“Over the last couple of years, Simon and I have collaborated on the construction of two fine 650b Randonneuses in the French tradition. The result has been two wonderful bikes that are beautiful to look at and a joy to ride. Simon is one of the Constructeurs of modern times; impeccable engineering and perfect aesthetics.”
“I absolutely love my Skyelander 650b, it makes me smile looking at it and especially when I ride it. I'm never going to ride across the world or do remote expeditions, just pack a few things in my panniers and ride to a B&B, credit card tourist, but this bike feels as though it could do more than I will ever ask of it. It just feels so right and I am so grateful to Simon for getting a perfect fit for me, I cannot thank him enough for my bike and the whole experience.”
Sharon Fairhurst, UK
“This past weekend I completed a 300 kilometer brevet on my Stanforth Skyelander 650B, finishing two hours faster than last season over the same distance. Some of the improvement came from better time management at controls, but I give most of the credit to the Skyelander.
Working with Simon Stanforth and master frame-maker Lee Cooper, we selected Kaisei OS chro-moly tubing and a Toei low trail fork. This combination allowed me to ride faster over rough rural roads and bumpy gravel.
The bike features internal wiring for a Compass dynamo-powered taillight and cable guides on the fork blades for the Edelux II headlight. I was grateful for the system’s reliability as I navigated narrow winding country lanes during a late night thunderstorm.
During the build process for this bike Simon requested I take numerous measurements and asked me to share what I liked and didn’t like about my previous bike. As a result, the fit of my Skyelander is absolutely spot on. I suffered no back pain or neck stiffness despite 17 hours in the saddle.
The bike climbs and descends like a champ. I was especially impressed by its downhill performance - despite a fully loaded handlebar bag the bike responded instantly to my steering input as I dodged rocks and potholes and maintained the ideal line through long sweeping curves.
The Skyelander 650B is the perfect bike for Randonneuring. I’ll be riding it on 400K and 600K brevets next month, earning my Super Randonneur medal in the process. I look forward to many more seasons on this remarkable bike."
David Schensted, Sweden
“How important is having the right bike, done right? For me, bikes are a big part of life, a mode of transport, a distraction from the daily grind, something to dream about, and most of all something to ride. I confess that I tend towards bike geekery: Details matter - a lot. There are some details on very lovely bikes that just aren't me, I couldn't live with them, not because they aren't good, or functional, but because they are not me, they are not bikes "done done right for me". Simon Stanforth gets this.
Simon is a delight to work with, patiently responding to endless questions and tweaking the frame design to make sure it was right for me (my inbox reliably informs me that just over 100 emails have gone back and forth!) The frame came beautifully prepared and packed for it's journey out to me in Norway. The powder coat finish is generous and looks like it will shrug off the rigors of every day life without a problem.
For those with an interest in the French style randonneuring bikes, of the sort championed by Bicycle Quarterly and a number of modern day 'constructeurs' in the US and Europe the skyelander is a very interesting proposition. The Kasai 'Mule' tubeset and Toe Special fork blades together with well thought out custom braze on options allows the building of a very nice, high performance randonneur frame at a reasonable price.
The build of a bike like this always takes a while, but it went together easily. I did have to sand down the powder coat in one or two areas to get some interference fit parts on, and spent a while finding the right spacing at the fork crown for a good fender line, but that was all easily done.
So, what about the important bit, what's it like to ride? She's a flyer - really goes nicely up hills, along the flat, and accelerates easily. That should come as no surprise given the tubeset and the fact that it's a reasonably lightweight build. The handling with a light front load is truly superb. I have a windy, narrow steep downhill on the way home from work, I have ridden it almost every work day for over 5 years on two other nice bikes. I have never ridden the rather too tight bends so quickly and easily as I can with the Skyelander. The geometry is spot on for this tire width and the resulting machine is a joy to ride.
If you only have room in your garage (or budget) for one bike - take a long hard look at one of these. Set up right you can commute, ride a sportive or an audax, do some light touring all on the same bike. I know I will!"
Guy Hall, Norway
“I couldn’t be more pleased with my 650b Skyelander, it rides like a dream. Simon was really helpful and accommodating with all the custom specifications that I was looking for in order to build a bike that was just right for me. The quality of construction from Lee Cooper is superb and ready to stand the test of any adventure. I can’t wait to see where it’s going to take me next!”
Nathan Sissons, UK