More Beautiful MADE Bike Show Finds + Photo Dump
Just when you thought we’d wrapped up our coverage of the inaugural MADE Bike Show in Portland, we’re back with one last roundup of interesting finds. Find photos and details on several more beautiful handmade bikes, some intriguing new bits and bobs, and a first look at a new suspension fork front rack here…
The framebuilders’ booths were the bread and butter of the 2023 MADE Bike Show this past weekend, but there were a number of additional brands showing off their wares. We spotted everything from glossy, machined stems and cranks to handmade carbon fibre wheels, wacky anodizing, and fancy titanium bits. I spent most of my time shooting the handmade bikes of the show, but I also managed to sneak around and capture some other products on display, including some extra bikes that were part of other booths but just as interesting as the rest. Find it all below in our final roundup from the debut event.
Mone Bikes Full Enjoy V2
Cjell from Moné Bikes in Silver City, New Mexico, had more than just the kids bikes we showcased in our first builder roundup. His flashy full-suspension rig, dubbed “Full Enjoy,” got a lot of attention over the weekend. It’s a curvy steel full-suspension mountain bike with chunky brazed fillets that are unmistakably Moné. Cjell said there are many single-pivot steel full-suspensions out there, so he wanted to do something a little different. “The four-bar bikes I had ridden seem to work pretty well… so I went for it.”
The bike features 140mm of front and rear travel. Cjell backed off the 62° head angle of the first version and went 64° on this one, which he said works well with a 51mm offset fork. It has a 73° seat tube angle with a higher bottom bracket and short 425mm chainstays. Cjell says this “makes for a bike that likes to get up more than stay down.” The finish is done by Cjell’s friend Karl in Phoenix.
I asked Cjell about the build, and here’s what he said: “The build is a little zootier than the first one. Carbon Hifi wheels, our carbon Light Bars, the new TRP Evo drivetrain with their carbon cranks. Huge fan of the evo brakes as well. Cane Creek IL shock with a Fox SLS spring (painted gold) is lighter than air. All that results in a 32-pound bike with an 8.5-pound frame.”
Paul Kalifatidi’s Northern Frameworks
Photographer Paul Kalifatidi was wandering around MADE all weekend, and it was great to get to know him a little and experience his process in person. He takes some truly fantastic photos that you can check out on his website. Paul picked up a custom Northern Frameworks gravel bike from Alex Cook in October of 2021. At the time, he was working at Angry Catfish in Minneapolis, and Northern Frameworks was their in-house brand. The geometry is based off of a Salsa Cutthroat, but Paul wanted a steeper seat tube to accommodate a knee injury.
I asked Paul what led to him getting the bike, and he explained, “I got it because I was doing lots of bike packing and riding that blended gravel and mtb. I didn’t need a car at the time nor when I first moved to Bellingham, so I spent that money on a fancy bike. Oops, but really I have no regrets. It’s eliminated the knee and back pain I experienced on my previous bike.”
Some of Paul’s favourite features are the Oury grips on the bars, the Calvin and Hobbes graphic on the back of the seat tube, the Aldr Works framebag made out of duck camo canvas, and the Paul Klamper/AXS combo. “It’s nostalgic and futuristic. It works great,” said Paul.
Although I was familiar with Ian Colquhoun and Ignite Components before MADE—in fact, I had even worked with Ian to get some of his chromed-out cranks for the Velo Orange Neutrino I built up to review—I had no idea it was just him running the show. Ian has a mechanical engineering background and has spent the last 20+ years designing and fabricating parts from motorsport engines to skyscrapers. It was great to finally meet Ian in person and check out some of his latest parts, which include a patent-pending T47 bottom bracket, direct mount chainrings that work with all 10, 11, and 12-speed chains including the new T-type and Shimano 12-speed, and some new singlespeed cogs he’ll be adding to his website soon as well.
Sklar Titanium Seatposts and Super Stem Thing
Adam from Sklar had a prototype titanium seatpost installed on the Super Something gravel bike that was at their booth. The post is 27.2mm in diameter with 0mm of setback, and it’s 300mm long and weighs 248 grams. According to Adam, titanium makes a fantastic seatpost material for long rides because of its flex and spring rate, soaking up road chatter and gravel bumps like no other.
He was also showing off the new Super Stem Thing, a rando-style gravel stem with an extended clamp section. Adam told me he believes this style of stem can make all drop bars look really cool. You can check out the seatposts on Sklar’s website here and the stems here.
Chris Kratsch’s OG Vulture Purple Pleasure Dirt Tourer
Chris Kratsch, co-owner of Old Man Mountain and Robert Axle Project, had an interesting sparkly purple rig set up with their racks and new panniers at the OMM booth. With minimal branding and the bags in the spotlight, I didn’t think much of it. That was, until I heard the maker of the bike, Wade Beauchamp, was also at the event showcasing his current bike brand, Argonaut Cycles.
Wade built his first frame in 1996 in Flagstaff, Arizona, under the Vulture Cycles name, which was inspired by his nickname. “Simply put, I got the nickname Vulture from liking and being like a vulture: not so pretty on the ground, but graceful at soaring,” explained Wade. In 2008, Wade was laid off from a welding job and figured the only thing to do was turn the lights back on in his own shop. According to Wade, Chris seized the opportunity to get a new bike and showed up with $200 cash. Neither Wade or Chris can prove if the balance was ever paid.
