Enigma Bicycle Works
Building for the future
It’s not just about working for today, it’s also about planning and building for the future. We know that there is no future for our craft if the traditional skills are not passed to a new generation who will carry the torch in the future. Enigma is committed to training and as well as apprenticeships for new frame builders, we also offer frame building courses for those wishing to build their own frame
It's all in the family
Our company is built upon firm family foundations with shared values, trust, loyalty and a patient approach. We sacrifice short term financial gains for long term goals, all working hard for the common cause giving us stability in a cut throat corporate world.
The first bike
Although the Enigma story started just 10 years ago the roots of the business go back almost half a century to when company founder Jim Walker was given his first bike by his Dad. It was a second hand and well used steel thoroughbred that his father bought from a relative for a couple of pounds and the bike was adorned with a very distinctive white, red and green colour scheme. The colours were not to everyone’s taste but they were loved by Jim and can still be found in a slightly more modern style on his bikes to this day.
Jim’s love affair with cycling and cycles started that day and he has been lucky enough to work with bikes within the bicycle industry almost his entire working life. It would be fair to assume that after almost 50 years Jim’s passion for cycling would have dimmed, but nothing could be further from the truth and his love of the bike and the industry is as strong as it has ever been. Enigma is the ultimate embodiment of his desire to build beautiful bikes here in Britain.
It is said that behind every successful man there is a women and it is Jim’s wife Christine who has been beside him since Enigma was founded 10 years ago after the sale of his successful distribution business. From day one Christine has been at the heart of the financial side of the Enigma business and has been there through the ups and the inevitable occasional downs of the business.
Joe Walker is Jim’s youngest son and joined the company shortly after it was founded. With no particular flair for academia Joe was destined to work with his hands and frame building was his chosen path. At the time there were no frame builders working with titanium in the UK and this gave Joe the motivation and desire to get to grips with this mysterious, enigmatic and difficult metal. It wasn’t easy, indeed it was the opposite of easy but with dogged determination, bloody-mindedness and raw talent Joe figured it all out and can now count himself amongst the pre-eminent titanium frame builders in the world.
Following a year out travelling the world, Joe’s brother Matt, Jim’s eldest son, joined the company. Not blessed with Joe’s obvious frame building talent Matt’s abilities are more on the organizational side of things and he has largely taken over the day to day operations of the company. Working alongside his father for many years Matt has learned a great deal about the bicycle industry and his energy and drive is helping to keep the Enigma brand at the forefront of high-end UK bicycle production.
The team is all
Of course Enigma is not just the Walker family, there are other equally valuable members of the Enigma team. Any business is only as good as its staff and Enigma is no exception. Our team is a group of highly talented, dedicated and hardworking individuals with decades of experience between them, who are all passionate about producing bikes of the highest quality here in Great Britain. We love bikes and we love to ride. We also love to serve and we strive to give exceptional customer service.
Enigma’s titanium frame builder, Joe has been Enigma's only Tig and titanium frame builder from day one and is arguably the best exponent of the tig-welding technique in UK frame building today and his work is without equal. He believes tig to be the best way to join tubes for bicycle frames as the accuracy required is far greater than is needed with lugged or fillet brazed methods, which makes for a better joint. Enigma owner Jim Walker’s youngest son, Joe is in charge of the frame building workshop and has instilled his own ethos of hard work and dedication to all his workmates. Always keen to embrace new materials and techniques Joe is nonetheless passionate about traditional frame building skills and a Joe Walker frame will deliver the best of the old school combined with a beautiful contemporary edge.
Max is a frame builder and engineer with an attention to detail that borders on the obsessive. His tube mitres are almost unbelievably good, the best we have ever seen and this skill is the perfect complement to Joe Walker’s welding. Max can make almost anything and his engineering skills have proved invaluable to Enigma over the last few years. Using all the Enigma workshop machinery he has produced many parts, frame building jigs, machine adaptations and tools that have helped the workshop team increase efficiency. His latest project is a new tube cutting machine, which is progressing nicely and will be like no other tube cutting machine in the world. Max is a long time bike racer, is very strong and rides huge gears that would make your eyes water.
