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Concours de Machines 2022: Backstage of the Adventure with Cycles Manivelle

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Concours de Machines 2022: Backstage of the Adventure with Cycles Manivelle

Each framebuilder has probably their own relationship with the Concourse de Machines. Mine is not monochrome.

On the one hand, there is the excitement of creating a product with soul and sharing it with the framebuilding family. Our profession is “socially” atypical. It is at the same time very solitary: us and our ideas, our tools, the calm atmosphere of the workshop. And it is also inevitable to expose the brand/our work on social networks, the only lever to promote ourselves autonomously, without counting on the press. During the CDM contest, this too virtual sphere becomes the timespan of a few days entirely palpable and real. I find in the other framebuilders a sensitivity, convictions, a listening that it is hard to find in someone who did not go through the same choice of professional life as me. For many, it remains one. The contest is also about that: talking about our joys, our doubts, our desires, our difficulties, and that makes it very attractive to me.

On the other side, there is this shell that I try to put on myself since the frustrations felt during the CDM 2019. I had a bad experience putting so much soul into a project to feel pretty much unconsidered. Too young, too shy to show off, not enough in the good papers. So I take advantage of each edition to remind myself that we are doing this competition above all for ourselves, to continue to invent ourselves. The look of others is sometimes pleasant and often relevant, but it should not affect our own.

We’ll Be at Bespoked 2022!

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We’ll Be at Bespoked 2022!

Bespoked is Europe’s largest handmade bicycle show and it’s taking place in just under two months, from October 14-16, at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark. As you might have heard, our friend Petor Georgallou, who has documented previous Bespoked shows for us, has purchased the show! So, to let Petor focus on running the show rather than documenting it, we’re stoked to announce that we’ll be there photographing bikes AND giving out awards and prizes for a yet TBD category.

If you haven’t already purchased tickets to attend, you can do so over at the Bespoked website. Also, be sure to sign up for Bespoked’s newsletter, which will have a discount code in the upcoming edition.

There are still a few exhibitor booths remaining, but they are going fast, so reserve yours now!

Inside / Out at Bender Bicycle Company of Fort Collins, CO

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Inside / Out at Bender Bicycle Company of Fort Collins, CO

I’ve always wondered if there was something special about the water in Fort Collins that makes it a hotbed for legendary bicycle frame builders. Is the Poudre River’s clean mountain water that so famously supplies New Belgium, Odell, and numerous other local breweries in some way responsible for the wildly beautiful frames made by the likes of Black Sheep Bikes, Oddity Cycles, or Moonmen Bikes? Well, the answer is probably not, but Fort Collins’ water is delicious and it’s a great place to build bikes. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting with the Choice City’s newest framebuilder, Will Bender, of Bender Bicycle Company. Will has been making frames part-time for a handful of years now, with some truly beautiful machines under his belt, and he just recently moved into a new shop space to start building full-time.

Below, let’s take a look at Bender Bicycle Company as well as some of Will’s recent customer builds!

2022 Concours de Machines Part One: The Contest and the Contestants

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2022 Concours de Machines Part One: The Contest and the Contestants

In 2018 I was invited to take part in the third edition of Concours de Machines as Dear Susan, in the medieval town of Bruniquel in the south of France. The Concours is a recent(ish) revival of a frame-building contest first organized in 1903 that ran up to the late 1940s. It was traditionally hosted in different locations around France, the goal of which was to demonstrate the superiority of artisanal “constructeurs” and their machines, over production bikes.

Before accepting the invitation, there were some red flags for me. For instance the idea of “better;” how you can numerically score one bike against another, especially if they’re designed and made around a particular rider for a particular course? There’s so much that just comes down to preference! Reading further into the scoring system, the seemingly arbitrary categories actually became quite liberating, in that scores were given based on abstract criteria rather than what constituted a good or appropriate bike. Limitations included things like: “the bicycle must have wheels with tyres, and a system with which to steer,” as well as point scoring sections like: “the bicycle must be able to power its own lights and it must have bags to carry everything you need for an overnight trip.”

This is the first of two reports from the 2022 Concours de Machines. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second installment!

From Baden-Württemberg to Frankfurt: A EUROBIKE 2022 Über-Gallery

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From Baden-Württemberg to Frankfurt: A EUROBIKE 2022 Über-Gallery

A few weekends ago I found myself at Eurobike in its new Frankfurt übervenue. Eurobike has always been huge, but this year I was made acutely aware of the distances involved by the cab driver who dropped me off at the wrong entrance, and then charged an additional nine Euros for the 10-minute cab ride to the correct entrance. I bumped into another journalist who showed me her step count for the day, which prompted me to check mine, showing that I’d walked almost 60km or 40 miles of Shimano blue carpets over the space of two days. Shocking!