Chris wanted a bike that would be faster and more fun riding around the trails in Bend, Oregon. “The trails in Bend are pretty mellow, and I just wanted something to rip around.” He wasn’t after an aggressive riding position but wanted drop bars and the contact points to be exactly like his mountain bike. According to Wade, Chris wasn’t the only one asking for big-tired drop bar bikes around then, and he says he was the first person to use the term “monstercross.”
The massive curved stem is just one of the bike’s standout features. Wade imagined it as an elegant, art-deco sort of shape, but how it turned out is pretty hilarious. “It took a lot of time to make that silly thing,” Wade said. It’s modeled after a Steve Potts LD stem but is a lot shorter to maintain Chris’ desired position. The frame is made from rare Tange Prestige MTV tubes Wade got from his friend Steve Garro of Coconino Cycles.
The sparkly purple paint job is called “The Purple Pleasure,” and it fits the bike perfectly. The frame uses an eccentric bottom bracket and early Paragon low-mount dropouts. It was a blast to chat to Wade and Chris about the bike. These two are absolutely hilarious when they get chatting and reminiscing of the experiences they’ve shared, which includes working together at Metolius Climbing in 1997/98. All it took was a weird purple bike to get them going.
Oregon Timber Trail to MADE
There were a few dirty bikes on display at the MADE Bike Show, but the Wren Sports team took things to the next level by bikepacking the Oregon Timber Trail (OTT) before heading to the event. Wren Sports is best known for their inverted suspension forks and is also behind some interesting rack and handlebar designs, including whacky Wren Perseverance handlebar that we tested here. Cameron Sanders and Mike Yuhnke came down from Alaska for MADE, and they used the bikepacking trip as a testing ground for their new Front Suspension Rack. More on that below. I met up with the guys to learn more about their setups and snap some photos of their rigs.
Cameron Sanders’ Myth Zodiac
Cameron Sanders from Wren Sports trained for the OTT by exclusively riding and bikepacking singlespeed for the last year. For the month leading up to the trip, he geared his bike way down, rode with all of his gear, and ripped his local singletrack to get used to the setup. Cameron explained, “In the end, I chose a 28-tooth rear sprocket and a 32-tooth front on a 27.5 midfat wheel. That sounds outrageously low, but I find I can still maintain an average of about 9-10 miles per hour on gravel roads, which is plenty fast. This gave me the ability to really enjoy my time riding up and down the many mountains along this route, and with the journey behind me, I have zero regrets in this choice.”
Cameron rode his Myth Zodiac steel full-suspension mountain bike. It’s the only full-suspension he owns and was never meant to be a bikepacking bike. It’s set up with Gates belt drive, Tailfin Aero rack, Wren 150mm travel inverted fork, Fox coil Rear Shock, Rolf Prima mullet midfat wheelset with Cushcore, and a Berthoud saddle. He’s running short 165mm White Industries cranks with a 32T Gates HG sprocket milled to direct mount fit the cranks and a Gates idler drilled to mate with the Zodiac’s ISCG tabs.
The OTT was full of surprises, including a multitude of reroutes due to wildfire impacts. “When we made it to Sisters, the Lookout Fire forced us to evacuate from the route and head north to safety. We substituted the Stiletsi and White Crane route for missed miles due to the Lookout Fire and got some incredible singletrack riding in and around Hood River we otherwise would not have had time for.” Cameron said he’s grateful for the Oregon Timber Trail’s excellent resources so they could be quick to adjust their plans.
Mike Yuhnke’s Custom Handz
Mike’s custom Handz hardtail was actually inspired by Logan’s review of the Sirius Pipedream here on the site, except he wanted it be longer, lower, slacker, and belt driven. Mike saw Handz’s work in person at the Philly Expo last year and fell in love with their bikes. He asked framebuilder Ryan Burnham if he was interested in making his dream a reality, and things fell into motion.
“When the bike was nearing competition and I was dreaming of color ways, I settled on black and white and named the bike Momento Mori, acting as a reminder of the inevitability of death, which for me is a reminder to inventory the time I have left and use it wisely and create a sense of urgency to get out and get after it.”
The frame bag, top tube bag, and feed bags are all handmade by Virginia-based Jack’s Sacks. Mike said Wes, the owner, poured a ton of detail and love into these bags and he’s so stoked on how they turned out. With his new bike, Mike is planning to ride the Los Tres Volcanes route in Ecuador, the Highland 550 in Scotland, and many of the trails in his home town of Anchorage, Alaska, and surrounding epic trails on the Kenai Peninsula.
Wren Sports Front Suspension Rack
Mike was testing a prototype of a new suspension fork rack from Wren on this trip. The trip played an important part in Wren’s dedication to real-world trail use and Cameron mentioned that he was blown away at how the rack held up. Mike took a big digger during their ride, which ripped the rear rack boss right off the frame (which they had to get re-brazed). The front rack took a direct impact and was unfazed.
The Wren Front Suspension Rack is designed to work with any Wren inverted suspension fork. The large platform was made intentionally for hauling packrafts, Wald-style wire baskets, large top-loading handlebar bags, and whatever else you want to strap on. It has integrated bottle cage rails along the side the fork that will be available separately for those who don’t want the rack, an integrated dynamo light tab, and once installed, the rack is quick to remove and packs down slim for ease of travel. It’s made from beefy oversized 6061 Alloy and is expected to cost around $200 USD. We’ll be sure to share more when the racks are available.
MADE Bike Show Miscellany
There was so much awesome stuff at the show, but I wasn’t able to report on all of it. Here are a bunch of photos I snapped of cool products and people while wandering the venue.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.