The 2021 Philly Bike Expo was a bit of a homecoming for many brands, and after a year off from shows, a welcome return to something resembling normalcy.
And there was no shortage of beautiful bikes from a lot of builders. Our coverage thus far has been of the components and small parts, so these bike roundups are admittedly a bit late, but it’s never a bad time to check out cool, handmade bicycles. We’ll mostly be running down the alphabet, starting with…
Like most of the builders, Amigo does custom bikes, like this flat bar adventure mountain bike. Made for “normal” sized MTB tires, it has clearance for double chainrings and a full coverage fender. The fork has a support piece that’s mostly decorative, but does provide a nice platform for a fender to rest against. Rack and accessory mounts let you load it up.
The bigger news is their new Bug Out model. It’s a drop-bar adventure bike that’ll come in stock sizes (S/M/L/XL) rather than custom and has all the mounts for all the things.
Builder Zach Small teased this in our pre-show interview (which also featured his radical hydraulic “coaster” disc brake), and it didn’t disappoint in person.
Adjustable dropouts, clearance for a 44T single or 44/30 double chainring, 125mm+ dropper posts, and 700×50 gravel tires means you can turn this into whatever bike you need. It’s a steel frame that’s sold as a frameset with the ENVE Adventure fork, which combined with the rear end, let’s you adjust both wheelbase and fork offset to suit your needs du jour. Check them out at AmigoFrameworks.com.
Bender Bicycle Co.
Bender is based in Fort Collins, CO, and founded by builder William Bender. He makes custom steel all-road/gravel and mountain bikes.
Frames start at $2,000 with custom geometry and your choice of ISO or post-mount brakes on MTBs, and ISO, post, or flat mount for drop bar frames. Price includes one-color powdercoats, but paint and decal upgrades, along with internal cable routing and sliding dropouts are available as options. Check them out at BenderBicycles.com.
Bilenky Cycle Works
Bilenky had several surprisingly normal looking bikes this year, but also these two rad little rides. This little cargo bike uses a Shimano STEPS e-bike motor to help move the front basket’s load around town.
The battery sits attached to a heavy duty rail, which doubles as the support for the front basket. A connecting rod let him push the front wheel further out while maintaining reasonable reach figures and fork angles.
This Mixte city bike may look fairly normal at first glance, but it’s actually a split-frame travel bike.
A mix of bolt-in connectors up top and S&S coupler on the downtube let this frame split in half for more compact packing. Front and rear racks add capability. If you’re looking for something truly unique from a master craftsman, definitely check out Bilenky.com.
And if you’re looking for the ultimate in simplicity, precision and clean details, check out builder Chris Bishop’s namesake bikes. Every bike in his stand, every time we’ve seen him, has flawless execution, with some neat details that help them stand out.
Ultra-clean, smooth joints and just a bit of extra material removal on this bike’s sliding dropouts accentuate the singlespeed aesthetic.
His road bikes have gone full modern with tapered steerers and disc brakes, but they retain a very classic look.
This pic’s actually out of order, it’s not the purple road bike shown directly above it, but it was one of two with color-shifting sparkle paint that looked amazing. But that wasn’t the most interesting finish…keep reading.
This slender headtube had a flute added at the bottom to make room for the larger bearing. Bishop’s trademark seatstay bridge with the chess game’s bishop icon is always classy, and it’s often machined out behind it to save a few grams…but mainly just to look cool.
This track bike had a matte clear CeraKote, the first time we’ve seen this finish without any tint.
The beauty of this is that it lets the metal show through, along with the brazing, welding, finishing, or whatever, so that it can be appreciated…but it still also creates a super strong, protective finish.
Yep, he still makes rim brake road bikes, too. Check it all out at BishopBikes.com.
Blaze Bicycles also participated in our pre-show interview series, and they brought a bit of their Moab dirt and dust with them to the show. They build mostly in titanium, with a mix of custom and production bikes, for road, gravel, and mountain.
This pic doesn’t do it justice, but their masking and anodizing allows for blends of colors on the titanium to create some cool designs and effects. Check them out at BlazeBicycles.com.
This classic lugged city bike from Chapman Cycles caught our eye for it’s elegance…and there’s something about that light baby blue color, too. Note the shaped lugs and painted-to-match frame pump on the left seatstay. Just looking at it now makes me which I’d taken more closeup photos, but you can check out more of their “modern frames for vintage souls” at ChapmanCycles.com.
Stay tuned for more from Philly Bike Expo 2021.