On a recent Sunday afternoon Core77 and video/photographer Ben Friedle visited the Made handmade bicycle show in Portland, Oregon. It's a new exhibition, debuting as the long-running North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) struggles to restart after a pandemic hiatus. Organized by PR firm Echos Communications, it has emerged fully-formed, bringing together a cross-section of craft bike builders, component and material vendors, and a sizeable chunk of Portland's bicycling citizenry.
There was too much to consume on one pass, so included below is a selection of details and craftsmanship that piqued our interest. For a thorough documentation of the bikes on display visit BikePortland's round-up of bikes and since you're here why not take a dive into our ongoing coverage of bicycle design and our previous show visits:
Masterful construction is the essence of handmade bicycles, most evident in a frame's elegant joints. Now bike builders are applying their chops to engineering and fabricating more elaborate functional elements such as electric motor mounts, suspensions and highly-tuned frame structure.
Packing It In
A custom bike deserves custom kit and bag makers are filling the niche, so to speak, fitting bags into every nook. Some attachment techniques are quite aesthetic.
A Fitting Finish
When it comes to paint and finishing anything and everything goes: there are retro stylings, contemporary vibes, sophisticated masks and fades, technical coatings, and machined patterns — and that could just be on one bike! Well, almost...
Keeping it Raw
The most tempting of finishes for anyone proud of their welding beads, or with a rat-rod mood board.
Round tubing, gently curved geometry, smooth fillets – much of the visual vocabulary of bikes is Bouba. Well, here comes Kiki.
Swiggity Swooty, Easy on Your Booty
Regardless of whether a bike's design is intended to provide an easy-going ride, that is the visual implication of a swoopy hard-tail — bicycle design shorthand for fun.
Snapshots of the scene: finely machined items on their own and in hard-sided cases, booths from sophisticated to simple, bikes by students of a frame building school, a high-end family bike, and a penny-farthing bicycle.