Bespoked is a special show with a ton of builders and companies operating in the rarified air of the pointy end of the bicycle industry. Asking the questions maybe few others are asking, “can we print it”, “can we bond it?”, just all of the “what if’s” of small scale production, and all while trying to make the product mostly-market viable. Framebuilders often face an uphill battle of proving their mettle to the consumer in a market saturated with nearly “fast-fashion” type brands, but also setting themselves apart in the same market as any number of incredibly talented framebuilder peers. Some builders focus on the wabi sabi, spending years on their craft honing, observing, re-doing, and persevering in a singular fashion. Other builders strike out to find the bounds of what is possible and then push further.
Talking with other builders in and around the bicycle industry, at Bespoked, is fulfilling for any and all lovers of all things “bicycle”. Many engineers, thinkers and and tinkerers, builders and designers are at the show. This range of talent and style goes all the way from those building on emotion and feeling over to those spending hours behind the computer running simulations and projections… and even one doing kinematics simulations with lego!
3D printing and other alternative means of production were prominent at this years show, with companies like the UK-based Sturdy Cycles showing up with a few of their own 3D printed titanium bikes, but also reappearing on other builders bikes with lugs and headtubes, just like those on Rob Quirks bikes.
In this sort of cross-pollination lies the beauty of shows like this. Engineers, designers, bike shop owners, passerbys; the whole lot are able to chat and exchange ideas and feelings about an industry we all love, without the shadow of large brands obscuring the view. Large shows with large brands in attendance have their place, and I’m not hear to vilify anyone or any thing, but when a show is more than 30.000 square meters, it’s easily to get lost in the chaos.
Bespoked is back in full effect, this is the first show in years that hasn’t had the spectre of lockdowns and restrictions floating close overhead. I just want to thank Josh, Petor, and the small army they assembled to make this show happen. It was a truly great experience and it went off without a hitch. If you volunteered for the show, you’re a legend, and a huge thanks to everyone who swung by the stand or were keen on a chat. And although I can’t directly blame Schwalbe for my hangover, they did foot the bill for the beer, so at the very least they didn’t hold me back! 😛
Thanks to Simon Weller, Patrick Staub, and Adam Gasson for letting us use their photos!