Every year, North American Handmade Bike Show photographer Brad Quartuccio spends his show hours lovingly photographing show bikes from each builder. Here is our first gallery of the bikes from the eighty or so builders who attended the show.
Custom made bikes are beautiful pieces of art. Glad to see custom is still alive and going strong and tie into cycling’s deep history. However, they are not for everyone. They are at the extreme end of the spectrum for cost and specific use design. Most of us need more of an all-round, efficient and lower cost. Maybe when I’m ready for a heirloom (museum) art bike I would then consider something like this. I like to hammer my bikes and they all have plenty of scratches, scares and abuse (road bike has less then the MTB’s). These paint jobs would keep me riding more conservative like a gentleman. Again, beautiful bikes and craftsmanship.
I would say THESE custom bikes are beautiful pieces of art. The primary reason for going custom, imo, is for a custom fit (especially if you are tall or short). The second reason is to accommodate specific requirements, for things like accessories or riding style.
Most of the bikes you see here are show pieces. They might have a customer attached, but they are still show pieces. Not all custom bikes go out the door looking like these.
I worked in a shop for 8 years that sold custom steel (made in house), and only a fraction of them were of the bling bling show variety seen here.
The bulk of what pro custom builders produce are hard working bikes that are ridden regularly. If you are looking to spend $5000 plus you can get yourself a super nice handmade bike. The idea isn’t always flashy show bikes like these samples, but just a really well made bike using top quality materials.
@ John Caletti – Thanks for your reply on “hard working” bikes for regular use. Your MTB frame looks nice and straight forward. Maybe Bike Rumor for next year could do an article on “working class” bikes for real world use at prices more realistic to the commoner. 3~5K pricing for complete bikes. I’m sure there are plenty of examples at the show.
So many of these bikes look like fancy paint jobs on designs that are either outdated or just complex for the sake of it. about the only one that seems like an actual advancement of the bike industry is Calfee. the rest just look to be a hodge-podge of fork and frame designs from the last 50 years. all finished with high end kit to justify the expense.
If shows were only to include bikes that demonstrated some “advancement of the bike industry” shows would be a lot smaller. Fortunately a show about handmade custom bikes isn’t necessarily all about advancing the industry. That’s a good thing, especially given how subjective the phrase “advancing the industry is”. There should be shows, like this, that are also about high finishes, artistic value, creativity, and excellent workmanship.