From the ashes of the defunct North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) rises the MADE show. For its first edition, MADE gathers in an atmospheric old industrial building in Zidell Yards, a former shipbuilding enterprise in Portland, Oregon.
I’m on the ground with my camera and laptop and will update (internet gods willing) this page throughout the next few days with photos and information about the coolest bikes and gear I see. Which should be mostly everything.
You can also find me over at Bicycling’s Instagram account as I run around in this wonderland of beautiful bicycles.
I first covered the Bridge Surveyor back at the very beginning of 2022. The company was brand new back then, and the bikes hardly existed. About a year and three-quarters later, Bridge is up and running and shipping bikes to customers. Frank Gairdner, one of Bridge’s co-founders, told me that larger sizes are shipping now, with smaller sizes, including my 53cm test frame, going into production soon.
The Surveyor hasn’t changed much since my first look. The 900-gram (claimed) carbon frame and fork are made in Canada (Toronto, to be precise), with five sizes (51 to 59 cm in two-centimeter steps) and 10 finishes available to the buyer.
This all-road (or just road) bike has clearance for up to 40mm tires and fairly aggressive fit and handling, highlighted by 417mm chainstays and trail numbers in the low 60mm range (when fit with a 38mm tire).
One new bit of tech added to the frame since the first look is the trick T47 bottom bracket with molded carbon fiber threads. By having the threads directly in the carbon, there is no bonded-in metal sleeve, which results in “perfect concentricity and axle alignment, in combination with lightening the area,” said Bridge representatives.
While many will wince at the idea of threaded carbon, Gairdner told me that they’ve done, and continue to do, extensive testing on the robustness of the threads. So far, the threads have survived everything the Bridge crew have thrown at it. Gairdner even claims they’ve broken tools trying—and so far failing—to damage the threads.
Other features include entirely internal routing and a UDH derailleur hanger, as evidenced by the SRAM Transmission direct mount derailleur shown in the bike I shot. The Surveyor fits a round seatpost and is compatible with electronic drivetrains (1x and 2x) and mechanical shifting drivetrains: 1x Shimano, Campy, and SRAM. If you want to run 2x mechanical, only Shimano works.
Bridge offers the Surveyor as a complete bike with Shimano Ultegra Di2 Dura Ace Di2, SRAM Rival AXS, Force AXS, or Red AXS. Complete bike prices start at $8,500 Canadian, or about $6,470 USD, at the time of publication. With each drivetrain option, buyers can choose either an All Road build or a Gravel build, which are mainly distinguished by the stock tires.
Bridge also offers numerous add-ons at checkout, and buyers can also customize their build by contacting the company directly.
Okay, brace yourselves: There’s a new wheelsize standard. It’s called 750D, and it comes from WTB, who, a couple decades back, was one of the main instigators behind the transition to 29 inch/700C mountain bike wheels.
750D with a 40mm tire has an outside diameter of about 30 inches/762mm. Or, essentially about one-inch/25.4mm larger diameter than a 700c wheel with the same width tire.
Claimed benefits are smoother and more efficient rolling over bumps which leads to more speed, and more traction. Basically, the same benefits we heard when WTB pitched 29 inch as superior to 26 inch wheels for mountain bikes.
However, 750D is a smaller-diameter jump from 700c than 29 inch is to 26 inch so the change is more subtle on the roads and trails.
750D is still in the testing and experimentation stage and Moots built this beautiful CRD-D test mule only to evaluate the standard. I took it for a quick spin and it fits me well, so I’m trying to negotiate some extended time on this mule and experience the standard myself before jumping to conclusions.
Although MADE primarily features custom bikes, Argonaut used the show to launch its new production, and not custom, line of bikes.
Argonaut Supernaut models are offered in the RM3 road bike ($14,900) and the GR3 gravel bike ($12,900). Like the custom Argonaut models, Supernauts are made at Argonaut’s factory in Bend, Oregon.
One of the big selling points for the Supernaut is a shorter lead time than a customized Argonaut. Argonaut claims Supernauts are delivered to the customer in about four weeks.
But unlike the other models, Supernauts come only in stock sizes—12 for the RM3 and 7 for the GR3—do not get custom carbon layups, and only come in one color (both raw carbon—the gravel bike has a matte finish, and the road bike is gloss).
The build kit is also locked and essentially consists of the parts Argonaut’s employees prefer to use on their bikes. The drivetrain is a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 on the road bike and a Shimano GRX Di2 1x custom blend kit on the gravel bike.
Although these are “stock” bikes, Argonaut lets riders pick their preferred component dimensions like bar width, stem length, and seatpost offset.
The road bike features Argonaut’s new house brand components. They include a carbon seatpost with a simple two-bolt head and a new Argonaut branded rim.
Argonaut founder Ben Farver explained that, for his bikes, he wanted a stiffer rim than they were finding in other wheelsets. He told me that Argonaut tunes their compliance into the frame so that they can run a stiffer and more reactive wheel.
