Some custom builders are new, like Vlad Cycles out of Boonton, NJ, who’s been at it for just two years now. Others have been at it for a little longer, over the years, have accumulated some interesting parts to hang on their show bikes…like a very fresh looking Mavic Mektronic electronic group.
Above is Vlad’s Troika head badge, designed by Jen Green. In Russian, he says, the troika is three horses harnessed abreast to pull loads across the vast Russian landscape. Vlad started out fillet brazing, but after a frame building course by Carl from Vicious Cycles, he turned to TIG welding and hasn’t looked back. The headtube above is part of a disc brake road bike, shown below.
Read on to see more from Vlad, Coast and Royal H, the latter of whom had the motorized group on display…
This one’s True Temper OX steel with hydraulic Shimano brakes and Di2 shifting. It’s built with an ENVE carbon fork, but he also made a matching steel fork using Paragon steerer tube and dropouts.
His singlespeed 29er hardtail is suspension corrected for a 100mm fork and made of Reynolds 853 tubing with Paragon rocker adjustable dropouts and matte black powder coat.
Coast Cycles hails from Brooklyn, NY, and builds lugged and brazed frames, focusing mostly on the road/touring/rando category.
They also do custom stems and racks, which can be chromed or painted to match.
Royal H Cycles was started by a former Seven Cycles employee in 2009. He’s building brazed steel frames out of Boston, MA, and had a few nice examples of road and cross/gravel bikes in the booth. Above is a deep gloss blue beauty that looks like it’s ready to tackle any surface.
This one was a throwback special. The Spinergy RevX wheels caught the eye, which lured us in. Then the paint called out…
The maroon red over wrap-textured silver gave it several kinds of depth. Note the contrasting use of the colors between fork crown top and legs. Once the paint was carefully inspected, something else caught our eye:
The 1999 Mavic Mektronic was one of the earliest electronic drivetrains and the first production electronic drivetrain with wireless communication between shifter and rear derailleur. It wasn’t, however, the first production electronic group to make it to the pro peloton. That honor would go to the ’92/’93 Mavic “Zap” system, which preceded Mektronic by 6-7 years and used wires.
The Mektronic system used small yellow buttons to shift the rear mech. The front remained mechanical and had a rather large, unsightly steel lever on the inner side of the lever body.
While the system was not considered a huge success in performance (radio waves were apparently easily interferred with, it was huge, the UCI banned the commercial version, etc.), it no doubt paved the way for the electronic systems we enjoy today and those that are coming.
The rear derailleur used a pushrod system to move the pulley cage in and out, hence the oversized wing protruding from the body.