Tech features Tech gallery: 2023 Made handmade bicycle show, part seven
Dream builds from Argonaut, Onguza, Simple, Significant Other, Sour, and plenty more.
Covering a bicycle show like
Made can quickly provide a sense of overwhelm. There are hundreds of exhibitors, most of which are framebuilders, others make things that bolt, strap, or slide onto a bike, and a smaller few make the things that make the things. Most framebuilders bring multiple bikes for a bike nerd to get lost within, and of course, there’s always a story to tell.
Walking the length of the venue – a former shipbuilding yard – revealed both legends of the framebuilding world and names looking to leave a mark. My goal was to try to split my time between covering both, showcasing the builds from brands that people know, and hopefully finding a few that
should be known.
Much of our coverage from the Made Show intentionally offers this mix, and I encourage you to peruse our
previous galleries if you haven’t already. In this one, you’ll find the latest from renowned brand Argonaut, the makers maker Simple Bicycle Co, along with coverage of international brands Sour Bicycle and Onguza. You’ll also get an intro to Incognito Cycles, Significant Other, Destroy Bike Co, and plenty more.
We’re getting close to the end of our coverage of the inaugural
Made Bike Show. James Huang and I each have one more gallery to publish. What a show! Sour Bicycles was at the show and representing Dresden, Germany. The steel bike maker has a varied and good-value range, with the pictured Purple Haze bikepacking/gravel bike model being such an example at €1,050 for a frame. The Purple Haze is produced in seven stock frame sizes and offered in a choice of three stock colours where you can pick silver or black graphics. The colour shown here belongs to the company’s custom paint range. Sour sells frames, framesets, and complete bikes. The framesets (pricing from €1,300) can be optioned with either carbon forks or Sour’s own steel fork. The Purple Haze can clear up to a 700 x 55 mm tyre. A thin chainstay yoke helps to provide such impressive tyre clearance. Flat mount brakes meet a stout dropout design. There are three major handmade shows on the calender: Bespoked (Europe), Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, and now Made (USA). Bespoked was previously a British show, but for 2023 it moves to Dresden, Germany with the goal of being a bigger affair. Dresden is a growing hub for makers, with Sour having nearby neighbours such as Acto5 (the makers of this crank, among many other interesting things), Beast Components, and textile spoke makers Pi Rope. Portland-based Simple Bicycle Co is both a public-facing brand and a contract manufacturer. Owner and frame fabricator Oscar explained that he had 12 bikes at Made, only four of which had his own Simple Bicycle Co branding. True to the brand name, this titanium road bike offers plenty of classic elegance. No paint. No 3D-printed parts. Just an incredible level of skill in the fabrication. Flat mount, made Simple. Bottle cages and bolts were left off to showcase the detail. Gently dimpled stays (for tyre clearance) meet flawless welds. Simple. Oscar was something of a legend in the room, with a few makers speaking incredibly highly of his skillset. If producing frames in titanium, steel and aluminium wasn’t enough, he also makes framebuilding jigs for others. Sacrilege or perfection? Abbey Bike Tools replaced the contents of a classic Campagnolo toolset with its own modern collection. Abbey Bike Tools’ newest product is this simple Star Nut Setter. You can see it in the making within our factory tour gallery of Abbey. Significant Other Bikes is a new name on the scene and is the creative outlet of Ashley, a professional fabricator and welder for the Janus Cycle Group (owners of iconic titanium brands such as Dean and Merlin, and a OE contract manufacturer). This show bike is Ashley’s own and represents her entry into cycling as a courier in New York on a fixie. The bike has a number of interesting design details. One example is the one-piece titanium handlebar and stem – a product that Ashley will likely make more of given the interest at the show. Another angle of the titanium bar and stem. This titanium creation also has a few sneaky 3D-printed details, such as this chainstay yoke. More 3D pieces are seen in the little bullets that connect to the laser-cut flat plate dropouts. There’s a story to the holes in the seat tube. “I learnt to build bikes at UBI and B Vivit [ed. HotSalad Bicycles, to come in my final gallery] was one of my mentors there. B Vivit had a show bike previously with speed holes, and as a nod to her, I wanted to incorporate it into my show bike,” said Ashley. “In design, I realised I could make the centre hole work with how I used to lock my bike. It’s funny, but it also has a use, and it pays honour to someone who has really inspired me on my framebuilding journey.” That speed hole allows a shorter-length D-lock to reach around the bigger tyre and deeper wheel. Having made the long, long trip from Namibia, Onguza was present at the show. Founded by former professional cyclist Dan Craven, Onguza is a premium steel brand with the goal of raising awareness for Namibian-made products. Onguza had a number of bikes on display, with this “The Holy Fire” road-plus model serving as a showcase for Columbus’ new Trittico internal cabling system. Onguza gave the Trittico stem its signature cow-print paint scheme while keeping the Columbus logo present. The stylish chainstay bridge is another signature of Onguza frames. The Trittico system uses a regular 1 1/8″ headset and therefore Onguza didn’t need to adapt its frame design to hide the hoses. Onguza’s head badge. Onguza sources its frame parts from around the world. The frames are then fillet brazed in Onguza’s own workshop, located in the small central Namibian town of Omaruru. Craven explained that it has been many years in the making, including