Bespoked 2022 delivered some fantastic handmade bicycles, most of which we’d never want to actually ride for worry of chipping their beautiful paint work. Here we take a look at some of the best hardtail mountain bikes that were on display; from price-upon asking titanium gearbox bikes, to alchemy-inspired hardcore steel frames, and a 36er for folk over 2 meters tall, Bespoked had something for everyone. Feast your eyes (and say goodbye to your bank balance).
Sarah Salitter, recipient of the SRAM Inclusivity Scholarship Award, made her debut at Bespoked this weekend with the Saturnum hardtail mountain bike, finished with one of my favorite paint jobs of the show. The design is inspired by Lucienne Day, a British textile designer known for the textile “Calyx” artwork seen all over this frame.
As a beneficiary of the award, Sarah has been able to complete the frame with a SRAM AXS Group Set as well as a RockShox Reverb AXS dropper seat post. There aren’t many cables to see here, nor would there be even if one decided to run a regular mechanical group set; the frame offers internal routing for cables and the brake hose through the front triangle, fully guided with the use of steel tubes within the tubes themselves.
The frame is fabricated from a Reynolds 853 tubeset, fillet brazed with bronze with super smooth welds. Sarah has gone for a long, low and slack geometry for the Saturnum. It was shown at Bespoked with a 140mm travel fork, giving it a 63° head angle.
The Salitter Saturnum frame alone will set you back around £2,300. Sizing is custom, to be specified by the customer according their proportions and riding style. Sarah can also offer an Endurance Road Frame, a lighter Trail Bike, and a Gravel Bike with a steel fork.
Prova Titanium Hardtail with Pinion Gearbox
Prova proprietors, Mark and Kelly Hester, made the trip to London from Melbourne, Australia, to show their latest and greatest titanium creations at Bespoked. Prova are perhaps better known for their road bikes featuring a carbon seat tube married to titanium tubing. They do, however, also offer complete titanium gravel and hardtail mountain bike framesets. All of Prova’s framesets are made to order, and prices are given upon asking. I think that means I can’t afford one!
At Bespoked, the Prova Ripido Part Hardtail was a highlight. It is fabricated entirely in house; they fabricate the tubesets themselves starting with plain gauge tubes that arrive in long lengths; they do all the butting, cutting and shaping at their workshop in Melbourne.
All of the small parts and dropouts are unique to Prova frames. Mark tells us that Prova were one of the first builders in the world to use printed metal parts on their frames; for the last 5 or 6 years all of their frames have benefited from 3D Printed Titanium dropouts.
Prova is also making numerous parts in house, too, all from titanium of course. They make seat posts and handlebars, including the 25mm reach integrated bar-stem combo seen on the Ripido Party Hardtail. Mark has not yet decided whether Prova will sell this aftermarket, or whether it will only be available on a custom build.
Mosaic MT-2 Titanium Hardtail
Released a few weeks back, Mosaic Cycles of Boulder, Colorado, were showing the new MT-2 hardtail, the second titanium bike to make it into our roundup. It is fabricated from a straight gauge titanium tubeset into a frame with a modern cross-country geometry and Boost spacing, front and rear. It is shown here with a 120mm Fox 34 Step Cast fork delivering a 67° head tube angle and a 75° seat tube angle. Founder, Aaron Barcheck, describes it as “a highly capable, well-rounded hardtail mountain bike”. It is also approved for use with a 140mm fork if you wanted a slacker setup.
It is a complete 29er, and has clearance out back for a 2.6″ tire. Aaron actually raced the Leadville 100 on this bike, with 2.2″ tires for a faster-rolling setup.
A frameset starts at $4,200 USD. Custom builds are available too, so dream big. This one was decked out with a Shimano XTR Group, Chris King Hubset, Enve parts, a Fox Transfer SL dropper.
Custom Selwyn made in Samoens
Selwyn Bicycles is a custom frame fabrication workshop based in Samoens, France, a destination famous for its steep and natural hand-cut enduro trails. Owner, Alexander Plaisted, custom builds frames while working with a physiotherapist in nearby Chamonix to find the best bike fit for his customers. All Selwyn frames, including the hardtail on show at Bespoked, are made from Reynolds 853 steel tubing that is fillet brazed.
While the front triangle is built with Reynolds 853 tubing, the stays are made from Deda tubes. The frame runs a 73mm threaded BB, and cable routing is internal with sealed, stainless sleeves.
All Selwyn Bicycles are completely custom, so the price is upon-asking only. At the moment, Alexander is working on a lead time of around 6 months from the point of order to him building the frame.