Our frame building apprentice Sam is a natural talent whose academic qualifications would enable him to choose almost any career path. Luckily for us Sam wants to work with his hands and he has chosen the practical side of the bike industry to express his creativity. A part time musician who plays in a band Sam is a reliable, hard working individual who is developing his skills as a frame builder very quickly and has taken to all aspects of the frame building craft with an energy and aptitude that will see him go far in his career. Rides daily to and from work on a bike built around a beautiful steel frame he made himself under the tuition of the Enigma team.
A qualified mechanical engineer by profession, Greg has been working in the bicycle industry for over 15 years. After a few years with ATB Sales and the Marin brand, Greg worked with Jim at his distribution company before joining the Enigma team almost 5 years ago. Having previously been in charge of one of the UK service centres he is trained by Campagnolo and is also a DT approved wheel builder. Here at Enigma you will mainly find him assembling bikes and wheels for customers or designing bespoke frames. In addition Greg is in charge of the anodising department and is also the man to draw up the custom decals and paint masks for our paint shop. Not liking too much human interaction he often buries himself in the workshop, polishing/beading frames or building bikes.
Our painting maestro Jaco is the man in charge of the enigma paint shop. Jaco hails from South Africa and came to the UK 12 years ago to start a new life with just a love of bicycles and a suitcase to his name. Like many of the Enigma team Jaco started his cycle industry career with Jim’s old company shortly after he landed in the UK and has followed his old boss to Enigma. A keen racer and cyclist with lots of natural talent Jaco loves all things cycling and is possibly the happiest man you will ever meet, he never stops smiling. An award winning frame painter Jaco loves his work and his meticulous attention to detail ensures that every frame, Enigma or otherwise, is painted to the very highest standard.
Matt is Jim’s eldest son and has been with Enigma for 4 years joining the company after a year out travelling the world. Formerly the Operations Director at the Iride distribution company he has taken on a similar role with Enigma and is responsible for the day to day organisation of the business. Matt has certainly made a difference to the efficiency of the company and is tasked with ensuring our customers receive the highest level of service. Like every member of the Enigma team Matt is not afraid to get his hands dirty and is usually involved in frame preparation including decal fit. A lifelong Everton FC supporter he is also a keen bike rider regularly riding across the beautiful South Downs to work.
A cyclist for 36 years and with a 26 year career in the cycle trade, Paul brings a wealth of experience to the Enigma team. He joined Enigma in 2013 after a career in retail with Pearson Cycles, Bike Plus and latterly Corridori Cycle Sport. During this time Paul was instrumental in the founding and set-up of the CTC mail order shop franchise and also qualified as a ‘Specialized Body Geometry Bike Fit’ fitter.He has always been a titanium fanatic and at one time worked closely with Jan-Willem Sintnicolaas the then owner and founder of Van Nicholas specialising in the design of role-specific and tailor made titanium frames and bikes. Paul had a major role in the design of several Van Nicholas and Pearson machines.
Enigma’s financial director and Jim’s wife, Christine oversees the day to day financial activities of the company and supplies the team with homemade cakes. A very organised and efficient person she ensures that the appropriate systems and internal controls are implemented and maintained by the Enigma staff. Christine has worked in the financial sector for over 30 years and specialises in finance of foreign trade, foreign currency exchange markets, letters of credit and bills of exchange. Formerly the FD of Jim’s old distribution company she is very experienced in the bike business and has been in charge of the financial side of Enigma since the company was incorporated. The only one of the team who doesn’t ride a bike, Jim hopes that eventually the cycling bug will take hold.
Founder and director of Enigma, Jim is midway through his forth decade in the cycle trade and is a veteran of the industry. Having sold his successful distribution business in 2006 he decided to further indulge his passion for beautiful bikes and founded Enigma immediately after. Jim has an eye for detail and is constantly amazed and impressed by the skill, commitment and ingenuity of the individuals who make up the Enigma team. With a particular love for metal framed bikes Jim still rides whenever he can and his love of simply riding the bike is as strong today as it has ever been.