We speak to lots of people involved in the British cycling industry. Granted, they might not be billionaires just yet but they all have two things in common – a true passion and commitment to creating quality equipment; and a real love for cycling.
Andrew Jones of Moss Bikes is no different. And he’s intent on sourcing as much as he possibly can from these fair shores.
&Bike: What inspired you to establish Moss?
AJ: Three very personal things:
1 – Wybunbury Moss is a national nature reserve next to the village where I live. Owning a Moss is about celebrating and exploring your local environment – getting out there and seeing/experiencing something different.
2 – Moss is about buying something once and making it last – how bicycles used to be!
3 – I simply want to make the best bikes; made in the UK using British parts. The best bit of my job is meeting people, sharing ideas and making those ideas happen.
&Bike: What about your production, how important is the “made in England” trend? How many people do you employ and what are their backgrounds?
AJ: Moss bikes is my passion as a designer and craftsman. Made in England for me is not a trend but a process of re-educating society to believe again in buying and enjoying locally produced products for the benefit of everyone. Consumers have a choice, I want them to make the right choice.
I design, produce and paint every frame. Parts are sourced as locally as possible. I’m looking to employ a Cytech engineer in the near future to assist in the assembly of the bikes after the frames are finished.
&Bike: What would you do differently given your time again?
AJ: I wished I cycled more in my 20s – maybe I was too busy with life’s other pleasures at the time.
&Bike: How do you see Moss developing over the next two to three years?
AJ: After The Davies, the fiery Ddraig (Red Dragon), will storm the scene in June. A classy, fast, race-winning combination built using 853 Pro-Team.
Frame design and building in some ways is a traditional skill yet I’m constantly innovating in the way I use CAD, FEA (finite element analysis) and adapting and inventing new JIGs and fixtures. Building on tradition and celebrating innovation.
I would be interested in working with British-only cloth manufacturers – UK manufactured Bike clothing is a rare thing, but it does exist.
Ambitious for me is not about increasing the number of bikes I make. Ambitious is about being excited about the next project. Adding a little twist, keeping everything new & fresh but always recognisable as a Moss.
&Bike: Is there a current cycling brand, event, race, occasion that particularly inspires you?
AJ: I get really excited about any British-made bicycle products. I have a great relationship with companies like Goldtec and USE who supply parts for my bikes. If you’re having a bit of downer of a day go and visit Goldtec in the Potteries. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for anything bicycle related is outstanding. We always have a laugh and we enjoy sharing ideas.
We had a great time at the SPIN urban bike show. I loved the interactive approach to doing things. It was the first show of it’s kind and the organisers know there were a few things that could have been improved BUT it was the most fun, laid back, caring, positive, funky bike show I ever experienced – it really is the way forward.
&Bike: What’s your take on British cycling culture?
AJ: Others may disagree but if you’re a cyclist, I think we’re in the best country in world right now. The UK has a unique combination of factor, and this is my take in a few words: innovation, history, engineering, style, fitness, simplicity, freedom, competition, fun, sustainable, classless, transport.
&Bike: What’s your favourite bike and why?
Andrew Jones: At university I bought a new unbuilt, still it’s box, original Gary Fisher Pro-Caliber. The student I bought it from was from the USA. He brought it over with him but broke his leg during fresher’s week and in a depressed state sold it to me for £200. It doesn’t look particularly special now, but at the time it was such a great piece of kit. It was lighter than any other mountain bike around, it has grease points in the hubs and pedals. It had Tange Prestige Ultralight tubing and a Suntour XC900 groupset.
It was the business; and 23 years later still is – I still have it and was lucky to get it signed by Gary a few years ago.
Today, the Moss Davies means the most – it’s special as it was the first bike I designed. I’ve held this one back until this month where I’m having a ‘meet the maker’ event in our local pub. It’s what I call a performance path racer – a 1930’s racer with hydraulic disc brakes and go-anywhere performance.
&Bike: What’s your favourite ride and why?
AJ: Cheshire really is a cyclist’s dream. If you’re reasonably fit, an 80-mile round trip will get you into the mountainous beauty of Wales or the challenging moorlands of the peak district. If you’re not, there are endless miles of gently rolling, quiet back lanes.
My favourite training ride is a local 60-mile loop that includes the Mow Cop climb from Astbury over Alsager’s bank through Madeley, Woore and back through Norton-in-Hales. So that’s three county’s with varying landscapes in around three hours.
&Bike: Who would you most like to go for a ride with and why?
AJ: My great grandfather – Joeseph Orlando Dean. He had the first Motorbike in Crewe in 1907 when motorbikes looked like bicycles with bits of Meccano added to make them go faster! It would be bit like racing against a Derny!
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