The untold story…

…begins here


LAND: Anywhere on the earth’s surface that is not under sea; the stuff you cycle over and through.

SEER: A person who has insight and can sometimes predict the future.

LANDSEER: A dog noted for its serene nature; it is a tall, agile and fast breed, with an affinity to water.

LANDSEER: A famous artist who had Scottish associations and a wry sense of humour, but eventually went barmy.

LANDSEER: A bicycle with a riding posture that allows you to see a lot of land around you.


17 Responses to The untold story…

  1. Emmanuel says:

    Great history, great bicycle…
    Splendid bike!
    Will The Landseer ever be on the market?

    • gmacleland says:

      Thanks for that vote of confidence. It is highly unlikely that The Landseer will be on the market. I’m retired now and have the 24/7 responsibility of caring for my frail mother. So, you’ll have to build your own Landseer.

  2. Alan Spencer says:

    Please, is this bike available? It is what I have been looking for as a person who wants to actually ride cross-country; through sand, dirt and mud, while sitting on my saddle!

    • gmacleland says:

      Sorry, you obviously see The Landseer’s potential, but hardly anyone else does, therefore no manufacturer is going to be interested in producing replicas. It is truly a shame that I’ll be the only person in the world to delight in riding this thoroughbred bike.

  3. Stuart Crawford says:

    the reason no manufacturer is interested in producing your design is simple – your design is only for those who are going to drive to an off-road location. As I said a few years ago now, you are trials rider and have never moved from that position.

    All those years ago at Small Dole you got it wrong. You expected your team to ride 30 miles on a hot day on low pressure tyres from Horsham to Small Dole and one of your riders was too knackered, giving the Japanese rep. for Shimano the chance to not award you the team prize, when your bike was streets ahead of the mountain bike, in fact al the mountain bikes went arse over tip and all your team made it to the finish on what was a very dicey chalk track.

    Where were your team mini buses, the first to transport the team and the other the bikes, where was the professional photographer with both stills and movie camera which would have provided you with shocking proof of just how superior your design was to show prospective importers from other countries, not least the USA and where were the plans for production – you did none of this and blew it, sad but so often true of British designers of so many potential world beating products.

    You only have to alter your design a little, that in on way would interfere with performance to make a great all round bike that no one else is offering but you will not. You live in Scotland and if you were capable of making a rational business presentation to the appropriate government dept. you would get funding.

  4. Nick Bucher says:

    Hi Geoff,

    I have read through the whole of your presentation here. Your points about posture and balance and the idea of going for a hike on the bike intrigue me.

    As you are not going to produce the Landseer for sale, would you be able to point out the production parts you used for the prototype? I would love to have a go and build one for myself!

    I think I can get most of the way to the Cleland style bike on my own. But some pointers for what has worked for the frame in the past would be great.

    Thank you for your time.
    Nick Bucher

    • gmacleland says:

      You’re intrigued? That’s an interesting description of your response to the ideas I put forward in this website.

      Many of these ideas challenge the very basis of current thinking about off-road bicycle design, as you are doubtless aware.

      However, I do get the feeling that many ‘riders’ find it very difficult to accept them without question.

      A good thing – provided you know which questions to ask.

      So, I guess, being intrigued is the ‘ideal’ response; it shows that you don’t fully take these ideas on board, yet you remain open-minded enough to be convinced, eventually.

      As to producing replicas of the Landseer; up until February of this year it seemed impossible. Then life did one of those strange and unexpected turn-arounds; suddenly the production of a small batch of ten or twenty machines becomes a possibility. But the chance that another of those life-turns (and quite a few have happened to me over the past two years) gets in the way makes me reluctant to say anything more just now. Everything’s on a knife edge at the moment, and if all goes well, things could start moving at the end of May – with replicas available to order by the autumn.

      Would you be intrigued enough to place an order?

      Or would you still prefer to build your own?

      If the latter, I will endeavour to provide some detailed specifications for you, and any others who take this option, some time in the future.

      Thanks for your interest.

  5. Mike Donahue says:

    Geoff; first read about your efforts a few years ago, found your study quite interesting.
    At 71, my late 80’s Fisher with its bar lower than the saddle, is making rides less enjoyable.
    In playing around with custom ideas, what would be your suggestion on how to determine a proper TTL?
    My other thoughts are to use a 26X4.8″ tire, BB drop of zero or little,75* STA, and 17 > 16.6″ CS.

    Thank you

    • gmacleland says:

      Thanks for your comment. It’s difficult for me to advise in this matter without seeing you, your stature and your riding style. In regard to bicycle design, I have to have a one-track-mind focused on my own preferences (which others may happen to share).