Moth Attack Moves to Tucson: A Shop Visit and Interview with Framebuilder Megan Dean

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Moth Attack Moves to Tucson: A Shop Visit and Interview with Framebuilder Megan Dean

Longtime readers of this site are likely very familiar with Megan Dean and her frame building operation Moth Attack. Her builds span the typology gamut – track, ‘cross, road, mountain, etc. – and she’s been doing it for quite some time now. Check out John’s visit to her space in LA back in 2012! Over the years she’s sponsored a cyclocross team, taught frame building, and has assumed ownership of Handlebar Mustache apparel company with her partner Wade. After moving around the western US, Megan and Wade recently settled in Tuscon, AZ. While I was in town for some riding earlier this year, I caught up with Megan in her home studio while she brazed and formed tubes for the gravel/adventure frame she’s building for Wade. Continue reading for an interview with Megan and a detailed look at two bikes in her personal collection: a 90s Klein Attitude commuter and Team Moth Attack CX…

We Knew the Work Had to Continue: The Soul of Dario Pegoretti is Here

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We Knew the Work Had to Continue: The Soul of Dario Pegoretti is Here

Not Chaotic, But Like Jazz

“We are all building on what Dario left us.”

On August 23rd, 2018 Italian framebuilder, artist, music aficionado, cancer survivor, and living legend Dario Pegoretti unexpectedly passed away. At only 62 years old he had made an indelible mark on the cycling industry. After building uncredited high-end custom frames for names such as Induran, Cipollini and Pantani he started his own company, Pegoretti Cicli. Both a traditionalist and iconoclast Dario never wavered from his love of steel while also constantly playing with innovations in technique, frame design, and painting. In all of these, he was a renowned master.

2021 Philly Bike Expo: LaMarche Bike Co. Town & Country All-Road

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: LaMarche Bike Co. Town & Country All-Road

For our final feature from the 2021 Philly Bike Expo, we’re taking a look at this beautiful Town & Country all-road from LaMarche Bike Co. Tom LaMarche (yes, that Tom LaMarche) has been on and around bikes for a good chunk of his life. In addition to being a sponsored fixed-gear freestyle rider and professional stuntman, Tom recently added framebuilder to his resume. He’s currently offering two framesets – one is a rowdy-looking 27.5″ hardtail and the other is the uber-capable Town & Country. Continue reading below for details on the Town & Country Tom had exquisitely built up for the Expo, as documented by Jarrod Bunk‘s luxe photoset.

2021 Philly Bike Expo: Relstone Cycles “New Trix” Custom Singlespeed

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: Relstone Cycles “New Trix” Custom Singlespeed

Jarrod Bunk referred to Guy Stone as a “bike superhero” following his time photographing Guy’s “New Trix” singlespeed mountain bike at the 2021 Philly Bike Expo. A tax accountant by day and framebuilder by night (and afternoon, early morning, lunch brakes, etc), Guy fabricates his own handmade lugs (sometimes handmade bottom brackets as well) and free-brazes frames without the use of a traditional fixture or jig. He also isn’t opposed to eschewing industry trends to achieve the perfect fit for his riders, allowing form to follow function. Below, we take a detailed look at Guy’s personal New Trix singlespeed, along with insights into his design process.

2021 Philly Bike Expo: Junkyard Cats Tracklocross

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2021 Philly Bike Expo: Junkyard Cats Tracklocross

Junkyard cats are notoriously difficult to wrangle, which is why we don’t have any portraits of Casey Sussman or Stephen Bilenky from this year’s Philly Bike Expo. What we do have, however, is a photoset documenting the duo’s new Tracklocross bikes from their collective endeavor Junkyard Cats. Paying homage to Junkyard Cross races of yesteryear, bikes that Sussman (Mars Cycles) and Bilenky (Bilenky Cycle Works) build together will feature the Junkyard Cats name, including a five-size, five-color run of handmade, lightweight steel, raw, un-filed fillet brazed Tracklocross bikes. Jarrod Bunk pulled one of these Tracklocross builds aside to photograph at this year’s Philly Bike Expo, which we’re looking at in detail below.

A Few Unique Builds from the 2021 Sedona Mountain Bike Festival

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A Few Unique Builds from the 2021 Sedona Mountain Bike Festival

Unlike the bike expos and builder showcases we are fortunate to document on this site, such as the recent Philly Bike Expo and Bespoked UK, the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival is not typically the event to attend if you’re interested in encountering custom frames or ogling otherwise unique bike builds on display. Instead, group rides, production bike demos, and other community-building shenanigans are the focus.

This year, however, there was much ogling to be done. Thomson featured two bikes from builders they often partner with – Oddity Cycles and MONē Bikes – in addition to a couple of their own Hooches available to demo; Why Cycles had a booth connected their sister brand, Revel Bikes, offering demos in addition to showcasing two head-turning builds; Celilo Cycles had a collection of their handmade wooden bikes on display; and Atherton Cycles sent a custom 3D printed enduro bike with a friend from the UK to show off at the event.

Continue reading below for an in-depth look at these marvelous machines and be sure to scroll all the way through to the last one — it’s a trip!

Adam’s Performance Synapse – Spencer Harding

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Adam’s Performance Synapse – Spencer Harding

Adam’s Performance Synapse
Photos by Spencer Harding, words by Spencer Harding and Adam

A little over a year ago Adam sent me a photo of a rigid 26” bike with a Crust Clydesdale cargo fork on it, which he said was his “baja divide rig.” This would be enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone receiving Nicolas’ emails about the Baja Divide Grand Depart exclaiming “MUST HAVE 3 INCH TIRES!”

Nonetheless, he rolled up to the start on that janky Synapse (the name was crossed out and replaced with Deep Search ala The Life Aquatic). Adam being the extremely adaptable trash panda he is, he made it pretty damn far on the Baja Divide with that rig.