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by James Huang
November 14, 2017
Photography by James Huang
Over the past few days we’ve presented not one, but two rounds of incredible custom bikes from the Philly Bike Expo. How many more could be left? As it turns out, there are still quite a few showstoppers remaining that deserve attention.
Among the builders highlighted this time around are Moots Cycles, Bingham Built — made by the new owner of Kent Eriksen Cycles, Brad Bingham — Italian icon Cinelli, Schön Studio, Vicious Cycles, Korean label Rookey Bike Works, and more. Each display a level of artistry and ingenuity not typically found in mass-manufactured brands, and all are rare enough that you’re unlikely to see another one on your next group ride.
Maybe one of these builders strikes your fancy enough that you want to order one of their bikes for yourself? Sure seems like you could do worse. Regardless, this wraps up our coverage of the bikes from the Philly Bike Expo. Stay tuned for our picks of the most interesting parts, accessories, and clothing, coming next week.
Cinelli’s new Nemo TIG steel disc road frame is not only gorgeous, but is likely a blast to ride.
There are all sorts of subtle design details on the Cinelli Nemo TIG.
The Nemo TIG’s thru-axle steel dropouts are among the prettiest I’ve seen, cleverly integrating the Cinelli winged logo.
Modern Columbus Spirit thin-walled, butted, tapered, and shaped steel tubing promises an efficient ride, plus a claimed frame weight around 1,800g.
The tapered head tube wears modern dimensions, but still manages to evoke a classic aesthetic.
Steel thru-axle dropouts rarely look this tidy and clean.
How popular has gravel become? Moots Cycles earned its reputation for traditional road, cyclocross, and mountain bikes, but the gravel-oriented Routt 45 is now its top seller.
The Moots Routt 45 got a recent upgrade to the company’s slick 3D-printed dropout.
Rear brake hose routing is now internal on the Moots Routt 45, too (although, sadly, it isn’t fully guided).
According to Moots’ new president, Drew Medlock, the company couldn’t find a carbon gravel fork that it really liked, so it went ahead and designed its own.
Moots is continuing to experiment with anodized graphics on its titanium frames.
Rookey Bike Works brought this bike to Philadelphia all the way from South Korea.
It’s almost a shame to cover the lugged stem in paint as it hides the handiwork underneath.
Splatter paint jobs really are coming back into fashion.
The oversized Columbus PegoRichie steel tubeset is designed to provide a more modern and snappier feel than the smaller diameters typically used in ferrous frames.
So, so pretty.
Danielle Schön of Schön Studio operates out of Toronto, Canada. This brazed steel disc road frame was quite a sight to behold, full of neat details.
Is it a stick of dynamite or a flower? Yes.
It’s super cool how the top tube and seatstays visually wrap around the seat tube.
Danielle Schön hasn’t been building for long, but it seems likely that her star is rising.
The internal routing is fully guided from tip to tail.
The exit ports out back are pleasantly symmetrical.
Yep, even the front brake hose is internally routed, if for no other reason than the fact that Danielle Schön doesn’t like them flopping around with zip-ties or clamps.
Velo Orange is best known for its retro-styled components, but the company also has a few steel framesets, too.
In case there was any question what the Velo Orange Campeur is built for, the top tube graphic makes it plainly clear.
Yep, Velo Orange stays true to its company ethos and specifies a threaded headset for its Campeur.
The two-tiered rear rack should be great for panniers and a rack-top bag.
Vicious Cycles builder Carl Schlemowitz crafted this flat-bar gravel bike for a customer, but after realizing how much fun it was, he quickly decided that he needs to build one for himself at some point, too.
All of Vicious Cycles’ bike model names are derived from songs by British rock band T. Rex.
Schlemowitz doesn’t buy these tubes pre-formed and ready to miter. He does all of the shaping in-house.
Schlemowitz recently entered into a production partnership with Chris Bishop. Schlemowitz does the TIG welding on the front triangles, and Bishop applies his signature fillet brazing technique to the rest. The idea is that this would let Bishop offer some frames at a lower cost, and a shorter lead time, than what he can currently provide with his top-tier, fully brazed frames.
Schlemowitz in the front, Bishop in the back. Eventually, all of this will be covered with paint.
VonHof has added a new steel cyclocross frame to its range called the ACX.
The new VonHof ACX also marks the first time the company has offered a T47 threaded bottom bracket shell.
This paint scheme is simple, but eye-catching.
