Custom, Artisan, and Handmade Bikes from MADE Show 2023
Check out the most beautiful craft-built bikes in the world on display at the handbuilt bike show in Portland, Oregon
From the ashes of the defunct North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) rises the MADE show. For its first edition, MADE gathers in an atmospheric old industrial building in Zidell Yards, a former shipbuilding enterprise in Portland, Oregon.
I’m on the ground with my camera and laptop and will update (internet gods willing) this page throughout the next few days with photos and information about the coolest bikes and gear I see. Which should be mostly everything.
You can also find me over at Bicycling’s Instagram account as I run around in this wonderland of beautiful bicycles.
Heralded for its smooth ride, titanium frames are also often stereotyped as flexible, whippy, and lacking the jump of other materials. Haley aims to blow up those stereotypes with its full custom titanium frames.
All Haley frames use “oversized” titanium tube sets that give their bikes a “A bit more sporty, a bit racier” character than other titanium frames, says Haley’s owner Ming Tan. Haley’s frames run with 44mm headtube and threaded T47 bottom bracket which makes them easily adaptable to a variety of parts.
Buyers can choose from three oversized titanium tube sets: Straight ($4,500), Butted ($5,000), or Plus ($5,500).
The Plus is Haley’s stiffest tubeset and used to build the Maximum shown in my images. This bike is for “Sprinters, heavier, and more aggressive riders,” Tan says, who want the durability and longevity of titanium.
Riders can pick from the three tubesets to build almost any style of bike. Haley’s frame prices include, custom geometry, Enve fork, and multiple finish options (raw, painted, or anodized). Also included in the price is buyer’s choice of routing (fully internal or other), mechanical or electronic shift routing, accessory mounts (fenders, bags, etc.), brakes (disc or rim). Riders also can specify their preferred tire and gearing clearance.
As evidenced by this stunning Aurora performance road bike, No. 22 builds some of the world’s most exciting titanium bicycles.
The company fully embraces 3D printing, using the process to build this bike’s stem, seatmast topper, and dropouts.
Sticking with the front end, No. 22 employs internal routing for this model, which runs through a headset of its own design highlighted by a machined titanium headset cover and split headtube spacer.
The carbon fork comes from No. 22’s sibling brand, No. 6 Composites. While walking me through this Aurora, No. 22’s co-founder Bryce Gracey explained that the company was motivated to design its own forks because they couldn’t find forks with the dimensions and feel that helped them realize their goals.
Moving rearward, the Aurora employs a butted titanium tube set with a filament-wound carbon seat mast custom-made for No. 22 by M-Carbo. It’s topped with the 3-D printed titanium topper fitted with Enve saddle rail clamps. No. 22 offers this topper in three offsets.
Gracey described the Aurora as a “9/10ths race bike,” explaining they consciously made an all-day bike that was a bit more stable and less twitchy than a criterium bike. No. 22 offers seven stock sizes or, for an upcharge, a custom fit. However, Gracey distinguishes what they offer and bespoke geometry, stating that they adjust the Aurora’s fit, but not its carefully crafted character.
Rounding out the Aurora’s details are 32mm tire clearance, a threaded T47 bottom bracket, hardware from Australia’s Prototipo Works, and multiple finish options. No. 22’s Cerakote and anodized finish are shown, but they also offer raw, single-color anodized, and high polish options.
As shown with the rare, and $6,400, Partington wheelset, this particular Aurora sells for around $16,500.
Speak with Framework’s owner, Jonathan Hornell-Kennedy, and there’s one word you will hear more than any other: Precision. Before breaking into the bike industry, Jonathan and his wife Elyse owned and operated an aerospace machine shop. “We’re used to making high-precision products,” he told me.
That shop’s attention is now focused on making custom—geometry and ride characteristics—bikes. And it’s not just the CNC-machined aluminum lugs that are made in-house: The carbon tubes are also made at the Framework factory in Toronto, Canada.
Each internally butted tube is custom designed and tuned for the customer. They’re first filament wound by a robot, then bladder molded. This method lets Hornell-Kennedy “put the fiber exactly where needed,” he stated. The tubes get joined to electroless nickel-plated 7075-T6 lugs, each custom machined in-house to attain the customer’s desired geometry and ride characteristics.
Even the glue is precise. Hornell-Kennedy explained that the 3M glue he uses ensures that the carbon tube is perfectly centered within the lug, reducing the chance of galvanic corrosion between the carbon and aluminum.
