The Radavist’s Top Ten Beautiful Bicycles of 2023

We’ve got over 17 years of Beautiful Bicycles in our archives and each year we like to look back at the previous twelve months of coverage and decipher what you, the audience, liked the most. To do this, we look at the page views for each and every Beautiful Bicycles gallery. Then we look at comments and internet chatter. Once we cull all this data, we’re left with a solid list of bikes. We love compiling this data as it helps us determine what bikes you like to see the most and thus, informs what bikes we document in the future.

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Photo: John Watson

#1 Charlie Cunningham’s 2012 Personal 29er

It should come as no surprise that the most innovative framebuilder alive today would be at the top of this list. Tasshi and John worked long and hard on this story, documenting the last 29er Charlie ever built, pouring over the hand-cut/mitered/filed components with obsessive detailing, and telling the story of the grandfather of the modern mountain bike. We love you, Charlie.

Photo: John Watson

#2 John’s 2012 Bruce Gordon Monster Cross

John acquired this frame, fork, and stem from the estate of the late Bruce Gordon and built it up as an homage to the founder of the gravel bike, complete with Bruce Gordon cantilevers and tubeless Rock ‘n Road tires! The build kit is only matched by the photos of this bike, parked atop the beautiful Pacheco Canyon Road in the Santa Fe National Forest, where this bike has spent all of its time since John acquired it. Check out the original post for a history of Bruce Gordon’s accomplishments and to learn why we call him the “founder of the gravel bike.”

Photo: John Watson

#3 John’s Balloon Tire Rivendell Bombadil 29er

Any lover of Tolkien will know Tom Bombadil. Even though this merry fellow didn’t make an appearance in the Peter Jackson trilogy, he’s the most powerful being in Middle Earth. Sporting a blue jacket and yellow boots, Tom helped the Hobbits evade the Ring Wraiths in The Fellowship of the Ring. Loving the diagatube on the Bombadil, John took partial inspiration for this build from the Breezer Series I bikes, lacing it out with a mix of late 1970s and early 1980s components. The result is one stunning and classic Rivendell!

Photo: John Watson

#4 The Monē Bikes Hachita Prototype All-Rounder

Sincere Cycles founder Bailey Newbrey is a Monē Bikes pro rider. You didn’t know that? Well he is. Since Cjell built Bailey his tourer, it’s now being offered as a standard “pro” model bike. Neat. As such, Cjell sends Bailey his working prototypes for a bit of PR&D. Since building up this prototype Hachita, named after one of the last towns on the Tour Divide, Bailey has raced it at an XC MTB race, taken it on numerous overnighters, tackled our rocky singletrack, and used it to commute every day. Perhaps that’s why it’s in the #4 position on this list? Rim brakes. Check. All-rounder capabilities. Check. You guys love this bike!

Photo: Josh Weinberg

#5 Jonny Pucci’s Crust Malocchio Road Bike

Jonny Pucci works with Joe Bell at his paint shop, helping Joe out with his long queue of new Richard Sachs bikes and heroic restorations. Since working with Joe, Jonny’s developed numerous skills that not only inform his own painting techniques but even paint designs. His first production paint design was the Crust Bikes Malocchio; a bike that harkens back to a time when steel, rim brake road bikes were the norm. Read Jonny wax poetic about his build and his particular taste for “modern” bikes in this thoroughly documented gallery by Josh!

Photo: Morgan Taylor

#6 The Humongous Rock Lobster

This is the story of Morgan‘s perpetually unfinished project, but also of a really cool bike that’s taken him to a lot of great places, and how it came into his possession in an unlikely way. The fact that a custom Rock Lobster built for someone else has been the best fitting bike he’s ever owned is pure coincidence, particularly as he learns that it didn’t quite fit the original owner as they had hoped. This tale really struck a chord with our audience and it says something about The Radavist’s readership that the sixth bike on this list is the first one with disc brakes!

Photo: Spencer Harding

#7 Clint’s SaltAir Cycles Twentysixie Fixed Gear

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. Long live the fixed gear!

Photo: Josh Weinberg

#8 Zach’s Custom Roberson 650b “Dopesmoker” Touring Bike

Bicycle liveries inspired by bands are a longtime tradition, from the Gary Fisher Grateful Dead bikes to, yep, Zach‘s Dopesmoker Roberson touring bike. While plenty of people love the Dead, there are plenty of us who would rather throw on a 12″ of Sleep’s magnum opus to burn one. Zach is among those loyal fans and so he commissioned Roberson to build a 650b tourer for him and had Jonny Pucci design the paint.

Drop out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke toward the riff-filled land
Drop… out of life with bong in hand
Follow the smoke toward the riff-filled land

It doesn’t get much better than this!

Photo: Josh Weinberg

#9 Josh’s Bender 29+ Touring MTB with Oddity Squid Fork

Our editor Josh used to live in Fort Collins and you could say he left a little bit of his heart in that Colorado town. When he met Will from Bender Bicycle Co, he knew exactly how he’d show his old digs some love: a FoCo Collab! He had Will make him a touring bike and knocked on Burnsey’s door at Oddity to make him a Squid truss fork. The result is one of the wildest tourers we’ve ever hosted here on The Radavist!

Photo: Tyler Siems

#10 Seth Wood’s Rodeo Labs Flaanimal Singlespeed

Part history of the Gremlin Bells and part race recap, Seth Wood walks us through the build kit on his Rodeo Labs Flaanimal singlespeed, following this year’s edition of Ozark Gravel DOOM. It’s one thing to build a bike and document it but Seth brings something unique to this list in that he raced this bike on one of the hardest gravel ultras in the country! The build was flawlessly documented by Tyler Siems and if you missed this one, now’s a good time to revisit it!



Well, that was an insightful list of Beautiful Bicycles! Some take away metrics: All are metal with 9/10 being steel. 6/10 are rim brakes, 4/10 have drop bars, 3/10 are singlespeed, 3/10 are friction shifting, and 3/10 are made in Taiwan (versus the US). None have suspension and the smallest tire was 35 mm. Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting our work here at The Radavist!