How the Handmade Bike Scene Is Changing

“There are always going to be collectors,” says bike-component maker Kyle Von Hoetzendorff, “but a lot of the builders want to build bikes that people can buy and go ride. The industry has grown up.”
More
The Moots Frosthammer fat bike, which accommodates 5-inch-wide wheels, is ideal for traversing snow, sand, and dirt. (Christina Cooke)

Kyle Von Hoetzendorff of Portland-based Chris King Precision Components, maker of the headsets, hubs, and bottom brackets featured on many high-end bicycles, has noticed a number of recent trends in the hand-built world.

Builders are moving away from stiff aluminum bikes and toward bikes made of steel, titanium, and even carbon fiber, he said, and they’re shifting away from the traditional lug style (where tubes are joined using metal socket-like sleeves) and toward TIG-welded construction (where tubes are welded together with their same material).

Bikes for off-road types of riding, like fat bikes, cyclocross bikes ,and gravel racers, have become more popular, and paint colors are more clean and modernist than they were a few years ago.

Finally, rather than focusing on novelty show bikes, Von Hoetzendorff said, custom builders have gotten more practical.

“There are always going to be collectors,” he said, “but a lot of the builders want to build bikes that people can buy and go ride. The industry has grown up.”
Jump to comments
Presented by

Christina Cooke is a writer based in North Carolina.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In