Framework frames use a press-fit 30 bottom bracket system with Enduro bearings. Hornell-Kennedy explained that the reputation for accelerated wear and excess noise that press-fit shells carry comes from poor tolerances. The precision of his one-piece machined BB shell, he says, prevents the gremlins that plague less accurate shells. Framework can adapt this system to work with 30mm, SRAM Dub, Shimano 24mm, and Campagnolo crank axles.
The bike photographed features Framework’s in-house-made chainring and crank. Though the crank looks solid, each arm has three weight-relieving bores. The arms attach to a 30mm axle with lobed interface. There is no preload device because, Hornell-Kennedy explains, he makes the parts fit so precisely together that a preload system is unnecessary.
Framework frames start at $5,500 Canadian (about $4,183 USD) and come with a headset, bottom bracket, bearings, and an open-mold fork. However, Hornell-Kennedy stated that because the head lug is custom-made for every bike, they can design around the dimensions of any fork the rider wants. Framework also offers complete builds which are priced per project.
The Albatross Apogee has no trouble drawing your attention, but it gets even more interesting the closer you look and the more you learn.
What you see is steel front and rear triangles—Albatross fillet brazes its frames—with a bolt-in CNC machined aluminum suspension module. Albatross founder Will Hilgenberg explained the thinking to me at MADE, “We’re keeping the parts that are hard to make—the tight tolerance stuff—in a single module. We let each part do what it’s best at.”
That module sits low in the frame, lowering the bike’s center of gravity and grants Albatross wide latitude to customize the frame’s geometry and features independent of the suspension. The suspension design is a mid-high single pivot with floating shock—meaning it’s compressed from both ends. The module’s compact size and low placement provide an open front triangle, a straight seat tube with two bottle mounts, or room for a large frame bag for bike packing.
As shown, the bike has 144mm of rear travel, but the Apogee module is highly adaptable. Changing the links and dogbone alters the kinematics, so an Apogee owner can change travel to optimize the progression if they want to swap from an air shock to a coil shock or vice versa. Additionally, Hilgenberg explained it is another tool Albatross can use to customize the Apogee for riders who are overlooked because of their size or shape.
Albatross backs the Apogee with 10 years of guaranteed support, so riders can feel some relief that their bike won’t be made irrelevant or incompatible when new technologies or trends appear. For example, if another rear derailleur mounting standard comes along, Albatross will make a new rear triangle the owner can simply bolt in place. If some new shock technology system comes along, they can offer new parts to adjust the kinematics to take advantage of the newest equipment.
The Apogee is not yet for sale, Hilgenberg stating that they’re aiming for a summer 2024 on sale date.
I got my first mountain bike in 1988: A steel hardtail. Decades later, and after all the titanium, aluminum, carbon frames, and all the full suspension stuff I’ve ridden in my career, steel hardtails still tug on my heartstrings. Like man, I can’t resist the beautiful lines, springy feel, and that direct connection to the trail a steel hardtail provides.
So, of course, I had to drool over this Scarab Darien, which comes to MADE from the brand’s factory in Retiro, Columbia. This Columbus-steel cross-country mountain bike, as you’d expect from a bike at MADE, is fully customized for the rider: Geometry and tubing. Scarab also will optimize the bike around a 100 to 130mm fork to the rider’s preferences.
Scarab’s in-house paint shop went full ham on this example, spraying it with a pattern that is an homage to the endangered harlequin frog residing in Columbia’s forests.
The Darien employs a UDH derailleur hanger, allowing the rider to fit a SRAM Transmission drivetrain with a direct-mount derailleur (as shown in my images). Scarab uses a threaded T47 bottom bracket, external routing for easy repair and maintenance, and fits tapered-steerer forks.
The Darien starts at $3,600 for a frame with RockShox SID fork and standard paint. Currently, Scarab quotes 14 weeks from initial contact to delivery of a frame to the customer.
There was one aluminum road bike among all the steel, titanium, and carbon at the MADE show: This Circa Allroad. But the Circa, made here in Portland, isn’t your average aluminum bike.
Circa uses modular components to construct its bonded frames. Using domestically sourced aluminum, the bikes employ CNC machined lugs mated to round aluminum tubes. The result is a uniquely industrial-looking bike that recalls Alans and Treks of the past but with modern touches like tapered head tube and flat mount disc brakes.
The frame tubes are straight wall, but Circa’s founder Rich Fox posits that the lug and tube design effectively functions like a butt. He also contends that because his frames are bonded, his tubes are not subjected to the heat-induced weakening of welded construction.
