The British handbuilt bicycle show
For the first time in a few years, we're not exhibiting at Bespoked this year, so I decided to pop down to catch up with folk. As I had the unusual pleasure of being able to wander around during the press opening, I thought I'd share some of the hidden treasures that caught my eye.
Mark from Prova has to be one of the most unassuming guys I've ever met. His engineering talent is on display on his bike in equal measures with his design acumen.
What catches my eye isn't the immaculate welding and fabrication, or the functionally beautiful 3D printed parts that he uses. What I really like is the obvious attention to the geometry Mark uses when designing his bikes.
I've known Rob for a few years now and his enthusiasm never fails to amaze. The bike he has on display is a great mix of new technology, fabrication skill and the paint scheme is worth a double take. No it's not hand painted but all separately masked and perfectly smooth!
I bumped into Ricky and Sally whilst walking into the show. Ricky has a bike that will be on display on the Rapha booth on Saturday and Sunday, but as they had come down a day early they were looking for a place for the bike to go for the day. The guys at Columbus tubing obliged and we got to see this little beauty a day early! I love how refined Ricky has gotten the small details, such as the neat seat clamp design.
Whilst at the COLUMBUS stand I couldn't help but geek out on the new Centenary Edition tube set they've produced. I've got to find a client who wants a frame built out of that this year!!! Also some great new forks and triple bend seat stays that will look great on our new Meteor Works production bike, the Æsir.
TED JAMES DESIGNS & RIDEWORKS
Always good to catch up with Ted and Paul to chew the fat over all things fine engineering. I'm excited to learn Ted has recently got a CNC mill and am looking forward to seeing any designs that have been gestating for a while become achievable now!
Also really pleased to see that contrary to my recent moan on Instagram, that nobody seems to make a bb for T47 DUB axles, Paul had one on display that he's been making for ages. Should've known that the guy only 20 minutes from our workshop would be on the case.
ISLA BIKES - IMAGINE PROJECT
I was at a talk last year with Isla Rowntree, where she was discussing her idea to create a range of sustainable lease bikes for kids, that would create a circular manufacturing process. These bikes are the result of her labours so far and I have to say they look great and I think will only get better the older they get once they start to develop a patina of use. Great to see a bit of forward thinking in the industry.
I know nothing about these guys, but I certainly loved their take on the classic Porteur bike.
Always good to catch up with Christian from LAKE and as anyone that has been to the studio will know, we are a big fan of his products. If you're at the show take a good look at the custom colour options and then while away some time thinking about what colour combination you would go for.
BEAR FRAME SUPPLIES
Good to catch up with the chaps at BFS. It's really refreshing to see a UK manufacturer that has carved out such a strong niche in the space of a few short years to become such an important supplier for so many of the UK frame building community. Anyone who follows our frame building arm, Meteor Works, will know what a fan of their dropouts we are.
ABBEY BIKE TOOLS
Great to chat to the guys from ABBEY and see a larger selection of their high quality professional tools. I use the thru axle wheel building spacer every week and could not do with out it now. I think the box below might go on my Christmas list!!
This lovely little jump bike grabbed my attention. It reminded me of the PK Flyer for some reason, probably the colour (showing my age). Their gearbox MTB is also a thing of beauty. Seek them out!
I loved the custom leather saddle recovering offered by Hannah, so much so we are going to try and make them available from the studio as soon as we can. They will be the perfect finishing touch to that custom bike to make it truly unique.
Matt Sowter had a collection of his work from this year which didn't disappoint. He seems to have honed his frame design to a fine art and the guys who do his paintwork must have been working overtime this year. My favourite was a multicoloured matt finish road bike.
...and that's it. I only had a couple of hours to whizz round, so I'm sure I missed as much as I saw. What I can say is that Phil has put on another cracking show which is an essential visit if you consider yourself a discerning cyclist. Here's to next year!
Words and photography by
IBFI Level 4 Bike fitter at Velo Atelier and custom frame builder and painter at Meteor Works, also makes a good cup of tea.