Tech features Tech gallery: 2023 Made handmade bicycle show, part two
Next-level details from No.22, a couple of interesting new names on the block, and plenty more.
Walking the packed rows of exhibitors at the inaugural
Made Bike Show quickly offers a comforting sense that the world of bespoke, handmade, and customised cycling products is alive and well. In fact, James Huang and I keep finding ourselves telling each other about things the other hasn’t yet seen after two full days at the show.
In this second (and accidentally all-American) gallery, I share the latest from titanium specialists No.22. There are new kids on the block Albatross Bikes and Flux Customs, each bringing their own unique approaches. Finally, you’ll find some of the latest products from Old Man Mountain and Onyx.
There’s plenty more to come from the Made Bike Show. Follow the link for all of our related coverage. Albatross Bikes may be a new name on the block, but founder Will Hilgenberg is certainly a familiar face to the industry. Will’s engineering fingerprints can be found on popular products from Praxis, Bell, and Ibis Cycles. Pictured here is Will’s personal road bike, a steel beauty with interestingly intricate uninterrupted seatstays. The uninterrupted seatstays aim to provide greater seated comfort. Will’s preference for rim brakes on pure road bikes makes the uninterrupted seatstays all the more complicated. That brake bridge only connects to the integrated seat post, not to the slender seat stays. Quite the pivot from Will’s personal rim brake road bike is Albatross’ Apogee mountain bike. The design goal of the Apogee was to create a modular and fully customisable full suspension design where all of the moving suspension components are contained in a single changeable assembly. Albatross’ design keeps weight low and off the rear-end of the bike. It also keeps room for bottles within the main triangle. The prototype bike shown is made from steel, but Will said his background is in composites and that design isn’t limited to any single material. Don’t be surprised if future versions feature a machined aluminium rear-end or even a composite front-end. Albatross isn’t entirely alone in the idea of having such a modular frame. Australian brand Trinity MTB are also onto a somewhat similar concept (although Trinity’s design approach rather provides modular drivetrain and gearbox solutions). The Apogee’s design means all moving parts are contained to a removable and replacement unit. Additionally, things like suspension kinematics for different shock setups or travel can be changed without impacting the frame geometry. Or alternatively, elements of the frame geometry could be changed without having an impact on the suspension characteristics. The design possibilities are quite endless. While it’s a custom bike, the complexity of the Apogee’s floating suspension design means it’s still in prototype form. Albatross Bikes has a goal of having it all ready for sale in a little less than a year from now. Other frame details are easily missed with such a suspension package in place. These plate-style gussets are a nice touch. And this protected, but external cable routing is quite lovely, too. Albatross Bikes is a name worth remembering. The Apogee’s contained suspension assembly is machined by career machinist and designer-for-manufacturing Collin Huston. Collin has an impressive resume, including creating machining processes for Apple and Google hardware. Nowadays, Collin does contract machine work from his own shop in the mountain town of Tahoe (certainly not known as a manufacturing hub), including the making of these rather awesome replacement titanium bleed screws for anyone that’s stripped the stock Shimano M7 cheesy aluminium ones. More info at Tahoe Trail Tools. Old Man Mountain was once a small and somewhat forgotten pannier rack brand that made racks to fit onto quick release bikes that lacked appropriate mounting eyelets. Nowadays the company is under shared ownership with thru-axle specialists Robert Axle Project in Bend, Oregon, and the product range has grown significantly. Pictured is the company’s Divide rack, which allows you to safely run a front pannier rack on just about any fork, even if its of the lightweight carbon fibre road or gravel variant. The common theme of Old Man Mountain’s racks is that they carry the load at the axle. A pizza rack on a suspension fork? Yep, Old Man Mountain has that covered, too. And there’s now a new basket to match. Old Man Mountain has also entered into pannier bags. The company has some options already available and is also working a new line of bags with its upcoming “Flip Cage” design that provides an ultra secure and fast-to-use mounting system. Old Man Mountain will be licensing this design to a few other big-name bag makers, too. Simply locate the bag and then flip the top toggle into place. So how is that bag mounting to that suspension fork? That’s done with Old Man Mountain’s upcoming