A benefit of modular construction is the raft of customization options available. Circa’s bikes can fit chain or belt drive, internally geared or derailleur transmissions, and QR or thru-axle dropouts.
Tire clearance is 38mm with 700c, and 40mm with 650b wheels. Circa’s frames run a BSA threaded bottom bracket, a round 31.6mm seat post and full external routing. Circa can build a frame for wireless or Di2 electronic shifting, and even for a 2x mechanical shift drivetrain.
Circa doesn’t offer custom geometry, but they offer three geometry options: Standard, Short Reach, and Long reach. Here’s how they describe each.
There are numerous finish options too including 14 anodized color options (every frame element can be individually anodized) and Circa can laser etch graphics, including custom designs, into the frame tubes as well.
Frame only packages start at $2,300 and complete bikes start at $3,800: One of the most accessibly-priced complete bikes you’ll find at the MADE show. Circa currently offers one ready made bike—The Burnside flat bar commuter. All other complete bikes are customized in consultation with the buyer. Circa offers flat and drop bar builds, and numerous drivetrain and parts options. The bike shown in my photos carries a retail price of $5,995.
After a decade of working at Breadwinner Cycles, which he founded with Tony Pereira in 2013, Ira Ryan recently returned to his roots as an independent custom frame builder. Ryan established his reputation as a builder of lugged steel road frames with rim brakes, but in his 2.0, he’s blending his traditional construction methods with modern ideas and technologies into his
This CX-D combines fillet brazing and lugged construction—Ryan uses a torch, not a TIG welder—to join its Columbus steel tubing. That’s the traditional part. But this frame has a tapered head tube on which hangs an Enve carbon G-Series fork, and it runs flat-mount disc calipers.
The drivetrain is SRAM’s electronic and wireless Force AXS, and it is built out with a bevy of White Industries parts (headset, hubs, ceramic bottom bracket) and Enve carbon seatpost, stem, and bars.
Ryan built this bike for his customer Laurent to use as a multi-purpose tool. Its intended uses include cyclocross racing, all-road riding, and winter riding; The frame’s hidden fender mounts help the latter.
Colorworks provided the paint, which features a recreation of Laurent’s tattoo honoring his wife. As shown, Ryan quotes a price of $10,828.
Like the Argonaut’s Supernaut below, Breadwinner’s newest venture is a “production” model. The A-Road Bread & Butter frame, unlike Breadwinner’s other models, does not offer custom sizing or tubing. Instead, the buyer picks from six sizes (49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm) made of Columbus Spirit tubing, with an Enve AR fork on the front. The only stock color offered is the Signature Blue shown in my images.
The A-Road is Breadwinner’s all-road model. It fits up to 38mm tires, fender provisions, and a third bottle mount under the downtube. Breadwinner founder Tony Pereira explained that, compared to the brand’s G-Road and B-Road bikes, the A-Road has shorter chainstays and a stiffer downtube for a more reactive feel, but it fits bigger tires and is more versatile than the purely road-oriented Lolo.
By simplifying the frames and streamlining the buying process, Breadwinner can get a bike to the buyer faster than the brand’s custom products. Currently, Breadwinner quotes a six-week “or less” delivery window.
The frame and fork sell for $2,995, or buyers can use the builder at Breadwinner’s site to spec out a complete bike. Options within the builder include six drivetrains (Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Utegra Di2, and 105 Di2; SRAM Red AXS, Force AXS, and Rival AXS) and carbon or aluminum cockpit and wheelset options. Complete bikes start at $5,990 and top out at $9,670.
When purchasing a complete bike, riders can work with Breadwinner to fine-tune the build by designating their preferred cockpit dimensions and crank length. There’s also a custom paint option but be warned that going this route will increase the bike’s price and lead time.
I first covered the Bridge Surveyor back at the very beginning of 2022. The company was brand new back then, and the bikes hardly existed. About a year and three-quarters later, Bridge is up and running and shipping bikes to customers. Frank Gairdner, one of Bridge's co-founders, told me that larger sizes are shipping now, with smaller sizes, including my 53cm test frame, going into production soon.
The Surveyor hasn't changed much since my first look. The 900-gram (claimed) carbon frame and fork are made in Canada (Toronto, to be precise), with five sizes (51 to 59 cm in two-centimeter steps) and 10 finishes available to the buyer.
This all-road (or just road) bike has clearance for up to 40mm tires and fairly aggressive fit and handling, highlighted by 417mm chainstays and trail numbers in the low 60mm range (when fit with a 38mm tire).
