Within the gian–trek–alized world of efficiency bicycles, it may be onerous to face out from the gang. Cookie-cutter framesets are produced abroad en masse, and it may be troublesome to seek out one thing distinctive that matches your character. A handful of unbiased bike makers are getting down to break that mould. In nearly each nook of the nation, bike-smiths are crafting custom frames by hand from metal. From colour to measurement to elements spec, you possibly can design and tweak from stem to tires to create the bike of your goals. In lots of instances, you possibly can even have the geometry custom tailor-made to your physique to suit your measurement and driving type like a slipper.
Whereas the custom-tailored facet is essential to every of those producers, these bikes additionally really feel considerably totally different from others available on the market. Some would even say that they’ve soul. The sensation that you simply get when driving these bikes is a far cry from the Strava slaves, always making an attempt to one-up one of the best time (although they will do this, too). These bikes are extra about having fun with the time spent on the bike, outdoors within the open air — sucking wind in your favourite climb and feeling the breeze in your face on the best way down. A number of the frames might carry a premium, however relaxation assured understanding that they’re sturdy, custom-fit and constructed by hand.
- 1 Unbiased Fabrication
- 2 Sklar
- 3 Hunter Cycles
- 4 Breismeister Bicycles
- 5 Yamaguchi Bikes
- 6 Breadwinner
- 7 Rex Cycles
- 8 Rock Lobster
- 9 Horse Cycles
- 10 Fats Probability
- 11 Baum Cycles
- 12 Pegoretti
- 13 Ritte Cycles
- 14 Speedvagen
- 15 Black Cat Bicycles
- 16 Wraith Fabrication
- 17 Cinelli
- 18 Stinner Frameworks
- 19 Kelson Customized Cycles
- 20 Hampsten Cycles
- 21 Cielo Cycles
- 22 Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles
Unbiased Fabrication is among the most revered metal bike makers within the business. It was born out of the shuttering of Fats Metropolis Cycles in 1994. When Fats Metropolis closed, a handful of former staff purchased the constructing and based Unbiased Fabrication in 1995. Since then, the model has created bikes revered for his or her experience high quality just like the Deluxe and Crown Jewel. Whereas Indy Fab gives some inventory sizing choices, its custom-made frames are nonetheless the best way to go.
Adam Sklar first crossed our radar on the North American Handmade Bike Present, the place his split-pea inexperienced inflexible mountain bike took house a greatest in present award. Sklar, 25, is predicated in Bozeman, Montana, the place he has fairly the next. However even outdoors Bozeman, Sklar is making a reputation for himself within the custom bike business. His bikes have a definite silhouette and aesthetic that’s immediately recognizable. He focuses on metal hardtail mountain bikes, however has just lately been making a variety of “monstercross” bikes — a hybrid between a cross bike and a hardtail mountain bike.
Santa Cruz, CA
Hunter is predicated simply outdoors of Santa Cruz, CA, the place Rick Hunter crafts every clients’ body by hand. Most of Hunter’s bikes function TIG welded development and chromoly metal tubes. Along with making beautiful metal bicycles, Rick Hunter additionally makes custom forks, racks and stems (his hip packs are well-known in cult biking circles as properly).
Queens, New York
Breismeister Bicycles are instantly recognizable. They’re typically characterised by vibrant and vibrant colours in addition to a contrasting emblem on the downtube. Additionally they share an analogous seatstay wishbone design with many Hunter Cycles street and cyclocross bikes. Bresimeister is likely one of the few body builders based mostly in New York Metropolis and focuses on cyclocross and street bikes, but in addition builds mountain and touring bikes.
Likelihood is, you haven’t heard of Koichi Yamaguchi. Which is just too dangerous, as a result of he’s, unquestionably, among the best body builders within the US. Based mostly in Rifle, CO, Yamaguchi has been constructing metal bicycle frames for the higher a part of the previous 40 years. He hung out as a grasp body builder in Japan and has constructed bikes for quite a few skilled cyclists — together with a time trial bike constructed for Lance Armstrong that contains a distinctive backside bracket foil banned by the UCI, a function that you could have in your custom Yamaguchi in the event you want.
If nothing else, Breadwinner’s aesthetic in relation to street bike design is second to none. Fortunately, there’s much more to Breadwinner’s bikes than simply attractiveness. Again in 2017 once we first rode the Lolo, Breadwinner’s efficiency street bike, our tester had this to say: “I’m not one to care an ideal deal about how aero my bike is or how briskly I can dash off the road. The factor that issues most to me is consolation sprinkled with a little bit of efficiency, and the Lolo delivers. The workmanship on the body is unimaginable — the weld seams on the Columbus Life tubing are almost invisible.” These feedback nonetheless ring true over a yr later.
For those who’re out there for a basic touring bike with ornate lugs and timeless design, Rex Cycles must be your first cease. Steve Rex has been constructing beautiful metal street bikes in the identical Sacramento, CA store for over 28 years. Rex has the talents and information to construct you just about any bike you need — even a fillet brazed tandem bike if that’s your velocity.
Santa Cruz, CA
Paul Sadoff, the body builder behind Rock Lobster, began constructing metal bicycle frames professionally in 1988. Since then, his frames have been ridden in each the Olympics and World Championships. As for his philosophy on constructing bike frames, Sadoff has this to say, “My goal is to construct frames that don’t maintain the rider again from the very best degree of efficiency and delight.” It’s a reasonably simple ethos, and one which has yielded a few of the best metal street bikes within the US.
