There were dozens of incredible-looking bikes on display at Bespoked handmade bicycle show at the Lee Valley Velodrome, London, over the weekend, and here are five that really caught our eye.
We’ll level with you: we have so many bikes to tell you about from the show that we don’t know what to do with them all. We’ll run more throughout the week so keep coming back to road.cc for more handmade loveliness.
In the meantime, check out these...
We’re not sure what category this chopper from Souplesse falls into. It’s made from bamboo, it’s fitted with disc brakes, and it has Alfine electronic shifting.
Oh, and that Alfine is stick-shift! There are so many niches here that we reckon we can safely say that it’s in a category all of its own.
The quality of the workmanship is extraordinary with the joints first wrapped with Kevlar with a natural fibre wrap over the top.
Souplesse’s road bikes look equally good.
This Reynolds 631 steel frame is from Manchester-based Grimcycles – the name comes from the brand’s northern roots (don’t blame us, we didn’t make it up). All of Grimcycle’s bikes are 100% bespoke.
Why have we included this bike here? Well, it’s a neat-looking machine, and we especially like the clean lines provided by of the integrated seatpost and the internal cable routing.
What really attracted us, though, is the paintjob. That 63 just below the top tube/seat tube junction refers to the No. 63 Squadron RAF, a bomber aircraft and training squadron of the RAF that was active for various periods from 1916 to 1992 (the internet might have been used in the compiling of this article!).
The words ‘Pone nos ad hostem’ are hidden away on the underside of the down tube where they’re not particularly noticeable. That’s the motto of the squadron and it means ‘follow us to find the enemy’.
They could have gone over the top with RAF references but we think that the ‘less is more’ approach really works here.
Lots of different finishes are used on bikes to achieve various effects but this one, from Italy’s Faggin, is the only one we saw at Bespoked that was covered in leather (sorry about the busy background in the above pic; that's shows for ya!).
The contrast stitching is done by hand using one continuous thread. That’s what they told us. How the hell they manage it, we couldn’t tell you. It must take the patience of a saint, but the final product looks amazing.
This is a bike that Brian Rourke has put together for friend of road.cc Chris Hewings (Chris is the UK and Ireland distributor of Parlee Cycles, among other things).
The frame is exquisite with an incredible level of detail around the shiny lugs, but have a look at the groupset.
It’s a Campagnolo 50th anniversary group – Gruppo del Cinquantenario – from 1983.
Most of the components feature a raised Campagnolo shield logo in gold. The whole bike is absolutely stunning.
Given that there are relatively few bamboo bikes out there, featuring two in this brief article might be a touch excessive, but what the hell?
VeloBoo has produced just 30 of these bikes with components that are plated with 24K gold. Yep, gold. They say it’s designed to be durable although we can’t help feeling that anyone who buys one of these isn’t going to use it to nip down to the shops. We’ve never seen one chained up outside the Sainsbury’s by the road.cc office anyway.
The customised grips are made from leather and are hand-sewn, and the same goes for the saddle. The toe straps match them both.
Just check out those brakes!
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.