Our Highlights: Bespoked 2019

Brunel’s Old Station and Engine Shed dates back to 1841 and was designed by one of world’s greatest and well-known engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (the man also responsible for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, countless railways around the world and the first propeller-driven, ocean-going, iron ship). Back in May, the old station was transformed into a celebration of a different type of engineering—the framebuilders making the finest and most beautiful custom bikes.

This was our first time attending Bespoked as an exhibitor and we had a great time meeting people who are just as passionate about cycling as we are, showing our Meander jackets and getting some feedback on some future prototypes.

Every year at Bespoked there are some bikes on display that show how much effort builders put into making something truly special and unique and this year was no exception. Below are our highlights.

Saffron Frameworks

Saffron’s frame builder started building bikes in 2009. Having raced bikes on and off the road, their bikes look good and feel right. The paintwork on the bikes at Saffron’s stand are just something else and they deservedly won a number of awards, including Best-In-House Paint. It’s not just the paint though. The detail and craftsmanship on the bikes are outstanding and their approach to the seat cluster design is something that sets the bikes apart.

Visit their website

 
We’re particularly fond of the muted pastels on this bike.

We’re particularly fond of the muted pastels on this bike.

Saffron won numerous awards from Bespoked 2019.

Saffron won numerous awards from Bespoked 2019.

 

Enigma

Enigma make some beautifully finished steel and titanium bikes and brought a good array to the show, from road to a stunning custom steel mountain bike with some pretty flash lettering work. We might be a little biased here, but we think that the nicest Enigma on display was the one parked on our stand. It demonstrated how the Meander Jacket rolls up into a saddle bag (learn more here). Enigma built a bike for us last year, and it absolutely blew us away! They helped choose an amazing shade of blue and colour matched the stem and seat-post, bringing a modern twist on a classic style. All of the finishing and brazing is faultless. Even still, we’re cautious to take it out of our studio! It hangs on the wall for all to admire.

Visit their website

 
 
A stunning array of steel and titanium bikes on display from Enigma.

A stunning array of steel and titanium bikes on display from Enigma.

Here’s a preview of our Enigma bike on our stand at Bespoked 2019.

Here’s a preview of our Enigma bike on our stand at Bespoked 2019.

 

Brevet Cycles

Bespoked is a place to come and admire beautiful shiny things and Brevet definitely had some of the shiniest! We really love the exposed and polished seat and chain stays along with the polished lugs, which give this modern build a classic look. Brevet is run by Sebastian Klein, a French independent builder based in London. He takes his inspiration from the golden age of the French framebuilder when “randonneuring” was at the peak of its popularity and mixes classic bicycle with new materials and technology. If building bespoke bike frames and forks didn’t sound enough, Sebastien also paints each bicycle by hand and builds bespoke accessories like pannier racks and decaleurs.

Visit their website

 
We’re drawn to the beautifully polished seat stays on this frame.

We’re drawn to the beautifully polished seat stays on this frame.

Here’s a fully built-up La Randonneuse Concours de Machines.

Here’s a fully built-up La Randonneuse Concours de Machines.

 

Far away

This year's Bespoked was truly a global affair and that was reflected in the two neighbours. John, the founder of Alpine Luddites, had flown over from Colorado with a collection of his handmade bike bags. He also makes bespoke backpacks, so if you're really small or really big and struggle to find a bag that fits, then John is your man! We also had two amazing characters from ExZentriker in Germany who make eccentric bottom brackets, amongst other things. The show would have been a hell of a lot less fun without them! We particularly loved the hand-printed unicorn t-shirts and bags that were made last minute at the show—and sold out 3 days later!

 
Our neighbours from ExZentriker.

Our neighbours from ExZentriker.

 

Prova Cycles

Prova Cycles flew all the way from Melbourne to exhibit at the show. They produce custom steel and titanium bike frames using the highest quality materials from columbus and reynolds. Prova Cycles won two awards at the show, including Best-In-Show and The Cyclist Magazine Choice’s award for Road Bicycle. The award-winning Speciale road bike uses a blend of steel tubing along with an internally-butted carbon fibre integrated seat post. Hidden away are also some neatly 3D printed components, including the drop-outs and seat cluster. Their aim is to create a super light steel frame, whilst retaining the stiffness and functionality.

Visit their website

Masca Frameworks

We had a great time chatting to Michael Mascarel who builds bespoke steel bikes from his workshop in Reunion Island (yeah, we had to look it up too). Michael says he's at the beginning of his story as a bike builder and that is currently more of an expensive hobby, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the fixed gear bike he brought with him as it looked impeccable and expertly finished.

View his Instagram


Rink Cycles 

One of our founders is one quarter Austrian so it was great to see Rink Cycles flying the flag here in Bristol. Rink make all of their bikes by hand, and produce road bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, urban bikes and even e-bikes—whatever you're into, they have you covered. We particularly like the sporty and refined look of the road racing bike they brought with them to the show.

Visit their website

 

It’s not just bikes

There was plenty of great stuff on display and not just bikes. We spoke with the guys from Spray.Bike who make a dry matte powder coating spray paint specifically for bikes that doesn't drip, dribble or misbehave! It gives a deep, thick layer with just one coat. We struggled with drips and doing the fine detail on our last DIY bike project, so it was great getting some tips and confidence to do another bike renovation. They had a couple of quirky examples on their stand, including the one below which was done with a DIY dip-dye process.

We’ve been on a few bike touring holidays in the past, and have often struggled to find practical (and great looking) bike luggage. It was lovely to discover two British brands offering just that! Yorkshire-based Restrap started life in a back bedroom in 2010 and now have a great range of bike packing products. Focusing more on the city that rugged adventures, Nigel and Charlie launched Frost and Sekers earlier this year. We were particularly impressed by their novel easy removal mechanisms.

 
Spray.bike enjoyed painting this frame so much that they carried on painted everything else too.

Spray.bike enjoyed painting this frame so much that they carried on painted everything else too.

A new range of saddle and handle bar bags from Frost and Sekers.

A new range of saddle and handle bar bags from Frost and Sekers.

 

The Bicycle Academy

If you’ve seen all these handmade bikes and think “I want to have a go!” then The Bicycle Academy is the place to go. They offer 7-day and 10-day frame building courses from their workshop in Frome, Somerset. There are no prerequisites and you’ll learn everything from the design stage to fillet brazing and finishing. You’ll end up taking home a perfectly finished bike you built yourself. We will definitely do the course when we get a spare minute! We were drawn to their display of beautiful fillet brazing. It apparently takes around 8 hours per joint to get the perfectly smooth finish that was on show.

Visit their website

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2020 is already in the planning and will mark the 10th Anniversary of Bespoked and we've heard that they’re pulling out all the stops to celebrate a decade of gathering the world's best handcrafted bicycles, accompanying lifestyle products and their makers together under one roof. Keep an eye on the Bespoked website or sign up to find out when tickets are released and we’ll see you there.

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