Well it’s been and gone now. What a show. Lets go back a few years first, i met David Turner of Turner Bikes USA, he got a bit shouty with me (i upset him) in the shouting at me he wanted to know what happened to the british bike industry ? where did all the frame builders go ? he was aware of Curtis, and i scored points as i was aware of Smoke bikes in the USA but i couldnt really name any british builders apart from Curtis. Turner wanted to know why we didnt have a show over here like the NAHMBS in the USA , i couldnt answer. all i could say was the builders are out there, somewhere, you have to find them. a bloke in a shed can only make so many frames a year, it’s word of mouth, they dont all want the PR as they cant meet the demand, i know i have tried to contact some, they really dont have the time to reply, unless you really really want them to make a frame for you.
Then Phil and Tessa Taylor made this happen in Bristol, the dates changed, it has grown from a few to a lot of people coming, check www.bespokedbristol.co.uk for all the details. It was more urban road, fixed wheel bikes than mountain bikes, but for us bike nuts (and geeks) out there it really is worth a trip. For now i am just doing an overview of the show, in time i will focus more on what stood out for me, break it down to little bits, i took 132 photos, we dont have the bandwidth to dump the lot in one hit. straight off it will happen next year 23-25 March 2012 we WILL be going next year as it might be a bit bigger, i have dumped some piccys on the hardtailnation facebook page and heres some of them again. but more to come.
Phil Taylor the man behind the show, and www.downlandcycles.co.uk behind him who do framebuilding courses.
The loverly Mrs Demon, i will be doing an indepth bit on www.demonframeworks.com later on as they do a lugged steel jump frame, so more photos of that later in the week. I have been aware of Demon for a while so getting to meet them and see the frames was really nice.
I took this photo of TBA and had a chat with the chap there, i went on to take more photos, you can see the mini frame behind the TV screen…well they are badged up as “Curtis” i spent 10 mins talking to Brian Curtis, a UK bike building Legend, he and Andrew Denham (black cannon collective) are trying to get www.thebicycleacademy.org up and running, Brians own words ” i am not getting any younger, i want to pass on my Knowledge for the future” yep learn to braze a frame with Brian Curtis, if you live in the south west you must have a look at this. again a more indepth bit to come later on “tba”
Rourke Cycles, mostly road/track but tucked away was an 853 single speeder, again more to come on this. I got to the show just after 9am and it was getting busy, they where still trying to open up, by 10 it was busy by 11 it was really busy, i expected it to be a bit quiet, so did some of the people there, it was a surprise how many press and industry people turned up to check it out, if you come to this and think it’s just full of fixies you have no soul, the level of craftmanship on display was something else.
www.18bikes.co.uk as it turns out, they arent to far away from me up north…maybe a future day trip to have a look, again an 853 singlespeeder, i like single speeds and found some cracking ones chained up outside.
www.milkbikes.com a proto belt drive mountain bike, and yes you guessed more to come later, they had 3 bikes on show all belt drive and hub gears (the future ?) some neat graphics and design.
Lugged steel roadie frames from Enigma, if i had the money i could have spent several grand over the weekend and just hung the frames on my wall at home. www.enigmabikes.com and yes they do mountain bike frames too.
Coolest stand from www.freshtripe.co.uk not a frame builder but they deal in vintage and retro parts, and i took a fancy to there wire bottle cages, one more for the commuter sunday best urban riders out there, but some nice retro bits and bobs, and avery happy man looking after things, the presentation made it for me on this stand.
www.feathercycles.com more to come, Ricky like some of the others is a solo setup working from a shed, a better website is in the pipeline, only road and track frames but my word are they nice.
Hammoon headtube badges, when this much detail goes into the badge, well more to come, really nice little bits of detail on the 4x frame and xc frame and Mrs Demon was in love with the custom small size roadbike they had there.
I liked this cold war Soviet Union style graphic from www.brothercycles.com it would look fab hanging on my wall, maybe better built up to ride.
www.kajakcustom.com 14bikes 653 polo bike headtube badge, side angle to come later, laquer over a raw finish, nice very nice.
Well there is more to come, i cant squeeze all the people in one go, the show guide is also a list of UK frame builders as well, few more than i expected, they are out there if you know where to look, then again a lot of them will gather again in Bristol next year, if you like bikes then this really is a grand day out, and i had as much fun walking round the carpark looking at all the bikes that got ridden to the show as well, one for your diarys next year.