Outside of its stiffness, the wheelset’s specs are straightforward: Tubeless compatible, hookless, 43mm deep, and 23mm internal width. Argonaut laces its 375-gram rims to DT-Swiss 180 hubs, which helps them achieve an impressively low 1266-gram claimed weight.
Farver expressed that the wheels are mainly to compliment his bikes, and he has no interest in becoming a wheel company. The wheels can be purchased separately, however, for $3,400.
Officina Battaglin Portofino R
Undisputedly, the shiniest bike of MADE is Officina Battaglin’s Portofino R road bike. The company’s signature cromovelato finishes feature a chrome base—the frame, fork, and all painted parts all get a chrome finish to begin—with the buyer’s choice of tints and scheme (solid, fades, and more) over the top.
Underneath the shine is an Italian-made race bike executed in a custom blend of Columbus steel. You’ll find all the modern touches here: Disc brakes and thru axles, internal routing, dropped stays, hidden seat binder, oversized bottom bracket shell, and oversized tubing. Tire clearance is currently 28mm maximum, but future generations of the Portofino R will see an increase in response to customer requests.
But unlike an off-the-shelf race bike, this bike features custom geometry designed for the buyer by Giovanni Battaglin—winner of 1981’s Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana—and his son Alex.
One bit of geometry philosophy that runs through Battaglin’s bikes is the use of slightly longer than typical chain stays. Alex explained to me that they chose longer stays because their testing found the extra length improves the comfort and compliance of a bike, and they like the extra bit of stability they offer.
Another fantastic detail is the construction methods in use. The chrome head and seat tube lugs are blindingly (literally) obvious, while the BB shell is TIG welded into the frame—for stiffness, Alex told me—and the seat stays and rear dropouts are fillet brazed into place.
Battaglin sells consumer direct, and this particular example would sell for between $13,000 to $14,000 USD (depending on the exchange rate at the time of purchase). Alex stated that they tell potential buyers that it takes about six months—from geometry confirmation—to deliver a bike to the customer.
Viral Optimist 160
Okay, deep breath because a lot is going on with Viral’s Optimist 160.
The high-altitude view of the Optimist is a 160mm travel mountain bike (170mm fork) made of 3D printed titanium lugs bonded to carbon tubes with a Pinion Smart Shift electronically-shifted gearbox and a Gates belt drive.
While 3D printing is a popular and growing trend in the bike industry, particularly among smaller builders, Viral’s Steve Domahidy told me he’s using a different process than most others in the industry. EBM (electron beam melting) is a faster and hotter printing process, Domahidy explained, which heat-treats the titanium as it prints. This allows him to forgo the internal lattice work that lower-temperature printing processes require.
Domahidy relies on Mythosout of the UK for the titanium printed parts—this prototype has a Mythos printed titanium stem—which are joined to the carbon tubes in the USA. An additional benefit to this manufacturing and assembly method is that it allows Domahidy to (potentially) offer custom geometry to the buyer.
For the frame’s profile, Domahidy told me he wanted an open front triangle with room for two bottles (one on the down tube and one under the top tube; riders can also use the top tube mount as a cargo carrier) and a straight seat tube for compatibility with a variety of dropper lengths.
Like Viral’s other bikes, the Optimist uses a Pinon gearbox (the brand’s new electronically shifted unit) and a Gates belt drive for an almost zero maintenance drivetrain. Because the drive ratio—front and rear sprockets—are fixed, Domahidy can design the kinematics around that single ratio, and anti-squat levels do not fluctuate as they do on a bike with a traditional transmission. Additionally, Domahidy states that the fixed drive ratio’s single anti-squat value allows him to use a more straightforward single pivot design without sacrificing pedaling performance.
While prototype Optimist frames have passed fatigue testing, Domahidy states he’s still refining rear triangle stiffness ahead of the bike’s planned availability in the first quarter of 2023. Domahidy doesn’t know how much this machine will sell for exactly, but he knows it will cost “A lot!”
Senior Test Editor, Bicycling
A gear editor for his entire career, Matt’s journey to becoming a leading cycling tech journalist started in 1995, and he’s been at it ever since; likely riding more cycling equipment than anyone on the planet along the way. Previous to his time with Bicycling, Matt worked in bike shops as a service manager, mechanic, and sales person. Based in Durango, Colorado, he enjoys riding and testing any and all kinds of bikes, so you’re just as likely to see him on a road bike dressed in Lycra at a Tuesday night worlds ride as you are to find him dressed in a full face helmet and pads riding a bike park on an enduro bike. He doesn’t race often, but he’s game for anything; having entered road races, criteriums, trials competitions, dual slalom, downhill races, enduros, stage races, short track, time trials, and gran fondos. Next up on his to-do list: a multi day bikepacking trip, and an e-bike race.