Bike

Donhou Bicycles, Norfolk

Tom Donhou is a young builder but it has not taken him long to make his mark. After just a year building frames, Tom impressed the Bespoked Bristol judges enough to take home the ‘Best of Show’ award. Tom made the decision to begin his frame building adventure whilst on his own in his tent in the middle of the Gobi desert, with his bike laying by the side of a rail way line’ possibly surrounded by a herd of bulls. Tom definitely has the most fascinating of stories on how he got in to building custom frame and launched Donhou Bicycles.

Tom Donhou Bicycles Workshop

The beauty, class and finesse that have become synonymous with Tom’s bikes have allowed him to carve his own place in the market with much success. Whether it is one of his wonderful town bikes, cool 29ers or slick road bikes, Tom endeavours to keep as much of the process in-house as possible & including doing all the paintwork himself. His dedication to his craft can be seen in the many unique features and the sense of that ‘personal touch’ in all his frames.Tom comes from a product design background, so as well as the frame geometry itself, Tom designs many of his parts too, including dropouts, chain guards and even gear shifters. We are always on the lookout to see what Tom comes up with next.

The beauty, class and finesse that have become synonymous with Donhou Bicycles have allowed him to carve his own place in the market with much success. Whether it is one of his wonderful town bikes, cool 29ers or slick road bikes, Tom endeavours to keep as much of the process in-house as possible & including doing all the paintwork himself. His dedication to his craft can be seen in the many unique features and the sense of that ‘personal touch’ in all his frames.Tom comes from a product design background, so as well as the frame geometry itself, Tom designs many of his parts too, including dropouts, chain guards and even gear shifters. We are always on the lookout to see what Tom comes up with next.

Tom Donhou Bicycles Workshop

What got you into frame building and inspired you to open Donhou Bicycles?

I have always been into bikes, I grew up with them. I used to race BMX, then I raced downhill bikes, I spent a bit of time as a bike messenger and then I went away riding. I packed in my job as a product designer and I rode from Mongolia to Singapore which gave me a lot of time to think about stuff. I kind of went away thinking that I would come back with an idea of what I wanted to really do with myself work wise, you know, I needed some time away to get a little perspective on things.

As I was riding I was designing out all of the faults with the bike that I was riding on. I was designing the ultimate expedition bike. This just lead into the idea of building frames and that was it really. Signed and sealed. I pretty much had one of those moments when I thought to myself, ‘how come it took me so long to figure this out’? Once I had the idea, I was so excited to get back and get going, but I still had like 5000 miles to ride! When I did get back though I flew at it, knowing I needed to keep my momentum going. I still see what I’m doing as part of the same journey.

Extract from Matthew Sowter & Ricky Feather’s book, Made In EnglandTo find out more and to order the book visit www.pushprojects.net

To find out more about Tom Donhou’s workshop, visit his site here.



Clare Potts

Clare Potts

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