October 2, 2013 Gear, News & Life No Comments

8ballbikes introduces first collection of classic bicycles

It was whilst living next door to the Bayswater Road house once inhabited by playwright and novelist JM Barrie that James dreamed up the idea for the Author collection. Perhaps some shadow of the author’s inspiration crept in, like the orange glow from the streetlamp that cast its light on the blue plaque on Barrie’s old garden wall and the window of the flat where 8ballbikes was founded proper?

The Author collection is a series of bicycles that hearken back to an age when cycling was a gentlemanly sport, enjoyed by participants clad in tweed and leather rather than the carbon and lycra of today. The frames, made from cromoly 4130 steel, are more reminiscent in geometry of a 1930’s path racer rather than a modern day road bike, with a long wheelbase and enough room for chunky tyres to soak up the worst of Britain’s urban and country roads.

Although named for authors from all around the world, 8ballbikes has favoured old school and once-British brand Sturmey Archer for certain components, to give the models a classic feel and finished each bicycle with full leather trim including handlebar tape, saddle and even toe straps.

Each model has it’s own unique character, brought out in the solid colours of the frame and the fine attention to detail in finishing touches like colour-matched cable sheaths, brass bells and even a gold chain on one model.

Seven models have already launched, with two limited edition models to come during October. One will be the brand’s first multi speed, built around a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, with a focus on practicality delivered through a front-mounted luggage rack. The other, to be unveiled close to All Hallows Eve, will follow a slightly darker theme.

The lineup so far


Capote; Be a free spirit, a wild thing, don’t get stuck in a cage. Jump on the bicycle and go get breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Ferlinghetti: Perfect for cruising out in the shadows, under streetlight imagination. Take a ride out to Coney Island…


Wollstonecraft: In cool white and tan leather Wollstonecraft is an ideal match for Shelley. With swept back handlebars for an upright ride, she’s certainly no Frankenstein.


Fitzgerald: It’s always a good time to jump on the bicycle old sport, even at 3am, during the long dark night of the soul. Racing through the streets chasing street cars and desires…


Shelley: Look upon my bicycle ye mighty and do not despair!


Byron: Byron was once described as “mad, bad and dangerous to know.” We’re not sure this bicycle will make you any of those but one thing’s for sure though, it certainly does walk, er, ride in beauty.


Plath: Decked out in a livery of London phone box red (or is it tulip red?), the Plath certainly cuts a dash as it whisks you through the British autumn streets and lanes. What a thrill!

As a small UK-focused brand, 8ballbikes is keen to bring a distinctive look to a market saturated with low budget, rainbow coloured, fixed gear bikes. Each bicycle is hand assembled to order using quality parts carefully selected from suppliers all around the world.

The basic makeup of each bicycle is as follows:

Frame: 8ball single speed frame made from CrMo 4130 steel, available in three colours and three sizes.

Wheels: Super stiff 700c wheels built around Sturmey Archer hubs. Supplied with a freewheel and setup for single speed use but can also be used as a fixed gear.

Tyres: Schwalbe Delta Cruisers in either cream, brown or black. Pretty chunky at 35mm diameter to soak up the bumps and all featuring kevlar layer puncture protection and reflective safety line.

Crankset: Sturmey Archer 48t crankset in either chrome or black.

Pedals: Either urban flat pedals or quill style pedals with steel clips and leather toe straps.

Brakes: Acor caliper brakes in shiny silver or solid black.

Handlebars: Several styles of bar from sporty bullhorns and racing drops, through to more relaxed moustache style, all finished with saddle matching leather bar tape or cork grips.

Saddle: A selection of 8ballbikes’ own saddles: the Quill, Bark or Vellum; all made from Australian cowhide in either tan, honey, ivory or black.

Extras: A variety of finishing extras such as the silver or brass Temple bell; steel toe clips and leather straps; the Barrel all leather saddle bag; bullet style head and tail lights; or hand made wooden mud guards.

We’re all about keeping maintenance to a minimum and the pleasure of riding to a maximum. Why have style over substance when you can have both? That’s what an 8ball bike is all about: powered by humans, driven by style.

8ballbikes will be exhibiting at the SPINLDN Christmas bicycle show, co-located with the London Coffee Festival, November 29/30 and December 1. Sign up for free tickets here.

Written by james