If you caught Tom Blyth‘s interview we had on here a few weeks ago, then you would have saw that we talked a little bit about his new signature Bellwitch frame from FBM. I was still real curious about the frame, so I got ahold of Steve Crandall to see if he could give us the low down. Steve was down, so I asked him a whole bunch of questions about the newest frame to their line up and this is what he had to say. I wonder if their new heat-treating process will catch on…
This time around we have decided to talk about Tom Blyth’s signature “Bellwitch” frame from FBM. I think Tom’s riding says enough about why he’s getting a signature frame. How long have you guys been working on his frame? When was the initial idea brought up?
We probably started kicking around the Idea about 18 months ago, maybe earlier. After we did a small run of after market Warlord frames out of Taiwan, ( one of last years completes)… The idea was spawned out of that. We wanted to do something with Tom, as well as offer a good affordable FBM frame, that could be easier to sell in places like the UK, where regular FBM frames can be expensive.
Did Tom have plenty of ideas right off the bat, or was it something he took an existing frame and made some adjustments to his liking?
Tom worked with JPR at the time, getting the ball rolling and had more Ideas than a bike has angles at first. A lot of riders can get pretty overwhelmed if you give them free reign at designing a bike. There are so many possibilities, and small details that can make your imagination go nuts. Tom is also very particular, maybe even picky, but Mike took over the Project on the spec end, and worked closely with Tom to get it dialed. It’s going to be a radical product when its finished.
How long did it take to get the frame from the initial idea to CAD drawings?
I asked Mike since he does the CAD work and he said we started talking about the specs and features of the frame in early January of last year and had version one of the CAD drawings done by the beginning of that February. We’ve made a few prototypes and multiple adjustments since then though and are still waiting to receive the final preproduction sample.
How long did it take for Dave to weld up the first prototype? I feel like doing everything in house speeds up this process by weeks, right?
Well, the first 2 prototypes were made in taiwan, FBM’s Machine shop Made the 3rd, and production will be in Taiwan. In house prototyping is quicker generally speaking.
Tom’s bike built up with one of the prototype frames.
Can you take us through all of the current specs and geometry of the frame?
The tubing is imported from hell, where we got a deal on some serious heat treating. It’s an exclusive proprietary butted -heat treated tube, and very top secret!
Here is the basic specs….
75 degree head tube angle
69.5 seat tube angle
9” standover height
11.6” bottom bracket height
13.625” slammed rear end length
Top and down tube gussets
Removable seat stay brake mounts and cable stop
Integrated seat tube clamp
Butted top and down tubes
Tapered seat and chain stays
Small Heat Treated Dropouts
Post Weld Heat Treated
What kind of special features did Tom want on the frame? (Special dropouts, gussets, flux capacitor, removable top tube, etc.?)
For features, the things Tom was interested in were a 9” standover height, small gussets, and a cross in the seat stay bridge.
Tom wanted a strong, responsive frame that looked cool as shit, thats what he is getting! The finish and the graphics really top it all off, really adding a touch of Tom’s personality to a super kick ass frame.
Photo: Jeff Allen
Where did the name “Bellwitch” come from? Is there some sort of meaning behind it?
The Bellwitch is an old Ghost story from the Bell family out of Adams Tennessee, dating back to the early to mid 1800s. This dude saw an animal with the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit on his farm and shot it dead. The ghost came back to haunt them like in the movie poltergeist!
Tom learned about this story from the former lead vocalist of Mercyful Fate, Also Known as King Diamond. Mercyful Fate put a song and an EP out in ’94 Called the Bellwitch.
King Diamond Rules, get into it! The bike pays homage to that level of awesomeness.
Tom had picked a friend of his to do the graphics, right? Who did he pick? Doesn’t the guy have some history in the skate and music industries?
Dudes name is French, Tom and I are both Big fans of his artwork. Tom became familiar with him through his band projects, and working on stuff with Savakas. His artwork is amazing and right up Tom’s alley, very stoked for sure. His art can be at TapedCopies.com and he also has a skate company called Witchcraft WitchcraftHardware.com.
Have you guys decided on final production colors and top tube lengths? What are the options going to be?
The production colors will be trans red and gloss black and the top tube sizes will be 20.5”, 20.75” and 21”.
What’s the approximate retail cost for this once it becomes available? Any estimate on when it will be out?
The target retail price is $299 but it isn’t clear yet what the actual retail price will be given the decreasing value of the dollar and increasing commodity and fuel prices.
We hope to have it out for the holidays this year.
Crandall, Blyth and some dude who doesn’t look like he’s there to party…
Is there anything I missed you want to add?
I just want to thank people that support FBM, like our UK distro, 4Down, who encourage cool projects with people like Tom. Working with a great support network we have been fortunate to be a part of, in the way of our overseas distros and shops and such is a pretty big deal!
Tom and Mike have put a lot of Time and effort into making a completely different type of FBM frame, and we hope people are as stoked as we are. Keep on the lookout for more cool projects in the future!
Keep up with all the projects FBM have going on by hitting their website, http://www.fbmbmx.com.