MADE Bike Show: Six Bikes from Day One
The MADE bike show in Portland is in full swing, and we’ve been busy capturing some truly stunning bikes and getting to know the makers behind them. To kick things off, find photos and details on five framebuilders we spoke to yesterday morning. From steel hardtails to titanium dream machines and kids bikes, see it all here…
The inaugural edition of the MADE Bike Show is gearing up to be a big one, providing a space to celebrate the art of framebuilding, the diverse group of people who live and breathe it, and the community that surrounds it. After speaking to lots of builders here at the event, it’s clear that everyone has been itching to come together to share their love for bicycles, and MADE answered the call.
Thursday was reserved for media and industry folks to get a first look, so I spent the better part of 10 hours running meeting framebuilders, learning about their process and the bikes they brought along, and spending some quality one-on-one time photographing them. The number of absolutely stunning rigs at the event is mind blowing, and I’m excited to share a few from my first morning at the event. Enjoy!
Moots x MADE Routt 45
As part of the buildup to the show, Moots and MADE collaborated on this special co-branded titanium Routt 45, and it’s a real show-stopper. The bike has been outfitted with a custom titanium rack, an ENVE Adventure Fork, a co-branded Mission Workshop Transit porteur bag, custom-anodized MADE logos across the entire build, and several other nice touches.
For those unfamiliar, the MOOTS Routt lineup is the company’s gravel range of bikes named after their nearby Routt National Forest. The lineup is five deep now and consists of the Routt 45, Routt RSL, Route CRD, Routt YBB and Routt ESC. The Routt 45 sits in the middle of the pack and is perhaps the most versatile of the bunch. Learn more about the Routt family over at Moots.com.
Oddity Cycles link
Chromoly and Ti Singlespeed
Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Oddity Cycles is owned and operated by Sean Burns. Oddity has developed a specific and recognizable look over the years, something that usually involves sweeping titanium tubes, funky truss forks, and unique handlebars. This particular bike is a celebration of Oddity’s 10th anniversary, an homage to their steel beginnings woven strategically alongside the titanium frame. All of the rusty bits, including the front truss of the Squid Fork, seat stays, and Odd Mone handlebar crossbar are made from Chromoly steel. Sean’s goal was to show off what he’s been doing for the last 10 years using both titanium and steel.
All of Oddity’s tubes are shaped in-house; nothing is off-the-self. This bike was chance to confirm that it could be done and highlight their capabilities for building one-off custom bikes, which is all they do. Sean mentioned he kept it simple as a way to get back to the roots of why he started riding, and that simplicity resulted in one of the most stunning bikes at the show. His booth inside the venue was equally simple. Oddity Cycles focuses on what matters.
Mone Bikes link
We knew Cjell at Mone Bikes would be bringing something special to the show, and it wasn’t just the mobile train track he had set up at his booth. Mone is officially going to start offering kids bikes. While the details are still in the works, the goal was to design two kids bikes with interchangeable parts that allow the bikes to grow with the child instead of moving through several different bikes.
They start with a 12″ strider bike complete with a little kick plate, bottom bracket cover, and skinny 19mm handlebars. The stays and fork are just tall enough to fit 16″ wheels when the time comes to size up. There’s a full complement of parts, including 16″ wheels, cranks, and chain, and the frames are disc and coaster brake ready. Cjell landed on the idea after wanting to design kids bikes for his nieces and nephews. “If you’re going to spend too much money on a children’s bike, you might as well have it last for a little while.”
Liberation Fab link
Ya’ll-Road + The Empty Bee
The bright rainbow grips and spokes on The Empty Bee hardtail caught my attention and after chatting with Eva Kloiber at Liberation Fab, which is exactly what she intended. Eva builds functional bikes that represent her relationship with cycling, which often involve bright colors and a some aspect of inclusion—a top priority for Eva and Liberation Fab.
Liberation was born during the pandemic. A friend of Eva’s said, “You’re a biker, and I’m a biker, and we should learn how to build bikes.” During the initial pandemic lockdowns, Eva took a brazing course with UBI in Ashland, Oregon, and immediately had a feeling in her chest that something deep within them had been awakened. “Dang, I’m gunna have to pursue this,” she thought.
Eva has a background in art and engineering, enjoys creating and building, and she sees framebuilding as a way to mesh all of those together in one of the most beautiful way. “I love working with my hands and machine tools and working with metal. It feels so cool. As soon as we left the course, I knew it was something I was going to do. I wasn’t sure if it would be a hobby or a job, but I felt like I owed it to myself to see where it could go,” Eva added.
The drop-bar bike is Liberation Fab’s Ya’ll-Road bike. It draws inspiration from Eva’s randonneur friends who drink the Bicycle Quarterly Kool-Aid and love Jan Heine and everything from that side of cycling. It’s a take on what people ride most of the time. It can carry a load, has room for wide tires and fenders, boasts wide gearing thanks to a front derailleur, and specs tubing that priorities ride quality over anything else.
The Ya’ll Road comes with stock geometry, but like all of Liberation Fab’s bikes, Eva will do her best to accommodate everyone’s body size. In her words, “I can design sizes that fit 95% of people, but if you’re not in that range, I believe you should still be able to get a bike that fits. I’m happy to talk about that with anyone.”
The Empty Bee is Liberation’s classic hardtail mountain bike. Eva said it was difficult to design something unique as every framebuilder out there has a hardtail, and it’s pretty hard to buy a bad mountain bike these days. Eva noticed no one was making a cute steel hardtail, so that’s what she leaned into. It has progressive geo and room for a really long dropper post, and it looks like a blast to rip around.
As Eva put it, “I love mountain biking and getting shreddy in the woods and going over jumps, but I really love being in nature and the connection with the world that mountain biking brings. It makes me think about things like the soil in a way that I’ve never considered before, and small details like that. That’s what I wanted to draw inspiration from. This particular frame is very much like a bluebird sky sort of day. I also got Take-a-Trip to make this really cool matching bag for it.”
Eva and I took some time to chat about trans inclusion in the industry and the difficult spot the cycling industry is finding itself in. Changes like the UCI’s recent decision that trans women can’t compete with women are problematic, and Eva has already seen these attitudes trickle down out of the pro cycling wold and impact people she knows. It has already started impacting folks’ participation and their general feeling of being welcome at events and races. What happens at the top end effects everyone else, even if they are just attending local events.
Speaking on the subject, Eva said, “The UCI has set a precedent for discrimination, and I think we’re in a moment where the cycling community—especially the DIY community—has a chance to say, ‘We’re not doing that. That doesn’t fly here.’ Something I like about bikepacking, especially at the high level in the endurance racing world, is that women and men are on a very even playing field. In the Dark Divide, which I just finished, I think the difference between the fastest woman and man was something like 20 minutes over 30+ hours. We can make this a place where inclusion starts and really build that up.”
Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, if there are other builders, bikes, or parts you want to see, please let us know in the conversation below!
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