Thomas Callahan’s Horse Cycles is the right mix of artisanship and technical bike-building knowhow. Every bike is hand assembled by Callahan in his small Williamsburg store. Whether or not you need a stately commuter or a racy all-road slayer, Callahan can construct one custom-fit to your physique sort and driving type. He makes use of tubes from quite a lot of suppliers, together with Columbus.
Marin County, California
Fats Probability began out life as Fats Metropolis Cycles in 1982, based by Chris Probability. The model closed in 1999, however is now being introduced again with frames just like the Yo Eddy and the Slim Probability. The model has a cult following all all over the world, with unique frames bringing excessive worth tags on the secondhand market. In the event you want proof of the bikes’ high quality, dig into the boards.
North Shore VIC, Australia
Although Baum is understood principally for its titanium bikes, its metal bikes are additionally value looking for out. The model’s web site reads, “We current the reply to a singular prayer: an ideal 21st-century race bike, in metal.” Baum makes two metal bikes, the Ristretto and the Cortado; the previous has extra race bike geometry, the latter extra fondo genetics.
Editor’s Notice: Dario Pegoretti handed away in August of 2018. He was 62.
Dario Pegoretti was (and nonetheless is) probably the most revered metal body builders on the earth. In line with Above Class, Pegoretti has constructed extra Grand Tour–profitable bikes than anybody else. Pegoretti labored solely in Columbus metal; if the frames themselves weren’t lovely sufficient already, the paint jobs simply put them excessive.
Santa Monica, CA
Whereas Ritte additionally makes alloy and carbon frames, its handmade chrome steel frames are top-notch. As a smaller bike producer, it ignores advertising tendencies, leading to bikes that look and experience nice. The Snob is Ritte’s flagship chrome steel mannequin and is available in each a cantilever brake model in addition to a disc. Whereas the match, end and design of the model’s bikes are of the very best high quality (all the welds are excellent), the model additionally has a terrific humorousness and enjoys poking enjoyable on the UCI and professional biking (see this UCI press convention parody).
Speedvagen is the Skunk Works–esque undertaking of the Vanilla Bicycle Workshop. Every body is a limited-production run that’s in contrast to anything available on the market. Just lately, the model constructed a 650b city monitor bike with swept-back handlebars designed to place you in an aggressive driving place to assault the streets. The model additionally collaborated with our pals over at Guide For Velocity on a custom bike that captures the distinctive MFS spirit.
Black Cat Bicycles
The present ready time for a motorcycle from Todd Ingermanson’s Black Cat Bicycles is over a yr. That ready listing is a testomony to the standard of the bikes that Ingermanson is constructing. Any body your coronary heart wishes, from street to mountain to cyclocross, is accessible. Should you’re a mountain biker, Black Cat has began producing 27.5+ hardtail frames that look completely next-level.
Wraith Fabrication began constructing metal frames in Columbus, Ohio, in 2009. Its frames are nicely constructed from full Columbus Life tubing, a number of the greatest metal obtainable. The Hustle is its understated street bike that’s performance-oriented however nonetheless snug.
Cinelli has an extended biking historical past in Italy courting all the best way again to 1947. Since 1978, it has been producing high quality handmade metal frames for biking lovers and racers alike. It sponsors knowledgeable biking group with Chrome that has a historical past of success, together with wins on the Purple Hook Crit. It produces numerous steel-framed bikes together with its city racer referred to as the “Mystic Rats.”
Santa Barbara, California
Stinner frameworks consists of 5 individuals lead by Aaron Stinner. All the things is completed in-house, from the body to the paint: ground-up custom metal frames tailor-made to your driving specs. Stinner builds every part from high-performance street racers to mud-crushing mountain bikes.
Kelson Customized Cycles
Brian Williams has crafted Kelson frames for quite a lot of notable cyclists, together with Clinton Mortley, who gained the 2013 LoToJa Basic — a difficult race over 200 miles lengthy from Logan Metropolis, Utah to Teton Village, Wyoming. His frames are sturdy and cozy, but it performs at a excessive sufficient degree to tackle any of the large names. Every body is hand constructed and has impeccable consideration to element.
In 1985, Andy Hampsten positioned second to none aside from Greg Lemond on the Coors Basic Tahoe-Reno Street Race. In 1988, Hapmsten gained the Giro d’Italia. He’s the one American to ever win the race and can also be the thoughts behind Hampsten Cycles. One among Hampsten’s hottest frames, the Maglia Rossa, is an ode to the win; it interprets to “pink jersey,” which is traditionally worn by the chief of the Giro.
From 1978 to 1982 Chris King operated a custom body firm referred to as Cielo Cycles. Nevertheless, he realized that there wasn’t any cash within the undertaking, and as an alternative targeted on his machined headsets. (Good factor he did.) In 2008, King picked up the undertaking once more and the enterprise instantly took off. King builds custom metal frames for the whole lot from street driving to mountain biking — all by hand.
Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles
Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles was based in 2009 by Aaron Barcheck. After working at Dean Bicycles, a titanium bicycle specialist, for about six or seven years, he got down to begin his personal model. Barcheck created Mosaic to be aggressive with bigger corporations and convey handmade bikes to the plenty. Its bikes cowl every little thing from gravel grinders to thoroughbred race bikes, and every of them has a efficiency lean to it.