or all-day hardtail, again built low, stable and tough, whilst light enough to ride all day. The Ripper is their 24”-wheeled downhill-specific frame for riders aged 9 to 13, which has the same ride characteristics as its big brother, the Belter.


For more information, drop Burf and Tam a line: btr-fabrications.com



Words: Oli & Farah @ geebeebee media
Photos: geebeebee media & MRF Photo & Video | Behind-the-scenes photo album here


MENTIONS: @geebeebee / @BTRfabrications



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74 Comments

  • 25 2
 Im the Proud owner of BTR 009, The Belter is a thing of beauty! Such a awesome training rig for the smaller trails and DH course in the south, the things it taught me about riding is amazing! And you have the biggest smile on your face the whole time! Everyone that rides it loves it! So pleased its going well for the BTR guys, keep up the good work!
  • 13 0
 Good !! I am also a owner of Ranger 017. Today my bike is leaving good area, it will be on magazine cover soon here...
  • 8 4
 As I could see, those frames were made with love Not made in Taiwan from the people who build the bike frames just as daily job and for money and they don't care who rides the bike. I think these two guys when they open the door of the shed they say to the frame HELLO BEAUTY
  • 6 2
 People in Taiwan usually broke, so they making our frames to survive like the kids making 5c an hour for us to rock our Nikes and our fancy stuff... But I do agree these guys probably put lots of nice craftsmanship and quality control into these bikes.
  • 1 0
 well said!
  • 2 0
 I'm in love. How much does true love cost? Is true love on
  • 1 0
 ly available in steel?
  • 2 0
 Wish I was in a position to do the same!
  • 24 3
 Yes to right. If your just getting into bikeing GET A HARDTAIL first you will learn the skills you need. I know guys who ride big DH bike and didnt Evan learn how to hop a kerb .
  • 12 18
flag steve-815 (Apr 9, 2013 at 6:59) (Below Threshold)
 I disagree with this, I started on a 6 inch travel Norco six 3 and its done me no harm, can ride just as well as, or if not better than the rest of my mates who had hardtails to start.
  • 3 1
 ..
  • 23 3
 you may of missed out on basic things, i 100% feel that learning to ride a hardtail well first will benefit you in the long run
  • 7 1
 Yeah, Evan did learn how to hop a kerb and he only ever rides hardtails.
  • 3 2
 a suspension bikes doesn't ride the same as a hardtail..... not easier, not harder..... just not the same
  • 5 4
 If DH is the only thing your going to ride (not me) why waste your time hopping a curb on a hardtail . Why not learn how to hop a rock on a dh instead . Sounds like your mad because someone you know bought a nice DH without your idea of a Right of Passage Wink .
  • 6 1
 Pff, Why even learn to drive in a regular car! just start off with a formula 1 car! Learning to ride on a hardtail teaches valuable skills such as using your body to absorb things instead of relying on your suspension to save you everywhere. Can you learn on a dual suspension bike? Yes. Should you buy an expensive dual suspension bike as your first real mountain bike? No.
  • 3 0
 I started Mountain biking with this old XC bike made from BH bikes ( www.pinkbike.com/photo/3344425 ) and I think the year of the bike is 1996 because is the year of the Marzocchi fork that it have ( www.pinkbike.com/photo/3381374 ) I still try too keep up with my friends that had FR/DH Bikes, and I even send some massive stupid flat jumps and race a Urban DH with that bike ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEm8UHiWoJg ) after reading this you probably should have realized that I have severely damaged that old nice frame.

Next I get my GIANT Glory DH but when I ride it for three years i realized that something is missed, and that was the basics. So I decide to make a custom Hartail bike, and after riding it about a year I can control better my DH bike, now I feel very confortable riding trails.

Hardtail bikes or bmx should be the start of every rider.
  • 2 0
 I want to ask to BTR Fabrications if they could rebuild my old frame with some changes like head angle, better linkage, ISCG mount and with changeable dorpouts because the frame dropout was part of the back triangle of the frame.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/3344425 Can BTR Help me to have again my frame from the start?
  • 2 1
 Joelrider, of course you would have to contact BTR directly (btrfabrications@gmail.com), but they have done this kind of thing before. Have a look at this article: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=246390 where they rebuilt the front end for a Lawwill Schwinn Straight 6, with amazing results.
  • 17 0
 pure class
  • 12 0
 Amazing cinematography, quality frames!
  • 2 0
 Couldn't agree more. First class!
  • 1 0
 Really solid vid guys. Class.
  • 1 0
 Thanks to everyone for their comments! Pleased you all like what we do Smile
  • 6 0
 excellent film and filming, well done gebeebee as for the frames and the guys its simply heart warming to see this, the personal touch and dedication is something that very few people will ever have, or had the pleasure of .. its a special thing indeed. But the reality is that i hope they can still maintain this as im sure they cant be making a great deal of money as they are also taking other jobs to subsidise, so this is a business of passion and not profit and that to me is the best thing of all .. problem is .. if they get too popular and start wanting to sell more .. .. thats when things change - be interesting to see where this goes as for hardtails .. love em!!!
  • 7 0
 amazing cinematography, amazing bikes, two of the nicest guys, big props to geebeebee really enjoyed that!
  • 6 0
 I love the concept of handcrafting custom bikes, it's like bike is coming back to it's roots, to the times all bikes were made like this.
  • 5 1
 Man this is so awesome, it is always great to see people doing what they love to do. Not to mention the pride of making it all yourself, and keeping it all in country. Much more soul involved when you actually care about what you are making and you are involved with the person commisioning the frame.
  • 4 0
 Very Inspirational video...pure craftsmanship rite there.
As a entrepreneur/fabricator myself i'll share a quote with you;