One new bit of tech added to the frame since the first look is the trick T47 bottom bracket with molded carbon fiber threads. By having the threads directly in the carbon, there is no bonded-in metal sleeve, which results in "perfect concentricity and axle alignment, in combination with lightening the area," said Bridge representatives.
While many will wince at the idea of threaded carbon, Gairdner told me that they’ve done, and continue to do, extensive testing on the robustness of the threads. So far, the threads have survived everything the Bridge crew have thrown at it. Gairdner even claims they’ve broken tools trying—and so far failing—to damage the threads.
Other features include entirely internal routing and a UDH derailleur hanger, as evidenced by the SRAM Transmission direct mount derailleur shown in the bike I shot. The Surveyor fits a round seatpost and is compatible with electronic drivetrains (1x and 2x) and mechanical shifting drivetrains: 1x Shimano, Campy, and SRAM. If you want to run 2x mechanical, only Shimano works.
Bridge offers the Surveyor as a complete bike with Shimano Ultegra Di2 Dura Ace Di2, SRAM Rival AXS, Force AXS, or Red AXS. Complete bike prices start at $8,500 Canadian, or about $6,470 USD, at the time of publication. With each drivetrain option, buyers can choose either an All Road build or a Gravel build, which are mainly distinguished by the stock tires.
Bridge also offers numerous add-ons at checkout, and buyers can also customize their build by contacting the company directly.
Okay, brace yourselves: There’s a new wheelsize standard. It’s called 750D, and it comes from WTB, who, a couple decades back, was one of the main instigators behind the transition to 29 inch/700C mountain bike wheels.
750D with a 40mm tire has an outside diameter of about 30 inches/762mm. Or, essentially about one-inch/25.4mm larger diameter than a 700c wheel with the same width tire.
Claimed benefits are smoother and more efficient rolling over bumps which leads to more speed, and more traction. Basically, the same benefits we heard when WTB pitched 29 inch as superior to 26 inch wheels for mountain bikes.
However, 750D is a smaller-diameter jump from 700c than 29 inch is to 26 inch so the change is more subtle on the roads and trails.
750D is still in the testing and experimentation stage and Moots built this beautiful CRD-D test mule only to evaluate the standard. I took it for a quick spin and it fits me well, so I’m trying to negotiate some extended time on this mule and experience the standard myself before jumping to conclusions.
Although MADE primarily features custom bikes, Argonaut used the show to launch its new production, and not custom, line of bikes.
Argonaut Supernaut models are offered in the RM3 road bike ($14,900) and the GR3 gravel bike ($12,900). Like the custom Argonaut models, Supernauts are made at Argonaut’s factory in Bend, Oregon.
One of the big selling points for the Supernaut is a shorter lead time than a customized Argonaut. Argonaut claims Supernauts are delivered to the customer in about four weeks.
But unlike the other models, Supernauts come only in stock sizes—12 for the RM3 and 7 for the GR3—do not get custom carbon layups, and only come in one color (both raw carbon—the gravel bike has a matte finish, and the road bike is gloss).
The build kit is also locked and essentially consists of the parts Argonaut’s employees prefer to use on their bikes. The drivetrain is a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 on the road bike and a Shimano GRX Di2 1x custom blend kit on the gravel bike.
Although these are “stock” bikes, Argonaut lets riders pick their preferred component dimensions like bar width, stem length, and seatpost offset.
The road bike features Argonaut’s new house brand components. They include a carbon seatpost with a simple two-bolt head and a new Argonaut branded rim.
Argonaut founder Ben Farver explained that, for his bikes, he wanted a stiffer rim than they were finding in other wheelsets. He told me that Argonaut tunes their compliance into the frame so that they can run a stiffer and more reactive wheel.
Outside of its stiffness, the wheelset’s specs are straightforward: Tubeless compatible, hookless, 43mm deep, and 23mm internal width. Argonaut laces its 375-gram rims to DT-Swiss 180 hubs, which helps them achieve an impressively low 1266-gram claimed weight.
Farver expressed that the wheels are mainly to compliment his bikes, and he has no interest in becoming a wheel company. The wheels can be purchased separately, however, for $3,400.
Undisputedly, the shiniest bike of MADE is Officina Battaglin’s Portofino R road bike. The company’s signature cromovelato finishes feature a chrome base—the frame, fork, and all painted parts all get a chrome finish to begin—with the buyer’s choice of tints and scheme (solid, fades, and more) over the top.
