2022 Bespoked Editors’ Picks: Our Favorite Bikes
After perusing an incredible selection of bikes from the 2022 Bespoked handbuilt bicycle show in London, our editorial team got together and selected our favorites. Find an incredible photo gallery featuring each of these amazing machines with insight from their builders here…
Photo by Adam Gasson / Bespoked
We were sad to miss out on this year’s Bespoked show in London, but life events and scheduling conflicts stood in the way of covering it for the first time in several years. Fortunately, there are plenty of great photos from the event, including an amazing gallery by resident photographer Adam Gasson. When the Bespoked crew sent us this set, the first thing that came to mind is that it’d be the perfect way to show off all of our favorites that we’d caught glimpses of at the show. With that, seven of our editorial team members chose one bike and asked the maker to tell us a little about it. So here we go, 2022 Bespoked coverage once removed, a lovely gallery of photos, and some fantastic insight from a passionate group of framebuilders.
Etoile Step-through Adventure Picnic
Chosen by Joe Cruz
My eyes went to the designs that look functional and fun. For me, that means an ATB that I can see on scenic trails and woodsy doubletrack as well as on dirt roads and the tarmac way home. What stood out about the Etoile was all of that plus inspiration for going on picnicking camping strolling days. I love it.
Who is Etoile Cycles?
My name is Elodie Lyra. I have been building on and off for about 10 years, but this has been made more complicated over the past few years by moving to Germany, then by the travel restrictions caused by Covid, as well by the realisation that I am trans.
It was a privilege to be chosen as one of the four SRAM Bespoked Inclusivity Scholarship recipients, allowing me to help increase the visibility of people not usually represented at this kind of event, in the cycling industry, and on bicycles. I believe this is a really important, positive project that SRAM are undertaking and am hopeful that other underrepresented people will continue to benefit.
Tell us about the bike and how it came to be.
The bike is a lugged steel step-through frame adventure/picnic bike built for my wife, as a twin to my 2018 Concours de Machines build. She describes it as the smoothest bike she’s ever ridden.
- Columbus SL main tubes, Bear Frame Designs low mount dropouts, 1” steerer fork spinning on a vintage Shimano 600 headset with Reynolds 853 disc blades, custom wishbone seat stays, hand-cut copper detailing, and tri-colour powder coat finish.
- Clearance for 2.4” tyres or 2” with guards
- Custom-made front picnic rack with integrated dynamo light fitting and cookpot/stove attachment
- 12-speed SRAM kit including X01 carbon cranks and Guide 4 piston disc brakes (supplied by SRAM)
Prova Pinion Ripido Hardtail
Chosen by Logan Watts
There were so many great bikes in the 2022 Bespoked show, and it was truly hard to pick just one. The Stayer and Sour rigid singlespeeds were also in my pick list as I usually like classic lines and straight-gauge steel tubing, but this Prova Ripido hardtail is astonishing. The 3D-printed junctions and Pinion box, loads of intricate detail, and perfectionist-level finish work were impossible to ignore. Additionally, it has a geometry that kind of resembles the breed of hardtail I’ve been most enjoying lately.
Who is Prova?
I’m Kelly Hester, a frame builder and customer liaison at Prova Cycles. Prova is a titanium bicycle manufacturer based in Melbourne, Australia. It was started by engineer Mark Hester in 2015, with sister (me) joining the business two years ago. We make custom frames commissioned by clients from all over the world using a unique blend of traditional techniques and the very latest technology.
Tell us a little about the Prova Pinion Hardtail.
The show bike is a Pinion version of our Ripido hardtail model, which, like all of our bikes, includes custom geo, tube choice, and finish work. It was built as a test bed for some new in-house designed adjustable dropouts before we go into production. It also happens to be Mark’s exact size. Our thoughts on gearbox drivetrains are that they suit either a very long and rough touring bike or a long-travel, all-mountain/enduro bike. For testing the biggest loads on the new dropouts, both for impact and braking, the long-travel hardtail was the best option, this being the longest wheelbase MTB Mark has built for himself at 1270mm at ride height.
- Custom in-house butted 3/2.5 titanium tubing
- 3D printed 6/4 titanium gearbox mount with integrated chainstay yokes
- 3D printed 6/4 titanium adjustable dropouts with all titanium hardware including thru-axle
- Hidden seatstay splitter for belt drive
- Custom-made titanium chainrings, testing a chain on the pinion this Australian summer
- Custom-made in-house titanium one piece bars, 780mm wide with a stem length of 25mm
- Matte green anodised frame fading into shiny brushed finish
- Polished Intend 150mm fork
- Onyx hubs
- 210mm dropper
Imperial Bicycles Ratty Rando
Chosen by Lucas Winzenburg
Picking my favorite show bike was easy. The Imperial Bicycles Ratty Rando caught my eye straight away, and I still seem to notice new details every time I look at it. I’m partial to the timeless simplicity of rim brakes, fenders, bar-end shifters, double cranksets, and dynamo lighting, so this one does it for me. It’s a bike that inspires me to head off on a long and unhurried tour somewhere—Italy sounds nice—especially with that beautiful handmade rando bag up front. And the dropped top tube! The Ratty Rando is decidedly classic but at the same time modern, which floats my boat more than the latest and greatest gravel bike with a carbon fork.
Who is Imperial Bicycles?
My name is Adam Millward, and I build bicycles under the moniker “Imperial Bicycles.” What started as a hobby a couple of years ago is slowly morphing into something more serious, and I am now at the stage where I am happy to have the bikes under bright lights and on show.
Cycling everywhere is part of daily life for me, and the bikes I build are for just that: trips, adventures, and exploring, whether somewhere remote or in the city. I make classic-looking steel bikes combined with modern components that have character and can be an extension of someone’s personal style—something you’re proud to own and excited to ride.
Tell us about the bike and how it came to be.
This particular bicycle was made for short trips and adventures with the capacity for a rando-style bag on the front rack with enough space for snacks and essentials for exploring somewhere closer to home. I’m now based in Brighton, UK, and it has been great for getting out and about in the downs, exploring all the gravel paths the area has to offer.
It is not so loosely based on a bicycle with which I did a 4,500-mile trip to Albania and back earlier in the year. I will add pannier-carrying capability soon to the front rack, and it will be a very capable touring machine. It has a comfortable riding position and a responsive but stable trail profile, making it very easy to ride for extended periods with belongings.
I saw very few frames with dropped top tubes on my big tour, so this was also an experiment to see what, if any, differences there might be from the straight top tube bikes that I’m used to. So far, it’s all good, and is a welcome change when you have very tired legs!
Can you share some technical specs and favorite bits?
The frame is fillet brazed and is made up of Columbus Zona tubing, which offers a great balance of weight and durability. It’s combined with touring fork blades from Reynolds to withstand the extra weight and strain the fork will take from carrying luggage and riding gravel/uneven paths.
The bike has 650b wheels and 48mm tyres (Panaracer Gravelking SK+) and clearance for 62mm mudguards (Simworks x Honjo), which offer great coverage for the rider. The front wheel has a self-connecting SON SL hub with internal wiring that travels inside the fork blade, out of the crown, and is routed neatly through and then out of the mudguard for the front light. The rear wheel has a very tasty-sounding Hope RS4 hub, and both are laced to Velo Orange Voyager rims.
Other highlights include a bombproof Velo Orange crankset, headset, handlebars, and stem that offer timeless style, as does the well and truly worn-in Brooks Swift saddle. Cantilever brakes and bar-end friction shifters make for easy repairs and adjustments wherever you might find yourself. Lastly, the bike sports a custom rack and absolutely beautiful bags from Corey Brenn (@cbrennbags) up in Scotland.
Chosen by Cass Gilbert
As usual, far too many caught my eye, including Etoile’s elegant step through Picnic Bike (love the ethos and name, too!), Clandestine’s burly tandem, the tech-laden Prova Ripido, Sour’s classy Bad Granny, and the always remarkable Moulton XTB. I’ve honed in on the new custom Stayer OMG as it’s a bikepacking rig with 3in tyres in a variety of wheel sizes, sports a lovely, clean profile, and offers lots of dropout combinations and bottom bracket options. For the show, it even featured an exquisite, one-off finish copper plated by Lewis Teghill, with matching one piece bullmoose-style handlebar, for that extra bepoked pizazz. The patina fade is really cool and I love the little copper wire cable guides! What’s more, three bikes were being raffled for the Ultra Distance Scholarship.
Who is Stayer Cycles?
Stayer Cycles are batch-based, custom-happy, always handbuilt, frame and wheel builders based in East London, UK. Stayer’s usual handmade goodness includes do-everything gravel grinders, bikepacking rigs of your dreams, drop-bar monstercross machinery, crit-inclined race ponies, and creamy custom creativity from cycling disciplines weird, wide, and wild. Stayer specialise in the customer experience, keeping you close to your beloved build throughout its creation – a truly special affair. They also care about their community and strive to share their love of cycling with as many folks as possible through gestures like providing demo bikes for events like Sisters in the Wild bikepacking for beginners and supporting initiatives like the Ultra Distance Scholarship.
