Tech gallery: 2023 Made handmade bicycle show, part three

Metal is metal, but so are carbon fiber and wood.

James Huang
by James Huang 27.08.2023 Photography by
James Huang
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If custom bike builders are viewed as artists, then the bikes and frames they’re creating could easily be considered their canvasses. But not every builder chooses the same medium for their craft, and so the rest of us are treated to a wonderfully diverse array of colors, textures, and tones. 

Vanilla Bicycles could certainly be considered one of the OGs of the North American custom show circuit, and certainly a fixture in the local Portland scene. Seventeen years ago, founder Sacha White crafted the most bonkers tricycle for his elementary school-age daughter, and he brought it back out for the inaugural Made event. It was looking a little worse for wear these days – who wouldn’t after seventeen years, eh? – but it was no less striking today than it was then, and at least for me, it was a fun trip down memory lane to the very first handmade show I ever attended.

That over-the-top spirit still permeates much of the custom community today, where just “good enough” is never remotely good enough.

The finish on the Officina Battaglin gravel bike? Insane. Don’t think a titanium bike can be stiff enough for crit racing? Haley Cycles would like a word. Is Pursuit Cycles’ carbon frame somehow too refined for its own good? While some brands use bold paint to catch your eye, Bridge Bike Works draws your attention with a gentler nudge. What’s the point of a lusciously carved wooden frame if the non-wooden parts look like clumsy and crude? Twmpa went the extra mile. And speaking of extra miles, one lucky member of Victoire’s crew built themselves one hell of a bike for heading off on all-day (and multi-day) adventures.

Feast your eyes, and stay tuned for more of our coverage from the Made show.

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