This is how we like to spend our Friday mornings here in Portland, when we can: drooling over astonishing examples of the custom bike-builder's art, applied to the long-neglected niche of commuter bikes. The Oregon Manifest Constructor's Design Challenge kicked off this morning at a pop-up shop in the Pearl District of this bike-bonkers town, filling the room with eye candy for tasteful pedal-pushers.
The Challenge brings together 30+ of the nation's top bike builders to compete in the category of Best Commuter Bike Ever. The ensuing obsessive detailing and clever constructions are familiar to those who pay attention to high-performance road and racing cycles, but lavishing this level of attention on something designed to get you and your stuff to work is a more recent phenomenon, at least in the public eye. Yes, there was some gorgeous welding and brazing work to be witnessed, but equally impressive to us were the artfully built racks (like that on the Donkelope entry, pictured above), light mounts, fenders, and other workaday features that make your bike a daily transport device.
Check out what we mean below; lots more after the jump.