Symbiont - Hand made!

Aug 4, 2009
by Tyler Maine  
symbiont: brief description, two organisms living together for the mutual benefit of both, there are many definitions so don't worry about that too much, anyway symbiont, man and machine? mountainbike? hence the name.




For this bike I went back to my favorite material so far : t45 cromoly tubing, I like this as I can weld it at home, I don't have to take it for heat treating, like I would an alloy frame, and it's much stronger, the only downside to me is that the tube doesn't always look beefy enough, but they are more than substantial for the task at hand.


Once again much manual machining was involved for the headtube, linkages, swingarm pivots etc, but I'm a sucker for punishment!

Believe it or not, the biggest headache was the bend in the top tube, it's only 1mm thick tubing but it doesn't like bending, it just wants to snap! it may be very strong but not always very malleable. And when it's £16 per meter it's no joke!

Anyways, once I had all the component parts made, it was a simple assembly job again in my trusty garage, lots of hole sawing, checking fits, filing, checking, tacking and welding.

Now I usually get a bit impatient when I get near the end of a build and would sooner get the thing up and running rather than spend hours with fine details in the machining etc, but this time I thought I'd better make more of an effort, so I spent more time on the linkage plates, dropouts, and finishing bits, like bearing caps, choice of bolts etc. so hopefully it looks more professional.


I thought I'd try the Fox DHX air shock as well just to keep weight down, although I have tried the DHX 5.0 coil as well and as of yet I'm still undecided. Now I'm wondering whether to try my 888's on here as well!

So there it is, my smaller travel DH bike. Already tested in the quagmire that is the British summer!

More bikes on the way!

The basics are:
-t45 frame & swingarm
-alloy link plates
-wheelbase is 1150mm
-head angle is 65 deg
-7" rear wheel travel
-complete weight is 38lbs with air shock

-Alan Hawkes

The Symbiont

The Symbiont




31 Comments

  • + 15
 The drop-outs look like they came from an archelogical dig circa Neolithic era- put an axe-handle under that shit and swing!
  • + 3
 that is one sweet as design. are you just making them for you, so you can have the joy of knowing its all your own creation your racing, or are you wanting to put them into more full scale production?
  • + 2
 That looks amazing man , you would never guess its a home made bike , its so well finished. Also great tire choice ,im in love with my 909's they are the only tire I run now other then wet screams when it gets uber sloppy
  • + 1
 the material cost isn't great really but making one or two frames is time consuming, if I were to make a small run of frames I could get parts cnc'd, but as it is everything is hand made, I reckon around a grand for a frame with shock
  • + 1
 Alan, I am seriously impressed by your work yet again. Would you consider making an even shorter travel bike for the use at parks and jumps? If you are thinking about it then you'd have my undivided attention as I'd be more than happy to buy a frame off you if it turns out as good as your last to creations? This is a serious request so if your statements are true above can you drop me a line so we can talk a little more about it?


cheers dude and well done again.
  • + 1
 At the moment they are just for me, but that could change, depends on the interest, it rides good, (well I would say that wouldn't I) the axle is 12mm with c/s panel washers for neatness, the materials were probably around £250 but thats enough for three frames probably.
  • + 1
 Interesting, gives an idea as to the true material costs involved, no doubt the big companies buy in bulk and get better prices too. If you were to sell a frame what would you value it at given your time involved etc?
  • + 1
 Good work again Alan.

Always interested to know:
How much did the raw materials cost you?

If anyone is out there banging up there own frame and designs then get intouch with us here at Pinkbike.com. That way we can showcase your skills to the MTB world.
  • + 2
 Never checked the "Homemade Bikes" thread? It's been up for over a year and has seen the creation of a few frames that could put to shame most of the big manufacturers out there. I've asked 3 pinkbike admins to creat a new photo category named "homemade" so people could show their work and inspire other astists/fabricators to start building, but haven't had an answer yet.
  • + 1
 the big bike companies just go to taiwan and get bike of a shelf so yes they probably get a full bike around £200. You have to remember they are marketing companies not bike companies. in my opinion you are always better sticking with local bike builders brakes take it to him and will probably fix it for you. Top bike, linkage or not and i'm not the biggest chrmo fan. well done mate
  • + 2
 I love ittup - the linkage design is also near identical to something I envisioned a while back, cool to see it in use!
  • + 0
 no your design is alot different, his is just a fancy single pivot. your's is more like a lenz and the new kona's that also pivot @ the BB. pretty cool cuz then you can run single speed w/out a tensioner
  • + 0
 hi there can you please help me . ive been thinking of making my ownframe and was hoping to use t45 tubing but cat find any stockists or pricelists . where do u get ure tubing from . thanks
  • + 1
 love it though i would like to see your DH bike too, and also mate how pedal friendly is it since i would pay for a frame if i were confedent it wouldn't be to much to pedal
  • + 2
 Cant find anything else about him on the web....anyone have his web address or anything?
  • + 2
 Sweet, sweet, sweet bike and design I like homemade frames. GREAT JOB DUDE!!! Smile
  • + 2
 way better than you could mount a rear brake... im sure it works great
  • + 2
 lovely bike, great craftsmanship. How does it ride ?
  • + 1
 pretty mint, one of the few DIY bikes that looks half decent! impressive.
  • + 2
 crazy linkage.
  • + 3
 it's still a single pivot only with extra parts you don't need
  • + 1
 is that a 20mm rear axle?????!
  • + 1
 dayum. you've got me impressed.
  • + 1
 I'm speechless... cool
  • + 1
 Looks weal
  • + 1
 Love it!
  • + 1
 good job man i like.
  • + 0
 gazmataz; five inch travel frame under construction now
  • + 1
 looks like a slayer
  • + 2
 I just think the design could be better, but maybe its fitting it with a 180mm single crown fork that makes it look a bit awkward, I dunno. As a homemade build its impressive.

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