From Gestalten's 'Velo 3rd Gear'
A Survey of the World’s Best Small Bike Makers
Bicycles have evolved. E-bikes power past urban traffic. All-wood bikes bomb slopes. Cargo bikes haul gear and goods. Handlebars sync with phones and GPS buzzes through grips, enabling no-look navigation. These bike, their makers, and their riders are defining the pedal-fueled future. Velo 3rd Gear is a showcase of today’s most covetable bicycles, the latest designs and technologies, and truly stylish clothing. It shares compelling perspectives, stories, and experiences from the growing community of cyclists worldwide and introduces a wide range of products and accessories to satisfy its diverse needs and discerning aesthetics.
And The Revolution
In a neighborhood of Stockholm, Sweden, there exists a shop that is its own little universe, a place where its people evangelize the culture of cycling full time. And The Revolution is a small part of something much greater — a cycling revolution. There, visitors can forget everything they know about how a bike should be sold or purchased, because all bikes are designed, developed, and built in-house at And The Revolution. This systems allows riders to add personal details to their bikes and guarantees a consistently high build quality. In the end, each customer’s bike is functional and attractive, built to inspire, to last for years, and to withstand hills, wind, sun, and rain.
The name of the Open U.P. opens up into a mantric acronym meaning Unbeaten Path, a declaration that the bike can measure up to the demands of nearly any trail, including asphalt, gravel, washboard fire roads, or root-knotted singletrack. Wire stays ensure that the ride remains comfortable even though this hybrid has the structure of a performance-oriented cross or road bike with a design and components that give it the clearance usually typical of mountain bikes. A through-axle allows riders to use existing mountain bike wheels without diminishing the potential of its meticulous geometry when they change tires. In short, the idea behind the Unbeaten Path is to “ride anywhere, and ride fast.”
The heart of Stinner Frameworks is the ride and all it entails: freedom, fun, and adventure. This trio is the spirit of California and the spirit of their handmade, custom bicycles. Built with steel and titanium, Stinner bikes have long, durable lifespans with low environmental impacts. Thanks to their pioneering “one-piece flow” manufacturing process, bikes reach the hands of riders in as little as six weeks. This unique transaction process blends technology with person-to-person follow-ups for superior customer service. Equally important is their commitment to manufacturing in the United States. Stinner cultivates lasting relationships with craftsmen to ensure meaningful and long-lasting careers.
Relative to the potently linear lines of some of the bikes out there, the fork of Bratislava-based designer Robert Dilik’s TrueBike boast a refreshing hand-drawn look, which makes the ease with which it can roll over rocks, roots, curbs, and stairs that much more delightful. The TrueBike is truly big: the handcrafted steel frame features oversize — even dominating — 36-inch wheels. Dilik’s design lets riders attain higher speeds while covering a longer distance with each revolution of the pedal. The higher air volume in each tire lends a pair of cushions to the ride while the rider’s lower center of gravity relative to the high wheel axle gives them greater traction. Dilik also custom designs his TrueBikes to make each one suitable to the future owner’s particular style of riding, from mountain biking, bike packing, or commuting to darting down the middle lane through rush-hour traffic to deliver that last package.
When new client Deb F. asked Boston-based Geekhouse Bikes to design and build a custom bike for her, the brief was simple: she wanted the works. By the time the bike was delivered to her in Los Angeles, it was one of the most complicated bikes the company had ever made. Christened the Woodville Tourer, it is the ultimate city/touring bike and it makes no compromises. The project was a team effort: constructed by Golden Saddle, its parts include customized front and rear Velo Orange racks and a Rolloff 14-speed internal rear hub. Adria Klora designed the paint scheme and Rudi Jung of Black Magic Paint brought it to life.
The saucily named Porkeur was built for a cycling photographer who shoots off-road in the Pyrenees with delicate equipment in tow. It had to dominate the seasonal ground conditions while cushioning its cargo. “This bike needed to be FAT,” Caren Hartley says, “or at least a little porky.” But neither liked the fatbike look, so she made a hybrid: as semi-fat hauler with the chic lines of a midcentury French porteur. The Porkeur pairs a tough but slender Reynolds 931 stainless-steel tubeset with pillowy WTB semi-fat tires by drawing the seat stays forward into a triple triangle and using a Boost 148×12 through rear axle to accommodate the tires but keep the stays straight. Then Hartley added handmade asymmetric details that echo the topographical contour of the mountains over which the client rides.
The ONE LT Dazzle had to be perfectly made and perfectly personalized: it was commissioned by one of Festkka’s founders for his personal use. To achieve that level of quality the team approached the commission as they would have approached any other, constructing the bike “without compromise.” To meet the needs of this most exacting rider, Festka’s team constructed the ONE from the finest Japanese fibers and three tube layers, each of which performs a specific function. For this model, however, the designers reprogrammed “the robots” to craft a lighter tube that would nonetheless provide the proper stiffness. The finish, in black and white, took its cues from the dazzle camouflage used on auto prototypes and Second World War battleships to distort the perception of their speed and direction.
You can read more mini profiles and see more unique bikes in the full book. You can pick up a copy today on Gestalten’s website. Buy Now: $50