The Rake Visits: Freddie Grubb

The name ‘Frederick Grubb’ nearly went into general obscurity. The British Olympian would be familiar to a generation of cyclists for his competitive successes as well as the manufacture of fine bicycles that earned popularity for their design. And then, gone—existing only on the vintage market and as part of the nostalgia for the faded British cycling industry.
The Rake Visits: Freddie Grubb

Until Malcolm Harding brought him back again, that is. The furniture supplier and avid cyclist was the proud owner of his own Frederick Grubb, and when beginning his eponymous brand of bicycles, sought to pay tribute. “I wanted to create something that would make him proud while keeping the name alive,” Malcolm tells The Rake, “...I had a vintage Grubb, and we modelled our basic design loosely on his bikes.” Their venture began at a Milan design fair when they bumped into the owners of a Japanese bicycle brand. “They were keen to distribute their bikes in London, and after we helped them, we thought: why don’t we do it?” The result had a retro but contemporary look, made in Britain with the highest quality materials, and after taking a shop in Islington, North London, they found that visitors were keen to own a Freddie Grubb bicycle. “Some even visited with their own vintage Grubbs!”

As well as collaborating with The Rake on a special edition, each series has a unique bit of trivia attached to their names. The lesser-known rivers of London, like the Fleet, which runs through The City, represent each design. “We’re a London brand, and as cyclists, we wanted to mention this aspect of our city,” Malcolm adds. This emphasis on heritage is important to Malcolm and his team. Because of the quintessential British design, Freddie Grubb has earned followers beyond the shores of old Blighty. “There is a lot of interest from Germany and France because, generally speaking, British design is valued. It means something,” he says, “and so we’re keen to continue championing it. We have workshops in Deptford, South London and in Cambridge. Each bicycle is built by hand, one at a time, but we also offer bespoke colours and styles.”  


The project is personal for Malcolm in more than a few ways. These aren’t disposable bicycles, he adds, but works of design that are individually numbered—meant to be treasured and passed down and loved like the vintage Grubbs he was so familiar with. “We’re making something like the old days. These are built to last! They won’t break down after a few months, unlike much of which is on the market today.” Although Freddie Grubb is distinct as a great British brand, Malcolm is returning to a time when designers and craftspeople cared about what they were offering to the world. So, naturally, The Rake would collaborate with Freddie Grubb on a limited edition bike: “It’s a collaboration that’s been a long time coming,” he says, “the cycling companion for the man-about-town.”


Shop The Rake x Freddie Grubb Tyburn