Handsling Customisation

UK brand Handsling expands its customisation options with the installation of an in-house frame painting facility at its Hampshire workshop.

We’ve featured many of the Handsling range here on CTR and, indeed own one or three ourselves! So we like to keep an eye on any new developments at the rapidly growing brand. Part of what makes them unique is their customisation. Customers can specify groupsets, wheels and other components, to get their bike just right.

Handsling have always prided themselves on their paint jobs
Handsling have always prided themselves on their paint jobs

Part of that customisation has always been the paint jobs. While most companies stick with one or maybe two colour options, Handsling have always offered many more stock colours. There has also been the option for custom paint-jobs, at an extra cost of course.

Simon Whiten, Director of Handsling, said: “Every Handsling that leaves the workshop is custom built to a rider’s size and specifications, meaning no two bikes are the same. Being able to offer such a wide range of paint finishes and colours adds to the exclusivity of each bike. 

The new Handsling Airstream Spray Booth
The new Handsling Airstream Spray Booth

Streamlining production

Handsling’s frames are made in Shenzen, China. Here they have developed a long-term and successful relationship with the designers and engineers. The frames, which are produced using Handsling’s own moulds, are also painted in Shenzen. Once the frames are finished, they are then shipped to the UK. However the lead times for painting and delivery could drag out. So to cut these down, Handsling decided to bring the painting in-house.

Once the decision was made, Handsling turned to Staffordshire company Haltec to install the facility. The booth is an Airstream 1 Max Air spray booth and oven, with double-insulated walls. There’s gridded, raised floor extraction and air recirculation for the oven. The booth has a separate paint-mixing room, also with air extraction, so the whole unit is safe and economic to run.

Handsling will bring new jobs to their workshop
Handsling will bring new jobs to their workshop

Of course if you’re going to install your own paint facility, you need someone to run it. That job will belong to Kat Varga who has decades of experience spraying bicycles and motorcycles. She will train up a team of sprayers to work in the new booth. With her background producing custom spray-jobs for Harley-Davidsons, Handsling intend to launch a custom painting program.

Bringing paint to the UK

Speaking about this new facility, Simon Whiten, Director of Handsling, said: “Bringing paint to the UK enables us to exercise even greater control over the end-to-end frame production process, resulting in better quality, better choice, and faster production of bikes.” 

He added: “We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we go through this major operational shift. As we get fully up to speed, we can ensure that the exact model, size and colour that a customer wants is always available.” 

Handsling recently released four new models:

These will be painted at the new facility, alongside the existing trio of frames, the A1R0evo road frame, the CEXevo cross/gravel frame, and the TR3evo track frame. These are available in a huge variety of high-quality colours, including ‘flip’ effects that change appearance in sunlight. 

This is a brave move by Handsling, as labour and energy costs are considerably higher in the UK than China. Despite that, being able to control delivery times and enable quicker turn-around makes the investment worthwhile. We also have to applaud them for bringing some of the manufacturing process back to the UK and providing local jobs. Once the booth is up to speed we’ll see if we can get an invite to see the booth in action

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