Axle Pack. This one-sided mount also uses the axle to handle the load (made by Robert Axle Project). You can run these mounts on both sides of the fork, or just use one. The Axle Pack provides a direct fit for Flip Cage-compatible bags, or alternatively you can use its threads to mount an anything-style cage. This is sure to be an exciting product for anyone who wants to carry larger loads with a suspension fork. Denver-based Flux Customs started as a paint and ceramic coat shop, but has now expanded into doing its own mixed titanium and carbon fibre frames. Shown here is an ultra modern twist on a randonneur style bike. Flux Customs aims to be a full-service custom builder, handling everything from the frame, paint, wheel builds, and even bags. Yes, even bags. This bag was thrown together in the days before Made opened its doors. It’s impressive to think that this is a shoddy example of the company’s custom bags. Inside you’ll find pockets, many pockets. This paint is lovely. The paint is almost too nice and I initially thought Flux Custom was merely at the show for what they can do with finishes. A very suitable paint work for a bike with this name. A painted-to-match FSA integrated cockpit sits on the front of this dynamo-equipped bike. A skinny titanium wishbone seatstay meets the carbon fibre seat tube. The use of carbon fibre in the seat tube and head tube is predominately there to cut some weight and add an aesthetic flourish. There are also some claimed comfort benefits, too. Just one more of that paint. Flux Customs isn’t set on any one style of bike, and the makers also had a rim brake road bike on display. Onyx’s instant engagement sprag clutch freewheel mechanism first took the BMX racing world by storm, and the company has since successfully expanded into mountain bikes, fat bikes, gravel bikes, and even road bikes. Beyond the instant engagement, the use of a sprag clutch (effectively a one-way bearing) means the hubs coast entirely silent, too. New from Onyx are hub shells with flanges made for Berd’s woven polymerfibre spokes. According to Onyx, there is strong demand for the feathery light spokes. Impressively, the company is offering these new hub shells in all of its spoke hole counts, its full gamut of anodised colours, and in either road/gravel (centerlock-only) or fat bike-width hubs, too. Onyx is also expanding its product range to include matching anodised headset topcaps, steerer spacers, and soon seat clamps, too. Always one to draw a crowd, No.22 are masters at creating works of art from titanium. Pictured here is the company’s new Drifter Adventure gravel bike. The Drifter Adventure features a SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger in order to run new Eagle Transmission. It of course can be run with a regular UDH for mounting a regular derailleur, too. This model is 1x-only. Of course that dropout is unique to No.22 and is 3D titanium printed. The way No.22 often mixes its finishes is quite lovely. External or internal cabling? The choice is yours. No.22 has its own fork brand, No. 6 Composites. These forks are also used by a handful of other custom frame makers. Also new in time for the Made show is No.22’s own headset for bikes with external cable routing. This titanium headset helps to complete the look between the frame and the company’s own stems. All the headset pieces are unique to No.22, will exception to the Enduro bearings hiding within. Bet you didn’t spot this, but this Drifter Adventure is also a travel bike. The stealthy couplers are No.22’s own product, as is the rear brake hose coupler. Here’s what the coupler looks like before it’s welded into a frame. No.22 works with a number of specialist manufacturing partners to make the many unique parts that set its bikes apart. For example, No.22’s headset top cap bolt is custom made by Australian bicycle bolt specialist, Prototipo. There’s a new seat clamp to be found on this one, too. The Drifter Adventure has room for 700 x 50 mm tyres, front and rear. All the zerts. Of course being custom, you can choose just how many mounts your bike comes with. Even the Cane Creek eewings cranks have been blasted to match. Simply stunning. Also on display was No.22 relatively new Aurora integrated road bike. The headset and 3D titanium printed stem are of No.22’s creation. The finish on this one is cerakote, done in-house. The Aurora now features a filament-wound carbon fibre integrated seat tube. No.22 sources this one from Belarus-based M-Carbo. There are no awards at this year’s Made show, but I’m going to go ahead and invent a “best booth” award just to give it to No.22. The company’s entire booth was made with recycled/recyclable accordian-style paper. As No.22 co-founder Bryce Gracey, a architect in a past working life explained, the material allowed them to easily transport their booth and configure it in whatever way best suited the space and available light. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent