Switchcraft's Brit Inspired Trail Bike From the Czech Republic

Aug 1, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

Another week, another lockdown project bike from a European shed-dweller. This time it's Jakub Junek, a frame builder from the Czech Republic and his first-ever full suspension project under his brand, Switchcraft Frames.

Junek has been building frames since 2015 when he quit a previous job due to health issues. He decided to follow his passion and went to welding classes where they were so impressed with his work ethic and motivation that they ended offered him a job of a certified welder. Since then he still works as a certified welder, and on the side has built a workshop where he builds frames.
Details

Material:Chromoly steel
Travel: 130mm (140mm fork)
Wheelsize: 29"
Size: Custom
Head Angle: 66°
Seat Tube Angle: 76°
Reach: 482mm
Chainstays: 433mm
More info: @switchcraftcycles

Coming from a BMX background, Junek has previously built a few hardtails and road frames but now he's decided to take it a step further with this 130mm travel trail bike. He spent a year designing this frame and has been piecing it together for the past three months. He looked to the UK steel building scene for inspiration and in particular took a lot of notes from the Starling Murmur. The frame shape and single pivot suspension design are the obvious cues, but Jakub has brought his own ideas to the bike as well. For example, as he has spent most of his life on 20" wheels, simplicity and durability were high on the checklist for this bike so the main pivot is on oversized 41mm bearings and 24mm axle.

The Starling Murmur influence is obvious but there are some deviations such as the braces on the swingarm near the dropouts.

A simple single pivot did the trick for Jakub on his first full-suspension build. The leverage ratio progresses from 2.35 to 2.25 as the bike moves through its stroke.

Jakub had some experience with geometry from building his hardtail frame, but adding a linkage definitely complicates matters. He describes it as "building two different frames that have to work together." He put plenty of research in on similar bikes to find the limits and then adjusted the bike to fit his own proportions. Some key figures are a 66° head angle, 76° seat tube angle and a 482mm reach. The full geo chart is below:


Some of Jakub's bracing work at the head tube junction and on the swing arm

Fitting the gussets of the rear end with the gussets of the bottom bracket was one of the toughest parts of the build for Jakub, bu also the one he's ended up most proud of.

Jakub doesn't currently have any plans to sell this frame, however he is working towards expanding to a proper workshop with modern tooling and being able to build similar frames for other passionate riders. His dream is to focus on custom builds where he will work closely with the client on design and geometry based on their riding style and preferences. For more info, click here.




72 Comments

  • 123 0
 As far as ride characteristics on a steel full suspension frame go, this person may have the best description ever. I honestly have no clue who he/she is, but I came across their ad a little while ago. If you need a great laugh for these challenging times it will help. www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2824508. You are welcome!
  • 27 0
 please someone get @BuzzLiteBeer a beer, You made my day, really
  • 8 0
 That was awesome!
  • 2 0
 Haha thanks for that needed that laugh
  • 3 0
 i want it now
  • 14 0
 This is the most beautiful ad I've ever read. I would wish I was in the market for a dh bike, if I didn't feel so unworthy of wielding such a godly machine...
  • 1 0
 Pure gold!
  • 2 0
 Sickest sales ad ever. Thanks a lot
  • 20 0
 @ismasan: I’ll take someone up on that offer.
  • 2 0
 Hahaha this amazing ad was brought to you by Calvin, the shipping & inventory pro at the shop.
  • 1 0
 Astounding ad for an astounding bike. Huge props to the seller, they should demand to be paid in Twonie coins, wrapped in a Birkin bag. That bike is only for the worthy.
  • 11 0
 "Every Dentist and Corporate yuppie on their 10k Yeti sb165 they have never bottomed out will look at you in awe as the vision of divorcing their wives and abandoning their beloved children who they already ignore flashes before their eyes"

