Royce: British Engineering Excellence

On a beautiful March Monday morning I set off from home to New Milton in Hampshire. All of the trains were on time and with the help of a book of Aleister Crowley shorts stories the two and a bit hour journey to visit my friend for a day in the New Forest passed quickly.

However, it was not just my friend I was going to see, as I also required a tool to remove my wonderful Royce bottom bracket from the beautiful blue Roberts so that I could clean the threads and pop it back in. Having contacted Royce the previous week, I made an appointment to up my bits. It is situated in a small unit on an industrial estate just outside New Milton.

Buckets of titanium turnings greeted me before I was lead upstairs by the founder, Cliff Polton, into wonderland. If Paul White and Barry Gregory had been there they probably would have to had to have been forcibly removed! The hubs! The bottom brackets! They all just had to be caressed and played with! Absolutely brilliant British precision, style and quality. I could have spent a lot of money but I managed to snap out of it! I was shown a customer ordered made to measure rear hub for a 120mm rear dropout: you will not get Campagnolo, Shimano or Sram doing that for you!

I got my bits and was then shown the latest innovation which should be in the catalogue shortly. It is a triangular (with rounded edges) shaped bottom bracket axle and track crank. When the crank is slotted on the axle there is 100% contact and the distance from the crank bolt threads has more metal between it than the normal axle. The right hand crank has been designed to withstand maximum stress. The single chainring is mounted on the inside of the spider so that all of the power and stress comes directly from the cranks into the axle with less flex. I want one for my fixed wheel!

Royce is a company that shows Britain at its best. Real quality engineering resulting in some absolutely beautiful looking and smooth running titanium and alloy components. And despite the advance of alternative bottom bracket systems such as Ultra-Torque, the order book is full with people who want to ride the best.

I suppose it is only a matter of time before I get a set of hubs from Royce to build up into another set of wheels to ride. But at £300 plus for the pair I will have to swallow hard!


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