Everyone has dreams of designing their own bike, but few have the drive and skillset to do so. Chris Clarke of Vancouver, B.C., has been riding mountain bikes for over thirty years and has nearly the same amount of time under his belt fabricating with composites and metals. When he came up empty-handed on his search for a high-end MTB, Chris saw the opportunity to piece together a custom bike, not for himself, but a 20”-wheeled bike for his son.
The first project began by cutting up the carbon tubes on an older 26” Giant frame that he saved from going to a landfill. He had all of the complex shapes right in front of him: dropouts, BB junction, pivot points, head and seat tubes. All
he had to do was remove sections of the main tubing and shrink them down to size for a four year-old.
By using the removed sections of tubing as a mold, Chris made smaller diameter tubes to insert and join the gaps he had just cut. The chainstays were shortened by 100mm for the tiny 20” wheels and repositioned the upper link to be housed into the seat tube junction. This reconstruction came in at 2.5 kg. including the shock
Since scaling down the old Giant frame, Chris has turned a 2016 Santa Cruz Nomad into a 20” wheeled bike, and chopped up an alloy hardtail frame to run on 16” wheels with a suspension fork and disk brakes.
Chris’ passion projects won’t stop here though. Down the road, as his kids grow, he plans to build a 26” carbon frame from scratch. Even though Chris has painted these bikes to an artisan-finished level, he doesn't have plans to actually sell them - Reclaim is simply a name to explain his passion projects.
|I decided to start experimenting to see if it was possible to build a custom carbon fiber frame by using an old scrapped carbon fiber adult frame. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but after a lot of thought and way too many hours to count it turned out it was indeed possible. After building a few more frames using pre-existing scrapped frames, my next goal was to build a carbon fiber full suspension frame from scratch, which brings me to my current build where I have been busy building molds to construct carbon fiber tubes that will all be joined in a jig to make the frame for our next 26” wheel bike.— Chris Clarke|
Chris and his son tackling Crinkum Crankum on Mt. Fromme in North Vancouver. Photo: Tristan Deggan
Kids doing this.
Maybe just needs his brake levers in a better place?
I’ve known Chris a while now and contrary to what others might think, he routinely involves his kids in the process (check his IG). Designing and building these incredible machines is part father/son bonding, and part learning to try new things and all the good that comes from trial and error.
He’s a a front-runner for dad of the year in my books!
I bet his son learns a ton from him, he gets to ride rad bikes as well. Win/Win.
Have fun out there guys!
They look amazing.
now that I type that....we are f*cked
Bigger concern is the lack of any pads.
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