Thom Dawley wanted a hardtail that met his criteria, but this meant building something of his own design. The result was the Eponym steel hardtail, a design that kicked off Dawley Bikes and remained in their range to this day with a largely unchanged geometry.
"The Eponym is the first frame I designed. It's remained largely unchanged since I first scribbled the geometry down in the back of a notebook several years ago. The success of the first frame to feature that geometry spawned Dawley Bikes. Since it was originally built for myself, not for the market, the frame didn't have a name. And because I didn't like the idea of giving it a name, I chose to name it after itself, so… it still has no name. That's about as artsy as I get. I'm usually very pragmatic and logical with things!
I had been designing the Eponym ever since I started riding. I grew up riding trials, and trials riders know geometry. But, back then, we didn't have a heap of good bikes to choose from, and we taught ourselves how geometry worked by modifying and even making our own bikes as time went on, which translated into my BMX and mountain bikes. So I started to wonder if I could build a hardtail that handled better without having to modify somebody else's, and eventually, I answered the question with the Eponym.
My focus is to create bikes that become an extension of the rider. Therefore, my geometry theory is based on real-world testing first and foremost."
The latest bike from Thom, the Activist, was sitting at the front of the Dawley Bike stand at Bespoked show. Having already designed his hard-hitting hardtails, Thom didn't see the need for a short travel bike, so he decided to build a park bike suitable for holidays in the Alps and hucking new likes with his mates in the local woods. With between 172-180mm of rear wheel travel and up to 190mm up front, the Activist is undoubtedly aimed at going big.