Bespoked 2017 – The Singletrack Winners

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We were honoured again this year to be asked to award some, er, awards at this year’s Bespoked Show in Bristol. Some 70 or so of the UK (and beyond)’s framebuilders and building schools were on show in Bristol Temple Meads Engine Shed, along with hundreds of bike fans, fellow framebuilders and would-be framebuilders. The range of bikes, from practical town bikes to custom titanium fat bikes was enormous and choosing three winners was a hard job, but we made it.

The prestigious rosettes

Curtis Bikes Full Suspension

Gary from Curtis bikes showed this lovely, single pivot 150mm full suspension bike. With some of the neatest fillet brazing at the show, hidden by nothing but a clear-coat, we had to give it the nod. Gary had spent many hours building different swingarms until he reckon he’d got the balance right between weight and strength and stiffness.

Gary looking cheerful with his bike. No, that IS his cheerful face
Steel is very real. BTR also showed a new version of its Pinner bike (see next story for that one)
Very shiny
All made in a shed in Somerset


No filing needed here


University of Iowa, ArrowHED.

Steve McGuire runs the framebuilding course at the University of Iowa and brought his own bike, dubbed the ‘ArrowHED’ that he used for the Arrowhead 135 race (a bonkers, mid-winter race that sees snow and seriously cold temperatures). The bike is actually a two-speed – the bike shares front and rear wheel sizes to allow the differently-geared front wheel to swap with the back if conditions change. The super long wheelbase apparently gives great traction and a ton of room for snow/mud. It also leaves a handy space behind the seat tube for big Thermos flasks or other luggage.

Looking for a sub-zero race near you soon.
Room for bottles, flasks or sleeping bags
The HED carbon rims help give the bike its name.
Enough room there?


Dear Susan Beachcomber

Petor Georgallou is the colourful character behind Dear Susan bikes. Despite the scruffy looks of the bike and the verdigris paint job, there was a lot of thought that had gone into this beachcombing hardtail. Based on the late-80s bikes beloved by Geoff Apps (and featured in the History of British Mountain Biking film) it features a high bottom bracket and a short top tube, in contrast to the low and slack mountain bikes that are currently in-vogue. Petor had accessorised the bike with suitably nautical nick-nacks, including fishing nets, a fabric bucket for shell-collecting and a display stand that featured live fish, happily swimming around the plus sized tyres…

The bike, sat in its display tank, complete with live fish
Single sided fork for clearance and ease of tyre changes
Matching Paul’s mechanical brakes. And is that a single sided dyno hub?


Wood fired kettle for those sundowner celebrations
Unconventional, yes, but a bike with a solid story and matching accessories won us over


We’ll have more from the Bespoked Show during the week as we finish sifting through all the photos. Congratulations to all the winners.


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (5)

    Re. Curtis; isn’t that Gary?
    [*Of course it is – that’ll serve me right for captioning in a hurry. Fixed now! Chipps*]

    The [lack of] belt tension on the Beachcomber is doing my head in!

    It’s (primarily) the cable routing for the front brake that’s doing my head in.

    The Curtis, though… Ooooh. Ooooooooh.

    That Curtis looks like an Orange that’s been built by a jeweller. It’s a gorgeous thing.

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