Tech features Tech gallery: 2023 Made handmade bicycle show, part eight
Saving some of the best 'til last with Ira Ryan, Rollingdale, Tomii, HotSalad, Caletti, Circa, and more.
Oh yes, there’s more!
Call me a tease, but I’ve saved some of the most interesting and drool-worthy machines for my final gallery. Below, you’ll find a mix of steel, titanium, carbon and one of the few aluminium builders present at the show. Each builder provides their own individual style and unique approach, and really, the material of choice is very much a secondary aspect.
That’s it from my coverage of the inaugural Made Bike Show. James Huang has one final gallery to share, and so I’ll leave it to him to put a wrap and bow on our
coverage of the 2023 Made Bike Show. Ira Ryan was a co-founder of Breadwinner Cycles and after a decade at the Portland-based bike company, has now returned to making bikes under his own name. Ira is best known for creating classically-styled steel road and cyclocross bikes; however, the disc cyclocross bike shown here is a thoroughly modern creation. Clean and easy to live with. Ira builds bikes with either a fillet brazed or lugged construction – this one has the smooth lines of the former. “Keep it Simple. Make it Beautiful. Ride Bikes.” – as read on Ira Ryan Cycles’ website. “I think a lot of the internal routing is bullshit.” Well said Ira, well said. Ira loves a classic aesthetic. Here, this fillet-brazed frame is given a reinforcing sleeve that allows a thinner walled seat tube to be used. It also provides a classic lug-like aesthetic flourish. Portland steel with a Portland steel backdrop. There were many beautiful bikes at Made, but few met the status of being rideable jewellery quite like those of Tomii Cycles. Born in Japan, Nao Tomii moved to the USA two decades ago to study and work as a sculptor. These days you’ll find Nao in his Austin, Texas, workshop building steel bikes and handcrafting some of the most impressive bells, headset spacers, headset topcaps, and bar-end plugs you’ll ever see. Every angle offers an element of timeless elegance. It’s pieces like these that really set Tomii Cycles apart. Nao makes the top caps from brass and then inlays pieces of Turquoise (set in resin). Even the M6 bolt is customised. Tomii Cycles. Nao uses a mixture of fillet brazing and TIG welding. This brazed seatpost clamp hosts another artistically customised bolt. Even otherwise standard frame pieces, such as these Paragon Machine Works dropouts, are given a unique flair. These Wolf Tooth titanium bottle cages have seen some extreme heat to get this colour. More Turquoise inlay is seen with the custom expanding bar end plugs. So smooth and with a paint that pops in the sun. Notice the subtle rings around the flat mount tabs? Those are custom, too. Headset spacers, made by hand (well, a Dremel). Tomii Cycles offers its accessories for sale. They’re not cheap, and nor should they be with countless hours put into each one. Dale Marchand of RollingDale Cycles is a titanium frame builder based in Alberta, Canada. Rollingdale produce fully custom bikes for going off-road, whether that’s gravel, bikepacking, or mountain biking. Pictured is Dale’s personal (and new) ride, a trail hardtail with a long front-centre balanced with a not-too-slack 66° head angle. I’m a big fan of this. Instead of a headbadge, Dale machines and then anodises the logo into the head tube. Moto-style titanium bars, made by Dale. The chainstay yoke is a custom machined piece and done for improved tyre clearance. Impressively, Dale makes this piece in-house with a 4-Axis CNC machine. It’s given a splash of anodised colour, too. The frame bag support tube is a wonderfully cool feature. Rollingdale got into making titanium hammers as a fun project during Covid. It was ToolBoxWars on Instagram that was an early fan of these, and it didn’t take long before Rollingdale’s whackers were being custom anodised into ‘glammers’. So what makes a good hammer? “Having a good weighted balance, like a good bicycle. It should have a good feel so if you want to tap lightly on something, use delicately and encourage those parts into place,” explained Dale of his hammers, which carry more heft than Abbey Bike Tools’ original titanium hammer. A fresh name to the scene and with the most unassuming display at the show, July Bicycles is doing some impressive things with carbon fibre. I’m eager to see where this brand goes, including some of the more conceptual ideas such as producing an entire frame from an unbroken spool of carbon fibre tow. Behind July Bicycles is Benjamin Jurgensen, an artist and educator at the Rhode Island School of Design in sculpture, industrial design, and foundation studies. From the outside this road bike looks like many others, but the construction techniques are quite unique with a blend of filament wound tubes and moulded carbon lugs. Notice that hourglass shape on the top tube? Such a shape is extremely impressive once you learn the filament is wound over a hard mandrel which ensures high material compaction and smooth interior walls. That hard mandrel is 3D printed in three sections, which are then threaded together. Once the tube is created, the mandrel can be unbolted into its three pieces and removed from the shapely tube. Benjamin also makes the moulded carbon lugs. Once again using a 3D printer to produce custom mandrels to wrap the carbon around. Founded in 2004 and based in Santa Cruz, California, John Caletti is a builder of custom steel and titanium bikes. Beautiful S-bent seatstays feature on this Caletti gravel bike that John built for himself. This paint design is new from Caletti Cycles. The Made Bike Show offered a great variety of cranksets that weren’t from the three main drivetrain brands. Here, this Caletti is fitted with a crankset from Italian component producer Ingrid. Simple designs are found throughout Caletti’s frames. John shared that he’s seeing a lot of demand for titanium adventure road and gravel bikes at this time. Amongst a sea of titanium and steel bikes, Circa Cycles’ use of aluminium was an extremely rare occurrence at Made. The Portland-based bike maker bonds round anodised aluminium tubes with CNC-machined lugs to produce semi-custom bikes at surprisingly low prices. The seatstays are held in mechanically and so can be replaced in the event of damage (seatstays are one of the most commonly damaged tubes in crashes). As a further perk, the design means Circa’s bikes can be easily fitted with a belt-drive that requires the rear-end to be split. A closer look at some of the details that CNC-machining allows. Intricate details are seen at the bottom bracket lug. Circa offers three fit variants with each frame size. In this sense the bikes are not fully custom, but they’re not far off, either. A large all-road frame is said to weigh approximately 1,800 grams. Founder Rich Fox says that Circa builds its bikes to last, and had even brought a bike with 14,000 m (22,500 km) on the clock as a display/show bike. If the construction method weren’t unique enough, then the finishing options certainly are. By using round tubes, Circa is able to laser etch any design prior to the tube being bonded in place. Want your face laser etched on your bike? Circa can do it! Just a few examples of designs previously etched into bikes. Circa allows you to bring your own design, or can do the design work for you. Impressively, Circa’s frames are still relatively affordable. Frames start from US$2,300 (without fork), with complete bikes starting from US$4,300. Built for a former colleague of the Escape Collective team, Anne-Marije Rook, this HotSalad custom titanium all-road bike is a built as a workhorse. HotSalad Bicycles is the creation of Portland-based frame maker B Vivit. HotSalad is B’s custom label, while Lunchtime Bike Co is a small-batch production brand she runs with Sean Eagleton. B is a former mechanic and frame building instructor at the now defunct United Bicycle Institute. Speed holes are somewhat of a signature in B’s bikes. It’s an element that Ashley of Signifcant Other Bikes paid homage to. The finish on this frame is quite spectacular with polished elements subtly present. Anne-Marije Rook has been known to do some ultra long rides and so these extra bidon cage bosses will certainly get used. The media blasted raw titanium meets an anodised fade that meets a gloss powdercoat. Rich colour. Replaceable cable ports ensure a long service life from this steed. The line down the centre of the top tube is polished raw titanium. Enjoy the new bike Anne-Marije! What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent