The Bristol Bespoked Show

by Chipps 21

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.

Phil and Tessa, your organisers

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:

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.

As yet unnamed, and as of a fortnight ago, still an idea...

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.

Made from steel. Who knows what a production one will be made of?

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.

Comments (21)

  1. Liking the full sus 18 bikes!

  2. Really enjoyed it today – I was the one getting in everyones way with the double buggy!

  3. Not a a fan of most full suss designs but that 18 bikes looks great
    think a trip down down next year

  4. Love a go on that 18 Full sus. Looks cool.

  5. it was great to see the craftsmanship from companies that made there own bikes and parts and I was inspired to go on a 5 day frame building course to gain some man skills ha ha. not many mountain bikes though very much single speed tight jeans and hipster crowd but its bristol. Yeah was hoping for more hand built mountain bikes from people in sheds but thats not taking anything away from the show just what I was expecting in my head

  6. really enjoyed the show & talking to so many enthusiastic frame builders. I was so impressed with Tom at Demon Frameworks that I’ve started the ball rolling on a custom frame… 🙂

  7. Wouldn’t mind a 29er full sus from 18 bikes.

    Thought they’d go with a Ventana back end though.

  8. Thanks for posting the pics – looked like a good show – will plan to go next time…

  9. Enjoyed that – even my non bikey mate enjoyed it. Lot’s of really nice people making interesting bikes and bits.

  10. Went down today, some really cool stuff there. demon bikes were impressive and a deserved winner. Very interesting to see the jigs and other tools of the trade. Me and a mate want to give it a go now!

  11. t’was an excellent event.

    have a real hankering for more toys now, and the “dream bike” in my head has had a few detailing modifications too.

    there was something really pretty about the 18 bike too 🙂 some nice details on it.

  12. what you on about 1st independent full sus frame designs? cotic, pace, curtis, orange all independent uk companies all done full sus designs……….everyone starts somewhere.

  13. erm… – nick – ‘amongst the 1st’ and given your list, that would be right.

  14. cotic, pace and orange don’t do custom.

  15. That looks awful, sorry.

    Like a snapped Heckler. 🙁

  16. Went on Saturday, v cool, but agree, not enough mtbs….. I’ve recently finished my third and the people there have inspired me to take it further.

  17. tootall yes amongst, but then the recent shuttle flight wasn’t amongst the first was it? even though curtis and orange and pace were doing full sus 10 15 years ago.
    thom, no they don’t but then their sizing fit most people most of the time.

  18. Im sorry but that 18 bikes frame aint pretty guys.

    It looks like a gay brooklyn

  19. Build it as it is-do not change to coke can crap aluminium.

    This is a gap in the market-a steel burly (Ish) fun to ride full susser that is never going to be the fastest/lightest but that shrugs off rock damage that aluminium just cant do that inevitably happens riding in places like Lee Quarry.
    A full suss version of the Bluepig?

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