Time To Get Naked

Aug 13, 2009 at 19:17
by Joshua Pierce  

Naked Bikes: Beautifully crafted frames hand built by the fastest rider in the world.

The first thing you might notice about Sam’s shop is that it’s just a shop - there’s no computer-controlled machinery, no boomboxes croaking out death metal in the shipping department, no hermetically-sealed spray booths. This is a place where a craftsman builds rideable works of art, one step at a time.

Learn more inside,

Sam Whittingham has been creating custom rides for over 10 years. He comes from a solid background of bicycle racing both on and off-road, and continues to hold several world records for speed on human-powered machines. Check out wikipedia for more info on his record-breaking pedaling abilities.

The company name Naked came about basically as an analogy of simplicity and straightforward design. “When I started building [bikes]”, Sam says, “there was a trend in the industry to really over-complicate things. I wanted to return to basics. And also the name catches your attention.” For the first few years the company was called Forte, due to following the advice of some
conservative friends, but after a while Sam realized that his original idea of Naked was much more suitable to his design philosophy and his company’s spirit.

After starting out in Victoria, and a brief stint on Gabriola Island, Naked bikes settled on Quadra Island. In this beautiful setting in the Discovery Island area of British Columbia, Whittingham and his crew build award-winning hardtail and full-suspension bikes. Each frame is unique and custom tailored to the rider’s specs. Steel, aluminum, or titanium, Naked does it. There are no “stock models”, but basic frame building starts at around $1400 CDN and will of course depend on frame material choices, design, finish, and other options. Naked bikes don’t just do frames, though - they will build you an entire bike with the exact components you want. Already have some of the components you need? No problem. With these guys, it’s all about building a bike to suit the rider.

Sam is an approachable, open, and friendly guy who was happy to show us around his shop and talk bikes and frame-building techniques. There were hardly any examples of finished bikes though, because as soon as they’re done, they’re out the door! There was a svelte roadie frame that had just been welded up, and his newest assistant Garnet had a sweet-looking park/dirt jump bike in the works. Sam also does repairs and modifications to existing frames, as well as doing a cool S & S coupler retrofit to allow a frame to be taken apart for traveling or storage in limited spaces. His full-suspension bikes are usually a four-bar design, with beautifully curved rocker arms and sealed bearings.

Given the quality of the workmanship and the almost unlimited number of options available to the rider, the cost of a Naked bike seems incredibly reasonable - especially considering you can easily pay the same for a robot-welded, mass-produced frame. While most of Sam's frames are road, cyclecross, or XC-oriented, there is definitely room in the Naked future for other disciplines.

With a world-wide fan base, loads of awards, and proven records in both racing and everyday use, Naked bicycles are making a serious name for themselves. It’s great to see a Canadian company dedicated to quality workmanship, and it was great to be able to visit Sam in his natural habitat.

Check out Naked's site and talk to Sam about your dream bike!

Must Read This Week


  • + 6
 Thanks for getting me excited with the title! But anyways, nice bikes, great to see a small guy getting some recognition, but HOLY SKINNY SWINGARM. Good luck with your business! Hopefully you'll be giving Moots and simillar brands a run for their money!
  • + 2
 skinny swingarms.....they're 4130 steel i assume
  • + 4
 i like the fact they used a fsa headset for the shock pivot. i also love the gussets and the attention to detail on the frame like the flames and the logo
  • + 1
 Awesome article Sam and congratulations, your bikes are absolutely gorgeous! Seems like just yesterday (well, okay about 20 years ago) that we were racing ridiculously geared recumbents around the Comox Air Force Base!

  • + 4
 that's sick. they look old fashioned kinda. would be interesting if the dj design was similar
  • + 1
 If you live in the Southern Interior and want to see one of Sam's creations, drop by our shop in Cache Creek and check out the Shimano Coffee Cruiser. And yes that FS bike frame is the show bike that won the people's choice at this year's NHMBS. If you are a diehard bike fanatic I truly recommend attending this show if you get the chance.
  • + 1
 Reminds me a little of dekerf about 15 years ago, so much attention to detail and straight up innovation. This guy is also using the most common sense Ive seen any builder use in years (oversize sealed bearings and a headset as the main upper pivot point), that tells me he wants to build his bikes to be ridden.
  • + 2
 They should make an improvement on one of ellsworth's bikes and call it the "naked truth"....it'ld probably cost the same, or less.
  • + 1
 hehe, say it to Specialized Big Grin
  • + 3
 i love the attention to detail with gussets very interesting looking bikes
  • + 1
 That FS bike (or one just like it) won People's Choice at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show - NHMBS 2009. That bike looked unbelievable complete:

  • + 1
 agreed i'd rather trust a brain than a motherboard but putting that aside.....

i have to say these hardtail frames are awesome let alone the four bar linkage frame!!! Smile
  • + 1
 I wonder if they can do me a sub 4.5lb, lugged 6/4Ti hartail DJ frame with a sliding 12x135 maxle, 1.5 headtube, internal cable/hose routing and ISCG tabs?.......for under 2k
  • + 2
 Can't hurt to ask him: sam@timetogetnaked.com
  • + 1
 Thanks but I know it'l hurt the wallet....some questions are better left to be ponderd
  • + 1
 Saw his single speed full susser at the Velo-City exhibit at the Vancouver Museum and it might well be the most beautiful bike I have ever seen!!!
  • + 2
 Love the rocker curved arms. I know I may need to get a road bike soon so maybe then, I will give a call to Naked..
  • + 1
 yeh i agree eddie i would trust a humans skill at building more than a robots!!!
  • + 1
 "no boomboxes croaking out death metal in the shipping department"
I resemble that remark hahaha. Beautiful frames
  • + 1
 in the 5th picture that looks almost like a BB pivot welded into the seat tube, i like it.
  • + 1
 sick frames, at least his bikes are made from his skill and ability not some computer
  • + 2
 for starters , thats the nicest logo for a bike
  • + 2
 second that one
  • + 1
 i worked in his shop and own a bike hes fuckin sweet
  • + 1
 thats awesome an very skilled bet there easy to repair if broken aswell!!!
  • + 1
 Check out the campagnolo shifter on the shock adjustment!

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