by Barney Marsh
April 21, 2016
Bespoked Bristol 2016 happened last week – and Singletrack was very honoured to be asked to field a judge or two. We sent a couple of Singletrack Stalwarts – Shaggy Ross of Automatic Cycles has exhibited at Bespoked in the past, and Jon Meredith is well versed in the minutiae of all things bicyclic.
Jon: “It was a very professional show – Phil Taylor and the team did a superb job organising the show and the venue; accessibility and on-line presence were all excellent. The vibe at the show was one of interest, enthusiasm and positivity from show-goers, staff and exhibitors alike.
“It seems that the UK has re-established a rich vein of frame builders of all bicycle types – from the frivolous and fancy, through hard-core full suspension bikes, to gazelle-like road bikes and loaded tourers.
“The standard of manufacture in general was exceptional. It was very difficult to pull out highlights and winners for the awards, but those who did receive an award represented a select few. They have clearly mastered all aspects of the building process, from design and communication with customer through to delivery of bikes that will no doubt be the apple of their owners eye.
“A great show and i for one am looking forward to 2017.”
The Singletrack Choice awards went to three bikes:
Ted James Design’s Green MTB
Shaggy: “The Green Ted James Design looked like a really fun mountain bike. Lots of really nice details, a mix of nice modern geometry, neat bent chain stays to allow for the low mount disk and retro looking socket dropouts. It has a really nice powdercoat with masked stainless head tube badge, and it’s made in Reynolds 853 steel. Ted was still putting stickers on when I arrived on Friday!”
Jon: “Oh, the Ted James green jump bike. A very well finished presentation. I particularly liked the use of his own-made or designed frame components. Nice dropped stays for chainstay mounted disc caliper; clearly a bike made to be ridden hard.”
Shaggy: “Winter’s Eric Estlund has been a regular exhibitor at the show. He has become well known for the exemplary track and touring bikes he has shown in previous years. Things changed somewhat this year though. Until recently he was based in Oregon, but he upped sticks and moved across the US to State College, Pennsylvania. The area has some amazing mountain bike riding, and this prompted him to build himself a mountain bike.
“The Winter is lush. And he did the paint himself too. It was the second ever frame he painted”.
Jon: “There’s some cutting edge hardtail design here – and it’s b+/29er possible. A fun trail geometry in an uber clean construction – faultless really. In house stem and fork; compatible with suspension … and that beautiful finish – which looked like he had been painting complex finishes all his life.”
Shaggy: “The Starling was built in Bristol from all steel construction, with a custom-tuned shock. Lovely machining, a cool laser-cut head-tube gusset with starling cutouts. I liked the fact that it was nice ald long (although he does custom geometry) and it’s made of a mix of True Temper Supertherm – for a tough downtube – and Columbus tubing.”
Jon: ” This is one of a small handful of full-suspension mountain bikes available custom made. Wonderful attention to detail, neat gussets, super clean joints and finishing. And of course, modern geometry and strong-looking suspension”.