Sign up for our newsletter

Bespoked 2021 gallery: Revenge of the smith with custom bikes galore

18 Oct 2021

Having been cancelled in 2020, the UK handmade bicycle show returned at the weekend. We headed down to capture some of the highlights

Words: Will Strickson Photos: Col Morley

Lockdown took a lot away from us in 2020 including toilet roll, the Tour of Guangxi and feeling comfortable in public. One of the biggest things we missed was Bespoked, the UK's handmade bicycle show.

Last weekend it finally returned, with frame builders, component brands and a public desperate to check out some steel workmanship descended – and ascended – upon Harrogate Convention Centre in north Yorkshire.

Cyclist was fortunate enough to be invited down on Friday to check out the show, see some old friends and find new material for the magazine. Here are some of the highlights and stories to look out for in future editions.

Look at the delight on this guy's face as he checks out the work of Spoon Customs, you can't get that over Zoom.

Ironbridge's Swallow has been building bikes for over 40 years, meaning, alongside classic road and touring bikes, Pete and Rob have built gravel bikes since they were mountain bikes.

This one, kitted out with Dutch-style Jones handlebar, Pinion gearing and a belt drive system, is a versatile, electric-ready bike perfect for commuting and delivers a lesson in the finer details.

Hope was also there with its aerodynamic beasts in the form of Team GB's Olympic track bike, and the unique time-trial bike ridden by Ethan Vernon in the World Championships. A live lay-up was also on display and, as you can imagine, it caught an eye or two.

What do you do when the government imposes a six o'clock couvre-feu? Head to the workshop and start a bike company. At least that's what Marie and Laurent of Avalanche Cycles did.

Producing sleek steel road and gravel bikes built for the mountains, the pair do it all, right through to the stunning paint jobs.

While bike builders tend to be more down to earth than most, American brand Thomson, which specialises in using aerospace technology for bike parts and framesets, also made an appearance. Who needs spaceships when you can have a bike?

No prizes for guessing whose bike this is. An impressive TIG welded frame built from Columbus XCr and Spirit shows what Ryden Bikes is all about. The Subaru World Rally paint isn't bad either.

Darren Ryden was also showing off a geometry alignment tool and an app he created for super easy set ups with helpful calculations of saddle height, saddle set back, saddle tilt, bottom bracket height, handlebar height, saddle to handlebar distance and handlebar drop.

Bespoked's previous home in Bristol was in a room with huge windows drawing in light from all angles, but this time windows were the only thing missing. That might've helped draw attention to what mattered though, as Enigma Bicycle Works's display proved.

Hallett Handbuilt Bicycles was showing off this beautiful vintage build with downtube shifters.

As former technical editor of Cycling Weekly he's ridden one or two and knows all about details. Check out his handmade steel stem and the fine detailing on the top tube.

It's not all metal, Twmpa Cycles was among the builders present who specialise in wooden frames. Talk about a conversation piece.

While some travelled far, Leeds-based bag maker Restrap didn't have far to come with its collaboration with Look.

When we say handbuilt bikes are works of art, we mean it and this one from Sébastien Klein's Brevet Cycles proves it and more.

There isn't enough space here for all the highlights of this bike but take a peek at the fine cantilever brakes.

Some of our old friends were present, pictured left is Pi Manson of Clandestine, who featured in Cyclist issue 119, out now.

For off-road adventures, you'll struggle to find as good a weapon as this creation from Teme Frameworks and yes, it's a single speed.

There are mounts galore for your bags and bottles because this one screams bikepacking fun – provided you avoid big hills and don't fancy a walk – but where's the gravel spirit in that?

Italian carbon frame builder Cybro Industries made the trip over to Harrogate for the show and brought builds like this one that features flashes of bare carbon in the detailing.

Mountain bike specialist Ra Bikes had several feats of engineering on display and none of them would struggle on your local singletrack. This gravel bike, the Valraven, features a dropper post and front suspension in the form of the new Rockshox's Rudy XPLR fork.

Inspiration for the name taken from the Egyptain sun god Ra but these bikes are devised, built and find their home in north Yorkshire.

Bikes are great, aren't they?

If there was a single bike that summed up all that custom bikes offer, it's this fixie from Dear Susan. Radical tubing, a paintjob you absolutely wouldn't find anywhere else, a Lauf Grit gravel suspension fork and plenty of naked steel.

Sadly, this is Petor's last bike. But happily, that's because he's taking over the running of Bespoked from Phil and Tessa, so we're hoping his influence will spread throughout the weekend next year. See you then!

For more visit or check out their Instagram page @bespokeduk.