      However, I would say this: the Landseer set-up doesn’t require ‘fitting’ as such; because of the short-reach riding layout (and some other factors), it isn’t necessary to specify exact decimal dimensions, it’s a very flexible layout, as I hope people will find out when The Landseer becomes available to order next year.

  6. Nick says:

    Hello Graham and Geoff. Landseer available next year? What a tease! Can you share any more? I am something of a silent disciple having evolved my ride to give me the Cleland poise. Getting any further has been a paper exercise only so far with the key barriers being sourcing a 29er frame with a high bottom bracket and the Egg rings/pedals (oh and budget of course). A small Charge Cooker (older vintage) and an Absolute Black oval chainring is as close as I have got. Very excited and extremely pleased for you to see the Landseer into production. I wish you every success and really hope to be able to order one.

    • gmacleland says:

      Guilty as charged!
      I can tell you that underwriting funds to produce a batch of ten replica Landseers are in place, and funding is the most crucial element of the equation. The next question is to find out if sufficient people are interested enough to sign-up for one.
      Assuming your budget would extend to your being one of them, you won’t need to discover that you’re not looking for a 29er frame with high BB, but a 26er frame with potential for re-positioning the rear-wheel axle down and back, simultaneously jacking-up the BB and steepening the steering angle. Look closely at the Landseer frame and see how I did it.

  7. Nick says:

    This is great news re the funding Geoff.

    I have been going down the path of longer fork and angle headset to raise the B.B. some. As I have been only looking at off the shelf parts I fear I rather dismissed your sub frame concept as impractical for me. It’s got me thinking again…bespoke machined dropouts on an old sliding dropout frame…hmmmm.

    Now my questions could go on and on, so, to cut to the chase – when can we expect to hear about cost, timeframe and spec of your replicas? I started a thread on retrobike but it would be great to stir up some interest over a few different channels.

    • gmacleland says:

      Remember, I am an unqualified (although experienced) bicycle designer/engineer. The Landseer was created in my workroom which is about the same size as a garden shed. My machine tools are as sophisticated as your average Black & Decker drill, they wobble about quite a lot. Otherwise, I use hand tools, files, hacksaw, etc. I designed most of the special parts and assemblies around components that could be laser-cut prior to finishing and assembly. Being retired and on the basic state pension, the one resource I had in abundance was time, but still allowing for family commitments.

      Cost and timeframe are, as yet, impossible to pin down, however, I would be disappointed if the price exceeded £2,500, and we didn’t have test machines available by next spring. The specification will be almost identical to the machine that appears throughout this website, although there are a number of small refinements that series production will allow.

      The reaction to this early information will be critical as to whether the project goes ahead; if there is insufficient interest in eight orders, it will be still-born.

      • gmacleland says:

        Well, Nick, thanks for starting a thread on Retrobike, a forum that has been consistently supportive over the years.

        The reaction has not been at all disappointing, it has been totally non-existent. There haven’t even been any well-wishers, absolute zero. Only a complete idiot would underwrite a project that cannot illicit one single response to your post.

        So, what do you think is going to happen?

        Let’s wait and see…

  8. craig says:

    hi from sechelt BC canada, I feel the cleland concept has been reintroduced through Dear susans one off homage effort, however what you have in the first model is distinctive character. steel frames will always be the most important custom element. I have a 2008 karate monkey and a 1993 marin bear valley that have come close but that first model cleland is the one to reissue IMO. not to discount the modern evolved logic of a disposible material and design foundation. cheers

  9. Hugh Wallace says:


    I’ve just finished reading the entirety of this blog and Cleland Cycles after learning about your existence from the film ‘Mountain Biking: The untold British Story’ which I watched on YouTube. What a remarkable bike you have developed!

    I would dearly love to have one to add to my (small but growing) collection of bicycles. I love my MTB and my road bikes but the concept you have come up with really appeals to me. Sadly I am not in a position to be able to spend the money that it would cost to buy (or build) a Landseer at the moment so all I can do is give you some moral appreciation.

    If you never get around to building this bike commercially, would be possible to obtain a component list from you so that, one day, I might have a go at building my own?


  10. Nick says:

    Thank you for a fascinating read. I have a great deal of respect for people who challenge the status quo, and do so with a great deal of thought and inventiveness.

    I live in Western Australia, home of the Mundabiddi track — a 1000km bicycle trail that includes everything from gravel roads to some highly “technical” mountain bike tracks. It also has sections covered in rather infamous pea gravel — it’s like riding on a layer of bearing balls. It would be interesting to see how something like the Landseer would behave on such a challenging ride.

    I know you have retired. Have you ever thought about selling plans for those of us who would like to advance this type of bicycle?


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