Best. Best. Best. All the subjectivity, all the time. The era of the NAHBS awards is long gone. No more medals given out to the same four people, year after year. Instead, we’re looking at the most subjective, most obscure, and most ridiculous to dish out a playful, in jest best list from our 2023 MADE Bike Show coverage. Read on below for the best road, best gravel, best mountain, and more…
How can framebuilders compete with the big, bad plastic motorcycle industry? Buy an Albatross Apogee Module and bolt your frame and swingarm to it.
Paper. That’s it. Just paper. This accordioned, folding, translucent booth was made from thousands of folds in paper. Bike industry: This is sustainability! It literally folded up into a checked bag.
Good ol’ Scot Nicol from Ibis, Charlie Cunningham, and Steve Potts know a thing or two about the fabled “LD Stems”–we don’t need to spell it out for you. It’s not a custom bike show without a modern version of this bar-raising phallace.
Edit: turns out this is a Velo Orange Cigne stem!
Dendrobates frogs are poisonous to the touch, so to make up for a lifelong desire to touch the no-no-no froggy’s skin, we fondled the hell out of this Scarab Cycles Darien hardtail paint job.
Well… duh. Sorry, Travis.
There are heaps of custom flat bars on the market: Oddmoné, DOOM, Forager, etc. Yet we only saw one set of custom drop handlebars, and they were on that bitchin’ BTCHN ti gravel bike. These BTCHN Ti Drop Bars have all the widths to hold you over on your drop bar setup until you realize that flat bars are superior in every way. Even if it takes a lifetime for you to realize that, these bars will last that long + more.
There were so many 3D printed components at MADE, yet the Scharen Cycles fork crown did a wonderful job at wrestling between the proportions of an overside head tube with a set of flexy, comfy-looking steel fork blades. Yowwww.
Randonneuring and porteur bags are the shit. In fact, the only thing that sucks about them is figuring out a legit decalleur that can be attached to just about any bike. Liberation Fab’s steerer clamp decalleur had us wondering: “how long until someone knocks this off?”
Do we even need to say anything here? What’s that in the back? Nothing. Ok good.
If it works for the Aussies and their fourbie bar work, it’s gonna work on your hardtail, cobber. Thomas from Horse Cycles’ use of Raptor Coating on his Hound hardtail was by far the coolest use of bogan bush tech.
Ralph gets it. Earth Sucks. Hop aboard the Amigo UFO and hit the “anywhere but here” button to be jettisoned out onto smoother roads.
I’m not crying; you’re crying. A father + son duo made a hardtail. Does it get any better than that? All the warm fuzzies!
A decade from now, people will stare in awe at this Retrotec rack as they are enthralled by Ellsworth Kelly’s color-blocking abstract shapes.
Just because it’s a show bike doesn’t mean it needs electronic shifting and a “special” st00pid derailleur hanger to get our Pavlovian response going. The Larkin steel and carbon road bike just hit differently in a sea of electronic shifting.
We love the folk art aesthetic of the custom bags that roll out of the Goodday + Curiosity shop and this double-decker framebag and top tube bag design warmed our hearts. Or maybe it was the heat wave engulfing Portland?
Cramming in the biggest possible tire into a frame’s clearance is an art form, and even if this means there is potential for paint rubbing, it doesn’t matter as long as you get those super tukt photos.
“Why would you mix two materials like that?” “Why steel?” “What’s up with the bends? Is it for frame flex?” “Why would he do that?” We’ve heard and read it all when it comes to the utter genius of Burnsey’s Oddity cruiser and if you don’t walk away from a bike show like MADE asking yourself “why?” did you really pay attention?
When Joe Bell tells you to document a bike, you know it’s gonna be good. That man has filled more pinholes with bondo in his day and seen so much mayhem that when he compliments a builder, you know their work is the best.
We tallied up your votes, including the 300 missing ballots we found in Georgia, and have ruled in favor of The Ron. Sorry, Sleepy Sean, but the Beach Club Al Dente just didn’t cut it in the court of dirty tire politics.
Well, thanks for sticking around for our 2023 MADE Bike Show coverage. What did we miss? Let us know in the comments. Remember, this is a not serious but kind of serious list meant to incite a few chuckles, not an insurrection in the comments, so play nice. xoxoxox