Dawley Hardtail Mountain Bike
In addition to the mid-pivot Activist MTB, Thom Dawley was also displaying his Eopnym Hardtail, a complete 29er fabricated from Deda tubing at the rear, with a Reynolds 853 front triangle. He has designed this one around a 140mm fork, but it is shown here with a 150mm.
Thom sets the geometry of the rear triangle to give the bike a certain character, and then allows the customer to specify geometry for the front triangle according to their dimensions; custom reach, head angle, head tube length, seat tube angle. Thom offers 27.5″ version too which us very similar to the Eponym.
Dawley is selling the Eponym 29″ hardtail for £900 for the frame only, plus VAT in the UK.
Huhn Jersey Giant 36er MTB
One for the incredibly tall people out there is the Huhn Jersey Giant, an adventure-ready steel 36er. Tim Ahnsorge from BASF Forward AM is the recipient of this one, and he stands at 206cm tall (6’9″). His bike has a reach of 500mm, a seat tube length of 620mm and a 550mm rear-center length. Tim also had a hand in its creation, having made the stainless steel lugs via additive manufacturing for Huhn Cycles owner and fabricator, Ralf Holeis.
In true Huhn Cycles fashion, their 36er is named after the largest chicken to roam planet earth; the Jersey Giant. The steel tubing is fillet brazed to the stainless steel lugs by Ralf himself at the Huhn Cycles HQ in Bischofsgrün, Germany. Clearly, Tim has his bike prepared for adventure riding and long-distance bikepacking, kitted out with Wit Slingers full repertoire of frame bags.
Sturdy Tara Titanium Hardtail
Sturdy Cycles, a custom titanium frame manufacturer, had a large display of beautiful custom bicycles including the Tara Hardtail shown here. The frame is fabricated by proprietor, Tom Sturdy, at his workshop in Frome, Somerset. It is home to a multitude of 3D Printed Titanium parts that are produced by Additive Manufacturing experts, RAM 3D, in New Zealand.
The CNC’d chainring, 3D-Printed crank arms, axle, center-cap and nut, bottom bracket axle, hanger and rotor lock ring are all titanium. The only parts that aren’t 3D-Printed are the top tube, down tube, seat tube and seat stays. All the lugs and even the chainstays are now 3D Printed all the way along.
All Sturdy frames are made-to-order in custom sizing determined by the customer with the help of a bike fitting expert. A custom frameset will set you back £6,500/£7,000; that includes pretty much everything that is titanium seen on this build here. Claimed weight for the Tara shown here is 1.6-1.7 kg for the bare frame – this one has a 490mm reach.
Road riders should totally check out the Sturdy Fiadh we wrote about last year!
Coal Bike had a beautiful iteration of its Pony Hardtail on show at Bespoked, finished with a cracker of a paint job from Black Cat Custom Paint. “A rad little bike”, is how its fabricator, Gavin White describes it. This 29er is built for 130-150mm forks, but will happily accept a 160mm fork if you want to go slacker.
It is made from a Reynolds 853 tubeset and is available in sizes Medium and Large. The rear-center length is consistent at 425mm, while the reach figures are 450mm and 490mm, respectively. Built with a 150mm fork, the Pony has a 64.5° and a seat tube angle of 76.5°.
Pick up a Pony for £900 in Black or White. Custom frame paint can be arranged with a surcharge. The average lead time is 6-8 weeks, but may be longer with custom paint and decals.
Feather Cycles Custom Hardtail
Feather Cycles were showing a drop-dead gorgeous hardtail mountain bike with a uniquely curved top tube, built up with a 130mm travel USD fork from Intend. Ricky Feather is the fabricator of all the frames; he fabricates all his bikes in York, England, and also bends most of the tubing including the 1mm thick T45 top tube seen here. It is hand-rolled with a set of mandrels. Ricky tells us it took him about an hour to get the exact bend he wanted for this frame.
Feather generally only offer complete bikes. The bikes he had on show at Bespoked varied in price from around £7,000 right up to £14,000; the most expensive one was indeed this hardtail. The paintwork is on top of that, costing as much as £2,000 per frame.
Sour Pasta Party with Rigid Party Fork
In addition to the Double Choc enduro bike, Sour also had a blinged-out version of the Pasta Party hardtail. It is designed to run a 100mm or 120mm travel suspension fork, or the steel suspension-corrected “Party” fork also made by Sour. Frame designer, Christoph Süße, tells us the Pasta Party is really popular right now with bike-packers. He says that most of these people are super fit but when they race they lose most of their energy in the downhills so they figured an MTB might sometimes be the better choice for races like the Atlas Mountain Race or Silk Road Mountain Race.
The Pasta Party frame is available in sizes S-XL and retails at € 949.