Tell us about the bike and how it came to be.
This bike was built up specifically to raise money for the Ultra Distance Scholarship (UDS). That’s right, you could win this bike in a prize draw (there’s not much time left, and chances aren’t bad!) AND support a worthy cause. The UDS is a nonprofit working to increase diversity and representation within ultra-distance cycling and racing, and you can learn more about their life-changing work here. Stayer are a crucial sponsor for the Ultra Distance Scholarship. Being the small business that they are, they do this in a big way by supplying bikes for scholarship recipients every year. In addition to this, and in collaboration with some friends, Stayer supplied three different OMG builds for this fundraiser; a small, a medium, and a large. This particular build happens to be the large. The OMG is Stayer’s do-it-all, however-you-like-it rowdy mountain bike frame. This custom Stayer OMG was doctored up by designer, fabricator, bike person, and friend of Stayer Lewis Toghill.
Can you share some technical specs and build details?
This handbuilt steel frame has been copper-plated with a carefully prompted patina fade using a copper verdigris effect. People lost their minds over this finish when it was on display at Bespoked. Lewis was initially inspired by nickel-plated BMX bikes and buildings in the metropolis of London. This special bike is proudly single speed, though the frame is also ready for the full luxury of gears. It’s got a classy looking Middleburn crankset to a shiny 20T Wolf Tooth Sprocket. It features a hand built Stayer ‘Stiff as Fork’ fork and handbuilt custom bullmoose bars, both also copper-plated and treated to Lewis’s alchemy. The bike also sports an X-Fusion dropper post, MKS Bear Trap pedals, a handbuilt Stayer Gravalloy 29er wheelset (did we say WOW??) with Teravail Coronados, Paul levers, and pretty Yokozuna brake calipers.
Chosen by Neil Beltchenko
Being someone who rides a full-suspension bike more than any other, I whittled the selection down to that category. The Curtis won me over with its looks. It’s a thing of beauty with stunning fillet brazing, and it still looks like an aggressive yet functional bike that I would ride on my home trails. The linkage, attention to detail, and look had me drawn to it right away. Who said full-sus bikes need to be carbon?
All Curtis frames are made by Gary Woodhouse and Brian Curtis in Somerset, England. Their tubing is hand cut and shaped, tacked into the jig, and fillet brazed by Brian into their final shape. Extras such as cable stops and gussets are then added before the final process of aligning, facing, reaming, and tapping begins. The only thing Curtis doesn’t do in-house is powder-coating.
The XR29 is our 150mm travel dirt bike for 29” wheels, designed for enduro/all mountain riding. Like our other frames, it’s made to order. Every frame is handmade for the customer. The tubing that was chosen for the XR29 frame and swing-arm is aerospace grade T45. “We know and trust T45 tubing; it has been at the heart of all our national title winning bikes in 4X and BMX,” adds Curtis.
With its 64° head tube and 77° seat tube, Curtis claims that the XR29 climbs as well as it descends, “and with its 29” wheels it covers ground with ease making this bike one hell of an enduro/trail and all mountain weapon.”
Chosen by Virginia Krabill
I chose the Moulton for a number of reasons. I love old toys, and this bike makes me feel nostalgic for the Tinkertoys I played with when I was a kid. It’s also an intriguing work of art and engineering, and I am curious to know more about it.
Who is Moulton Bicycle?
I’m Steven Harvey and I work in sales at Moulton Bicycles. Dr. Alex Moulton began to focus on designing an “improved” bicycle in the late 1950s. With no regard for convention, he set out basic principles that remain true today: small wheels with suspension, improving comfort and road-holding; and a stiff, open frame, for ease of use by both sexes.
The original Moulton bicycle, launched in 1962, rapidly became hugely successful, and it’s now rightly regarded as the most significant advancement in bicycle design in the twentieth century. From then onwards, Dr. Moulton worked tirelessly to redefine boundaries in both automotive and bicycle technology, and was acknowledged worldwide for his expertise in the field of vehicle suspension. Today, this work is continued by a dedicated team of designers, engineers and craftsmen—many of whom honed their skills under Dr. Moulton himself.
Ride comfort and handling are significantly improved over conventional bicycles, due to the superior stiffness of space-frame construction and the employment of advanced Moulton suspension systems. Moulton bicycles feature a low step-over height, and separable models are ideal for transportation by road, rail, or air.
Tell us about the Moulton XTB and how it came to be.
