Five More Bikes from Bespoked UK 2019
We’d wager that every bicycle at a handmade bike show deserves attention and praise, be it a practical and transformative commuter, a long distance audax machine, or a lithe road racer. But we’re all about bikes created with travelling and multi-day adventures in mind, so here are five more wildly different options that caught our bikepacking-obsessed eyes at the recent Bespoked UK…
Whilst bikepacking may no longer be the flavour of the month within the bicycle industry at large, it’s good to see that the force is still strong within the European framebuilding community. Here are five unique takes on how to go about camping with your bike…
Smithy Frameworks Hardtail
Mid Wales-based Smithy Frameworks had this lovely, rigid-specific bikepacking hardtail on show, alongside a 140mm enduro hardtail, which not only picked up an award from Singletrack Magazine, but was raced to first place on the Welsh Enduro Series by the owner’s son.
Family racing credentials aside, owner Chris should know his metallurgy, given that he’s been a blacksmith for 25 years. His bikepacking show bike included a military-grade ceramic polymer coat, a burly brace at the headtube junction, Reynolds 853 and Columbus tubing, and a fun, short chainstay geometry.
Angel Cycle Works Monster Gravel Plus
Okay, this dreamy titanium Angel Cycle Works gravel bike – or rather, Monster Gravel Plus bike, as the company calls it – isn’t set up for bikepacking in its current form. But the Galicia-based business says it can be finished with all the eyelets of your dreams and they’re working on a set of Ti racks too. Not only that, but the owners promises some fantastic bikepacking in the area and are working on a route to share. The show bike pictured here was made for Jose Ange Calabuig himself, and is constructed from 3/2.5 titanium and 6/4 Ti for the stem and seat post.
It was designed to be ridden “in any place and terrain, with minimal maintenance and the best features. Basically, it has an 29” MTB geometry with a good tire clearance and slight modifications and components for gravel.” Clearances are very generous and the show bike came replete with 29” x 2.2″ Ardent tires, alongside Angel Cycle Works custom stem and seatpost, ENVE Mountain Fork, Rotor Rex Crankset, Avid BB7 mechanical brakes, and SRAM Force 1×11. It may be Ti, but finish wise there are plenty of options to choose from: brushed, polished, shot-peening, anodized, and paint.
Shand Tam Rohloff
Shand had a number of bikes on show, covering a variety of bases, including forward geometry hardtails, gravel race bikes, and this plus bike iteration of the rigid-specific Tam. There are various build options available, which you can find out about by checking out Shand’s website; this show example was built with WTB Ranger 29 x 3″ tyres, a Jones H-Loop bar, and of course the Rohloff drivetrain, mated here to a Gates belt.
As the keen-eyed will observe, all the bikepacking checkboxes are ticked, making this very much an all-rounder. Ready for adventure, it includes eyelets aplenty, as well as provision for both front and rear racks, along with ample clearance for mudguards. Other frame details of note are Shand’s own Polydrop dropouts that are compatible – using additional inserts – with Rohloff, singlespeed, 142×12, direct mount, and standard derailleur transmissions. A Bushnell EBB Shell takes care of chain tension and allows the ground clearance to be adjusted, depending on the tyres you’re running and the intended use of the bike. The bike is also built with loaded riding in mind, sporting oversized, custom drawn Reynolds 631 tubing, and a generous headtube for a commanding ride position.
It’s manufactured, painted, and assembled in Central Scotland, with frames starting at £1295 and completes coming in at £3400. Oh, and there’s a wide spectrum of colour options available, including such hues as Prussian blue, sage green, burgundy red, and burnt orange…
This exquisite creation from Victor Duchêne at Auguste Handmade is definitely a little different. It was actually built, made to measure, for a French arboriculturist who works in the pine forests of the Cévennes region of South Central France (check out our Ardèche-Cévennes Divide route here). Its design mandate? To be a capable offroad bike for long-range field research, replacing the need for a 4WD. Aside from all the lovely frame details and the integrated Dynamo lighting, Auguste has included fittings on a custom rack for Frost + Seker’s saddlebag mounting system, used to carry tools and equipment.
We reckon it could be an interesting option for an older rider looking for an electric-assist bike for European, dirt road trips where charging options are plentiful; it’s upright, has a plush 130mm fork, with a step-through design for easily getting on and off the bike. Auguste Handmade is currently based in London, but as the owner’s name and flair suggest, Victor Duchêne is originally from France.
The Escape is Enigma’s all-road and gravel titanium offering, shown at Bespoked for the first time with a Pinion/Cinq’s brand new drop-bar shifter and internal drivetrain. The frame is made from 3AL 2.5V double butted titanium, with either a standard geo or full custom options. Note that Enigma makes their frames in both Asia and Suffolk, UK: this particular example is from overseas and would cost around £5500 as seen. Standard bikes start at £4000.
According to Enigma, the bike can be set up a variety of ways: “28mm tyres and mudguards for the daily commute or endurance road riding in all conditions. 32mm tyres and a pannier rack for a modern touring bike, or lightweight with bikepacking-style luggage. 35-38mm tyres for mixed road and off road. And 700 x 40mm or 650 x 50mm for more demanding off-road use.”
The Escape was also on display with a custom finish for a Bath-based dealer, Cadence Cycles. Apparently, the in-house painted fork boasts 25 different colours…