The 9th edition of Bespoked, the UK’s only celebration of handbuilt bicycles, opened its doors in Bristol today and saw some of the finest framebuilders from around the world share their latest and finest creations with members of the public.
We’ve come back with a memory card stuffed with pictures of lovely bikes and these are just some of the highlights. We’ll have more coverage over the weekend and into next week as well as revealing the three road.cc Choice Award winners in which we recognise excellence in the framebuilding world.
We gave you a sneak peek at the new frame from Quirk Cycles, and here it is in all its glory.
The frame utilises the new Columbus disc brake chainstays with the latest Paragon dropouts, smaller and lighter than the previous offering, and star of the show is the 3D printed seat cluster and dropouts.
There's actual real silver in the paint finish, which would cost in the region of £2,000 if you wanted to replicate it.
The 3D printing has been done by Australian firm Bastion who have been investing heavily in the technology, and it’s been embraced by a growing number of bike brands, also Prova elsewhere in this article.
This Ted James bike is literally fresh from being ridden around the Highlands, hence the fresh dirt on the frame and grubby packs. It’s a titanium frame with space for fat mountain bikes tyres but what is really special is the fork.
The design is said to provide a bit more compliance than a regular rigid fork and can be tuned to suit different riders. The design also permits a short fork length thanks to the stubby crown.
Funny story. Apparently, the rider forgot to pack some chain lube, so improvised and used tinned mackerel oil!
I haven’t seen a snowflake wheel since the late 90s! Ted James says he likes them and despite the extra effort clearly required to properly lace a snowflake wheel, he’s pleased with the look which also takes him back to the 90s when mountain biking got many of us into this sport.
There's always at least one muddy bikepacking adventure bike at Bespoked. There were quite a few actually, the one from Ted James higher up this page and this nice one from Shand.
The French company best known for its posh leather saddles, Gilles Berthoud, is now making bags and bike frames as well.
This new JM-19 frameset has been developed for the Paris-Brest-Paris, which its rider is doing, but is also intended to be versatile so it can be used for gravel and adventure riding, as the different wheels and level of cleanliness demonstrate.
The company has also developed this handlebar bag that attaches to the special rack using magnetic Fidlock attachments, so it can be fitted and removed in seconds but is very secure when installed.
This Winter Cycles travel bike caught my eye because of its lovely finish quality, and I do like a wishbone rear stay.
Should you need any encouragement, all the framebuilders are happy to talk business and line up a new frame for any customer interested in what they see.
Prova is an Australian framebuilder and this Speciale was one of the highlights of the show. It’s made from stainless steel, both Reynolds 953 and Columbus XCr, with the company’s own carbon fibre seatmast tuned to suit the individual rider, with the guts of an Enve seatclamp in the top.
What you can’t see so clearly are the 3D printed dropouts and seat cluster, produced by Bastion Cycles.
Here’s the 3D printed dropout from the company’s mountain bike, cut in half so you can all the detail beneath the surface.
Remarkable isn’t it!
In the New Build room was Crossley Metal, a builder that caught our eye with what it calls a “Tactical Mileage Assault Bicycle.”
The frame is made from Columbus Life Zona, Max and SL tubing with a very horizontal top tube, a fantastically shaped seat lug, the company’s own steel fork and even its own carbon cargo box on the front.
Built in Bristol by Rodford Built, this Big Billy is a really cool urban/utilitarian bike ideal for the school run, doing the weekly shop or just as transport for getting around.
The WTF award goes to Mackenzie Cyclone, easily one of the maddest looking bikes at the show. If you like what you see, it’ll set you back £3,000 for the frame, £750 for the fork and the paintwork is £450.
From France, La Fraise Cycles won a prestigious award in the Concours de Machines last year for this highly versatile adventure all-road bicycle designed for the self-sufficient cyclist tackling b roads and trails.
It’s absolutely packed with details. A leather strap for shouldering when the road gets too rocky, integrated dynamo lights and wiring, with a battery inside the fork steerer tube for powering accessories, and front and rear racks for attaching small lightweight bags.
The company has also developed a 750g tent that can be erected using the bicycle for bikepacking.
From Swiss brand Hiliite is this beautiful titanium tandem. It weighs astonishing 13kg without pedals! It’s got a belt drive Rohloff with the twin belts running extremely close, just space for a sheet of paper between.
The best bit? The couple who have paid for this build live in Bristol and will collect it at the end of the show on Sunday. How cool is that!
If you want a custom carbon frame most of your options are frames made using the tube-to-tube construction method (think Parlee or Sarto) but Spanish firm Kimik has developed a custom mould process that lets it provide fully bespoke frames made using the mould process that is more commonly used by nearly every carbon bike brand.
It obviously wasn’t keen to share too many details about the process, but we’ll take a closer look at it next week.
They’ve also done a mountain bike frame using the same technique.
From the same people behind Kimik is Angel, specialising in metal frames like this example. What’s really interesting is the adjustable stem and seatpost, allowing you to adjust the length of the stem and setback of the saddle.
We don’t think we’ve seen anything like this before.
Correct us if we’re wrong.
Cicli Barco is an Italian framebuilder that has been around since 1947, but don’t worry if you’ve never heard of them, they’ve mostly built frames for other bike brands. They’re emerging from the shadows as a contract framebuilder to stand proud as their own bike brand, and Lifecycle in Sussex are distributing them into the UK.
This is the company’s on-trend gravel bike, made from Columbus XCr stainless steel with a carbon insert head tube and it’s equipped with a SRAM Red eTap AXS wireless groupset including a dropper seatpost.
The bike was also sporting the very first Tune rear hub with a SRAM XDR driver, a necessary component of the new Red eTap AXS groupset to allow the use of a 10t sprocket on the cassette.
Paint job of the show might possibly go to Squid, a Californian bike brand that was founded in the white heat of the cyclocross racing world and has been raising eyebrows since with some outlandish paint schemes.
Here’s a pretty Saffron just because. Saffron is about to start a custom range that simplifies the choices for the customer down to geometry while the tubing and other key details choices will be determined by Saffron based on its 10 years of framebuilding experience.
This is a TIG welded Columbus HSS, HSS HX and Spirit frame with XCr stainless seatstays, SL Keirin chainstays and staineless breezer dropouts.
Here's another beaut. It should help cut down waiting times for those people who want a Saffron but don’t particularly want or need the full bespoke option.
This is the Reilly Spectre disc-equipped road bike which has space for 35mm tyres and is made from 6AL/4V titanium and has an incredible triple anodised finish.
Reilly also offers carbon, this is the 500/SL and it’s manufactured in the UK. Who's that handsome devil in the background? Why that's our very own VecchioJo (otherwise known as Jo Burt).
Wearing a brand new Rotor UNO groupset is this Reilly T325/D. It’s brand new fro 2019 and is a disc brake version of the T325 titanium road bike we reviewed a year to two ago.
The Escape is Engima’s gravel and adventure bike, and it’s now offering a Pinion gear hub belt drive option for those people that want it.
What do you think of the tyres with the frame? We were asked what we thought but couldn’t make a decision when put on the spot. We think it works, but what do you think?
Condor Cycles has launched the new Bivio Odyssey gravel and adventure bike in collaboration with PEdAL ED and its also new Odyssey frame packs, made by Italian company Miss Grape.
The frame is made from 7005 aluminium, the same as the London company’s Italia RC road race bike, with clearance for 40mm tyres. The frameset will set you back £1,300.
The bike is rocking Mavic’s brand new carbon allroad wheels, which haven’t been officially launched yet, so we don’t have many details to go on just yet.
More from Bespoked soon...
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.