Another look at the Bespoke Bristol Handmade Bike Show.
Words and photos: Iain “Ace” Woodley
Calling this part two as Ed H has put a report up already, see here.
I went to the first show three years ago, skipped last years and made it back again for the third year. In that time I have been pondering the idea of how hard is it to build your own frame?
I looked about three years ago but didn’t get very far. So this year I was more interested in the builders than the bikes.
Not a huge amount of Dirt style bikes at the show, it’s more of the lugged roadie and track frames with a healthy dose of mountain bikes leaning more to XC and adventure bikes in the 29″ wheels.
I’ll start with the chaps from BTR Fabrications, been following them on Facebook for ages and keep missing Burf at races, so was keen to catch up with Tam and Burf and see the bikes.
They were in the new builders side rooms and my first port of call before the show got too busy. When I turned up at 9.30am the queue to get in was rather long, by 10.30am you could hardly move in the main hall. Getting to see all the stalls was nearly impossible, there is a huge amount of interest in the show. Looks like the Friday night session is the one to go to as it’s much quieter and easier to see things, I missed loads.
Had a gossip about racing and K9 industries and making frames. Got some answers on how to start and that some of the suppliers are a bit industry only and not really geared up to the casual frame builder. This is handy as I have only found a few outlets for tubes and parts and the websites are not overly helpful to those not in the know. More importantly I got to see a Belter. It’s a small and the forks are set around 150mm travel…just need to bump into Burf at a race and try out a large.
I wandered into the next room and found Stuart of Oyster bikes. Stuart does the Megavalanche and built his bike to compete, ticks boxes for me, 853 tubing and hub gearing and the special bronze finish. It dosen’t show in the photo but on a real close look there are what appear to be be casting marks, as if it where cast bronze, all by design, it’s the little attentions to detail.
On that note Stuart pointed out the head-tube badge, 3d printed to match the profile of the tube, simple design, easy to produce, if you have an inner bike geek lurking within you, then you will love this show.
From Bronze to copper, I love Demon frameworks lugged copper coated work.
Only just noticed the cranks, left side drive.
Neat go-kart from Royce.
I have followed online a couple of home builds and bumped into Mark Amer at the show who built a suspension bike, and then raced the DH enduro at Fort William on it. Now being in steel fabrication and around some equipment I have been getting the itch to maybe have a go at a self build.
Three years ago The Bicycle Academy was still in set up, it’s now in full operation offering courses in frame building, and also workshop space and tooling to self build, they are branching out into jigs and tooling for sale to budding home builders, it’s now very possible to have a go.
Andrew Denham the driving force behind TBA (Brian Curtis of Curtis is there as well) were flat out with enquiries. I had a quick chat (met Andrew before) and they are making the idea of building your own frame more accessible, almost a one stop shop, from courses to full start up equipment.
There was an active show during the day with demos on brazing and jigging tubes. It was so busy I couldn’t get near enough to see in the time I had. But did score a quick chat with Reynolds and Columbus. At the first show they came just to see what was being made, now both have a show presence so the builders can meet them.
I have never seen the raw tubing or frame parts before, so I got to geek out on tubes and tooling. Also had a quick chat with Downland Cycles ltd another build your own offering 5 and 10 day courses. They also bought a pile of parts to look over, strange to to see all the bits not connected.
There was a bit of tool envy going on, here’s a home made liquid cooled cutter by TJD which had been noticed by others.
More frame jigs.
I picked up enough information to steer me in the right direction if I decide to have a go myself, that was my main reason for stopping in.
An unbelievable collection of build styles over all types of cycling. So popular too, the on-line ticket sales had surpassed the total tickets for last years show, so I expect next year could be bigger again. If so and they go to three days, I will be aiming for the Friday, be a bit quieter :) Sorry I missed loads of stuff due to the volume of people, it was nuts on Saturday in there!
This link should take you straight to those at the show with contact and web details.