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The Art of the Ornate Head Badge, a MADE Show Round-Up

Head badge Round Up - Moots CyclesPhoto c. R.Frazelle
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I have been taking on the daunting, and often overwhelming post-bike-show ritual of trying to go through, sort, and make sense of the hundreds of photos I snapped during my time at the MADE Show last week.

After seeing quite a few shots of head badges in my photos (I’m a fan of a good head badge), I decided I would do something a little different, a little light-hearted, and out of the norm. Share some of them with you.

Often overlooked, the bicycle head badge can be something the brand has spent a good amount of time thinking about and executing… making sure that it’s just right. In some cases, contracting an outside source to get it just right for you – like Wilde Bikes sterling silver head badge made by Jen Green.

Below you’ll find a lil’ gallery of some (but not quite all) of my favorite head badges of the show, plus a little somethin’ special at the end.

So, let’s pay some attention to the art of ornate bicycle head badges.

Monē Bikes

Head badge Round Up - Mone Bikes
all c. BikeRumor, photos by R.Frazelle

Out of Silver City, New Mexico, Monē Bikes is a single person, Cjell Monē, who does all of his amazing frame building and visible brass brazing out of a repurposed 1990 Wonder Bread Truck. Making Monē mobile, Cjell prides himself on “keeping overhead low and quality high.”

This head badge is simple with understated details. I also get a feel of retro 80s in the design.

Neuhaus Metalworks

Head badge Round Up - Neuhouse Metalworks

Located in the birthplace of mountain bikes, Marin County, California, Neuhaus Metal Works believes in Fit + Function = Form. They built steel and titanium bikes with 3D printing being the foundation to “make bikes better for riders”.

I especially like this head badge because it has a real industrial, art deco feel to it… matching the name of the company.

Tomii Cycles

Born in Japan, Nao Tomii has an incredible eye for detail. He came to the US to study sculpting, graduating in 2000. After being inspired by other hand-made, custom frame builders, he is now “sculpting” his own custom frames and accessories.

I had to include two of Tomii Cycles‘ head badges, as they are so different and yet still similar in layout. These head badges are a couple more impressive examples of Nao’s attention to detail.

Mosaic Cycles

Head badge Round Up - Mosiac

Mosaic Cycles of Boulder, Colorado, specializing in high-quality, custom bicycles (like this one), and stock-sized bicycles (like this one). They are “dedicated to providing the best possible riding experience”.

This head badge is machined to show the color of the bike through the details in the badge. The badge lets you know it’s a Mosaic without seeing the rest of the bike. As iconic as a Schwinn head badge? Maybe.

Sycip Designs

Head badge Round Up - Sycip Cycles

Jeremy Sycip of Sycip Designs is located in Santa Rosa, California and has been building beautiful custom frames since 1992. He can build custom steel, titanium, or aluminum frames for your road, all-road, cx, commuters, or mountain biking needs.

Now, in my opinion, this is an example of an iconic head badge. And it’s one that I have personally always liked and coveted.

Ira Ryan Cycles

Head badge Round Up - Ira Ryan Cycles

Ira Ryan Cycles is Ira Ryan and he’s been hand building each frame, fork stem, and bicycle by hand in his Portland workshop since 2005. “With one foot planted in a rich history of bicycle racing and what technology works well, I blend those styles with modern components using brass, silver, and steel”, as he describes it.

The Ira Ryan head badge represents the brand perfectly. It is understated and simple but speaks volumes to the power of simplicity, precision, and quality.

Wolfhound Cycles

Head badge Round Up - Wolfhound Cycles

Hailing from Talent, Oregon, Fred Cuthbert, of Wolfhound Cycles lives in a town that seems to be the perfectly named place for this framebuilder. His fillet brazing work is next level and “brazed with love since 2001”.

This head badge is simply beautiful and a perfect cherry on the bikes that Fred painstakingly builds.

Donkelope Bikes

Head badge Round Up - Donkilope

Started in Wisconsin in 2002 building BMX frames, Donkelope Bikes has since moved the operation to Bellingham, Washington. Builder/owner Greg Heath can build you a welded or lugged steel frame, forks, stems, or even racks all “built by hand to suit your riding style”.

This head badge is the perfect representation of this brand; simple, classic, and purposeful lines with nothing extravagant.

An attentive reader tells us that Jen Green also made this head badge, that reader being Jen Green. 😉

Wilde Bikes

Head badge Round Up - Wilde Cycles

Minneapolis, MN is home to Wilde Bikes, and is owner Jeffrey Frane’s “love letter to cycling”. Previous founder of All-City Cycles, Jeffery says that “if it can be done, and it’s your bicycle dream, we can create it utilizing our amazing network of talented collaborators“.

This head badge just pops in its 3D-ness. Plus, as mentioned prior, it’s an example of the artistry that is a Jen Green head badge.

Bender Bicycles

Head badge Round Up - Bender Cycles

Ft. Collins, Colorado is home to William Bender of Bender Bicycle Co. William began with a background in design and an innate need to “make and tinker”, saying that he “started Bender Bicycle Co. with the goal of creating functional, purposeful, and beautiful bikes“. And, that he does.

This head badge is different in the way that it’s heaped in design. If you look closely you’ll see that although it looks non-descript, it’s actually four stacked “B”s. Nice.

Fat Chance Bikes

Head badge Round Up - Fat Chance Cycles

Chris Chance of Fat Chance Bikes is considered a staple in the birth of mountain biking on the East Coast. And the Yo Eddie is an iconic name in the story that is the beginning of mountain biking.

This is the one-of-a-kind head badge from Fat Chance’s latest iteration of the Titanium Yo Eddie Team Fat Chance frameset. It’s wicked good.

Soulcraft Cycles (Honorable Mention)

Head badge Round Up - Soulcraft Plowboy head badge

And lastly, I’ve included a photo of a less ornate head badge, more of a logo, and a worn one at that, from a custom builder that is no longer making frames, but I feel needs an honorary mention. The builder is Sean Walling and the company is Soulcraft Cycles out of Petaluma, California. Sean stopped Soulcraft and ceased making frames about 8 years ago or so, I believe.

I was not only a fan of the brand, but I was also a customer… as I had purchased two frames from him, the single-speed specific Soulcraft Plowboy back in ’99 and the Soulcraft Royal Road frame in 2006.

Head badge Round Up - Soulcraft Plowboy Sean wheelie
Sean Walling poppin’ wheelies at the MADE Show

So, when I saw him poppin’ wheelies at the MADE Show, on a (what he personally dated a 2001) Plowboy that he had just purchased from someone at the show, I was overcome with nostalgia. We reminisced a bit and I snapped a few shots on my phone. Enjoy.


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7 months ago

It must be an odd sensation to buy back your own bike. I wonder if he remembers building that one specifically.

Ashok Captain
Ashok Captain
7 months ago

Enjoyed going through this article, as I have a thing for head tube badges / monograms. Thank you.

7 months ago

Soulcraft bikes were lovely. I had a blue one speed too!!! Haha.

7 months ago

I really liked the more ornate ‘lighthouse’ headbadge in Co-Motion
showed on that Pinion drive tourer.

(also…Soulcraft had the best CX SS chain tensioner design ever.)

7 months ago

No mention of Chapman Cycles? Unfair.

Joe Lee
Joe Lee
7 months ago

Sycip’s badge reminds me of Independent Fabrication’s. That’s not a bad thing.

Jen Green
7 months ago

I made the Donkelope badge also!

King County
King County
7 months ago

I like how the Neuhaus badge has the ‘m’ and w’ tucked in there. Borderline genius.

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