If you weren’t already familiar with Schön Studio, you may have just seen some of their stellar work in our recent MADE bike show coverage. Tucked into a corner of a quiet neighborhood in Squamish BC, Danielle Schön has been building bikes, teaching classes, and doing a variety of other metalwork and art out of her hand-built, backyard workshop. Read on below for Pat Valade‘s shop visit and in-depth profile…
While the 2023 Enve Grodeo was chock-full of some of the snazziest bespoke all-road bikes from around the world, Spencer Harding’s eye was caught by an eccentric build noticeably absent from the show floor. Fortunately, he was able to get the bike’s owner, Clint, to stop throwing skids long enough to snag a closeup. Pulling influence from some strange corners of the bike world and outfitting the frame with some amazing and unique parts, Clint’s SaltAir stood out for more reasons than its single rear cog. Clint rode this pink dream on all 92 miles of the Enve Grodeo, a feat in itself regardless of it being a fixed gear 26-er. Let’s have a closer look!
Today we are back with part two of Spencer Harding‘s ENVE Grodeo and Builder Round-up coverage. If you missed the builds featured in yesterday’s post, we’d recommend going back and giving them a gander—3D-printed parts (most ti but some steel, too!) seems to be the unofficial theme for the year but there’s plenty to see across the creative spectrum! Today, we finish up with the remaining frame builders in the showcase—with a few more overseas features—then we head out on the weekend’s main event, a 92-mile gravel ride on some of the best dirt in the northern Wasatch Mountains. Let’s dive in!
Petor Georgallou steals his sister away as a (reluctant) partner in crime to check out the Brother in the Wild Dorset, hosted by Brother Cycles. He’s pleased to find a “field full of weirdos” and a plethora of equally unique and odd bikes and, it turns out, everyone’s nice. Stick around near the end for a lengthy discussion on the merits and cost of silver brazing, and a sampling of the bikes that made an appearance.
After an almost-decade long run, the Lost & Found Gravel Festival continues to provide adventurous-minded riders with dynamic and challenging terrain in northern California’s Lost Sierra Mountains. Registration for any of the event’s 100-mile, 60-mile and 35-mile courses goes directly to supporting the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship‘s Lost Sierra Route, a route that seeks to connect 15 mountain communities and foster economic prosperity through recreation. Billy Sinkford joined in for the mixed terrain fun this year and shares moments from the race along with photos of the Builders’ Bazaar.
Argonaut’s GR3 gravel bike combines the trademarked GravelFirst geometry with a custom rider-specific carbon layup to create what the Bend, Oregon-based frame and component builder claim to be a “rip-capable gravel bike unlike any other.” So, what does Petor Georgallou‘s time as a high schooler working at a video rental shop have to do with the Argonaut GR3? And, if he tells you he likes the bike, will you even believe him? Read on to find out…
The last time we reported from the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival was in November of 2021 and conditions were perfect with sunny skies, warm days, and cool nights. Bike demos and clinics were abundant; everything went according to plan. This year, however, with the festival back on its spring schedule during the first week of March, the weather wasn’t so cooperative. After a sizeable snowstorm caused the first day of the festival to be canceled, Josh and Spencer ventured up to the land of red dirt and vortexes to see how the subsequent days would be salvaged. Thankfully the event organizers, vendors, and festival-goers made the best of things and there were still plenty of bikes and products to show off along with abundant festivities to partake in. Let’s take a look below at what we found!
In this shop visit with Saffron Frameworks in London, UK, Sam Rice traces a line from Matthew Sowter’s previous life as a chef to his current trade as one of the most awarded frame builders in the world. Matthew’s skill in transforming basic ingredients into magnificent dishes transfers over into his ability to turn a box of tubes into a frame deserving of the word “perfection.” Materialism may be a concept of the past, but it is very much alive in Matthew Sowter’s craft.
With the headlights pointing north, I departed at sparrow’s fart, my destination: Beechworth. It’s a little over a three-hour jaunt from Melbourne along the Hume Highway. The drive is punctuated by rolling hills, bouncing kangaroos, and petrol (gas) stations. Historically known for the gold rush of the late 1800s, I was heading there in search of the slightly less precious metal of steel – crafted by the hand of Shane Flint of Tor Bikes.
