Tech features Tech gallery: 2023 Made handmade bicycle show, part five
Custom is for more than one budget.
The custom bike world provides a rare blend of artistic freedom, craftsmanship, and engineering innovation. It exists to create something that can make a statement, solve a unique need, or help spark a fond memory.
So many of these custom creations are the pinnacle of desirability in cycling. The bigger brands take inspiration from them. We drool over them. And yet, so many of us say to ourselves that such a one-off creation is out of reach.
Yes, some of the bikes showcased truly do exceed the budgets of most in this world. Yet, it’s important to remember that there are price tiers like any market. Custom doesn’t just apply to material, fit, handling, paint, or the number of M5 rivnuts. It also means you can elect to pay for all the extras, or you can buy something that fits your budget. Some builders exist to serve more modest needs where dream-worthy complete custom bikes can be bought for similar money to a mid-tier Trek or Specialized.
Take another look through
our coverage from Made, and you’ll spot builders making products for a broader range of customers than you may have first realised. In this gallery, you’ll find aspirational builds from the likes of Mosaic and Moots, but you’ll also find more attainable creations from names such as Breadwinner and Sklar, along with newcomers Neuhaus, Bahl, and Rosario.
We’re now on the fifth round of
our coverage from the Made show, and I’m still looking at a large catalogue of images yet to be published. I’ve saved some of the best and/or most interesting till last … Portland local Breadwinner Cycles was present to greet those into the venue. Shown here is the A-Road Bread & Butter, the company’s first stock size option in its 10-year history. The A-Road is an endurance-style steel road bike that’s intended for tyres between 32 and 38 mm in width (40 mm max). The Bread & Butter version comes with a painted-to-match Enve AR carbon fork, while the custom version of A-Road can be optioned with Breadwinner’s own steel fork if that’s more your style. Note the frame pump peg. Classic (and optional if you elect for custom) details can be found throughout. And as per my point above regarding the custom world offering various price tiers, a complete custom bike similar to what’s shown runs at approximately US$8,000 (cheaper spec options available). Meanwhile, the stock size Bread & Butter complete bikes start from just US$5,990. This Breadwinner Goodwater hardtail belongs to the owner’s 12-year-old son, Oscar. Impressively, Oscar did all the tube mitering and a fair amount of the welding himself. Such a small frame means special solutions. This notched chainstay for the rear brake mount is a neat touch. Neuhaus MetalWorks is one of the more exciting brands on the scene for how it uses 3D printing technology to overcome common problems and improve manufacturing efficiencies in its made-to-order frames. The company has a range of steel and titanium bikes across mountain, road and gravel – all made in Marin County, California. Co-founders Dan Yang and Nick Neuhaus were both at Carbon (the 3D print company that makes those cool 3D-printed saddles for the likes of Specialized and Fizik), and have now gone full-time into the business of making bikes. Dan handles the engineering side, while Nick is the fabricator. A 3D-printed chainstay yoke on this Hummingbird steel hardtail helps provide clearance for wider tyres. The Hummingbird is the company’s more XC-oriented bike, while the Solstice is a longer-travel and more trail-focussed option. These two models aren’t custom, but are rather made-to-order in a whopping 16 sizes! Frames are US$2,200. Smart details can be found throughout the bike. The cable ports are real clever. The 3D-printed metal guide gets brazed into the frame and is then combined with a replaceable and flexible 3D-printed polymer that locks the hose into place but still allows it to flex without being kinked. Another 3D-printed piece is used to hold the bottle on the seat tube. This overcomes the issue where a more commonly used rivnut can often interrupt the dropper post insertion. Neuhaus’ new Eypon Ti is a premium titanium road and all-road bike. The Eypon Ti offers classic lines, but a closer look reveals some extremely modern tech. The 3D-printed titanium dropouts can be customised to match various types of drivetrains. Here, the bike is equipped with mechanical shifting and has one extremely clean cable exit port. A signature feature found on Neuhaus’ bikes is the 3D-printed Y yoke junction at the seat tube. It’s a design element that makes light work of achieving perfect frame alignment between the top tube, seat tube, and seatstays of the bike. Neuhaus uses various model-specific sizes of the Y-yoke. A chainstay yoke at the driveside seatstay provides clearance for 40 mm tyres with road cranks. There’s a 3D-printed flat mount dropout, too. The 3D-printed cable ports fan out inside the tube for easier cable routing. Portland-based Chris King was of course present at Made and with the brand’s products found on many many bikes. New from them is this limited release “Splash” colourway. Chris King’s RingDrive helical spline system has inspired a number of competing hub systems. However, none have the track record (or in-house-made and serviceable bearings) of King. Speaking of service, Chris King recently released a single universal tool kit to overhaul all of its hubs. Previously the company offered two separate tool kits depending on whether you were rebuilding its R45 or other hubs. No special tools are needed for more basic/common servicing. Moots’ stand was near the entrance to the show, and although it was filled with impressive builds at the front and centre, it was the 750D-wheeled Routt CRDD at the back of the stand that grabbed the most attention. Moots is currently experimenting with the new wheelsize, something it believes could have merit in faster gravel riding/racing. You can read all about Moots’ testing of 750D wheels in our dedicated article. As a mountain bike instructor, Kevin Foss got tired of seeing trashed bikes that were often incredibly expensive to repair, and that’s where Rosario Bike Co started. Rosario is a brand of fuss-free custom steel hardtail and full suspension mountain bikes (fillet-brazed construction). Shown here is a 130/120 mm travel and mullet wheel setup built for Kevin’s 12-year-old daughter. A super simple single-pivot layout was picked for durability and ease of serviceability. Kevin even went as far as using pivot hardware that can be sourced from a regular hardware store for easy fixing on the road. Expect to pay US$2,500 for a custom frame like this (without shock). SimWorks is an extremely interesting brand that’s as much of a distributor of quality (and sadly somewhat forgotten) Japanese brands as it is a design house. The company is perhaps best known for its handlebars that are made by Nitto, but there are many other collaborations beyond this. The company also has its own bikes via the Doppo label. Shown here is the Doppo ATB, a versatile bike built by Japanese builder Shin Hattori, using a Tange CrMo tubeset and Tange Original Multipurpose front fork. Based in Bozeman, Montana, Sklar Bikes makes custom steel gravel and mountain bikes. The company recently branched out into having its name and designs on production frames made in Taiwan. Shown is the second of such bikes, the Tall Tale. This swoopy trail 29er hardtail will be available in four different sizes. Sklar takes a somewhat unique approach of changing the fork travel based on frame size: the smallest size will feature a 130 mm fork, the two middle sizes will use a 140 mm fork, and the largest 160 mm. The bike will be made with custom-drawn steel tubing. Sklar Bikes is hoping to hit a price point of around US$1,000 for this production frame. Who says show bikes need to be clean? This one is very much a working prototype. The production version won’t have a 3D-printed yoke like shown, rather it’ll use a cast yoke. The use of older IS brake mounts is quite common amongst steel and titanium framebuilders. The IS mount has no threads to mess up and it also provides a more substantial reinforcement/weld area. James Huang already shared Bridge Bike Works’ Surveyor in gallery #3, but here is the same model of bike in a completely different guise. Although it’s designed as a comfortable all-road bike and has a chainstay length of just 417 mm, the Surveyor can still fit 40 mm tyres. It’s also one of the first dropbar bikes to be UDH-compatible, as displayed here with a SRAM Eagle Transmission. One of Bridge Bike Works’ more intriguing design elements is the moulded carbon fibre threads for the bottom bracket. Yes, carbon threads. The company claims to have done extensive testing and says the splines of the bottom bracket cup will snap off well before the threads strip. Launched in 2019, Bahl Cycle Works builds custom steel road and gravel bikes in Bakersfield, California. Shown here is a customer’s fully integrated road bike with a custom shaped top tube and a stainless steel rear-end. This Bahl mixes classic and modern lines. Bahl has custom frames starting from US$2,300. The Bahl was one of the only bikes at Made to feature an FSA K-Force WE groupset. Shown is the newest 12-speed version. The glorious paint fade is done by Eric Dungey at Colorworkspalette. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Mosaic is consistently considered one of the more desirable titanium framemakers. Pictured is the company’s new MT-1 XC hardtail. The MT-1 platform is based on a 120 mm fork. It has room to fit 29 x 2.6″ tyres (optimised for 29 x 2.4″) and is equipped with a SRAM UDH derailleur hanger. There are four standard frame sizes or alternatively custom geometry is available. This model features a custom double-butted titanium tubeset. In the case of this show bike, there’s that truly spectacular in-house “Artist Series” paint. Flawless. Painted graphics on the fork complete the look. The attention to detail is incredible. Another from Mosaic’s Prismatica Artist Series of paint is this truly incredible Mosaic x Chris King collab. Beneath the paint is Mosaic’s RT-1 ITR road model with Enve’s integrated aero cockpit and Chris King’s Aeroset. This is one show bike that you quickly get lost in the details of. More art. The colours on this were picked to accent with Chris King’s 3D violet colour that has returned for 2023. Mosaic’s paint shop (Spectrum Paint & Powder Works) spent approximately 20 hours on this finish. Hot damn. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent