Brother Cycles AllDay

In a world obsessed with carbon, 12 speeds, & electronic shifting, the AllDay stands out as a simple, well-executed steel fixed wheel frame. Post now updated with new content after almost 3 years of ownership.

For whatever reason I recently decided that I needed to build myself a new lightweight tourer, day-tripper, ultralight overnight bivy, commuter, go-fishing, take a picnic, audax, tracks & trails, just riding around in a t-shirt sort of a bike… so of course I did.

The Allday frame from London-based Brother Cycles managed to tick all my particular boxes in a way that very little else managed to do

Naturally in this context ‘needed’ nearly always means ‘wanted’ but you know.. bikes. It also had to be a fixed wheel, having been riding and racing fixed down here in Cornwall for something like 14 years now. It’s not always ‘practical’ but it is very enjoyable and puts my head in a very chilled out place that doesn’t always happen with gears… and the lack of maintenance is great, particularly in winter; I much prefer riding bikes to cleaning bikes. Besides I just like simple things, simple is always better when you just want to ride a bike.

I had to be in Penzance this morning for a quick meeting so as the sun was shining slung my camera in with my laptop and travelled via Hayle harbour for a few snaps.

Up until the last couple of years or so something like 90% of my domestic riding was on a fixed wheel, recently however  I’ve been enjoying much more of the flavour of riding that, as well as knocking around on a few local trails, involves carrying stuff… laptop + work, camera gear, stove and picnic, fishing clobber etc etc. My Surly Crosscheck does a brilliant job at that, as, admittedly, does my old Salsa Casseroll.. but I was missing the fixed wheel. I still love to hammer around on my DeSalvo fixed wheel road bike, which will be 10 next year, but something a little more relaxed and useful in ways beyond going somewhat quickly was in order. The Allday frame  from London-based Brother Cycles managed to tick all my particular boxes in a way that very little else managed to do.. steel, traditional geometry, rack and mudguard eyelets, and clearance for fat rubber. The only other frame I’ve seen that manages to come close is the Condor Tempo but that’s almost twice the price and can only take a 28c tyre… and for some reason they did a weirdly unappealing banana thing with the seat-stays.

Most of the bits have seen duty on other bikes over the years, but I did fork out for a rather lovely Paul Racer M brake. Tons of clearance, plenty of power, and looks ace. Should last pretty much forever too. I do like the flat-crown fork. Tyres currently tubeless 32C Panaracer Gravel Kings.

Built up mostly with parts I had kicking around it’s turned out to be a super ride. The first time I slung a leg over it immediately felt like something I’d been riding for years, instant familiarity. Just perfect, it rides like a nice steel frame should. I’ve geared it much lower than the 48 x 16 I use in summer (48 x 18 in winter) on my road fixed wheel to suit its intended use. It’s running 44 x 18 which keeps climbing Cornwall’s hills a nicely chilled experience even with a couple of kg of gear onboard. I run out of spin on the flat at about 25mph and downhill closer to 30 but that’s OK, it’s not a racing bike. A comfy 18-19mph cruise happens at a cadence of about 100rpm which is just perfect.  In retrospect I should have built the rear wheel with the disc version of the DT R460 rims since I don’t need a brake back there, but I just wasn’t really thinking about it, something that happens worryingly often… The DT rims aren’t flash but they’re cheap and good.. and I can run them tubeless which I couldn’t do with the nice Kinlin low-profile box-section rims that were the alternative I considered.

Sugino 75 crank looks kind of new but isn’t. It’s only ever done time-trial duties since I bought it in something like 2006. It’s been collecting dust for the last couple of years so now is the time to put some proper miles on it and give it a bit of a patina. Rather pleased I didn’t sell it, current RRP is somewhat eyewatering. Lovely crank though.

I rather suspect I’ll be enjoying  very many miles with this bike. I’ve got a lightweight Tubus Fly rack kicking around somewhere which will be perfect for carrying a bit more than I can fit in a saddle bag. I’ll bung some mudguards on this weekend ready for winter, and when summer rolls around again I think I can squeeze a knobby tyre in for some of the undemanding trails around here. Good fun.

Wheels are DT Swiss R460 rims laced to Surly Ultra New track hubs. Great, tough hubs at a reasonable price. The deep-gloss paint finish on the frame is outstanding. To be blunt it makes the finish on some other new frames I’ve seen look a bit rubbish.
Makes a really super useful bike with classic lines. I’m happy.

 

Mudguards for Winter..

I wanted to fit a pair of Gilles Berthoud stainless steel mudguards as I have the same on my Salsa Casseroll and aside from looking super they provide excellent coverage and, in my experience, are more durable than lighter alloy alternatives from Honjo, Velo Orange etc. The Berthoud mudguards require a little more room than, say, the more common SKS guards so I had to drop down to a 28c tyre for the winter – Panaracer Paselas in this case. The stainless guards take a bit of work to get a really good fit but it is well worth the effort, and the ‘long’ version provides really excellent coverage, particularly at the front; the best of any mudguard I’ve ever used. The Allday looks superb with them on.

 

A nice wave at Porthleven…

Long-Term Update

It’s sometimes useful to revisit a bike after a decent length of time has passed, and there are some new pics below too. As I write (June 2020) it will be 3 years this coming October since I put the AllDay together, and looking back it was a good move. I find myself using this bike for everything from long all-day road rides, lightweight weekenders, and knocking about on local trails; it has proven to be super versatile and fun to ride. I have no plans to move it on in the foreseeable future so that has to be a good thing. The paintwork is holding up really too; there is a tiny spot of corrosion around the welds for the mudguard eyes at the rear, but aside from the expected minor scratches and scuffs – that’s it.

Without a super-abundant trail network on hand I frequently ride the same trails again and again both as part of my utility riding, and just for fun. Tackling them on a skinny-tyred fixed wheel breathes new life into old trails… provided you’re not bothered by covering ground more slowly than you might otherwise have done.
This was back in March before I whipped the mudguards off, and put the fatter tyres back on, for summer.
It’s a good bike for long days out that mix asphalt and sections of not particularly technical dirt.
On the King Harry Ferry across the Fal

26 thoughts on “Brother Cycles AllDay

  • Mike, you just need to find an outlet for putting together just the most perfect bikes – Stylist or something. This one is perect

  • Bike is a thing to behold – perfection.

    Would love to have you expand sometime on your thoughts around the ‘zen’ of only having one gear. I’ve heard a number of fixie riders talk about that and as a 22 speed roadie, it has me both fascinated any totally confused!

    • hehe, cheers. Re the fixed thing, OK, I’ll scribble a note to self do a quick post on it, it’s probably more than reasonable for a comment. I guess it’s different things to different people, I started purely as a route to low maintenance through Cornwall’s wet, muddy winters although I was intrigued to find out if it was even reasonable around here as it is so hilly. Turned out it was. Next post perhaps!

  • love the look of your bike – you do a nice job

    question – I really like the look of the paul racer brake – could I fit one to surly cross check?

    thanks.

    • hey, cheers for reading! re the Racer Brake, there are a couple of versions of the racer, the Racer M which I have is the shorter drop of the two, then there’s the Racer which is a long reach brake. They each come in two mount types – a center bolt like regular calipers, or fork braze-ons. The fork braze-on type will not fit the cantilever posts on a cross check, wrong position. Conceivably the center mount version might work as the cross check fork crown is drilled but you’d be left with empty cantilever posts which would look a bit shitty IMO. I also don’t know if the drop would be a match.
      If you like the style of the racer but want something for a crosscheck I’d go with the Paul Neo Retro Cantilevers.

      https://paulcomp.com/product-category/components/brakes/

  • Hi Mike,

    I’m a huuuuge fan of your Allday setup. It looks just brilliant! May I ask you what type of Paul Racer M brake you mounted? Is it the recessed or the non-recessed type? Take care and ride on!
    Cheers,
    Chris

  • Hi,

    I stumbled upon your post while looking for a new frame. I really like your setup and I’m looking for something similar.

    However I was wondering how do you manage to remove the rear wheel with those fenders: they look very good, the fenderline looks perfect but with track ends it doesn’t look easy.

    Cheers.

    • hey, it’s pretty simple, the clamps on the track ends for the fender stays release the stays with a turn of a hex key, the wheel just pulls right out then, pushing the fender to one side.

      • Hi Mike, no idea why I just called you Chris but thanks for the reply anyway, Ill send them a message though. I would otherwise just get the newer version, but it has Canti bosses and I dont see myself using those soon.

        • haha, no worries. Yeah the new one has more tyre clearance which is nice but kind of moves a little bit more into being a crossover between road and trail use. Probably make a good singlespeed cyclocross bike.

          • might not be a bad thing indeed but as I live in a rather large city I don’t see myself hitting said trails very soon, sent them a message though

  • Hi Mike. Looking at this frame and unluckily for you your review is about the only one out there!! Could you give a quick comparison to the Cross Check? Looks like the Brother ticks all the boxes as a practical frame with all the right fittings.
    Cheers
    Chris

    • hey Chris… ha, yes.. I didn’t really expect it to be so popular :-) Anyway, Cross Check, yes, happy to. They are two very different creatures I find, and both great. The current AllDay, despite addition of canti studs, I think is little changed from mine. I tend to think of it as existing at the more road/path/gravel oriented end of the scale, whereas my Cross Check, while great for touring and on road and so on, is, in an off-road context, very much more like a mountain bike with skinny rubber than a road/gravel/cross bike with fatter rubber. With 45c tyres on I tend to subject my Cross Check to the same sort terrain as a rigid mountain bike.. fast rocky descents, techy climbs etc etc. I enjoy it very much on that sort of terrain. The AllDay does great on less demanding trails and so on but it’s not really built for anything meatier than that.
      Hope that helps. I think you might need both… ;-)

  • Many thanks Mike. Very useful. Looking to build a fixed for long.road riding days and audax so sounds like Brother will fit the bill better. Already have a Crust Evasion for all surface riding so don’t really need a Cross Check! All the best.

    • oh in that case yes I think it’ll be ideal. There are very few frames quite like it on the market, I think it’s fantastic.

    • hey, cheers! The black saddlebag in the first pictures is just a Carradce (Barley I think), the dark green barrel bag is just one I made from scrap.

  • Hi,
    I would like to build up a singlespeed, but I’m still brand new in the field. While looking for pictures of the Brother cycles The Allday I came across your article. What a beautiful bike! And the photos are great too.
    Thank you for that and greetings from Germany,
    Björn

    • hey, thanks for taking the time to say hello, and also for the kind feedback, much appreciated. Enjoy your build, they’re really very fun things to play with!

    • hey yes I am, quite happy. still spinning nicely. I think they’re a good value hub. Only thing to watch.. the threads might be a bit soft, so don’t run any kind of spacer behind the cog, I put a 0.5mm spacer on with a particular cog to adjust chainline, and first 20% hill I stripped the threads on one side. I changed to a different brand of cog (EAI) with a subtly different chainline and it’s been fine since despite wrenching the bike up some 20%+ gradients with luggage on board

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