The best touring bikes at Bespoked 2017

One of the fantastic touring bikes at Bespoked 2017
Dan Joyce's picture

The best touring bikes at Bespoked 2017

Bespoked is the annual UK Handmade Bicycle Show where the bike-building artisans show off their talents. Cycle magazine editor Dan Joyce was there as a judge, picking his favourite touring bikes – not an easy task, given the standard of the bikes on display.

The three rosette winners are shown below, along with 9 others that caught Dan’s eye.

1. English ‘winter bike’

The stainless steel rack is integral to the rear triangle of this purposeful lighter tourer/commuter. It has a Shimano Alfine hub, a belt drive, a separable chainstay, and a dynamo hub. Even the pump integrates neatly with the frame.

2. Feather 650B tourer

There are quite a few 650B bikes at Bespoked this year, but the attention to detail in this one made it my favourite. The front lamp’s dynamo cable runs through the tubing of the front rack, which flares wide at the base to clear the disc caliper.

3. Sven Pathfinder Adventure tourer​

Unlike most adventure bikes, this stainless steel Sven has clearance for proper mountain bike tyres (27.5x2.1 Schwalbe Thunder Burt tyres shown). Being stainless steel, any wilderness scratches can be buffed out, and of course it won’t rust.

4. Curtis Bikes bike for children with dwarfism

Available with 12 or 14-inch wheels, this starter bike makes cycling accessible to children with the short inseam and other issues resulting from dwarfism. Each is custom fitted. Talbot Frameworks, meanwhile, are showing a 507-wheeled Di2 road bike for an adult with dwarfism.

5. Evanson N-Minus-1

Like the Sven Pathfinder, it’s a more off-road capable adventure bike. The front rack is supported on the carbon fork’s axle and attached to the handlebar. Note the Gevenalle shifter, and the Rob English-inspired pencil-thin seat stays.

6. Peter Charnaud Wooden Bike

Wood is a tricky material for bike frames: the grain makes it strong in some directions and not others, and its heavy for its strength compared to most metals. But it turns out that you can use for a full-suspension mountain bike with an adjustable head angle. And an electrically assisted tandem…

7. Stanforth Kibo

Bespoked isn’t just about eye candy: I like the utilitarian ruggedness of this 26in-wheel tourer. There are no disc rotors for baggage handlers to bend, and those thumb shifters are simple, reliable, and can be run friction operated. A threadless stem means you can leave your big headset spanner at home too. 

8. Lazy Susan trail bike

Not all mountain bikes follow today’s trail/enduro norms: this show special challenges them, featuring plus-tyres, a Pinion bottom bracket gear, a single-legged fork, luggage carriers, and a riding position reminiscent of a Geoff Apps Range Rider. 

9. Donard carbon road bike

These rosette-winning custom carbon road bikes are in the New Builders area. The bloke building them is a materials specialist and he does everything himself, from laying up the carbon to painting the finished frames.

10. Calfee Mantra Pro

There’s 10mm of rear suspension on this road bike, thanks to a spring (different weights available) at the top of the seat stays. As well as improved comfort, Calfee claim better rear wheel traction. Matching front suspension is in the works.

11. Engineered Bicycles hill-climb bike

I like the elegant simplicity of a nicely built fixed-wheel bike. This one has a carbon seat tube bonded into the steel frame, matching the carbon fork up front. If I remember rightly, it weighs four-point-something kilos. 

12. Teague Bicycles Root 2

Porteur-style front racks are evidently de rigueur at Bespoked this year, mostly on tourers with French style bar bags but also featuring on this unusual commuter. As well as a retro handlebar it has a Sturmey S3X three-speed fixed wheel hub.

Cycle’s Technical Editor, Richard Hallett, is exhibiting, so you can quiz him about the Hallett 650 Adventure that featured in the latest issue of Cycle

For more details about visiting Bespoked, go to A day ticket costs £15. 

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