Bespoked Bristol 2017 highlights - Road Cycling UK

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Bespoked Bristol 2017 highlights

Eight beautiful hand-made bikes which caught our eye at this year's Handmade Bicycle Show

The Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show in Bristol is always a great experience, with all kinds of amazing machines on display that blur the line between craft and downright art.

We went down this weekend to see if we could scout out some of the most exciting new machines for road riding, and a little bit of gravelly adventure thrown into the mix as well.

Bespoked Bristol is the annual showcase of the UK’s most beautiful handbuilt bikes and frames

So what’s new for 2017? Well the trend for bikepacking – the self-reliant, long-distance type of riding popularised by ultra-racing events like the Transcontinental and TransAm races was perhaps the most striking theme.

And this, of course, means plenty of rugged machines on the stands that are fit for both super-smooth asphalt and off-road wanderings alike – something we are only too happy to see.

Other trends included more carbon than we’ve ever seen at the show before, some charmingly esoteric paint jobs, and some seriously performance enhancing lugs. Take a look at our Bespoked Bristol 2017 highlights…

Mercredi

Mercredi Bikes produced this beautifully whimsical CX frame to their customer’s specifications, but when it came to the paint scheme they just asked the client to ‘trust them’.

The result is something we’re pretty sure is unique in the whole world of custom bikes – sausage dog camo.

The frame itself is built with Columbus Zona tubing and MUD forks, while the wheels are Hope’s XC 29ers. The drivetrain is SRAM Rival, while the finishing touches are from Fizik.

Hartley

Hartley Cycles just seem to keep getting better and better with every passing year. We particularly liked this Campagnolo-equipped touring bike that builder Caren Hartley made for herself.

The 26-inch wheels offer a rugged reliability, while the Brooks saddle guarantees a little bit of extra comfort on the long days on the open road.

The arresting seat cluster particularly caught our eye, where you can really see the paint finish at its lustrous best.

Custom carbon

One of the biggest trends we saw this year at Bespoked was custom carbon coming through in a really big way.

Between Best New Builder winner, Donard, Aussie 3d printing crew, Bastion, and this fearsome black beast from Tsubasa, getting a bespoke carbon fibre bike is no longer a fanciful notion.

Is this the way Bespoked will keep going? Or will the soulfulness of steel keep things real? We’re looking forward to finding out.

Winter Bicycles

We were instantly enamoured with this frame from US builder, Winter Bicycles. We’re not sure what drew us to the bike first, whether it was the seriously elegant stem, the lovely lugs or the inclusion of S&S couplers on the frame that allow the bike to be folded in half and packed down to fit into the back of a car. America, remember, is a country where people drive their bikes to the start of a ride!

SRAM eTap provides seamless and effortless shifting once you do finally park up and get the bike out of the boot, while TRP disc brakes really amp up the rugged versatility.

Llewellyn

It takes a special sort of bike nerd to get excited about lugs, but if you do happen to be that type of guy/gal (guilty!), then this frame made by Llewellyn is sure to get your motor running.

For those that don’t geek out about handcrafted steel to quite the same extent as we do, lugs are basically one way of joining together the various tubes on a bike frame.

There are simple ways to do it, and then there are more ornate ways. And then there is the Llewellyn way!

The bike was rightly awarded the technical excellence prize at the show.

Shand

Shand Cycles do fun-looking adventure bikes of all sorts of shapes and sizes but once again we were drawn straight to the Stooshie – an all-road / adventure bike.

The mixture of Columbus and Dedacciai tubing is selected for lightness, giving you a faster more dynamic ride experience, although they freely admit this may mean sacrificing a wee bit of comfort.

This build was specced with Hunt Wheels, massive WTB tyres (tan sidewall and all), and Shimano Ultegra drivetrain. It looks of fun and had us itching to hit the gravel tracks just looking at it.

ColourBolt

ColourBolt’s Black Belter was produced in partnership with urban bike shop, Velorution. As such, the collab build has a little flavour of both brands. The Gates belt drive gives the bike a steadfast reliability that’ll see it excel in even the ugliest of urban weather, with ColourBolt’s unique powder-coated finish adding next level toughness and a sleek, stealthy aesthetic.

Colourbolt, handmade bike, Bespoked Bristol, 2017, pic – Tom Owen/Factory Media

We could have watched people stroking the super-tactile frame in mild amazement all weekend…

Quirk

Rob Quirk scooped a whole handful of awards at Bespoked 2016 (including best new builder) and has built on that amazing introduction to the scene by doubling down on his trademark aesthetic and high-performance builds.

Quirk’s super-tough, eye-catching machine for Eleanor Jaskowska (pic: Jom Holland)

Showing just one bike this year as part of the Bicycle Academy’s stand, Quirk’s machine is a super-tough endurance racer made for new owner, Eleanor Jaskowska, to tackle the Transcontinental.

Quirk has form for this sort of thing after building a similar rig for Laura Scott and her TransAm racer from last year.

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