Bespoked 2014 highlights: Donhou, Baldwin, Saffron, Festka, Nerve, Wold and Merényi

A 1,600g steel frame from Merényi, stock steel from Donhou and chrome-plated carbon from Festka

by David Arthur @davearthur   April 12, 2014  

Bespoked 2014 brought together a superb collection of the finest handbuilt bicycles in steel, alloy, titanium and carbon fibre, from some of the most highly skilled framebuilders in the business, into the London Olympic velodrome. Here are a few highlights from the show, we'll be bringing you much more coverage over the following days, so keep checking back for the latest. 

At a claimed 1,600g, steel frames don't really get much lighter than Merényi's Toccata Superleggera. Previously he was only building lugged steel frames, but Merényi,, who trained for four and a half years with Dario Pegoretti, is now building TIG welded steel frames. This is the first time the Toccata Superleggera has been seen anywhere. 

They reckon even a Campagnolo Chorus build with high-end, but not exactly super expensive wheels and components, will produce a sub-7kg build. According to their maths, 6.8kg should be possible. We can't wait to see how a fully built bike comes out. We've put our name down for a review, this is a bike we can't wait to ride. The frameset (with a Columbus Gammy fork) will cost £1,900

Still TIG welded, but not quite as light and a bit more affordable at £1,400, is the Gagliarda. That price includes either a steel or carbon fork, and you can choose from an extensive list of options, so you could build a regular road bike, or a 'cross bike, a singlespeed or a touring bike with mudguard and rack eyelets. The choice is yours.

Saffron was showing some nice customer bikes, including this one built for Jacqui replacing a previous carbon fibre race bike. It's built from Columbus Spirit tubing with XCr stainless steel chainstays,  an interesting mix of tubing.

It's really nicely finished, as you'd expect really - the standard of handbuilt frames at Bespoked is exceptionally high this year - with smooth internal cable routing, tidy welds and a lovely paint job. Talking of paint, the attention to detail extends to the colour matched 3T stem and handlebar. Nice. 

This is the Saffron Cyclefit collaboration that we've featured on road.cc before. They're producing just ten frames for Cyclefit customers. It's a Reynolds 953 tubeset with hand-carved stainless steel bi-laminated head tube lugs, finished with a Pearl Teal paint job.

This Saffron, with a Death Spray Custom paint job, is part of the Kinoko collection. It's a Columbus Spirit HSS tubeset with Paragon breezer dropouts and an oversized head tube, all smoothly fillet brazed together.

Internal cable touring and oversized head tube up front. I really want this bike. Well, this finish at least. Just need some matching kit. Does anyone do any matching kit do you think?

Stu tested a Baldwin a few months ago. This one belongs to Baldwin founder, and demonstrates the custom geometry and choice of finishes available.

Slotted into the frame are his own 60mm carbon clincher wheels, which will be an option on Baldwin full builds or sold on their own. They're going to be priced around £1,100 or so which is a competitive price.

This is the other finish, polished, that has just been completed for a customer, demonstrating the custom geometry they offer. 

A closer look at Donhou's new Signature Steel bike that we featured in our first look article on Friday. "When we built the disc braked Rapha Continental bike which debuted at Bespoked a couple of years ago, we were ahead of the curve introducing discs onto a road build," says Tom Donhou. "Since then some would say that that bike has almost become a reference point for other disc road builds."

All the lessons learned in the two years since that build, have fed into this latest project, which marks a big step for the framebuilder from purely producing customer bespoke builds to offering off-the-shelf stock frames. Full bikes could also become a reality in the future too.

This bike on display is still a prototype, it's being used to gauge interest from potential customers. That means there is still time to work on the finer details before a release date sometime this summer. We'll keep you updated. We're also hoping to get a ride on one when they're available. That's the trouble with handbuilt bespok frames, it's really hard testing one because they rarely do any stock builds in a regular size. So we might finally get the chance to swing a leg over a Donhou. Excited? Us...

Want a chrome bike, with matching seatpost, saddle, stem and handlebars? Festka must have been reading your mind.

This bike is actually really interesting. The frame is made with lugged carbon fibre tubes "created specifically for the Zero" with a huge 57mm head tube diameter. The frame is then chrome coated, which by the sounds of the process isn't an easy or quick thing to do - the final lacquer apparently takes up to a month. The frame will set you back £2,250.

Mark Reilly, formely of Engima, has launched Nerve, a company offering bespoked carbon and steel (with titanium in the pipeline) frames built right here in the UK. This is a Reynolds 953 build, the frame will cost from £1,699.

You don't see many lugged Reynolds 953 frames at all. In fact, I'm struggling to think of one at the moment. Can you? Most framebuiders prefer TIG welding. The highest grade stainless steel tubeset built with traditional lugs, very nice. 

This is Wold, launched at Bespoked for the first time and created by Dom Thomas, formally of Genesis Bikes. He's been working on this project for the past nine months and the level of finish and attention to detail, achieved in such a short timespan, is highly impressive. They've already sold a few just through world of mouth, we expect their order books to fill up a bit next week following a successful debut at the show. 

Utilitarian and versatility are key principles, with eyelets for mudguards and racks and loads of clearance for wide tyres, slick or knobbly, plus disc brakes, naturally. The sort of bike you could ride everyday, everywhere and over just about everything. 

This is the more off-road-orientated model above.  A Reynolds 853 frame will cost about £1,750 while a 631 tubed frameset will be £1,250. A full bike with Shimano 105 should be about £3,000. They expect a lead time of about nine weeks.

This meanwhile is the Audax/touring version, with slightly different rear stays and a little less clearance.

They've also collaborated with howies and will offer this frame and fork for £1,500.

Something unique to Wold are the Bentley dropouts, manufactured in the UK by Mark Bentley who has partnered with Wold. They're available in a full range of choices from geared to singlespeed and disc brake, just about everything you could imagine, with more on the way. They're extremely tidy, very nicely machined. The sort of thing you can't help but fondle one. Make a great paperweight. They plan to make this range of dropouts available aftermarket so other framebuilders have a few more options.

More from Bespoked 2014 soon.

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Please correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the new Super Acciaio under 1600grams?

posted by belgravedave [253 posts]
13th April 2014 - 3:20

14 Likes

So many beautiful bikes - I would feel so spoilt for choice, so thanks for the great coverage road.cc Applause

posted by leqin [141 posts]
13th April 2014 - 7:15

17 Likes

Super Acciaio looks like 1800g on the Condor website and thats a 52cm

posted by mtbtomo [162 posts]
13th April 2014 - 13:50

9 Likes

Slightly annoyed not to be able to make the show this year.

Are many people (who?) building nice steel disc forks, or is it predominantly carbon for the sort of "audax with discs" territory?

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [522 posts]
13th April 2014 - 21:29

10 Likes

My lugged, chromed, 1992 Rourke 653 is 1790g.
Bit flexy, but super comfortable on a long fast ride. Definitely the go-to bike for mile eating training rides (although I love my Colnago M10 for racing).
Has anyone had a chance to compare old steel like that to a newer steel bike?

posted by ajd [25 posts]
13th April 2014 - 23:23

12 Likes

Dammit I love chromed bikes. But a carbon fibre chrome-finished bike seems about as logical as an aluminium dashboard in a (glassfibre) TVR.

I'll stick with polished 953 tubing for my custom build, I think.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1221 posts]
14th April 2014 - 14:50

7 Likes