Underneath the shine is an Italian-made race bike executed in a custom blend of Columbus steel. You’ll find all the modern touches here: Disc brakes and thru axles, internal routing, dropped stays, hidden seat binder, oversized bottom bracket shell, and oversized tubing. Tire clearance is currently 28mm maximum, but future generations of the Portofino R will see an increase in response to customer requests.
But unlike an off-the-shelf race bike, this bike features custom geometry designed for the buyer by Giovanni Battaglin—winner of 1981’s Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana—and his son Alex.
One bit of geometry philosophy that runs through Battaglin’s bikes is the use of slightly longer than typical chain stays. Alex explained to me that they chose longer stays because their testing found the extra length improves the comfort and compliance of a bike, and they like the extra bit of stability they offer.
Another fantastic detail is the construction methods in use. The chrome head and seat tube lugs are blindingly (literally) obvious, while the BB shell is TIG welded into the frame—for stiffness, Alex told me—and the seat stays and rear dropouts are fillet brazed into place.
Battaglin sells consumer direct, and this particular example would sell for between $13,000 to $14,000 USD (depending on the exchange rate at the time of purchase). Alex stated that they tell potential buyers that it takes about six months—from geometry confirmation—to deliver a bike to the customer.
Okay, deep breath because a lot is going on with Viral's Optimist 160.
The high-altitude view of the Optimist is a 160mm travel mountain bike (170mm fork) made of 3D printed titanium lugs bonded to carbon tubes with a Pinion Smart Shift electronically-shifted gearbox and a Gates belt drive.
While 3D printing is a popular and growing trend in the bike industry, particularly among smaller builders, Viral's Steve Domahidy told me he's using a different process than most others in the industry. EBM (electron beam melting) is a faster and hotter printing process, Domahidy explained, which heat-treats the titanium as it prints. This allows him to forgo the internal lattice work that lower-temperature printing processes require.
Domahidy relies on Mythosout of the UK for the titanium printed parts—this prototype has a Mythos printed titanium stem—which are joined to the carbon tubes in the USA. An additional benefit to this manufacturing and assembly method is that it allows Domahidy to (potentially) offer custom geometry to the buyer.
For the frame's profile, Domahidy told me he wanted an open front triangle with room for two bottles (one on the down tube and one under the top tube; riders can also use the top tube mount as a cargo carrier) and a straight seat tube for compatibility with a variety of dropper lengths.
Like Viral's other bikes, the Optimist uses a Pinon gearbox (the brand's new electronically shifted unit) and a Gates belt drive for an almost zero maintenance drivetrain. Because the drive ratio—front and rear sprockets—are fixed, Domahidy can design the kinematics around that single ratio, and anti-squat levels do not fluctuate as they do on a bike with a traditional transmission. Additionally, Domahidy states that the fixed drive ratio's single anti-squat value allows him to use a more straightforward single pivot design without sacrificing pedaling performance.
While prototype Optimist frames have passed fatigue testing, Domahidy states he's still refining rear triangle stiffness ahead of the bike's planned availability in the first quarter of 2023. Domahidy doesn't know how much this machine will sell for exactly, but he knows it will cost “A lot!”
The latest model to come out of the reincarnated Fat Chance is the Chris Cross Ti. Like its steel sibling, the CC Ti is a ‘cross, gravel, bikepacking, whatever bike designed for versatility. A representative told me it is “mild-mannered” and not as quick handling as a cyclocross bike designed purely for racing.
In his booth at MADE, I asked Fat’s founder, Chris Chance, why he added a titanium version of the Chris Cross. He stated it is for the riders who want “The joy of riding titanium.”
Chance isn’t dogmatic in the titanium versus steel debate—He likes both materials. But he knows some riders prefer titanium while others have a preference for steel. So, he makes both. He describes the Chris Cross Ti as softer riding than the steel frame and lighter, too.
After starting its rebirth by having other shops weld its frames, all Fats are now welded in-house in Medford, Oregon. The titanium Chris Cross comes in six sizes and sells for $3,950 (fork not included). It’s a no-fuss frame with a BSA threaded bottom bracket, external routing, and a round seat tube for a 30.9mm seatpost. Tire clearance is 44mm front and rear with an Enve Gravel fork.
Fork options include Enve carbon, or riders can order it with Fat’s steel Yo! Eddy fork. Chance cautions that the Yo! fork is a bit firmer riding, so he recommends it primarily for riders who plan to load down the Chris Cross for bike packing. Frame options include fender mounts, rack mounts, and more, like the top-tube bag mount shown on the bike in my images.
A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling, Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race.
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