Every year, Czech carbon and titanium framebuilder Festka shares their most popular custom bike builds with us. And usually it’s a gallery of some of the flashiest bikes we’ve ever laid eyes on. But this year was kinda different, with their Top 5 of 2023 mostly filled with raw carbon frames highlighting their unique woven structure, accented by a subdued splash of color. Well, mostly. The #1 bike goes over the top with bright colors, and a good story to back it up…
2023 Best of Festka custom road & gravel bikes
Only 1 gravel bike to 4 road bikes. And 4 full-carbon bikes to 1 carbon & titanium creation. Still 2 with mechanical shifting to 3 electronic shift groupsets. 2 take a bit of a weight weenie approach, but all look light. All with disc brakes and carbon wheels. No compromises on performance to be found here.
Festka’s co-founder Michael Moureček provides a little background on each of their top 5 bikes on social media in 2023:
#5: Festka Scalatore lightweight carbon road bike for Scampi Cicli
A beautifully proportioned FESTKA Scalatore built with top-notch super-light components from Chris King, Darimo and THM. A subtle dealer’s logomark on the fork complements the core design scheme of red logotype over naked carbon.
#4: Festka Scalatore OK40 lightweight carbon road bike for Ondřej Kubeš
This classy Scalatore, Festka’s flagship model, was a pet project of a FESTKA employee – Ondřej Kubeš – who gifted it to himself for his 40th birthday. The design he and art director Tom Hnida call neo-retro combines three motifs: speed, tradition and the present.
#3: Festka Rover carbon gravel bike for Velodrom Katowice
This inconspicuous yet perfectly built FESTKA Rover – our road/gravel hybrid – earned its podium spot not only because of its pared-down beauty but also thanks to the philharmonic hall setting where the dealer Velodrom Katowice had it photographed.
#2: Festka Doppler X Edition titanium & carbon road bike for Cyclist Wardrobe
Our premium dealer Cyclist Wardrobe of Kuala Lumpur bided their time until they built up this 10th-anniversary limited edition [ed. debuted back in 2020] FESTKA Doppler frame sporting black DLC-finished Ti tubes.
#1 Festka Spectre Bodies ultra-stiff carbon road race bike for Michael Moureček
BODIES, our collab with the artist Jakub Kois, was the absolute highlight of 2023, both in terms of the graphic design and the launch of the new FESTKA Spectre model. The enthusiastic reaction to the radically overhauled model handpainted by the artist completely exceeded our expectations and became a centerpiece of our presentations at the Bespoked handmade bikes show and the Prague design fair Designblok.
If I hadn’t seen this bike in person, I might have questioned how impartial Michael and his voting were, but this bike really pops. It also has a really good backstory.
After a serious injury on the bike that required major hip surgery and rehab, Michael, an ex pro rider, was struggling to get back on the bike to the same level as before the crash. And he was really struggling with motivation. Then he happened to meet Polish artist Jakub Kois, and saw one of his illustrations, depicting a body being crushed in the middle of a crowd.
Michael told me that crushing feeling was exactly what he was feeling at the time. And the almost playful depiction of the frustrating emotions, sparked something motivating in him. So they decided to work together for a one-off bike celebrating that pain, but at the same time brightly and playfully encouraging Michael to push on the bike again.
And in the end, the project was so well received that Festka opened up a limited Bodies edition artist series to be hand-painted by Kois. Just 10 full-custom geometry Spectre Bodies carbon road bikes are on offer for $16,800 / 18,500€, built-up with an uncompromising finishing kit. Find out more and reserve one here.