The Moulton XTB brings full-suspension comfort to all kinds of terrain—paths, trails, tracks, and gravel roads. Proven and durable Moulton suspension helps to stick your tyres to the ground for efficiency and safety, as well as absorb shocks from bumps and dips in the trail. Easily adjusted to suit most riders, the Moulton XTB packs down quickly for hassle-free transport to the trailhead by car or by train.
- Moulton space-frame design, fillet-brazed construction in Columbus Spirit, Kaisei NiCrMo and Reynolds steels. Stainless steel dropouts
- Uprated Moulton leading-link front suspension, unicrown fork
- Adjustable Moulton rubber-cone ‘Monosphere’ rear suspension
- Generous tyre clearances and increased bottom bracket height
- Easily and quickly separable into two parts, with kingpin stowage
- SRAM Rival 1 with 42 tooth X-sync crankset
- Custom 9-36 tooth rear sprocket set
- 23” – 93” gear range
- Front pannier carrier, rear platform carrier, and rear day bag carrier available as options
- Available in flat-bar or drop-bar configurations
- Weight 11.5 kg / 25 lbs
The Moulton XTB is a modern interpretation of one of Alex Moulton’s more esoteric—yet pivotal—designs, the AM-ATB. Acknowledged as the world’s first full-suspension mountain bike to enter series production, the AM-ATB brought great advances in comfort and traction to off-road bicycles.
Produced only from 1988 to 1991, the significance of the AM-ATB is matched by its rarity and original examples are highly prized. 2018 marked 30 years since the launch of the AM-ATB, and it is with reverence to Alex Moulton’s ground-breaking design that the Moulton Bicycles team have developed the Moulton XTB to bring small wheels back to the trail.
Huhn Moorhuhn 129 Ti
Chosen by Miles Arbour
At first I was immediately drawn to slightly more practical bikes, like the ATB’s from Black Sheep, Blanco, and Donhou Bicycles, but the Huhn Moorhuhn 129 Ti stood out as a bike I’d really like to ride. Its futuristic lines, matching bags, and clean aesthetics are all spot on. Titanium tubing and 3D-printed titanium parts make it look like it’s rated for space travel, and I like space.
Who is Huhn Cycles?
Hey there, my name is Ralf Holleis. I am a frame builder in my freetime, mainly driven by the curiosity of how bikes have been built in the past and how technology develops within manufacturing and producing products. The aim is to combine those two worlds and bring them together in my builds. Therefore, I needed a platform called HUHN cycles.
“HUHN” means “chicken” in my mother tongue and fits perfectly to what these mountainbikes are. Here’s why: Getting dirty is fun, and chicken live in the dirt, yet they look very elegant! Chicken walk forward with their heads up high, and they never lose focus while doing so. Last but not least, chickens have the skill to fly for short distances, and mountain bikes do the same!
It started in 2011 when I built a track bike out of custom-layed carbon tubes bonded together with 3D Printed titanium lugs. Since then, I learned a lot. For example, that mountain bikes are much more usefull compared to track bikes and that carbon composites and 2K glue are hazardous waste, impossible to recycle, and therefore basically bad for our environment. Mountain biking is as close as you can get to nature, and riding trails on a plastic frame does not feel right. So, it has to be steel or titanium, but it should still look sexy.
Tell us about the bike and how it came to be.
The bike is a 29″ titanium full-suspention with additive manufactured frame parts. It is the first titanium bike I built, and I built it for my self to try out the material and geometry. I added some Wit Slingers bike packs to have the stuff I need on the trails stored nicely. The Moorhuhn 129 Ti likes backcountry epics and pedalling laps on your local trails until your legs are fried.
Our Titanium Trailbike is light and nimble with an incredible trail feel and just the perfect amount of feedback. Its modern geometry puts you in a powerful, confident riding position, so you can focus on what’s ahead. Combine that with the precision of 29″ wheels, and you’ll be able to cut corners like a chicken.
Can you share some technical specs and favorite bits?
The Huhn 129 Ti is made from a combination of beautiful seamless titanium tubes and innovative additive titanium parts. The tubes are Grade 9 construction and offer maximum durability combined with perfect stiffness for a trail bike.
The additive titanium parts are manufactured using the cutting-edge cold metal fusion process. The process requires significantly less energy than conventional printing processes, while at the same time the excess powder can be 100% recycled. Lovingly and precisely joined together, this combination offers an outstandingly durable and sleek lifetime product.
There were so many great options in the mix that it was tough for each one of us to pick just one. Here are a few more that were also mentioned and could have easily been in the list above:
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