bespoked times THE UK H A NDM A DE BICYCLE SHOW
ISSUE 04 SPRING 2018
Get back on track in 2018
in association with
Ride the world’s best road bikes 14th & 15th April 2018 – Lee Valley VeloPark, London 29th April 2018 – Castle Combe Circuit, Wiltshire 20th May 2018 – York Sport Village, York
Try out the top bikes from these brands…
…with more to come For more information and to register for tickets, go to
PHOTO Field Cycles / Tom Smith
Bringing beautiful handmade bicycles to the heart of Bristol
- BEST RETAIL EVENT -
COVER PHOTO Hartley Cycles / Jim
Show dates and times: Friday 20th April - 2pm - 7pm Saturday 21st April - 9.30am - 6pm Sunday 22nd April - 10am - 4.30pm Tickets - £20 day (£15 conc) / £30 3 Day Weekend Online Ticket offer until end March - Day Entry £15
PHOTO Demon Frameworks / Ben Broomfield
PHOTO Peacock Groove / Zane Spang
Over 100 of the world’s best bicycle framebuilders and cycle goods designers will be making their way to Bristol this April for a weekend dedicated to celebrating the world of handmade bikes. Bespoked, The UK Handmade Bicycle Show, one of the highlights of the British cycling calendar, is taking place from 20th to 22nd April at Brunel’s Old Station, next door to Bristol Temple Meads train station. The show is a collection of the world’s most desirable and unique handmade bikes and cycling goods from framebuilders and designers across the globe. Many of the framebuilders choose Bespoked to unveil their creations for the first time, or launch a new range of bikes they’ve been secretly working on. At Bespoked the majority of the bikes on show will have been commissioned by individuals, and are the result of a partnership between customer and maker. Bespoked 2018 will be a wonderful mix of old favourites and new faces. Returning thoroughbreds including, Feather Cycles, Saffron Frameworks, Hartley Cycles, Field Cycles, Demon Frameworks, Fifty One Bikes, Enigma and Condor will be showcasing their breath taking talents. Innovative wizards, Erik Noren, (Peacock Groove), Ted James, Calfee and Mathias Scherer (Mawis Bikes) will bring their touch of alchemy to the show. Coming for the
first time from around the world are Stinner Frameworks (USA), Angel (Spain) Prova Cycles (Australia). Covering other aspects of the bicycle are Chris King, Brooks, Quoc Pham shoes and for the first time Colourburn Studio (paint specialist) will be dazzling with what he can do with paint. The beauty of Bespoked is that you get to meet and talk to the artisans who made the bikes on show. Builders are on-hand to discuss your dream bike, and turn it into a reality (bank-balance permitting). Or perhaps you dream of one day building your own bike. If that’s the case, go and talk to one of the UK’s many top framebuilding schools at the show. As well as the extraordinary bikes and accessories, there is an interesting program of talks and films (see page 12) over the weekend from framebuilders, industry leaders, authors and cycling legends. And cycle café Look Mum No Hands will be on hand to serve up good strong coffee, ale and delicious bites to eat. Head over to bespoked.cc to see who’s exhibiting this year. Tickets are available from bespoked.cc or on the door.
Steel is Real WORDS
Ben Mills - Founder Steel is Real
Celebrating the resurgence in steel mountain bikes Steel Is Real? The age old mantra used in all cycling disciplines. It is apparent that perhaps the mantra is no longer old hat and certainly in the field of MTB is making a big impact as more and more riders switch back to the ferrous tubing. WHY? We ask our members this periodically with varied responses. Riders love the soothing compliance when hurtling down an undulating trial, the comfort on the all-day epics and the sleek skinny tubes joined together by man not machine. Whatever the personal reasons, the elements linking those riders together are the community, passion and comradery that have become akin to owning a steel bike. Steel Is Real MTB group went from zero to well over 6500 members in less than 12 months and provided the first ever UK Steel MTB demo day, giving a home for said community. Due to the flexibility of steel, the brands and builders can update and move the geometry of their models forward with relative ease. MTB geometry has headed in one clear direction and that’s “long, low & slack”. It’s become very evident in the group, when people are changing or upgrading their frames, that this is the route consumers are taking. As the sport progresses we are seeing better trail centres, better riders and faster more technical races. To keep up with the progression, bike designers are offering a more extreme geometry to give their customers a bike that will inspire confidence, speed and most importantly fun. Sometimes mistaken for trend, but undeniably development when broken down, it looks something like this… Longer - Not only to accommodate a slacker head angle but length - in the most part - provides stability at speed and gives the rider more room to manoeuvre their bike. Lower - Bottom bracket height dictates the cornering ability - nice and low reduces the centre of gravity and aids riding ‘in the bike’ rather than ‘on it’. Slacker – Aids stability and cornering while pointed downward on the bike facing downhill It’s not all plain sailing… with every degree or centimetre the geometry is pushed, negative effects come into play. Framebuilders and designers alike strive to find that perfect combination of numbers to achieve geometric equilibrium, but it ultimately comes down to the rider and where they ride their bike.
