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The beautiful bikes of Bespoked Bristol 2016

Eight bikes which caught our eye at the UK's handmade bicycle show

Bespoked, the UK’s handmade bicycle show, has become one of our favourite dates in the calendar and the sixth edition of the event took place last week in Bristol.

The show sees some of the top framebuilders from the UK and around the world assemble in south west England for a veritable feast of handmade bikes. It’s a chance to chance to check out some truly special machines and we were there to take a look for ourselves.

It’s hard to take a turn without something catching your eye at Bespoked but here are eight beautiful bikes which stood out from the crowd. And if you really want to gorge on all things Bespoked, check out the bumper photo gallery at the bottom of the page.

Enigma Bikes

Bespoked saw the official launch of the Exemplar – a limited edition titanium frame from Enigma to celebrate the Sussex-based firm’s tenth anniversary.

Enigma say the Exemplar is made without regard for time and expense – that’s reflected in the £10,999 price tag. The frame is based on the range-topping Excel but is made from a new 6AL 4V tubeset with a 44mm downtube, said to further improve the performance while retaining the smooth ride quality associated with titanium.

Just 20 frames will be made, each bespoke to the rider, and with a suitably high-end build based around a Campagnolo Super Record groupset (with a custom finish to match the frame’s paintjob) and Enve/Chris King wheels.

Website: Enigma Bikes

Engineered Bicycles

If one bike attracted more attention than any at Bespoked it was this Engineered Bicycles Dondor, thanks to the hand-painted, one-off finish by Bristol artist Tim Cox.

The Dondor is Engineered’s road race frame, designed for criteriums and short road races, and made from a scandium-alloy tubeset.

The beauty here, however, is in the stunning paintjob. The level of detail and quality is incredible, with Cox taking inspiration from his custom motorcycle background. From an octopus to a skull and crossbones, and everything in between, it’s little surprise the Dondor won the show’s outstanding finish award.

Website: Engineered Bicycles

Talbot Frameworks

In attracting admiring glances, this Talbot Frameworks Dalsnibba wasn’t far beyond, and it’s another one-off finish, this time in collaboration with custom paint guru Doktor Bobby.

While the Dalsnibba is typically made from custom-drawn Reynolds 853 steel tubing, this one also incorporates a carbon fibre seatpost, all built in Talbot Frameworks’ workshop in Crystal Palace, London.

And the name? Dalsnibba is a 13-mile climb which rises for 5,000 feet above the town of Gerainger, Norway, which provided the inspiration for the bike. Every year a duathlon sees participants first ride to the top of the climb before descending to the shore of the fjord and running back up to the summit. Sounds like madness to us.

Website: Talbot Frameworks

Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Engineered Bicycles (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Talbot Frameworks (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Enigma Bikes (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Condor Italia RC (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Condor Cycles

Not everything at Bespoked is custom or comes with a five-figure price tag. London-based Condor Bikes have exhibited at the show since the start and this year the updated Italia RC attracted our attention.

It’s undoubtedly a looker, with a blue polka dot finish, and is made from a 7000-series aluminium tubeset. The Italia RC is based on the same geometry as the Leggero carbon race bike and is described by Condor as a machine “designed for riders who want to compete, train and go fast on their bikes.”

Frame weight is a claimed 1,600g for a size 55cm (if you buy the Italia RC as a complete bike then Condor throw in a free bike fit) and the frameset will set you back £749.99. We’ve earmarked one for review later this year.

Website: Condor Cycles

Saffron Frameworks

This bike belongs to Saffron Frameworks chief Matthew Sowter. “I often feel nostalgic for the kind of bike I used to ride and race as an amateur in South Africa,” he says. “This was the starting point for the project; to build a bike as a present to myself with no compromises from my preferred material, steel.”

The frame is made from a Columbus Spirit HSS oversized tubeset and Sowter says the box-section stays offer “incredible stiffness”, while up front there’s a tapered headtube accommodating a carbon fibre Deda EDG fork.

Sowter has used a pinch bolt at the top of the seatstays to hold the seatpost in place without compromising the clean lines of the frame, while the paint finish takes inspiration from his favourite tattoo artist, Chaim Machlev of Dots to Lines. “His designs are known for a powerful yet ordered symmetry that works as well on the bike as it does on the human body,” Sowter says.

Website: Saffron Frameworks

Ogre Bicycles

Now time for something completely different – this bike from Ogre really is a thing of beauty. Ogre is a Japanese brand and this bike was flown over specifically for the Bespoked.

You may not be familiar with Ogre, and why would you? The incredibly talented owner, Eiji Konishi, only makes around 20 frames a year under the name “Weld One”. We love the finish on this bike, where the heat discolouring from Konishi’s time with the welding torch has been left on the frame.

It’s made from titanium and Konishi has also hand-produced the saddle from ti. Oh, and the handlebar, too.

Website: Weld-One

Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Ogre (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Saffron Frameworks (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Merenya Toccata (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)
Bespoked Bristol 2016 - Swallow Bespoke Bicycles (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Swallow Bespoke Bicycles

When going custom, almost anything is possible if you choose the right framebuilder. If you can dream it up, someone can build it for you.

And Swallow Bespoke Bicycles were keen to show that, with a stand which included a belt drive tourer/commuter with Shimano Di2, a tandem, a stainless steel race bike and this bike, which harks back to an altogether different era.

The cyclo-tourist machine came to the show straight from the workshop having just been finished and was built for a long-time customer, who had previously ridden a vintage bike from home near Telford to the Loire Valley for the Velo-Vintage festival – a celebration of bikes exactly like this. The frame combines stainless steel tubing and a build which includes both new and reproduction parts.

Website: Bicycles By Design

Merenyi Bicycles

Hungarian framebuilder Daniel Merenyi is another regular at Bespoked and of the bikes on his stand this year, we were drawn to this Toccata.

Like many of the framebuilders at Bespoked, Merenyi only works in custom, made-to-measure builds, and that extends to the paint finish, too.

Like Sowter’s Saffron build, the Tocatta uses oversized Columbus HSS tubing – a popular choice for builders wanting to achieve a stiff, responsive ride fit for 2016 while still using steel.

Website: Merenyi Bicycles

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