There has been an M. Steel in Gosforth since the late 1800’s. For at least 80 of these years, the name has been associated with bicycles. The business was bought by Geoff Dobson in 1954 and he traded in various locations around Gosforth throughout the ensuing years. In 1980 Geoff and Dave Yates founded M. Steel Lightweight Cycles Ltd to manufacture high quality custom frames at a factory unit in Wallsend.
Joe Waugh joined the company very shortly after whilst at the height of his formidable powers as one of the best racing cyclists ever to come out of the North East. 1981 saw the purchase by the company of Geoff’s shop in Salters Road, Gosforth to bring all the M. Steel named operations under the wing of the limited company, and in 1984 the business was moved to its present location in South Gosforth. During 1981 to 1982 Joe acted as a mobile test bed for the company products. Just before the World Championships in 1981 his No. 1 race bike was damaged.
Due to go to Belgium with the Great Britain team for two weeks preparation he took a standard 531 frame from the shop and gave it a thorough testing on the Belgian pave (cobbles!). The same bike was also used as a spare at the “Worlds”.
In 1997 the framebuilding unit moved from its location at Old Northumberland yard to a new site in two modern factory units on Point Pleasant Industrial Estate. The upheaval was huge but we managed to do it losing only a week of production.
The aim of the company was to produce frames of the highest quality. That we have succeeded can be judged by the fact that in 1988 we had no less than 11 National Champions in various areas of cycling, riding on frames of our manufacture and in 1989 we had our first full professional team equipped with Joe Waugh bikes. Since then our frames have featured regularly in national events with never less than two national champions in any year. Deb Murrell rode a frame of our manufacture at the Atlanta Olympic Games, and Harry Walker holds the current British 25 mile road record of 40 minutes 50 seconds on a low profile time trial frame built to his exclusive design.
Unfortunately in a rapidly changing market where aluminium has taken over as the material of choice for racing frames M. Steel Cycles ceased to build exquisite custom made steel frames in 2005. Nearly 11,000 riders have experienced the delights of an M Steel hand crafted frame since 1980.