059 – Talking Steel UK Frames with Chickens Frame Emporium
Jon Aston – Founder, Owner, Designer, Fabricator of Chickens Frame Emporium, UK Hand Build Steel Frames.
On episode Fifty Nine we are chatting to Jon Aston the Founder and Owner of Chickens Frame Emporium about building, designing, shaping, welding and producing top notch steel frames hand build in the UK. I was put in touch with Jon by Tom Redfern, founder and owner of the MTB apparel brand Broken Riders. Tom was on episode number 38 (listen here) of the podcast and thought Jon would make a great guest. So I reached out and Jon was kind enough to come on the show and share his story.
It was great to get Jon on the show as he see’s the mountain bike industry in a different light and is not scared to air his views and thoughts on the industry. Jon got into building frames in a different way from most but if you had to put it down to one thing it would have to be passion.
Jon loves what he does and even though he does not work out of a state of the art workshop and maybe he doesn’t have the latest piece of building equipment, Jon is super stoked to be where he is and do what he’s doing. Building frames for people and seeing smiles on their faces as they pick-up and ride their new frame is all it takes.
Jon chats to us about the building process, what steel he uses and how he goes about fabricating a bike frame. Jon works with all kind of orders, everything from ice-cream bikes to mountain bikes to fire breathing dragons (you will have to listen to the show to find out about that one) but mountain biking is where his passions are the strongest.
We chat to Jon about why he loves steel so much, why he only makes hardtails, the many options that are available for your bespoke build plus much much more.
- Why Jon started Chickens Frame Emporium
- Where the name came from
- What Jon’s workshop is like
- What Jon can offer you in a bespoke hand build frame
- What kind of price Jon charges
- Jon does everything in-house. Find out what this means
- What steel Jon uses
- Why Jon feels so strong about UK build products
- How Jon gets his customers
- Why Jon does not advertise or use social media
- What Jon thinks about the bike industry of today
- Why Jon loves steel mountain bikes so much
- Why Jon is in love with his work
- Why Jon offers a lifetime warranty on his frames
- How to get in contact with Jon
Jon doesn’t pull his punches. He doesn’t really like the way the mountain bike industry has gone over the last number of years and it is great to chat with somebody who has different views. And to be honest I totally understand where he is coming from. Of course things have to advance, technology gets upgraded, different materials get used, but bike company’s also have to sell new bikes, components and lifestyles. Now there is nothing wrong with that, everybody is just trying to stay ahead, stay in business and stay alive (some more than others). Most of us like new things and like the latest thing, but does that make it better? I chat to Jon about his thoughts on the constant media push of new product, new tech and new prices. Jon makes it clear that he is not bitter of the big company’s, but does feel things could be done different and better for the consumer. It is a refreshing look at this large growing industry.
Over the last ten years Jon has expanded his workshop to include a repair section and a painting booth. He is for sure a one stop shop. I must say that ordering a frame off Jon sounds like a pleasure. It first starts with a cup of tea, a chat and goes from there. Jon makes a totally bespoke bike for you from the ground up including, measurements to fit you, tube diameter, wheel size, paint etc. etc. It is a personal build, all hand made by Jon. Jon also provides as standard with no extra charge, a lifetime warranty with all his frames. That is how passionate Jon is about not only his work but also the steel and materials he uses. Jon is so passionate about the use of steel for bikes he also provides a repair service. So if you want to keep your best (steel) friend on the trails you can simply drop him or her into Jon for a repair and he will get you up and rolling again.
If you want to learn how to build your own frame, Jon will be offering a new batch of building courses were you learn from the man himself, in person and in the Chickens Frame Emporium workshop. So keep an eye for more information on that in the near future (more information here and in the Resources Page when available). So if you are keen to know more about the UK built bike industry from the grass roots than you will enjoy this episode. Jon tells it how it is and you will find his story very interesting. Enjoy!
To Connect with Jon and Chickens Frame Emporium:
To Share Your Thoughts or Get In Contact:
To Help Out The Show:
- Rate and leave an honest review on iTunes or Stitcher. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
- Subscribe and listen to on iTunes
- Subscribe and listen to on Stitcher
- Subscribe and listen to on Spotify
Massive thanks to Jon for coming on the show and sharing his story. It was great to have him on the show!
Thanks for taking the time, listening and being part of the Tribe!
Join me next week for another MTB TRIBE Podcast show!