Within a few minutes there’ll be something that has caught your eye. You’ll be lusting after one of your very own but perhaps with something else inspiring the carving of the hand polished stainless lugs. A different colour too and definitely with your own dream components and a pair of hand built wheels to finish it off.
That’s the great thing about custom bicycles. You can get exactly what you dream up and judging by the amount of new talent and companies in the show this year the industry is continuing to grow.
2013 saw lucky raffle winner Mark Jones win a custom built bicycle that was created live at the show by experienced hands. It has gone off to be painted and finished but we are certainly looking forward to seeing how it turned out.
We took a lot of photos of this years show and instead of keeping them for our own dream bike collection thought we’d share them. You can see photos of the opening night, and we have split the others into gallery 1 and gallery 2. However we saved some and here they are, our picks from this years show.
For more details of the exhibitors and winners at the show take a look at the official Bespoked Bristol website. If you’re wondering what the show was like last year you might want to read the 2012 feature or our report from the first Bespoked Bristol.
The Signature series from Demon are pretty special with a unique Hermes lug design that frame builder Tom says blend brutalism and elegance. They look great and take a lot of work. The road frame and mountain bike both have custom machined dropouts which are made in house. There’s also square rear stays on the off road bike which smoothly blend into the seat tube and detailing behind the bottom bracket that Tom also machines himself. The finish on both bikes shows the elegant workmanship off perfectly and that’s copper plating not paint!
ERA cycles owner Ped Baker has created two bicycles and this is the second. It’s a tribute to motorbike racer Barry Sheene which you may or may not have guessed by the Duck on the stem, lucky number 7 under the bottom bracket and superb paintwork. There’s an interesting fork build which is obviously inspired by a motorbike fork too. If this is frame number two i cannot wait to see what’s next. We met Ped in the new builders room and he is a big fan of bike racing and works for Motorcycle News as his day job. Take a look at the logo’s on the seat post, recognise any?
Field are a collective of people with various specialties. There’s a maker, a painter, a graphic designer and an engineer and from that base they create wonderful bikes. Based in Sheffield where by all accounts they like a good Brew with a fig roll to get the bike design started. Sounds good to us. The first Field item i saw was an integrated stem and handlebar painted by the CROMAWORKS department where all frames are finished. None of the detailed graphics on these frames are vinyls, it’s all painstakingly masked and sprayed. The head badge? It’s investment cast bronze. Wow. If i could I’d buy a field just to have that headbadge. Take a look at their new website for more of their work. They even machine their own head tubes. We are fans.
Jake Rusby was a sculptor before he made the move to crafting bicycles from steel. I’m glad he did. He might not have been building them for long but already he’s demonstrating his skills with integrated stem and handlebar combos and bi-laminated tubes. He also paints and finishes them too. I love the minimal styling on these bikes and the polished logo on the road frame seat post. Nice belt driven urban bike too. Rusby is one to watch, no doubt, and probably the most reasonable prices for a custom bicycle around.
Saffron Frameworks was started eight months ago by Matthew Sowter who is also one part of Push Projects which created the book Made in England, the artisans behind the hand-built bicycle last year. A book I really recommend. Take a look at some of our coverage of Made in England and the frame builders you’ll discover or order a copy.
Matthew won best utility bike this year for the beautiful green bike below with belt drive, polished lugs, mud guards and hub gears. I want this bike but Matthew wouldn’t let me have it, the customer wants it back. Shame. Although Saffron Frameworks is relatively new Matthew had been building bikes for a number of years for a well known company before starting his own business. He’s probably lost count how many bikes he’s made. The Pink 29er mountain bike has an integrated carbon seatpost, polished stays and internal cabling. The fixed disk bike also has an integrated seat post, this time in steel with a curved top tube that blends into the seat stays. As you can see in the background of the photo the chap on the left was dumbfounded by it.
We met Shand at Bespoked last year and loved their bikes. There was a Stoater and a Stooshie. I remember a few people asking them what the Stoater was for. They’re not road bikes, their not mountain bike bikes, what do you do with them? Well i guess being from Scotland where there are acres and acres of wild countryside, trails and lanes to ride had a big influence. These bikes are possibly best described as all-road. The Stoater can take on anything. Want to go camping? Want to ride an Audax? Want to commute, travel the world or just take on local trails? Yep, you can do all of that on a Stoater or it’s bigger brother the Stoater Plus with Rohloff Speedhub. You can see why this slightly modified version of the Stoater won Best off-road bike this year. Liking the new Jerseys and t-shirts and the Tunnocks everywhere. Mines a tea cake.
Christy Boothroyd of Slate impressed us last year with a frame that had lovely curved stays. This year he has now graduated from the new builders room into the main hall and was showing his first model in a planned range of bikes. The branding of Slate has developed further too. The Quarryman design has lots of details like the tri-laminated bottom bracket. A term Christy says helps describe the three styles of connecting all the tubes in one area. The brake bridge, chain stay bridges and bottom bracket logo and cutouts are nice elements as well as the graphics which are different on each side to create the illusion of a large S. This bike is something i thought we’d see a lot of this year, a go anywhere all-road cross bike. It’s a lovely model which can be bought for £1500 for a frame and fork or you can have a custom build. The dropout at the bottom is for an upcoming track frame. We will be keeping our eye open for that one.
Sword, founded by Tim Leicester who has been building frames for 8 years (for a well known manufacturer), had these two bikes on display. The lugs on the purple road frame, barbers pole and styling are classic English bicycle heritage. A very popular style and i can see a lot of people wanting one of these. The track frame is nice and tight with a curved seat tube which is shaped slightly too. The sword cut in the polished lugs and aero fork blades will help anyone who wants to fly around a velodrome.