Bespoked - The UK Handmade Bicycle Show - A Celebration of Handmade Bicycles & Those Who Make Them
Bespoked is celebration of handmade bicycles and those who make them.
Described by Cyclist magazine as “the ultimate handmade bicycle show”, Bespoked was originally conceived by Phil Taylor, a Stroud-based frame builder and passionate cyclist. Having set out to make his own bike in 2009, he wondered why there wasn’t a UK event like NAHBS (The North American Handmade Bike Show) where British frame builders could not only show their work to a wider public but swap ideas and create a framebuilding community.
Working alongside his wife Tessa, Phil’s vision was realised at the first Bespoked show, held at Paintworks, Bristol, in May 2011. As the event expanded over the following decade, it moved up the road to Brunel’s Old Station at Temple Meads – apart from a special 2014 edition at the Olympic Velodrome in London which featured over 120 exhibitors drawn from as far afield as the USA, Australia and Taiwan.
Now expanded to include a diverse range of component and accessory makers, alongside talks, panel discussions and film screenings, Bespoked remains a show dedicated to framebuilders producing one-off custom frames. Most of the bikes on display will have been built to commission, and are the result of a unique partnership between maker and rider.
“We started Bespoked to celebrate the work of independent framebuilders and the wider cycling community,” says Phil. “But it’s been amazing to witness how interest has grown over the years. We’re proud to have been part of creating a new culture for handmade bikes and help connect pioneering builders with adventurous riders.”
Celebrating traditional building methods and classically styled machines, whether constructed for road, mountain trail or town, Bespoked also showcases the innovative and unexpected, including alternative visions that test the limits of what a bicycle can be. With over 100 exhibitors from around the world using a diverse range of materials, including wood, Bespoked offers a fascinating view of handmade framebuilding today – and where it’s headed in the future.
“For us, the show is a tribute to the passion of our exhibitors about what they design and make,” says Tessa. “Everyone who visits Bespoked has the chance to encounter the bicycle of their dreams.”
SPECIAL REPORT - BESPOKED 2019.
"Anybody who did not come did not only miss some brilliant bikes but more importantly, maybe, the best atmosphere and vibe of any bike show I have personally been to bar none." Mathias Scherer, Mawis Bikes
The ninth Bespoked show took place over the bank holiday weekend at Brunel's Old Station in Bristol, with another astonishing array of handmade custom bicycles and more sparkle and magic than ever. It just gets better! With over 100 exhibitors from across the globe making bicycles from steel, carbon, titanium, carbon and wood plus a mouth-watering display of exquisitely good components and accessories, there was truly something for everyone.
"Your show is like a birthday party for us, the atmosphere, the friends, the presents..." Mindaugas Zukauskas, Wittson Custom Ti Cycles
The show reflected the growing popularity in bike-packing and gravel bikes. Ted James won two awards; The Singletrack Choice for his Ti Adventure Bike as well as the Pannier Choice for his Ti MTB Tourer, which arrived at the show freshly splattered with mud. Pi Manson from Clandestine impressed all with his versatile Carrier - a commuter bike that easily converts into a dirt-friendly steed and won the Grit CX Choice for an off road drop bar. Meanwhile American exhibitors Alpine Luddites and home-grown Restrap showed an inspiring range of pack and bags for every conceivable adventure.
"..Every booth you went to there was some extra detail lurking for anyone who talked to the builders themselves – some extra feature or add-on that wasn’t immediately obvious on first look." Singletrack
Australian Prova Cycles swept the awards board winning Best in Show, The Cyclist Magazine Choice Award and the Road.cc Choice award with Speciale. The long trip over was worthwhile! Made from Stainless Steel with both Reynolds 953 and Columbus XCR, it also features 3D printed dropouts and seat cluster. 3D printed technology could also be seen on Quirk Cycles, who used 3D printed stainless steel drop outs and seat lugs on an eye-catching new gravel bike (which also featured real silver in the paint work).
"If you want to see some of the finest and most beautifully made custom frames, this is the show for you. In its 9 years, it has never failed to deliver some spectacular bikes with the sort of attention to detail you rarely see in the rest of the bike world. " Road.cc
The talks were more diverse than ever. Chris King and the IslaBike Imagine project headed up a panel discussing sustainability in the bicycle industry, former round the world record holder Vin Cox chaired a discussion on long distance cycling/racing and of course there was the opportunity to talk all things framebuilding at the Ti builders panel, Framebuilders Q & A and 'Building your own frame' talk by The Bicycle Academy.
And if that wasn't magic enough, how about Moss Bikes' Silver Eagle? With a 520in gear, bowsprit, parachute and fat, fat tyres it already holds the European speed record for drafted cycling at 149mph. The next goal is the world speed record of 183mph (if they can find a long enough runway).
"..Another cracking show which is an essential visit if you consider yourself a discerning cyclist. Here's to next year!" Velo Atelier