flying in world-class builders to teach the craft, and then building a huge stack of frames that may never see the light of day. This Onguza showbike also featured South African-made carbon wheels from South Industries. Creating a high-end frame manufacturer (Onguza sits at the premium-pricing end of the steel frame market) in the middle of Namibia would have surely had its barriers. Made within a small garage situated in the San Francsico Bay Area, King Fabrication specialises in TIG-welded steel frames. The brand also gives its name to a race team that sponsors trans and non-binary athletes. This King Fabrications track bike had a number of aesthetic flourishes that felt very akin to enthusiast motorsport fabrication. Islandix was at the show with its impressively simple-to-use wheel analytics system. The web-based software communicates with digital gauges and a digital spoke tension meter to provide live, easily read, and hands-free wheel trueness and spoke tension data. It can also be used to record all of that data for future warranty or reference purposes. If this system seems familiar, that’s because Abbey Bike Tools’ newly announced truing stand can be bought with this system. The Islandix system isn’t locked into any specific spoke tensionmeter, but rather will work with anything using a Mitutoyo digital gauge. Meanwhile a foot pedal controls the logging of data for incredibly quick and low-effort workflow. Sharing a booth with Islandix was Ric Hjertberg from Wheel Fanatyk, a specialist wheelbuilding tool and parts seller. On display was Wheel Fanatyk’s latest Morizumi spoke-cutting and thread-rolling machine. This updated version now features a digital gauge for measuring spoke lengths to a decimal point of a millimetre, and a digital spoke counter to help keep track of when you’ve cut enough or perhaps when it’s time to service the machine. Drool. As the founder of Wheelsmith Spokes, Rik knows a thing or two about those fancy pieces of wire. Now Wheel Fanatyk is expanding its product line into spoke blanks that are specifically made for shops and wheelbuilders with a spoke cutting machine. These high-quality blanks are double-butted, with the silver being high-polished, and the black being polished prior to coating. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Incognito Cycles focusses on custom bikes for going off-road. Builder Gregory Keefer started with custom steel bikes and is now learning the ropes with titanium. While certainly not to everyone’s taste, I do appreciate the way Keefer has matched the frame lines to the titanium truss-fork. A closer look at that truss-fork. So much of what you see here was made by Incognito Cycles, including the stem, bar, and seatpost (using a Thomson titanium head). This titanium experiment was built for Keefer’s partner, Emily. A huge number of builders had t-shirts for sale. Incognito had a good one. Irish custom carbon brand FiftyOne wasn’t an exhibitor at Made, but it still had something fresh hiding in clear view at the Challenge tyres stand. This custom gravel bike appears to have more tyre clearance than what has been seen from FiftyOne’s tube-to-tube-constructed bikes previously. Another name from Portland, Destroy Bikes is an urban steel bikemaker that’s branching out into other disciplines. This is the company’s first cyclocross bike, something made for local racer Colleen. Destroy Bikes leases the framebuilding workshop within Chris King’s facility. This CX bike is made with 4130 Chromoly tubing and features a number of neat aesthetic flourishes – such as this seatstay bridge … … and the matching chainstay bridge. Columbus is making a comeback to offering titanium tubes. The Italian company’s Hyperion tubesets aim to provide more choice to custom framebuilders. Btchn’ Bikes was present with a few bikes and a whole lot of titanium cockpit components. Freshly made for the show, these new titanium handlebars overcome the trickiest part of rolling a handlebar by implementing a 3D-printed component at the tightest point. These bars still need to go through fatigue testing, but the goal is to provide a highly comfortable (flexible) handlebar in custom widths and flares. The flat, printed area that sits behind the hoods is sure to be a nice comfort feature, too. Tyler of Btchn’ explained that he’ll only offer a single shape of the drop. To please those that want an ergonomic drop, Tyler has created plastic 3D-printed inserts that can be placed wherever you choose and then hidden beneath the bartape. Btchn’ isn’t new to making such components and has a range of flat, riser, and other bars. Its “Weird Bars” share a similar concept with the Surly Corner Bar where you can use mountain-bike-style shifters and brake levers on a dropbar. There are titanium seatposts, too. Based in nearby Bend, Oregon, custom carbon frame specialists Argonaut were of course present at Made. On display was the new Supernaut RM3 (road) and GR3 (gravel) bikes, Argonaut’s answer to a performance-focussed production-style bike. These feature a stock geometry and carbon lay-up, and in the simplest sense, aim to be an American-made equivalent to a Specialized S-Works or Pinarello Dogma. Introduced last year, the GR3 offers progressive geometry and room for 700 x 50 mm tyres with just a 415 mm-length chainstay. Argonaut will continue to offer its usual custom carbon layup and geometry. Meanwhile, the Supernaut series offers a layup that aims to be more performance-focussed (stiffer). The company has already released its own brand of rims to match its bikes. Argonaut uses monocoque-style construction methods to produce frames that weigh on par with mass production options. Slick details are visible throughout, such as the clean Di2 wiring and direct-mount derailleur hanger. Argonaut claims its GR3 frame weights start from 850 g, a highly competitive figure given the long front-centre and wide tyre clearance. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent