Bikes So Beautiful You Have to Wait Months to Get One

Cycling is booming in London and other cities worldwide. So a new generation of bespoke framebuilders is emerging to serve the most demanding riders willing to spend the money - and time - to get the best. They don't come cheap, with prices for a frame alone starting around £1,200 ($1,800), and most builders have a wait list of six months or more. So that's plenty of time to make the hardest decision: from the infinite possibilities, how to have it painted. Photographs by Miles Willis for Bloomberg

  1. 1

    Clockwise from top left: Tom Donhou, Caren Hartley, Matt McDonough and Matthew Sowter.

  2. 2

    Saffron Frameworks founder Matthew Sowter, right, in his Woolwich, south London workshop.

  3. 3

    Shavings from machined metal.

  4. 4

    Caren Hartley started out as a jeweler then turned her hand to metalworking.

  5. 5

    Matt McDonough welds a frame.

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    Tom Donhou of Donhou Bicycles came to Hackney Wick in east London from Norwich, where he started about five years ago. He's done maybe 100 custom frames and won awards for his work.

  7. 7

    Tools of the trade.

  8. 8

    Caren Hartley works out of Peckham, south London.

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    Hand cut detailing ready for finessing.

  10. 10

    Matthew Sowter sends his frames 200 miles north to York for their paintwork.

  11. 11

    At Talbot Frameworks in Crystal Palace, south London, Matt McDonough has been building for more than two years professionally. Before that, he taught mechanics and made them for friends and family.

  12. 12

    Biscuits - as important as welding glasses.