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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:23 pm 
Pumpy's Bear
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The UK Handmade Bicycle Show 2011 - A Review

On 11th and 12th June 2011, BespokedBristol hosted the inaugural UK Handmade Bicycle Show, with a nod to the well established North American Handmade Bike Show. Obviously the bikes featured would be handmade in the UK. On the evening of the 10th, The Guvnor and I, living the dream, went along to check it out.

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The Venue

I’d not been to a press launch before and had visions of scantily clad lovelies plying us with special edition freebies in exchange for a few hard bitten words pf prose. Arriving to be met with a complimentary gin’n’juice had me feeling like Snoop Dogg, with my mind on my money and my money on my mind. It was a good start indeed.

First impressions were of quite a few young men sporting beards, tweed caps and looking overly serious. Determined not be be swayed by my prejudices against hipster chic (and secretly a bit envious that a) I hadn’t the foresight to grow a beard; b) I can’t grow one anyway. The lack of a tweed cap was a schoolboy error though), we plunged in among the bikes. Although there was some diffidence, the reality was that behind some ‘too cool for school’ facades there was serious enthusiasm and some top drawer workmanship on display.

A few highlights included:

Milk Bikes

The chaps at Milk Bikes with their belt drive bikes featuring the neatest, least obtrusive ‘frame break’ that I’ve yet seen.

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Milk belt drive close up


Tokyo Fixed

Tokyo Fixed – along with the John Player Special inspired black and gold Nagawasa track frame, these guys had their own frames, fresh from the build. The all purpose fillet brazed, Columbus Thron tubed frameset looked great and not too dissimilar to a Surly Crosscheck (bar the addition of fillet brazing and bosses for low rider front panniers). Built up with Paul’s cantis, White Industries chainset and downtube shifters (yes, rather belying their name, this was a geared bike although they had the same in singlespeed/fixed version) it looked just the thing for long, lazy miles in the saddle through sun dappled lanes.

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Tokyo Fixed Cantis and Fork

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Nagasawa forks


Brian Rourke

Brian Rourke featured Rob Penn’s “The Story of the Bike” 953 special, great to see it close up and from the bar tape it’s most definitely a rider. Also on the stand were a host of beautifully finished traditional looking steel frames that had all the up to date features that you could wish for – a SRAM Red equipped 953 beauty in stealthy black with red and white highlights looked super fast. They also had a great number of framed photos on their wall including a very casual looking Nicole Cook, out on a training ride, leaning against a dry stone wall. We’ve all done that when we fancied a quick stop, difference is that we haven’t earned the rainbow jersey that she’s wearing. Cool.

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Rob Penn's Rourke 953


Lee Cooper / Alex Hatfield concepts

Lee Cooper – possibly my favourite stand with four stunning bikes accompanied by Alex Hatfield who could wax lyrical about them and explain how he’d wanted to keep everything as centred on Coventry as possible. Best story was how he’d got some wooden rims from Italy and decided to build a bike around them. Sensibly deciding against rim braking (I understand you can use cork blocks but with polished wood I wouldn’t fancy it too much in the wet), he’d gone with a kickback brake leaving everything cable free and stripped back, Unplugged if you will. The beautiful matching Nitto stem and post were the clinchers, particularly as the ‘not available in the UK and rudely pricey’ stem illustrated that in creating something beautiful there’s no point in scrimping, a point I must learn when lashing together another build.

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Lee Cooper Celeste Cruiser

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Lee Cooper Sky Blue


Freshtripe

Freshtripe showcased all the tidy Velo Orange range. If you need some retro inspired parts and are struggling to find what you want, or don’t want to wear out your Super Record pedals on the daily grind, there’s quite a bit of classy looking polished alloy stuff available. The Nuovo Record equipped Alan on display wasn’t too dusty either.

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Fresh Tripe is served!


Feather

Feather – I’d not heard of Feather before but was taken by the classic lines of a customers track bike with the full set of NOS Dura Ace Pista kit and blue Concor saddle. The fillet brazed bar/stem combo really topped it off.


Enigma

Enigma – a ti frameset looked a bit vanilla against the other stuff on show but we were drawn to the graffiti painted ti frame, not built up but it would really be riding a work of art. Take that, Wolfman.

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Enigma graffiti

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Enigma graffiti headtube - a homage to the wolfman?


Donhou Bicycles

Donhou Bicycles – another new one to me but some really interesting frame detailing and the top cap steerer lock was a particularly nice touch.

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Donohou stem detail


Other highlights

A few other highlights from the show

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Demon headtube lugwork detail

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Condor Classico

A whole host of further photos can be found here.


To Conclude

Best bike? A really tricky one to call as I was particularly drawn to offerings by Feather and Donhou but it would have to be the wooden rimmed Lee Cooper – cable free and super clean, gets used and my size. The owners wan smile when I offered to take it off his hands confirmed that it’s special.

There were also quite a few bikes that didn’t do much for me but the vulgar WyndyMilla Massive Attack wouldn’t have been out of place on EuroTrash. Fast? Undoubtedly. For me? Probably not.

I really didn’t know that there were so many frame builders in the UK and more power to the organisers in bringing it all together. Hopefully this will continue into a second year and personally I’d like to see a few of the traditional British builders represented, the likes of Roberts, Mercian and Bob Jackson.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:16 pm 
South West Deputy AEC
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Very nice, shame i couldn't make it :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:26 am 
Retro Guru
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I went to have a look yesterday, as you said a fair few beards and tweed caps were present.
I think overall it was a nice show and great to see the craftsmanship on display from some guys who are passionate about what they are doing.
Great to see the Rob Penn bike too.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:49 am 
The Guv'nor
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Great write up Ed, thanks for sharing.

Good event indeed although be nice to see it include more UK builders. Also be nice to compare and contrast with the NAHBS if someone can sub us the cash for plane tickets ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:50 pm 
Gold Trader
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I really enjoyed the event and look forward to out growing in the future. The 840g enigma to hard tail frame was mind blowing! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:47 pm 
Gold Trader
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Liked the 18 bikes full sus :shock:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:03 pm 
Section Moderator & South West AEC
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I had a good chat with Tom at Demon frameworks, I think l'll be seeing him soon for an mtb frame. Was a little disappointed with Hammoon, I thought they'd be nicer, also liked the paint on the Gunnar bikes but the bikes themselves were not my thing.

Overall I thought it was pretty good fir a first time show :D


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:14 pm 
Sticker Master
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Excellent review, shame it's so far south for us "Northerners" :(

Any pictures of Ricky Feather's work?
He's a great guy and did me a really nice "Pace" stem steerer about 18 months ago

http://feathercycles.blogspot.com/searc ... -results=7


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:40 pm 
MacRetro rider
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Love the Graffiti Enigma, I've seen a few feather and Donhou photo's on here, lovely stuff. not sure I share the love for the wooden wheeled shopper though Ed, but then I can only see the photos here and not the flesh itself.

I guess the Delta "Fishnet" isn't designed for UK mud, think how heavy it would be after a lap of mayhem.
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Will the show stay in Bristol or will it move around? Bristol has a lot going for it from my point of view, might need to sort a visit sometime.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:11 pm 
Devout Dirtbag
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apparently ricky had a good time, he won best track bike award which is rather an honour i think - i don't own one myself but there is one next to me right now as i work (sams)
he built me a beautiful custom stem last year though - very nice indeed


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