Shed of Dreams
From the weird to the wonderful there was something for every niche but given a stack of blank cheques how would we fill our shed?
Words and photography: Sim Mainey
Bespoked is a show dedicated to showing off the best handmade bikes, as well as the people behind them. In the past the old engine shed in Bristol has been stuffed to the rafters with skinny and sexy skinny wheeled stuff but this year there were more mountain bikes than you could shake a triple-butted steel tube at – proof, not that it was needed, that mountain bikes are back.
WARNING: big pics, worth the wait…
1. Baudou Bikes Street Trials-BMX Have Fun Bike
Gael Baudou built this because it was a bike he wanted to ride – no doubt after spending a weekend watching nothing but Danny MacAskill videos. Built to be taken down to the local dirt jumps or local shopping centre the Street Trials-BMX Have Fun Bike (working title) is a jack of all trades that should stick a smile on your face wherever you go. Reynolds 853 tubes make for a light but tough chassis and details like the recessed seat clamp keep things looking clean. Magura disc brakes are a nod to modern street trials whilst BMX handlebars and a steerer routed front brake mean you can happily get your bar spins on…
2. Trillion Prime
Price: £999.99 (frame only)
We’re suckers for a sorted hardcore hardtail and this Trillion Prime fits the bill perfectly. Of course being painted in sleek and stealthy black always helps but it’s the lines of the Prime that really appeal – that top tube that in profile goes straight into the seat stays just looks right. Of course it’s not all down to looks, a 65º head angle combined with a set of 160mm forks and enough clearance to slot in a set of 27.5inch wheels shod in chunky 2.6inch rubber mean it’s a proper yob of a bike, even if it does look as distinguished as it does…
3. Portus Prepper Bike
Price: Invaluable come the day of judgement
When (not if) the zombie apocalypse is upon us this is the bike we’d want to be wheeling out of the shed and heading into the wilderness with. Although it’s been designed for the slightly more mundane, but still admirable, task of trail repairs in Germany’s Black Forest we think if you’re looking for a bike for the end of day this is probably it. Why? Well, any bike you can fit an axe and chainsaw to is a winner in our books but features like a portable barbeque stowed in the rear toolbox, the ability to mount a bottle of Jagermeister to the downtube and a coffee brew kit in a Jerry can make it useful on pretty much any ride. Of course escaping the undead is going to require a turn of speed so the Portus is equipped with Pinion gearbox for reliability mated to a GO SwissDrive rear hub motor at the centre of the 20inch unicycle rear wheel. The battery lives in a Jerry can although what happens when you’re in the middle of nowhere and it runs out of juice is anyone’s guess. Best make sure there’s enough petrol in that chainsaw…
4. Starling Cycles Sturn
Price: Not sure yet, but lots.
Back in 2015 one Aaron Gwin won the Leogang World Cup with a snapped chain. At that point a lot of people started to wonder if a bike that wasn’t influenced by the rear mech messing with chain growth might actually be the way forward. Joe from Starling loves a singlespeed and believes that on a DH bike the lack of gears helps you concentrate on flow and handling. That lack of rear mech, 29inch wheels, 63º head angle and 180mm of travel means ths Starling is really going to fly. There’s a definite hint of Brooklyn Machine works going on, one Joe is happy to acknowledge, with left hand drive BMX cranks driving a chain up to an axle through the main pivot. This allows the chain on the right hand side to be zero growth throughout the bike’s travel. Clever stuff. Joe’s got a bit more testing to do on it before he hands it over to some very quick riders, we look forward to seeing hat they can do with it…
5. Mercredi Andy’s Twenty-Niner
Despite this custom built frame looking good enough to hang on a wall Mercredi (or rather it’s owner Adeline O’Morea) is adamant that her bikes are built to be ridden. To that end she refuses to file down her fillet brazing reasoning it just adds time and cost to a frame for zero performance benefit and if it doesn’t improve performance she’s not interested. Equally when it comes to things like the gorgeous paintwork by Colorburn Studios she was careful to make sure that areas that are likely to be rubbed or chipped are left plain and the stunning foil-like effect is applied to areas that see little abuse, so the owner need not worry about the bike looking taty quickly. This bike was commissioned to be a bikepacking bike in the summer but come winter turn into a singlespeed. Huge amounts of mud clearance, sliding dropouts and tidy cable guides mean it’ll look, and work, just as well in either configuration…
6. Angel Cycleworks
Hailing from Spain Angel Cycleworks came to the show with a 29inch XC race bike, custom designed for a client who was looking for an edge when between the tapes. Rather than stick to tried, tested and stale numbers Angel and the client looked to fellow Spaniards UNNO for inspiration. A 67º head angle, long front centre and tight back end mean this bike should descend like a trail bike but without compromising on XC race speed elsewhere. Details like internal routing for the lesser-spotted Acros Age hydraulic operated rear mech, custom bolt-through dropouts and the brake caliper mounted inboard of the stays just add to the appeal…
7. Prova Ripido
Despite the Ripido having a paintjob to die for (purple is back kids, believe) it’s what’s on the inside that really counts with this frame. Reynolds DZB 853 and ovalised 853 tubing is used for the mainframe while custom bent 4130 is used for the seatube. So far so Bespoked. The dropouts however are made from 3D printed stainless steel, a process that allows beautifully formed and beautifully functional parts to be made with relative ease. Prova’s main man Mark has a background in motorsport engineering and being more than comfortable with emerging tech and CAD programs has fully embraced the future.
Described as a ‘Party Hardtail’ wears it’s geometry numbers on it’s sleeve, or rather it’s downtube…
This bike is Mark’s own bike and sports a 66º headangle, 72º seatangle, 472mm reach and 11/10 on the fun factor. Party on.