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At the start of every year, Czech handmade custom bike builder Festka looks back at their most popular bike builds of the past 12 months. And for 2022, the traditionally road-focused builder leans more towards gravel with their Scout & Rover models edging out the Scalatore & Spectre for the Top-5 spots with the most likes on social media.
Let’s take a closer look…
#1 Festka x Glorious Scout Pop-Art gravel bike
all c. Festka, photos by Ondřej Szollosz, Tom Hnida & LightWolf
The most popular custom Festka on social media in 2023 was this pop-art gravel bike collaboration with graphic artist Matt Stanbury, aka Glörious. And interestingly, while the other bikes in the Top-5 are mostly one-off custom builds, this most striking design is now one of Festka’s limited edition series finishes.
Glörious designed the primary colors and donut-themed pop combo for his own Scout adventure gravel bike. But Festka “fell in love with it”, so they agreed to make it a super limited edition. Matt’s build includes the ever-flashy BikeAhead 6-spoke wheels in their latest BiTurbo Aero configuration and Campagnolo’s lightest gravel groupset – the 1x 13-speed Ekar mechanical. This also happened to be one of the earliest Festkas to get the full 1.5″ headset to route cables into the frame, but still opts for a more serviceable cable routing setup.
As for the look you can actually buy, the Festka x Glorious pop-art design is limited to just 9 total framesets – this one going to Matt, himself – with each being slightly different. There’s also a pop-art Festka x Glorious T-shirt available for a whole lot less.
#2 Festka Scalatore “Kafka on a bike” road bike
This elaborate hand-painted bike is out of the ultimate custom “You By Festka” project. Highlighting the intricate work of one of Festka’s favorite Czech artists Michal Bačák, the concept was to recreate some of the mind-bending scenes from Franz Kafka, the famous author born in Prague where the bike was made.
From afar, this custom lightweight carbon Scalatore road bike appears subtle in black & white, but up close the details keep coming. The Kafka on a bike Scalatore gets a classic SRAM Red eTap AXS 2×12 wireless electronic disc brake build with mid-depth ENVE SES carbon wheels & cockpit.
#3 Festka Rover Tinted gravel bike
This fast gravel & all-road Rover is pretty low-key in the grand scheme of custom carbon Festka bikes. But it’s the translucent blue paint that really makes it pop, revealing the intricate filament-woven carbon tubes that Festka has custom-made by Czech manufacturing partner CompoTech in one of the company founder’s home town.
Built with custom geometry for an especially tall customer, this Festka Rover Tinted gets an all-Campagnolo build. It pairs an Ekar 1×13 gruppo to a set of tubeless Campy Shamal Carbon wheels and fast-rolling Schwalbe G-One Speed gravel tires, plus an Enve carbon cockpit.
#4 Festka Rover Ondrash & Kasparek gravel bike
Late in 2021 Festka brought back the artist duo Ondrash & Kasparek to create a couple of show bikes, highlighting their latest limited edition Artist Series. And this was the first actual customer that decided to work with O&K to create their own one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Using water transfers to bring the swirling designs into 3 dimensions, this one opts for turquoise & magenta over a clean white canvas.
The Festka Rover Ondrash & Kasparek gravel bike started off with a more reserved build featuring SRAM Force AXS 2x, but quickly goes off the chain with a CeramicSpeed OSPW upgrade and German-made Beast carbon wheels & cockpit.
#5 Festka Spectre Beast road bike
Rounding out the top-5 of 2022 is this low-key Festka Spectre road bike tricked out in more Beast carbon… although it hardly seems appropriate to call something this shiny low-key. The idea was originally something more flashy, matching Beast’s unique red-tinted carbon on the frameset as well. But Festka art director Tom Hnida thought it would be too much, and calm heads prevailed.
In the end, of the Dresden-made Beast carbon components, the RX60 aero wheels, full carbon saddle & stem all got the red-tinted resin over square carbon fabric, while the Beast bar, seatpost & bottle cages stuck with a glossy clear coat over those big square fibers. Then, Festka gave the extra stiff race-ready Spectre a matching high-gloss clear finish, even in their basic Core design, just picking up the matching translucent red for its logo details only, revealing their intricate carbon weave beneath.
The whole bike was built up by our wheelbuilder & mechanic friends at Light Wolf Studios with SRAM Force AXS, literally just next door to where Beast manufactures these carbon components. Read all about the build on their site, or just watch that Dream Build video.