This year's Bespoked Bristol is a much bigger affair than last year's innaugural event and everywhere you look there is evidence of how fast the UK handbuilt and custom scene is growing and changing with outfits like 14Bike and Tokyo Fixed moving beyond the fixed frames that made their names and Scotland's Shand upping production to keep pace with demand.
14BikeCo had a special bike on its stand commissioned by tyre brand Continental. The fixed-wheel machine features a paint job that matches the tyres - with the sidewall pattern exactly colour co-ordinated, and the tread painstakingly built up with vinyl, under the lacquer. Continental are going to use it as a show bike, but it was commissioned by one of the company's jetsetting bosses - so it has S&S couplers for easy transportation. They also had a couple of road frames on show - one Columbus Zona, one Reynolds 853 - as the one-time fixed specialist is increasingly being asked to build geared bikes.
Tokyo Fixed launch Union bike brand using Columbus steel
London boutique brand Tokyo Fixed was launching its Union bike brand, which it is producing in collaboration with several UK builders. The single-speed on show was made from over-size Columbus Spirit tubing, and had an Enve fork and Tune components. Particularly eyecatching was the paintjob and the cut-out head-tube on the 6.5kg bike. Union frames will be available in custom sizes, in road or track form. Tokyo Fixed was also showcasing its 2012 Wide Open frame. New colours and decals, and smooth fillet brazing make this a smart £450 frame.
Shand increasing production while not losing custom touch
Shand, from Livingston in Scotland, is starting 'production' frames. Which is to say, they'll be offering three models in standard sizes. Customers pick a frame, then it's finished and painted how they want - with a choice of drop-outs and brake fixings depending on the final specification. The Stooshie is a cyclocross frame; the Stoater is an 'allroad', for road and trail riding, and the soon-to-come Skinnymalinky is a pure road frame. All are Reynolds 853, all fillet brazed. The company says the degree of standardisation brings delivery times - only three weeks - and costs down.