It’s not easy to whittle all the work NAHBS exhibitors put into their bicycles down to a measly little ten. And it’s totally unfair. I left off some great bikes (Best Road Bike winner, David Kirk, you are missing from this list, as is Best TIG Welding, by Kent Eriksen), and I kept my focus narrow — only bikes from USA companies (Raleigh, Cherubim, Tsubasa, Officina Battaglin, my sincerest apologies). So, know this: This list is a super elite list of makers I think you, GP readers, would do well to consider for your next bike. But it’s not an exhaustive list. It is simply and humbly a great starting point for building respect and beginning to lust after an American handbuilt bike.
10 Great Bikes from America’s Best Framebuilders
It’s hard to choose the best Alchemy bike, so I just went with the newest. This titanium gravel-grinder features Fox’s yet-to-be-released AX Adventure fork, a classic geometry and all the water bottle holders you need for a proper day’s ride. If gravel or ti isn’t your thing, check out Alchemy’s carbon full-suspension bike, the Arktos, or the new carbon Helios disc road bike.
No.22 Aurora Disc
A new disc offering from upstate New York-based No.22 offers a unique frame build, featuring titanium on the top tube, down tube and rear triangle, along with a full carbon seat mast. No.22 also uses a CNC machine to help mill the tube butting precisely, a more calculated approach than the traditional method done by hand.
From Little Rock, Arkansas, Allied is a new company with a team deeply rooted in the cycling world, and they’re set on becoming a large player in the cycling world and continuing to be entirely made in the USA. They have focused on two carbon road frames to keeps things simple (Alfa = stock sizing, Echo = full custom), and all the bikes are made — from layup to paint — under one roof.
Sklar Mountain Bike
Adam Sklar is only 23 years old. He’s aware. Don’t ask. It doesn’t matter. Sklar took home the Best Mountain Bike award at NAHBS, just adding to the clout he already carries in the industry. From Bozeman, Montana, he’s shouting a clear message to the bike world: Curves make bikes better.
Mosaic continues to grow as a powerhouse in the titanium world. And with the new paint schemes they’re releasing with Spectrum Paint (both companies are owned by Aaron Barcheck), they have moved a notch higher. This year they also took home a NAHBS award for Best Gravel Bike with the GT-1.
Stinner Mountain Cross Steel Prototype
The boys from Santa Barbara made the fortuitous mistake of bringing a one-off bike to NAHBS, which, in turn, led to lots of attention and a good bump to include the new model in their lineup (make them make you this bike). A steel mountain cross bike, this thing is ready for all kinds of riding. And it features the fun note of a 50mm dropper post, activated by a Shimano shifter. Clever. Very clever.
Breadwinner Lolo Disc
This brand from Portland, Oregon, makes an array of steel bikes, and road and gravel are their best sellers. The Lolo disc is the classic convenience of steel matched with fantastic modern amenities like disc brakes and internal cable routing. Oh, and the BMW M series–inspired limited edition colorway, which is just icing on the bicycle.
Moots Routt RSL
Started in 1981, Moots is old order in the handbuilt world. They’ve proven themselves for many years, and they’re now continuing to innovate (with 3D printed titanium dropouts) and expand their gravel offerings. The RSL is the latest, with a “performance gravel” geometry for those seeking to grind faster on the non-roads.
Argonaut is the hypercar of the handbuilt bike world. They’re super custom, super sexy carbon road bikes, they cost $14,500 and there’s a 5+ month wait list. But just know that they’re absolutely and totally worth it.
Born from track racing, San Francisco’s LOW still specializes in aluminum track bikes. They also make a fantastic road bike, but the second-gen track bike was the show-stopper this year (and a NAHBS award winner for Best Track Bike). If you’re not a track geek yet, this is a bike worth adding to your stable to inspire a trip to the velodrome.
Trends from the Show
What’s next for bicycles. Read the Story