What an incredible year 2014 has been. We’ve seen some big changes, but one constant is the fact that we can climb aboard this simple machine called a bicycle and fly like an eagle above it all, enjoying the solitude or the camaraderie of friends.
There’s still a couple of weeks left to 2014, but as things tend to speed up the closer we get to the finish line, I’d like to take this opportunity to present this year’s most popular bikes on The Spoken. It’s a mixed bag, with a few surprises…
The Spoken Top 10 were selected by traffic figures, social media shares, comments and the number of incoming links. These were balanced with the age of the post, so that more recent bikes are not disadvantaged. Let’s start at Number 10:
10: Festka XCr Modern Batak
One of the more recent listings, the Czech house of Festka blow us away with each new release. This one did especially, with traditional Sumatran markings and a modern Dura-Ace build kit.
9: Paul Brodie’s Starley Giraffe
Built as a demonstration for the University of the Fraser Valley’s Framebuilding 101 School, at which Paul is a tutor, for the 2014 NAHBS, each component was engineered from scratch.
8: Ken Piper’s Wooden Di2 Road
The similarities between classic wooden boats and bicycles have never been closer than with this wooden road bike, equipped with Ultegra Di2. Australian craftsman Ken Piper constructed it from Jarrah and Queensland Silver Ash.
7: Cinelli Porteur
It’s always refreshing to see a well-worn bike amongst the latest and modern builds, but Martin Zeplichal’s vintage Cinelli, modelled after the newspaper delivery bikes of Paris in the 30s, proved that they’re just as popular.
6: Bishop Bikes 650B Rando
Chris Bishop built this randonneur for a San Franciscan customer who will take it on the road, where it will look right at home with its ‘love bus’ paint work. Chris’ trademark lug-thinning left us speechless but kept us hitting the ‘Like’ button.
5: Rossin Pursuit
Rossin is 40 years old this year, so it’s fitting to see one in the Top 10. This ‘funny bike’ was posted on the 4th birthday of The Spoken, proving that everything does move in cycles. It was lovingly restored by Aurimas Preilauskas, a Lithuanian art director.
4: Firefly Bicycles All-road Tourer
No sooner than Boston’s Firefly Bicycles finished this tourer for Ad Vermaas, did he fly from Utrecht to pick it up, only to return and promptly embark on a tour of Romania upon it. These are the lengths that Firefly customers will go to, and from the look of each weld bead, it’s no wonder.
3: Parlee Skunk Works Z5 Sli
Sydney’s Skunk Works specialises in below-the-radar ‘weight weenie’ builds, and while the director’s Parlee Z5 SLi isn’t the lightest bike in the world, it’s a daily rider, so it’s built for robustness. It made a change from what we usually see on these pages, but we sure accepted it with open arms.
It’s no C60, but it’s far more awe-inspiring. Gold plated first generation C-Record components from Campagnolo and Cinelli’s VIP suede saddle and bar tape, it was assembled by Spain’s Vintage Luxury Bicycles shop, and nearly crashed our servers.
Drum roll, please…
1: Detroit Bicycle Co. Land Speed Bike
Wow. A custom 93-tooth chainring propels this contender for the land speed record by human-powered machine. Gloss black and copper highlights on the cockpit and drilled tubes will not only turn heads, but give them a severe case of whiplash.
Steven Bock excelled himself with this beauty from Motor City, a sure sign that the age of the automobile is being replaced by the age of the bicycle. In our books, anyway. Ladies and gentlemen, the most popular bike on The Spoken in 2014.
As 2014 draws to a close, I’d like to thank you all for being part of The Spoken: the builders, photographers, riders and readers, and especially the sponsors. This is not the end, but I’m taking the bike down to Tasmania for a ride, where there will be as little internet connection as possible. Keep an eye out for some exciting changes around here in 2015, and even more beautiful bikes. Ride joyous!