The UK’s handmade bicycle show was held in Bristol last month; Bespoked, the answer to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. It’s a venue where the bicycle world’s true artists come together to strut their stuff, even if they’re still only half awake from working double-time to ready their rides for display. Check out the category winners below, and if you really like one, contact the designer and get one made to fit.
Timmy Rowan, thank you for the love that so obviously goes into your hand-crafted freedom-machines. That basket? Whittled from cherry and sweet chestnut, with hammered copper rivets, polished up with beeswax and linseed oil. The bar end plugs? Also cherry, and stamped with RF for Rowan Frameworks (props to James Worton) so you don’t forget who created these amazing works of art. Mr. Rowan liked the scalloped seat stay, and so do we.
There’s something to be said for hitting the drop bars and going so fast the wind actually stings. With support from Columbus Steel, Donhou’s Signature Steel series is TIG-welded and a faster way to get your hands on the incredible Donhou quality. Otherwise you may find yourself waiting until you’ve gone gray for a custom frame.
The Spline 29er hardtail crushed it at the Bespoked Swarf booth. It looks like it could crush whoever gets in your way, too. Constructed of Reynolds and Columbus steel, it comes out to 26 lbs with stem and bars. Shaving weight isn’t really a big concern when you’re rolling downhill on this beast, however, and spraying dirt at every turn.
A true steel classic with downtube shifters, this won the crowd vote at the show. Congratulations to Toby Gallagher (the Toad of Toad Bicycles) who handmade this beaut.
Matthew Sowter is the hand of Saffron Frameworks. Shout outs to Death Spray Custom for the amazing paint job.
Check out the bars on this bad boy. Richard Hallett has 20 years of experience in the biking world, from editing for Road Cycling UK, Cycling Weekly, and Cycle Sport to competing in road and track races. Check his national tandem records. His experience only bolsters his passion, and this steel beauty from Hallett Handbuilt Cycles is a perfect example. We’ll forgive you for not showing off on Facebook or Instagram (where are you, Mr. Hallett?) because you’re clearly busy making masterpieces or riding the road, but we’d love it if you joined us in this century so we could more easily drool over your creations.
Caren Hartley is one of the few female builders out there, and the first woman to win an award at the Bespoked event, so congrats are clearly in order. Steel is her chosen material (this one was Reynolds 931 stainless), so the bike she makes for you will last a lifetime with proper care. This Demi Porkeur was made for photographer Camille MacMillan with the capabilities of a fat bike and the looks of a French porteur. Caren made the switch from jewelry design and sculpture a year ago, and over the years to come there will likely be many riders glad that she did. The Porkeur is her fifth, and she’s at work on a series of bikes for smaller riders, kicked off by her 650c road bike.
Satoma does beautiful work. Inspired by the Urban Fixie, “Carol’s Racer” features a Columbus Spirit tubeset and won for its subtle beauty. It’s two-toned matte red is just red enough to catch the eye and the detailing really holds it. Check out Satoma’s gallery for closeups.
Andrew Martin Jones is the passion behind Moss Bikes. Design engineer, teacher, and velodrome racer, Jones aims to use British parts and resources instead of just designing in Britain and having the actual machine built abroad or with imported parts. The Gnaphosa is his beast, and he’ll be racing her soon. This badass number is clearly already out there winning, so gird your loins.
Richard Craddock created this carbon beauty. It’s funny that carbon is viewed as the high-end material of choice, but at the Bespoked Show it’s considered an alternative material, right? Steel is the gold standard — it’s nice to be able to bend a frame back into shape after a crazy wreck — but carbon is kind to the buttocks, as this writer can attest. If my old Trek 5500 is still trucking along, one of Craddock’s custom cycles made with prepreg carbon fiber, deep rectangular chain stays, large fork blades, and full custom carbon laminate to fit rider weight will last just fine as long as you don’t go smashing into things on purpose.
You won’t use this for commuting, or racing, or anything that doesn’t involve delivering fresh coffee. Velopresso’s bike/coffee maker has the world’s first pedal-driven coffee grinder, hence no motors and therefore less noise. This is an infinitely more eco-friendly version of the coffee truck, and is already in use by more than a few small businesses. Can someone make one for ice-cream please? You can churn as you pedal.
Wildcat gear is often named for felines; for instance the company’s Tiger seat harness got an upgrade with a tapered dry bag. and if you check out the site, you can see the Mountain Lion bag displaying its ribbon for Best in Show very proudly. They sell some stock and some custom, hit Wildcat directly for more info.