Bespoked UK Handmade Bicycle Show has become something of an institution in its relatively short life. There seems to be a real boom in custom handmade bike building in the UK at the moment, and there can be no doubt that a show like this does a huge amount to promote the work of some very skilled craftsmen and women.
The 2016 edition was well attended, with nearly 6000 people visiting to ogle. Amongst them were two grizzled grit.cx representatives – John ‘Shaggy’ Ross of Automatic Cycles has exhibited at Bespoked in the past, and Jon Meredith has a bordering-on-obsessive eye for detail when it comes to bikes. They both carried a weight of responsibility on their shoulders, judging the best cyclocross bicycles in the show. The definition of ‘cross was a loose one, with all drop-barred off-roaders in with a shout.
The guys selected three beauties worthy of commendation:
The Hartley Cycles 953 Design Museum Gravel Bike
Caren Hartley of Hartley Cycles has an amazing eye for detail, and uses it to create objects of utter beauty. This gravel bike was designed and built for the Design Museum’s Cycle Revolution Exhibition. Made out of Reynolds 953 stainless steel, it features Caren’s usual special touches. The seatpost clamp detailing is made out of solid silver and the paint is pretty lustrous.
This Rohlhoff version of Shand’s classic Stooshie combines classic good looks with a hefty dose of practicality. Taking advantage of a clever Gebla Rohbox, it allows a SRAM shifter to be used in conjunction with a Rohlhoff internally geared hub. Add in a belt drive and you have a great looking functional bike that will churn out the miles come rain or shine.
Sturdy Cycles CX
The Sturdy Cycles CX bike features a carbon fibre integrated seatmast, with quite possibly the pimpiest paintjob Grit has seen in some time. Eye-catching is an understatement.
Well done to the three winners, and to all the exhibitors at the show. Our team left mightily impressed.
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.”