Bespoked 2015 – Back in Bristol

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We all like shiny things, right? And sometimes, even better than shiny things are ones which have been lovingly crafted in small quantities and carry an air of the exotic and rare.  So on Friday, Barney and Tom popped down to Bristol to see what they could sniff out at Bespoked 2015 – the UK Handmade Bicycle Show.

Bespoked has built a reputation as Europe’s leading handmade bicycle show. And after a foray to That London last year, it has returned to its Bristol motherland. The show is running over the weekend, but we snuck in early to find the bestest, most innovative, prettiest bikes and share them with you. As we all know though, bikes (especially the custom detailing on show here) look best in the flesh, so if you get the chance to visit, it really is worthwhile (a lot of the goings on are right next door to the train station). Let’s take a look at some of the mountainbikery highlights:

Shand Cycles

DSC_0317The Bahookie: Steel 29er with a Rolhoff and a very nice carbon fork custom painted to match the frame.

DSC_0318Camo anyone?

DSC_0320Polydrop dropouts. There’s a cunning split in there so you can run a belt if you want to. And the dropouts are interchangeable. Yummm.

DSC_0328We like this colourscheme – based on the old Lancia Stratos, trivia fans…

More info: Shand

Hartley Cycles

DSC_0357This custom semi-fat adventuremonster was made to a customer’s spec. with his own kit…

DSC_0361…hence the unusual brake/shifter/drivetrain combo. Very pretty still.

More info: Hartley

Farrer Cycles

DSC_0365Rob and Ian Farrer were showing this lovely looking 29er hardtail with the shortest chainstays I’ve ever seen – 210mm – thanks to that bent seattube. There’s an eccentric in the BB too, so you can alter the BB length.

DSC_0370Lovely detailing.

Details: Farrer

Cofa Engineering 

DSC_0373Steve Major (excellent name) was on hand to show us the extrordinary frame he made for the UK’s tallest chap (he was 7’7″). He relishes a challenge…

DSC_0377He’s also got this frame which exists primarily to showcase the machining capability of his company. Everything on this frame is machined…

DSC_0380Which is rather impressive…

Details: Cofa Engineering


DSC_0385Chris King’s bike company were showing off their new mountain bike frame. This one had an ENVE fork, XTR, and quite a high YUM factor…

Automatic Cycles

DSC_0421Our mate John Ross (AKA Shaggy) had this ace fatbike, which he built for his wife. She’s not hugely tall, so squeezing everything in was quite a challenge.


DSC_0422Here’s his carbon seat-tubed XC bike, with…

DSC_0423Commendable mid-ride refreshment (sadly used).

Details: Automatic Cycles


DSC_0424Techno-bike for kids with dwarfism from Curtis.


Details: Curtis Cycles


DSC_0434Frankly incredible Ti DH monster made by (I think) the Japanses DH champion himself Eiji Konishi. I say ‘I think’ because my Japanses isn’t so hot. But…

DSC_0436LOOK AT THAT BACK END! He’s not making things easy for himself. Amazing job.

Details (in Japanese): Ogre

Peter Charnaud

DSC_0438Peter has made a wooden full sus, designed for burly riding and possibly DH. It’s made of London plane wood in the centre, and Walnut on the outside.

DSC_0440It’s hollow, so it’s got internal gear routing, natch.

Details here

Swarf Cycles

DSC_0452As well as pushing his Spline hardtails (Barney’s got one on long term review, folks), Adrian from Swarf had this fantastic carbon mono-blade balance bike on display. It’s carbon layered up over a foam core, and it looks gorgeous.

DSC_0453Nice paintjobs on the Splines, too – all thanks to


Details: Swarf Cycles


DSC_0466Masterful Ti frame and fork from Whittson. Totally tailorable. Not cheap, but oooooooooh….

DSC_0469Lovely welds…

Details: Whittson

Seren bicycles

DSC_0472The folks at Frome based Seren don’t normally make mountain bikes, but apparently there’s a pump track nearby, so temptation took the better of them. It’s got a ‘dipped’ graphic, which is floated on top of a liquid, and the primed frame is dipped into it. You then repeat on the other side, and you too could have some thing as awesome-looking as…

DSC_0473…this. Fab.

Seren Bicycles


DSC_0474This bike is unusual in lots of different ways – there’s the belt drive, sure – but those downtube 4130 steel rods are rider-tuned to give more stiffness than Reynolds 953 (apparently a bit flexy). Splitting them like that puts the forces on the outside of the BB92. Plus they look mental. The final project is going to be completely 953 and 921 stainless steel. Stevo has a kickstarter up and running to finish the project – you can see it here!

DSC_0476Details: Olsen Bicycles

It’s a sign of the rude health of the handmade/bespoke bike industry in the UK that the show now spans two venues. 90 (including 30 new exhibitors for 2015) builders and manufacturers of cycle technology are housed in the fitting location of Brunel’s Old Station, while purveyors of handmade cycling goods and design are a 15 minute walk (or 5 minute bike ride) away in The Arnolfini on the waterfront – which is also a great place to grab coffee.

Stay tuned for more from Bespoked 2015 over the next few days…

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