For the average bike commuter, the idea of owning a handcrafted, custom fit bicycle used to be just a pipe dream. But with the increasing popularity of the annual North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) sales of custom made bikes are rising and interest is growing. The 2011 NAHBS took place last month in Austin, TX showcasing bike builders from around the world including those who design commuter and city bikes. Portland-based Signal Cycles took home the Best City Bike award.
Dinucci Cycles, another Portland bike builder, won Best in Show with this sleek commuter bike. Though Mark Dinucci is “too busy building frames to construct a web site”, you can see more pictures here. There’s no question that handmade bikes are of superior quality, in terms of both materials and construction, than mass-produced factory bikes. The cost of a handmade bike can start at a reasonable $2,000 or can run upwards to $15,000 depending on the designer and how customized the bike is. A custom made bike can be designed to fit your body shape and riding style, as well as be painted and adorned with components according to personal specifications. Handmade bikes are truly works of art built to sustain a lifetime of riding.
Sacha White, an artisan and pioneer of handcrafted bikes, started Vanilla Bicycles which currently has a waiting list of over 5 years for one of his creations. With superior craftsmanship and attention to detail, one of White’s bikes would look just as good hanging on your living room wall as it would in the bike lane.
Bilenky Cycle Works took home the Best Lugged Frame Award with this mixte city bike. Founder Stephen Bilenky has owned his Philadelphia bike shop since 1983 winning numerous awards over the years and specializing in road, city, touring, and tandem bikes, as well as frame restoration and repair.
The success of the NAHBS has even helped catapult handmade bikes into mainstream reviews. Bicycling.com recently released their annual Bike Buyer’s Guide for 2011 and the Super Commuter from Massachusetts-based Independent Fabrication made their list of best commuter bikes and one of their “favorite custom builders”. Independent Fabrication was a winner at this year’s show with Best TIG Welded Frame.
With so many transportation bikes being heralded at the NAHBS, it can only mean another boost for the advancement and awareness of bike commuting. For more on commuting and the NAHBS, see Commute by Bike.
Winner photos courtesy of the North American Handmade Bike Show.