Holy shit
  • 2 2
 I laughed when I read Stan's Hub. Those hubs would never hold together at light speed, they can't even handle Joey's speed!
  • 5 0
 @jgainey: A peasant part made by this “Stan” character would never find its way onto a machine of this caliber.
  • 1 0
 Epic. And I kinda want that frame now.
  • 2 0
 @BuzzLiteBeer: Sturns...lol. Shit, Typoglycemia got the best of me.
  • 1 0
 If that man isn't a copywriter at a large Ad agency he should be!
  • 1 0
 Hands down, best PB classified of all time. Should be framed and hung in the MTB hall of fame. ; )
  • 1 1
 That thing looks awesome and hideous at the same time
  • 22 1
 How’d you solve the icing problem?
  • 9 0
 I understood that reference
  • 6 0
 that one downvoter didnt
  • 9 0
 If you wanna check out another Czech frame from steel, check out Zoceli Naosm. I think they're just amazing, and you can buy one soon too.
  • 1 0
 They are just too expesive
  • 5 0
 I wonder how these steel full sus bikes ride? Like I wonder if there is a lot of flex. I've ridden steel hardtails and the give and forgiving nature is nice on a hardtail but I don't know how those traits carry over. I know there is a thing as too stiff but I also don't want the rear end feeling vague kinda "loose"
  • 4 0
 There is quite some flex, i loved my starling, it was brilliant in lowgripconditions but i could make the cranks hit the chainstays while sprinting. ( i weight about 80 kg)
  • 9 1
 I’m on a Cotic Flaremax at the moment and all I can say is the front end is so compliant it’s untrue, it just feels in synergy with the fork. The downside is the weight on climbs (regardless what anyone says) and the long geometry can be cumbersome in very tight trails. However everywhere else (on the flat and normal trails) it flies, also being more centred on the bike due to the long reach means jumps and drops don’t put you over the front of the bike
  • 2 1
 @sewer-rat: Pretty much mirrors my summary of experience on my FlareMax.
  • 4 0
 I got Production Privee Shan no5 for 2 years. It rides very well. Flexing gives you tracking in the corners and in the rough. You dont feel the flex when you going up. I like to think about steel frame the same way as moto racing steel frames are designed. You need tractions in the cornes but stifness on the straights. Of course its steel so its gonna be flexing a little bit no matter of the design. Steel full sus is not for everyone. Its heavier, sometimes expensive , depends from company but its also pretty, simple and corners like nothing else. So dont worry for feeling loose end. You dont gonna feel that. At least I dont feel that. The only downside that comes to my mind is to torque the shock precise. If you grab a rear end of Ibis Rimpo for example, you not gonna feel any work. The back wheel is stiff and rear shock is concreted to it. When you grab a Shan or any other steel bike you gonna feel the difference, The question is whats your priority. If you want to bike gonna be stiff like hell the steel is not for you. Steel full sus are for fun and for maniacs. That doesnt mean you cant win a race on steel bike or you cant having fun on the stiff bike. Most of full sus steel designs are simple so basically they are steel hardtail with added shock.
  • 1 0
 @Previn: glad to see it’s not just me Salute
  • 7 0
 That's a really, really lovely looking bike.
  • 4 0
 Nice looking frame,with some of that Steel Witchcraft going on. Like the geometry, hope it ends up buyable. Good luck Jakub.
  • 4 0
 Starlings are pretty. Other garden birds are available.
  • 4 0
 Very very nice and clean looking bike
  • 5 0
 Beautiful.
  • 3 3
 The problem with Starling is that it has a falling rate. This guy moved the pivot up and forward, allowing the shock to be mounted at a more acute angle to the rear triangles vertical tube. This allows for that small rising rate. It also looks stiffer around the front of the chainstays, another one up over Starling.
  • 2 0
 Although this looks to have a truckload of antisquat. I wonder how well it rides with so much chaingrowth.
  • 4 0
 The starling leverage rate is pretty much exactly linear, unless you count 2.48-2.58 a falling rate in the real world?
  • 1 0
 Linear rate with hsc and or bottom out is good imo based on 15yrs of fs riding. Yes pivot looks too high.
  • 2 0
 Interested to know whether youve ridden a Starling? Theres literally no problems with Starlings. Ive been riding my murmur for six months and I can honestly say its better than anything else out there (Ive owned my fair share of modern enduro bikes). As for stiffness, the whole point of steel bikes is compliant, its nor designed to be stupid stiff, its designed to take up gnarly trail chatter, almost like HSC!
They pedal incredibly well and arent really much heavier than a comparable alloy enduro bike.
  • 2 5
 @cliffdog: I'm not saying they ride poorly, I really want to give one a try. But they probably would ride better if they had a mild rising rate, like this bike
  • 3 3
 @hamncheez: so you wrongly assumed he starling has a falling rate (ok, it technically does, but not to a meaningful amount) and you haven’t actually ridden one to confirm there is the issue you assume there is but yet here you are stating it as if it’s fact. Brill.
  • 2 2
 @justanotherusername: I have ridden similar bikes with the same slightly falling rate, and they do fine at shorter travels with air shocks, but my experience with a coil on anything longer than 150 mm is that you have to run a higher spring rate than ideal because there is no rise. There is a lot more to a bike than only the compression curve, and by all accounts the starlings ride very well. That doesn't mean they are perfect.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: it has average 150% of antisquat in the entire of the travel.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: You should try one, you'll probably like it. If I was going to put a coil in mine it would be a Storia. But the problem with the Storia is you need the matching fork...
  • 1 2
 @hamncheez: I’m not sure you know what you’re on about.
  • 1 0
 @cliffdog: I‘m also on a murmur the second year now. I‘ve ridden everything from bikepark to long day tours. the bike has about 14,5 kg with cushcore. and to sum it up, it climbs great, not xc of course but still very good. and the compliance part downhill is maybe the best about this frame. I always think i‘d like to change to something new, but in the end i find no point why. sometimes i want more travel or shorter chainstays
  • 1 0
 This bike looks good and I'm sure works good, but... Looks like a Gary Fisher Cake.
  • 4 2
 This bike is Starling's uglier, slutty sister.
  • 3 0
 hot
  • 2 0
 Reminds me of another steel FS......Kangaroo
  • 1 0
 Starlig is nicely made, but there is nothing original on the steel single pivot design-)
  • 1 0
 Beautiful bike! Man that would be a dream to build a frame up, slap the components on and take ‘er fer a rip.
  • 2 0
 British
  • 1 0
 no bottle mount no workie
  • 1 1
 Pivot it lower more rearward on this then the starling,other steel single pivots
  • 1 0
 Looks ace high stand over.....
  • 1 1
 I can't stand that shock placement
  • 2 3
 Came to read comments about the welding.

But they're aren't any.

Am I the only one that's noticed it?
  • 1 1
 Joe at Starling is probably like, WTF?????
  • 2 0
 Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery...
  • 1 0
 yeah its still not a starling
  • 1 0
 Cool
  • 2 3
 Its a starling but rebranded?
  • 2 0
 no
  • 2 3
 Looks like a starling ????
  • 2 4
 Really nice! Love it! But remember... Specialized Status is under 2500 complete bike!
  • 1 3
 Looks like a Balfa
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