Steve Makin has been reporting for us from the hand-built bike show that’s going on in Bristol. He starts by talking to Phil and Tessa Taylor, organisers of the UK’s 1st hand built bicycle show, Bespoked Bristol.
Phil wanted a bike to commute on and carry the kids around, he couldn’t find anything commercially available that ticked all of his boxes so he decided that he would learn to weld and build his own frame, in between buying the tubes and taking welding lessons he started thinking about why there wasn’t a collective show or gathering where UK frame builders could show their wares and share their passions.
Having previously organised the Brighton Art show, Phil and Tessa knew how to organise shows and what it would take to get one off the ground, lots of hard work, patience and the ability to talk the frame builders into joining the show, sometime last year Phil started to gather his thoughts and get things moving. Despite some solid support by 6 or 7 exhibitors the show didn’t get going due to Phil taking a tumble and breaking his ankle. This, however turned into a golden opportunity.
Putting his recuperation time to good use, Phil and Tessa set to organising this year’s show, gathering together 31 different frame builders, importers, designers, and bike industry types, all coming together in Bristol for the 1st ever UK hand made bicycle show, held over two days the show has attracted a solid crowd of enthusiasts (including people from Japan, Guernsey and Poland) all poring over every detail of the bikes and equipment on display. Bikes of all type were on display, in fact every niche you could think of was covered, and then some.
Despite Phil and Tessa’s concerns the show has been a great success, in fact so confident are they that they have booked the venue already for next year’s show. And Phil’s own-built bike? The tubes that he bought to build his frame are still in the wrapper as he spent all his time organising the show!
Find out more at: www.bespokedbristol.co.uk
18 Bikes Prototype
10 days from conception to being ridden: the idea of Matt and Simon Bowns of 18 Bikes was to be amongst the 1st ever independent UK framebuilders to tackle a full suspension bike.
Matt designed and fabricated the bike from steel as that was what he had available to hand, choosing the single pivot design reminiscent of Santa Cruz bikes of old but incorporating all the modern touches such as a 30.9 seat tube to enable a dropper post to be fitted, a slack 66.5° tapered head tube to get the most from 140mm forks and a willingness to experiment with both construction techniques and design issues. This is the first try out for 18 bikes, and although they are nowhere near being locked into this design and the bike rides as well as expected, the fabrication was difficult due to their own hand-made jig being made for hardtail frames. However, through the cunning use of G-clamps, plywood and elastic bands Matt managed to build the frame with only one alteration needed for alignment issues.
A fantastic effort for a young frame builder who clearly is not afraid to try different ideas, both his own and customers’. Version 2 will be even better.