Isn’t it funny how life moves in cycles? 2015 passed very quickly, it seemed, but there’s plenty in 2016 to look forward to. It’s been a busy year for The Spoken; interest in cycling keeps growing as does, inevitably, interest in the custom and handmade bike culture.
So let’s hit 2016 running… I mean, pedalling. Here’s a look at the Top 10 most popular bikes on The Spoken from 2015. These results were based on a combination of web traffic, social media shares, comments and feedback:
10. PAUL BRODIE 2015 NAHBS TOURER
For the past few years, Paul Brodie has given the readers of The Spoken an insight into his skills as a master frame builder, during the construction of his entries into the NAHBS. Every one of Paul’s stories have proved to be popular, and the build process of his 2015 NAHBS Tourer was no exception.
9. BISHOP BIKES DI2 DISC ROAD
The work of Chris Bishop has appeared in The Spoken Top 10 for the past few years, which isn’t a surprise. The work that he put into this Di2-and-disc brake-equipped disc road bike is mind-blowing — from the custom stem, thinned lugs and sleeved dropouts to the hot rod paint by Fresh Frame’s Bryan Myers.
8. DESALVO CUSTOM CYCLES TI GRINDER
DeSalvo Custom Cycles is a one-man operation, the one man being Mike De Salvo: a teacher at the UBI, numerous NAHBS award winner and a frame builder considered by many of his peers to be one of the best in the business. The Ashland, Oregon builder made this grinder to showcase ENVE’s gravel fork and fender for the 2015 NAHBS.
7. RETROTEC BACKROAD RIDER
One of the oddest looking frames of those featured on The Spoken over 2015 turned out to be one of the most popular. The Curtis Inglis-built Retrotec Backroad Rider, contracted by Matt Larson, also has some personal details, like the Winchester shell bar end plugs that shot his grandfather’s ashes into the woods.
6. SVEN CYCLES FORAGING BIKE
Say you’re a famous chef who has based a menu on foraged rural and forest food, and need a way of carrying it back to your kitchen, what do you do? Call Darron Coppin at Dorset’s Sven Cycles to build you a two wheeled Land Rover, that’s what. Inside the custom basket and bags is everything needed to gather and cook a small banquet.
5. CHAPMAN CYCLES TANDEM
Riding a tandem can be twice the fun of a solo cycle. The tandem Brian Chapman built for he and his wife to tour Rhode Island upon has a multitude of classic and innovative details to make the ride easier, like the Phil Wood drag brake, dynamo hubs and lighting and detachable trailer. Needless to say, it was a hit amongst the readers of The Spoken.
4. KLEIN ADROIT
Gary Klein’s fat-tubed MTBs resonate well with the readers of The Spoken, for those of us who rode them in their heyday during the early 90s, and those younger readers who enjoy them for their retro appeal. Regardless, they were well-engineered machines that rode well, especially this Adroit, restored by Martin Kozaczek of Second Spin Cycles.
3. CHIOSSI DIRT TRACKER
The city of Modena is, or was, home to some of Italy’s most renowned carriage works, such as Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati. But for tracking through Modena’s congested stradas, this Dirt Tracker by Chiossi Cycles would always come up trumps. The Rosso Corsa paintwork set the readers of The Spoken on fire.
2. COLNAGOLD MASTER
Naturally, a Colnago Master with a 24 carat gold-plated Campagnolo C-Record gruppo and Record Strada rims is going to be a popular bike. Show bikes such as this are usually the domain of Popes but Javier Jubete, Principal of Vintage Luxury Bicycles, will create one for any collector — as long as their pockets are deep enough.
1. CRISP TITANIUM SABELT COMMUTER
Some previous year’s Top 10 bikes have surprises, and while Darren Crisp’s handmade titanium belt-driven commuter is not the median The Spoken bike, Darren’s reputation as a craftsman and world-class ti builder is well-deserved of 2015’s most popular bike. It trumped all others in terms of Facebook Likes (4.29K), Pinterest pins, Instagram Likes and web traffic.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the frame builders, riders, owners and photographers who have submitted their work over the last year. However, I’d especially like to thank the readers for taking the time to read these pages.
The Spoken is already making New Years resolutions to bring you more quality stories from the custom bike world and is dedicated to taking you on an epic adventure again in 2016. Ride on!