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" Wayne Gretzky.
  • 4 1
 Lol lets all be careful about talking trash on Taiwaese manufacturers and workers shall we. If they keep making kick ass bikes don't hate. Face the facts 9 out of 10 riders would not buy a bike from BTR made with old school tech. Get with the program please.
  • 1 0
 true words
  • 4 0
 Great work on the frames and the edit! All the best fella's. hmmm.. a Belter or Thrasher? Seen both being ragged, very nice bikes, am impressed with the full suss Thrasher.
  • 5 0
 That was great. Cheers Geebeebee. Find and follow BTR fabrications on Facebook guys, they post some really cool pics.
  • 6 0
 Do want one of those frames now
  • 2 0
 These guys run a business from passion, skill, knowledge and interest. Something some companies definitely do not pursue anymore. Interests lie in profitability and marketing. They ship in all of there fabrications from abroad where some poor sod works 14 hour shifts assembling a bike they will probably never be able to afford in there lifetime. We are so lucky we still have individuals like these doing it the good ol' fashion way, whilst still producing something of great craftsmanship and beauty. Its a shame all bikes aren't so lovingly designed and made.
  • 3 0
 Is it me or does 62degree head angle on a hardtail seem mental, suppose that's the busty u can have whatever you want, gorgeous looking frame tho
  • 7 0
 The idea is that once you're on a full-sus DH rig, the sag will put a 64 degree static headangle to 60-62 degrees. So, on a hardtail with no sag, the static head angle has to be that slack to compare.
  • 2 0
 Freaking love my ranger. Yes the angels look nutty on paper but when you're riding it they all make sense. It's so much fun to ride I'm grinning just thinking about it. Buy one now!
  • 1 0
 I want to ask to BTR Fabrications if they could bring alive and rebuild my old frame with some changes like head angle, better linkage, ISCG mount and with changeable dorpouts because the frame dropout was part of the back triangle of the frame.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/3344425 Can BTR Help me to have again my frame from the start?
  • 1 0
 Para isso compra logo um Santacruz Bantam. Para largares uma pequena fortuna não precisas mandar fazer um quadro por encomenda, essa receita já existe mais do que aperfeiçoada.
  • 2 0
 Awesome , I wish I could pour my passion for bikes into something like this , it must be very gratifying to see the end result of your hard work out on a trail destroying it in a very basic form
  • 1 0
 Big bike hardtail. Detailing is superb. Long, low, flat HA. Takes the only decent forks out there, DC. Steel. Locally handmade. I am sold. Well done!! This frame pretty much outdates whatever comes from Taiwan and puts a rightehous end to how an Enduro looks and carbon as material of choice... This will ride uphill a n d will go down well a n d will last. Thought still rules over pesky ants collecting pesky antstuff.
  • 2 0
 Met these guys at a my first ever race. Gravity Project, let me hang at their van with them. Top guys, good to see them getting some international exposure.
  • 2 0
 Hell yeah Burf!! I have had a sit on one of the Belters and you can just feel it is so capable. The guys shred them hard too, solid DH hardtails!
  • 1 0
 Great to see you guys getting the recognition you deserve for putting so much time, effort and love into what you do......I am very jealous that you get to build bikes all day though.
  • 3 0
 lot of camera work in there!
  • 2 0
 I really want to build a HT now ...... Shame i don't know how to weld and know very little about fabrication
  • 3 0
 how do I get hold of these guys to build me a bike??
  • 2 0
 man that was an awesome video really neat to see that side of the bike world... and those welds were ridiculously nice Smile
  • 3 0
 Nice! I love videos like this one
  • 1 0
 As a complete guess is the guy they designed a custom full sus for, the race organiser in kent called Mr Bling? would be awesome if it was.
  • 1 0
 not for mr bling was for this guy www.pinkbike.com/photo/9420510
  • 3 0
 I was going to buy a Santa Cruz Nomad.....forget that! I want a Belter!
  • 4 1
 Hardtails rule!!!
  • 4 1
 dream job
  • 2 0
 nice work boys and good luck
  • 1 0
 belter looks like a ton of fun, slack head angles are where its at
  • 1 0
 right!
  • 2 0
 Dream Job, Beautiful.
  • 1 0
 They offered to build me a 24" dirt jump frame for £800
  • 1 0
 800! lol
  • 2 1
 HT at 62- wow!
  • 2 1
 WOW
  • 1 0
 Simply amazing
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