There have been several storied chapters in R+E Cycles‘ 50-year history but, as Katie Sox describes, the through line has been a commitment to crafting the bikes that best fit their customer’s needs—even when those bikes have five seats. On the brink of new ownership and as they celebrate 50 years of frame building and service, read on for a closer look behind this stalwart in Seattle’s cycling scene.
Following up on their previous shop visit, Daniel and Karla take us back to Básica Studio in Mexico City. This time they delve deeper into a larger spectrum of Básica’s bikes, along with some updates on builder Eli Acosta.
On a side street of Hayden, Colorado is an unmarked historical building. At first, I couldn’t even find which door led inside. Essam greeted me and invited me to wander around. Before long I’m enraptured with the stacks of bikes and parts that fill the small space. Once I pull my jaw back off the floor, Essam bends my ear with the tall tales from Hayden, how his shop got its name, Moots history, and the crazy injury that lead him down the path of owning Iron Wheel Trading. In a town that is mostly blown through by people on their way to Steamboat Springs, there is a special treasure waiting for those who stop to pay a visit to Essam and his shop.
What do you picture when you hear “African bikes”? There’s a good chance you’re not thinking of a luxury, world-class bike. And you’re not alone. We need to change the way people think about goods made in Namibia – and from Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? Yeah, we have our work cut out for us. Onguza is making handbuilt steel frames in Omaruru and helping to put Namibia on the map of international frame builders. Continue reading below as Dan Craven gives us a look into starting the brand and his motivations.
Growing up in a small South African town in the late 80s and early 90s meant David Mercer was largely shielded from the travesties of the apartheid era. But in 1994, in a coincidental coming-of-age historical convergence, the status quo was cracked open, not just for Mercer but for the whole country. The same year he turned 16, South Africa officially ended apartheid as the country held its first democratic elections. At this point, Mercer was well enmeshed in his love affair with bikes, having grown up a young BMX ripper but becoming fully infatuated with mountain biking as a teen. Many youthful afternoons spent pouring over bicycle magazines like MB UK and Mountain Bike Action led him to develop a fast fascination with steel-wielding magicians like Dave Yates and Chas Roberts and were responsible for his own framebuilding aspirations. However, the end of apartheid brought a wave of foreign frames as longtime sanctions were finally lifted. This swift influx quickly decimated the local steel bicycle manufacturing industry and a deflated Mercer went on to become a veterinarian. The dream of bikes was always there, simmering in the background, but it would be nearly a decade-and-a-half before he’d pick up a torch himself.
Tom Ritchey is not what you would call an open book. Rather, he’s a whole library; a labyrinth with many alleys, chockfull of stories, where everything splits and branches like the best network of singletrack, and there are no cul de sacs. Every door leads you to another room. Every answer opens up another question. There are no shortcuts.
The following is just a casual conversation. In it, you might not find all the details of the next frame that he is working on but you may find a better understanding into what it took for Tom Ritchey to become Tom Ritchey.
“I have a public self and I have a personal self. I could answer that question on a public side and tell you I just love riding my bike and being by myself and all (…) That would be an authentic answer but it’s not the whole answer of course. So I’ll give you the personal one too.” – Tom Ritchey
In our previous story, we showed you Atom Cycles’ workshop in Ojo de Agua, in the State of México, but here we’ll take a look at two of their finished bicycles. What better example to look at in-depth than the personal bikes of Dulce and Wladimir, the couple behind the name.
My partner Karla and I find ourselves in México City after what feels like going in and out of a pipe from Mario’s world. The truth is we took a plane, but after so much time of having this trip in mind, it takes a while to assimilate that it’s actually happening. We spend an afternoon putting our bikes together and some bolts later they’re ready to take us around this city; we feel quite intimidated by its size and the never-not-honking cars but the bike paths that have emerged over the recent years make riding much more manageable. Coming from a place that’s pretty much at sea level, the 2200 meters of elevation squeeze our lungs on the slightest uphill and when we arrive at the address on our map our hearts are beating fast. There’s no sign outside the place but a rack full of bikes indicates we’ve made it to Básica Studio, home of frame builder Eli Acosta.
I first met Elliot a few years back while I was leading a bikepacking trip with El Grupo, a Tucson based youth cycling organization. Since then I had seen Elliot tinkering with all manner of frankenbikes, which are a regular, at the Grupo clubhouse. Discarded and mismatched components of yesteryear handed down from the large cycling community here. Their low-pro pursuit fixed gear with a 24″ bmx fork caught my eye awhile ago and I knew Elliot had that special eye for janky but fun clashing of parts.