SHAND CYCLES SHANDCYCLES.COM
SICK! BICYCLE CO SICKBICYCLE.CO
Facebook - Steel Is Real MTB
CURTIS BIKES CURTISBIKES.CO.UK
Bespoked 2017 Through the lens of photographer Jim Holland
GRANULE FRAMEWORKS GRANUELFRAMEWORKS.CO.UK
HARTLEY CYCLES HARTLEYCYCLES.COM
SVEN CYCLES SVENCYCLES.COM
The Adventure Syndicate WORDS
Inspiring, Encouraging & Enabling The Adventure Syndicate is a collective of female endurance cyclists whose aim is to increase levels of self-belief and confidence in others (especially in women and girls) by telling inspiring stories, creating an encouraging community, and delivering enabling workshops and training. “We do this because we love the way adventuring by bike makes us feel and we passionately believe we are all capable of so much more than we think we are.” This April, The Adventure Syndicate will kick off their 2018 season at Bespoked, launching their Match the Miles challenge as part of their year-long Inspiring, Encouraging & Enabling Schools Project. Athletes Rickie Cotter, Jenny Tough, Jenny Graham and Lee Craigie will ride south from Bespoked (#Southbound) carrying GPS tracking devices. Pupils from Dingwall Academy, Inverness Royal Academy, The Bridge Education Unit, Mary Russell School and Rosshall Academy will follow them online and on social media, while collectively matching the team’s daily mileage by riding indoor trainers, performing laps of their school grounds and travelling to and from school by bike. It is expected that upwards of 100 miles will need to be accumulated each day to keep up with the team, who will ride for a week with no set destination. The project will culminate with an overnight camping trip for each school in summer 2018, accompanied by Adventure Syndicate athletes, and will be a celebration of the girls’ sporting achievements.
Tour Divide Story Last year, Rickie Cotter and Lee Craigie rode the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile self-supported mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico. They filmed the whole, eventful journey and this film will be shown at Bespoked on Saturday, followed by a Q&A with both athletes. www.theadventuresyndicate.com
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Everybody rides Scoop
Bespoke Magic WORDS
A look beyond the angles and tubes Much has been written (and lots more spoken) about the importance of bicycle fitting and tubing selection when commissioning a custom bicycle. But I feel there is something else that makes owning and riding a bicycle made just for me so magical which transcends the physical elements of the bike, its geometry and tubing. I feel a connection, a proudness, that makes me feel taller, lighter, and stronger which goes beyond the physical characteristics of the bike. But what is this and do we all feel it? If we don’t know what it is how can we get it? Partly for me it’s the feeling of knowing that the bike wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t commissioned it. There’s no formula to capture this magic, you just need to find the framebuilder that can listen and understand what it is you want before the alchemy of the build begins. Tangwyn Andrews looks into what might be going on to create bespoke magic. Phil Taylor, framebuilder and Bespoked founder
Pictured clockwise from top: Boneshaker Issue 20 / Nick Hand / Stayer Cycles / Dear Susan / Stayer Cycles
For many of us our relationship with our bicycle is intimate; countless hours spent connected riding, racing, touring, getting there, or chasing the Arcadian dream on a winding lane, over a col or down a slither of single track. Any rider at any level, from toddler to grand tour contender makes the connection. However, we are not alone in this romance, market forces vie for our constant attention telling us what to ride, how to ride it and what we, and it, should look like in the process. Someone else had the blank piece of paper and filled it for us, made it and sold it. The custom builder offers another option; a chance to reclaim the blank piece of paper, and together express our hard-earned knowledge of what we want to ride, how it looks and feels. The process of hearing our dream and to technically shape it into the product that is ours and only ours is a serious skill. But done well the custom bicycle will without fail sing your song every time you get on.
Many will argue that the mass-produced industry does a perfectly good job of manufacturing excellent bikes fit for purpose, and it does. But for us this misses the point, just as a piece of clothing is tailored to fit the person or a piece of furniture crafted to fit the space exactly, the same is for our custom bicycles. They should fit us and our cycling ‘space’ with precision and purpose. As Ruskin said, ‘When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece’. This relationship is key as a customer, and a good builder will work with you to hopefully realise your intentions. Take the time at the show to look and talk to the assembled crafts people, because you might just find the one that has the skills and understanding to add the groove to your cycling lyric.