Winter Bicycles showed off the full range of its capabilities at the Philly Bike Expo. At one end of the spectrum sat this classically styled townie, which was utterly gorgeous.
The mix of polished aluminum, chrome, and dark blue paint works so well together.
At another end of the spectrum from Winter Bicycles is this trick steel track bike.
While the aesthetic may be traditional, the bike itself is still packed with modern features, such as a tapered head tube.
The rear end is strikingly delicate.
Weaver Cycle Works hails from Collingswood, New Jersey. This Road Plus machine was hard to miss.
Despite what the name suggested, the Philly Bike Expo was far from just a regional show. This Nagasawa was built in Japan.
Masi may no longer be solely the high-end, small-volume steel road builder it once was, but the more mainstream outfit that bought the brand name several years ago is doing a good job of maintaining a solid image. This steel CX GR Supremo model looks like it’d be a fantastically fun machine, and a true bargain at just US$1,899 complete.
The full-carbon fork includes fender mounts – hallelujah!
The steel flat-mount thru-axle dropouts are pleasantly tidy.
Clearance is still pretty good with the stock 40mm-wide tires.
Another bonus is the threaded bottom bracket shell.
Eric Baar of Ground Up Speed Shop considers himself to be more of a metalworker than a artist, but after looking at stuff like this, you can’t help but wonder if he’s selling himself a little short.
Baar is perhaps best known for his pinstriping work, but he’s recently been enamored with gold leaf.
Co-Motio says its Pangea adventure bike is ready for just about anything, featuring versatile 26-inch wheels, a long and stable geometry, mounts for everything, and an optional Pinion 18-speed gearbox drivetrain with a toothed belt drive.
The optional Pinion 18-speed gearbox drivetrain is heavy, but also virtually maintenance-free and more immune to damage than conventional derailleur drivetrains.
The yoke-style chainstay design creates plenty of drivetrain and tire clearance.
44 Bike Co. builder Kristofer Henry only just recently put the finishing touches on his titanium Huntsman, a versatile drop-bar platform that can be tailored to everything from modest all-road applications to full-on adventure and gravel riding.
“Work conquers all.” Clearly, Kristofer Henry isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
Gallus builder Jeremy Schlacter is based in Denver, Colorado, and specializes in classically styled builds like this one.
This randonneur machine from Gallus has all the fixings.
The booth of Stephen Bilenky – who also co-founded the Philly Bike Expo with his daughter, Bina – was filled with a wide variety of custom-built steel bikes.
This commuter from Bilenky Cycle Works looks like it’d be a blast to zip around town.
Brad Bingham has spent most of his career as a welder at Kent Eriksen Cycles. Eriksen recently sold the company to Bingham (remaining with the company), but the iconic titanium builder isn’t going to stick around forever. Bikes will continue to be built under the Kent Eriksen label, but Bingham will slowly increase the visibility of a new Bingham Built brand that will eventually replace it.
The chainstays on this Bingham Built road frame are big and stout, which suggests a fun and snappy ride.
Fans of Kent Eriksen Cycles already know who Brad Bingham is, but soon plenty of other people will, too.
You want killer welds? Brad Bingham is definitely bringing the killer welds.
Cicli Polito builder Dan Polito says he only gets requests for retro-style bikes like this from time to time, but enjoys the opportunities when they come. This bike looks old, but has only been in the owner’s hands for four months.
Polito uses an acid etching process to instantly “age” new aluminum parts to make them look vintage. These Honjo fenders are practically brand-new, but wear the patina of decades of use.
Likewise, the cockpit and bell were new just months ago, but Polito’s acid etch process instantly adds the sort of character that normally needs to be earned over time.
Blaze Bicycles is based in the mountain biking mecca of Moab, Utah.
This gravel bike from Blaze Bicycles uses a classic frame layout.
Blaze Bicycles is among a growing band of titanium frame builders who are playing with anodized graphics.
Alter Cycles’ new frame design is certainly unconventional, but the thought behind it perhaps deserves a closer look.
Standing in place of a conventional down tube is a high-strength steel leaf spring. According to Alter Cycles, the leaf spring stores and releases energy while riding, supposedly harnessing more of your pedaling force into forward motion. In addition, the spring lets wheelbase change in response to bumps for a smoother ride. If this sounds familiar, it perhaps should since the folks behind it are the same people who ran Slingshot Bicycles back in the day. This latest design follows the same principle, but allows for more movement. We’re considering bringing this preproduction prototype in for a first-hand evaluation.