The Best Bespoke Bicycles Of 2014: A Retrospective
Handmade bicycles are incredible things; fortunately, they’re not nearly as expensive as custom built motorcycles or cars…it doesn’t mean that they’re cheap but having a bespoke, one of a kind frame is far more achievable than a one-off car or motorbike. Here, we’ve listed some of the best bespoke bicycles from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show to help fuel your enthusiasm for all things bicycle. Hey, if you’re handy with a MIG welder or a brazing torch, you might be inspired to try and build your own frame; the internet is full of great instructions, so why not give it a go? Have a look at these fine examples for more inspiration!
The Best Utility/City Bike:
This bike here from Rasmus Gjesing, called Cykelmagaren #3, is a great bespoke bicycle built for a female rider featuring a handmade, TIG welded frame, seat post, handlebars, brake calipers and an integrated LED light system and lock. It was built for city cruising at any speed; now, twin it’s practical mission statement with it’s elegant design and you can see why it came up as the winner of the field. A good bicycle doesn’t need to be equipped with anything too fancy to get the job done; the Cykelmagaren #3 is simple but incredibly well executed. If you feel like building a bike of your own, remember this: intelligent design goes a long way!
The Best Road Bike:
Here we have a great bike from Kent Eriksen Cycles. This bike was designed and built for their first ever customer, adding all of his wishes into the piece. The customer was looking for a lightweight bicycle that could be used for racing too. The builders rose to the challenge and came up with this beautiful bike. It features a sturdy titanium tubing frame and a few top notch parts, including Enve wheels and forks. The fabrication skills at Kent Eriksen Cycles are pretty impressive, as you can see. They also submitted bikes and frames in many other fields but this piece of work was particularly exceptional!
The Best Mountain Bike:
Mountain bikes aren’t the usual choice for a bespoke, custom built design but the guys at Breadwinner Cycles rose to the challenge. Their mission was to create a mountain bike that can handle the rough, navigate jumps, roll over roots and pick through rocky down hills. They succeeded. How did they do it? By utilizing a fully handbuilt (brazed and TIG’d) frame with a hard tail, short chain stays and some hard core tyres. It also features internally routed brake and dropper lines, which is a cool addition too. You can imagine that nothing will stop that thing when it’s rolling.
The Best Cyclocross Bike:
This field was won by Retrotec & Inglis Cycles with their interesting half-cross bike. Since 1993, Curtis Inglis of Retrotec has been building some smart frames, so it’s no surprise that his own brand ‘Inglis Cycles’ has dominated the show. Fusing the sturdy geometry of his own style with the amazing curves or Retrotec, Inglis has created this wonder. The lines on this bike are a sight to behold and the envy of any amateur builder. This also bike features chainstay mounted rear brakes to keep the bike looking even more amazing, keeping the lines clean and the brake well protected. It’s a marvel of engineering – it’s just a shame that he lives and operates out of California instead of over here!
The President’s Choice:
It might not appear to be, but this bike is Sci-Fi themed. Peacock Groove took their inspiration from Highlander to come out with this beautiful one-off bike. After their client fell for a Columbus MS tubeset, the challenge began. Peacock Groove had to lower the bike and turn it into a lightweight, off-road, single speed bike, which is no mean feat when working with an old (and daring, for it’s time) tube arrangement. It’s a particularly exceptional arrangement and after all, to quote Highlander: ‘There can be only one!’
Top Tip: If you’re looking to see some of the UK’s best bike building talent in the flesh, why not head down to ‘Bespoked’ – The UK’s Handmade Bicycle Show? It’s taking place in Bristol between the 17th and 19th of April this year at Brunel’s Old Station and the Arnolfini Gallery. You may be able to convince a builder to take on your request or you can grab some inspiration for your own home build! It’s all about bikes though, so pencil it down on your calendar regardless!