Pictured clockwise from top: Max Leonard / Starling Cycles / Mercredi by Chris Lanaway / Tangwyn Andrews / Bike Science / Talbot Cycles / Swallow Bespoke / Rowan Frameworks & Chris King
FILAMENT BICYCLES FILAMENTBIKES.COM
OLSEN BICYCLES OLSENBICYCLES.TUMBLR.COM
The Craft of Carbon WORDS
Revealing the art behind making custom carbon frames Bespoked welcomes builders who specialize in a variety of materials and this year we have many exhibitors who have honed their expertise in the art of the lay-up and bonding. Carbon fibre is the go to product for professional riders in most top level disciplines and with good reason; the material offers strength and stiffness with no weight penalty and the ability to form tubes in shapes and directions that other materials cannot. However, the process is synonymous with larger scale manufacture in the far East and until recently was not a material that was commonly offered in a custom format. Just as we see the fabricators of steel and titanium work their magic through welding or lug construction to compliment the customer’s riding needs, the Carbon builder can work their own magic into the wrap of the join. Again, it’s the skill of knowing the material and its boundaries and interpreting that into a viable frame design which ticks the boxes of aesthetics, weight and strength. Exhibitor Richard Craddock of Filament Bicycles expands on his process: ‘At Filament HQ the frames are made using carbon fibre. They have custom geometry to provide a bespoke size and handling characteristic for each rider but one additional aspect of carbon is that the tube material is also customisable. So for different applications of road, track, or tandem, we can use dedicated laminates. Our carbon tubes can be hand made one at a time unlike metal tubes which are made in larger batch quantities. To make the tube, several carbon pre-pregnated sheets are wrapped around an internal mould known as a mandrel. The epoxy is then cured under pressure using heat and then the cured tube can then be removed from the mould. The head tubes, bottom bracket shells and prototype tubes are made at Filament HQ, then the core range is made by a carbon tube manufacturer following the Filament specifications.’ Richard will be part of a panel of carbon experts talking about their craft at Bespoked on Saturday 21st April.
FIFTYONE BIKES FIFTYONEBIKES.COM
FILAMENT BICYCLES FILAMENTBIKES.COM
ALLIED CYCLE WORKS INT.ALLIEDCYCLEWORKS.COM
Bespoked Accessories Bespoked 2018 features not just handmade bicycles but also stunning handmade accessories
SWRVE GRAFTON SADDLER
ALLIED CYCLE WORKS CUSTOM MADE CARBON FIBRE BIKES AVAILABLE FROM BICYCLECHAIN.CO.UK11 bespoked.cc
Speaking of which... Talks, films and events at Bespoked 2018 The talks at Bespoked have become a firmly established favourite of visitors to the show and this year’s line up promises not to disappoint. A brilliant and diverse lineup of people will be talking over the weekend. Learn about the exciting new Women’s Framebuilder Initiative which intends to promote and support more women into the handmade bicycle industry. Meet the man who made Grayson Perry’s “Princess Freedom” bicycle and hear all about this unique project. Put your questions to our panels of mountain bike experts, custom carbon makers and industry leaders in the handmade bicycle world. Ride the divide with the Adventure Syndicate and go deep custom with Peacock Groove Bicycles. Discover the latest developments in mountain biking and bike fitting. Entry to all talks included in the ticket price.
Friday 20th April 15.00 - Women’s Framebuilder Initiative launch 16.00 - When Framebuilding Becomes Art The Making of Grayson Perry’s Princess Freedom Bicycle by Petor Georgallou of Dear Susan.
Saturday 21st April 10.30 - Designed for Adventure From design to adventure, framebuilder Darron Coppin of Sven Cycles and rider Oscar Jenkinson’s talk about his recent trip around Thailand. 11.30 - Steel is Real A panel of the top makers and designers discuss the current progression in hard core mountain bike frames. 12.30 - Ride the Divide Film and Q&A Last year, Rickie Cotter and Lee Craigie rode the Tour Divide, a 2,745 mile self-supported mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico. They filmed the whole, eventful journey and this film will be shown followed by a Q&A with both athletes.
Sunday 22nd April 14.30 - Custom Carbon A panel Q & A with the world’s best custom carbon makers. 15.30 - Peacock Groove Deep Custom with Erik Noren of Peacock Groove Bicycles
11.00 - It Begins With the Fit Andy Sexton of Bike Science will demonstrate the importance of a good bike fit. 12.00 - Chris King (tbc)
13.00 - Framebuilder Q & A Put your questions to a panel of industry leaders from the framebuilding world.
Pictured from top to bottom: Dear Susan - Princess Freedom Bicycle / Talks at Bespoked 2017 / The Adventure Syndicate / Peacock Groove (photo Zane Spang) / Sven Cycles / Bike Science / Chris King at Bespoked 2017
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Meet the Maker - Feather Cycles Q & A with Ricky Feather of Feather Cycles How long have you been building and how did you get into it? I have been building frames for nearly 9 years now, before that I was doing all sorts of things but all metal work. Coded welding, fabricating, sheet metal. I hated the factory life, however, other than bikes, metal work was all I really knew and so it made a lot sense to combine my passion with my work experience How would you define your style of building? I try not to pigeon hole myself too much, the only thing that can really define my style is that I won’t do anything I’m not comfortable with. Everything I build, I have to know that it will perform well. I’m a perfectionist, maybe that defines my style? Who or what has inspired you? As crazy as it may sound, as I absolutely love building and riding bikes, I don’t find trawling the internet looking at bikes inspiring at all. I also never go in bike shops and look around, ever. I find inspiration almost everywhere else though. I really appreciate good design and properly crafted materialistic items, as seeing these things make me strive to do what I do even better. Jumping on my bike is also a big deal, going out and enjoying a 5hour ride, enjoying every second of it, knowing that what’s underneath you started as a box of raw steel on your own work bench. That is satisfaction at its finest. How many frames have you built and which has been your favourite? I have built around 250 bikes and don’t really have a favourite frame per se. I strive for every bike I build to be my favourite once its finished, otherwise I don’t feel I have achieved my goal.
You work only in steel, what is your tubeset of choice? ‘Tubeset’ isn’t really something that comes up very often as I tend to mix and match tubes from different ranges depending on what I want to achieve from each specific bike. I would say that stainless steel frames tend to be the only time I use a full specific tubeset, Reynolds 953 or Columbus XCr for example. With the more modern race bikes which I have appeared to become more well known for, I have a mix of Columbus tubes which I almost always use as these are thoroughly race proven. One of the race bikes I built for one of my race team members, Jamie Sharp, has taken him to two national championship road racing victories at LVRC V40 level. Nearly everyone who races for the team has won at least one road race or crit aboard a Feather, so I do stick to the same formula for my customers. If someone wants a custom Feather bicycle, what’s the ordering process and how long is your waiting list? The process begins with an exchange of emails, like just about anything these days. I send them my price list and await the potential client’s response. If they are happy with my pricing, we follow up with a phone call to make absolutely sure we’re both on the same page. During the call, we discuss the process; the possibilities, their ideas, my ideas, the reasons custom built can be of benefit mechanically, biomechanically and visually. As well as the frame, we discuss parts too. The current waiting list is about 9 months at the moment. Where is your favourite place to ride and why? Yorkshire. All day long. Mostly North and East Yorkshire. I know the area like the back of my hand, I love the variety of terrain we have here and I couldn’t have a better bunch of mates to ride with anywhere in the world.
How did it feel to win five awards at Bespoked 2017? It was really nice. It was my returning year to the show after a two year break. Most of the bikes were new orders after re-opening my order books in January 2017, so all were very fresh ideas and all were the bikes I was most proud of to date. I was really proud of the Chris King award in particular. Add to this that I was awarded the public vote for the second time, this was a real bonus. The real people, not the industry people. The public are the reason you attend the show, these are your clientele. This means an awful lot to me, that the public loved what I brought to the show. If you weren’t a framebuilder, what would you be? Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. I would hope I would have found another avenue of passion I’d have made a career but I genuinely have no idea what in.
I’m a perfectionist, maybe that defines my style?
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B E S P O K ED
THE UK HANDMADE B I CYCL E S H O W
20-22 APRIL 2018
B R U N EL ’ S O L D S TA T I O N & EN GINE S HED , B R I STO L - BEST RETAIL EVENT -
FRIDAY 20 APRIL 14.00 - 19.00 SATURDAY 21 APRIL 09.30 - 1800 SUNDAY 22 APRIL 09.30 - 16.30
PHOTO : JIM HOLLAND | HARTLEY CYCLES
bespoked.cc @bespokedUK DAY TICKET £20 / 3 DAY TICKET £30 ADVANCE ONLINE DAY TICKET OFFER £15 (AVAILABLE UNTIL END MARCH)
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Published on Mar 8, 2018