The theme for this year's list of all-terrain bike builders is “find your forever bike”. If you are looking for a new custom or small batch bike for gravel grinding, bikepacking or simply having some all-terrain fun, you have landed in the right spot. This year features builders from the USA, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Australia, Spain and Malaysia! Get going.
Last year, we published a list of small and independent gravel and mountain bike builders and brands. The response we received was humbling, and we have decided to make it an annual tradition, along with our bag makers list.
The theme of this year's list is "find your forever" bike. It's no secret that the cycling industry can make us feel inadequate by constantly pushing the latest trends and products, but we don't have to play into their game. Instead, there are countless dedicated builders out there who can create a custom machine that will never go out of style. These bikes have soul and are often crafted with greater care and quality than mass-manufactured bikes from big companies.
It is important to note that our list includes not only frame builders, but also brands. We believe that there is still a place for bikes built overseas in this conversation. These purpose-built bikes often involve a lot of design and thoughtfulness, and all the companies featured on our list have demonstrated integrity in what they do.
If you are looking for a new forever bike, this is the place to start.
Albatross bikes is a California-based company founded by Will Hilgenberg. The company is known for creating bespoke bicycles that combine modern engineering with classic aesthetics. Albatross offers a range of bicycles including road and mountain bikes. One notable design feature of Albatross bikes is the dropped seat stays which give the bikes an iconic appearance while also enhancing their nimbleness and stability. We likey.
Atelier Medium is a Paris-based bicycle company that creates bikes and components designed for everyone. They are known for their colorful components, which are some of the most vibrant in the market. In the past year, they released a series of ATBs that are both easy to maintain and enjoyable to ride, which is in line with their philosophy of creating products for all skill levels. The name Medium reflects this approach. Check out our interview with Medium founder Julien here.
Baphomet Bikes, founded by Dillen Maurer is a company that values both quality and social responsibility. Dillens bikes are described as a "damn good time" and are designed to be your forever bike. Baphomet bikes are characterized by their clean lines, multiple mounts, and overall awesomeness. What sets Baphomet apart is that they donate 50% of their profits to organizations that are making a positive impact on the world. By purchasing a Baphomet bike, not only do you get a top-quality product, but you also contribute to social change. Big love on these.
Binary Bikes is a company run by a husband and wife team based in Arizona. They produce a range of titanium mountain, adventure, and gravel bikes that are designed with both quality and rider experience in mind. Binary's social media presence is full of stories from their riders who express their excitement for winning races and getting purposely lost on their beautiful machines. Binary's Havok adventure frame, in particular, stands out with its clearance for 29+ tires, which is a rarity in the market these days.
Black Cat Bikes is a custom bicycle company run by Todd Ingermanson in Aptos, California. Todd specializes in creating high-quality custom bikes that are designed to handle any terrain, from single-pivot mountain bikes to custom hardtails, XC racers, gravel grinders, and rowdy ATBs. Black Cat bikes are known for their attention to detail, including custom stems, bent stays, and unique custom racks. Overall, Black Cat Bikes is a company that sets the gold standard for custom bike craftsmanship.
Dawley Bikes is a bicycle company based in Kimberley, UK that produces some of the sweetest steel MTBs out there. They offer a solid range of enduro hardtails designed for mountain shredding and all-terrain fun. Dawley's new mid-single pivot model, the Activist, stands out with its mullet design and fantastic tube work, making it a bike designed for big things. We love it.
Drust Cycles is a unique bicycle company based in Berlin, known for their innovative and experimental designs. Konstantin Drust, the founder, is a master of clean filet brazing work and creates bikes with open stays, forks, and cable ports that catch the eye. Drust Cycles is a great choice for anyone looking for a bike that stands out from the crowd and offers something new and exciting. Overall, we love what is happening at Drust and can't wait to see more.
ENVE needs little introduction. Earlier this year, ENVE released its new gravel bike, the MOG, which has already garnered attention for its sleek design and impressive features. The MOG has massive tire clearance and built-in storage in the downtube, making it a great option for those who want to hit the gravel and ride fast. However, with a price tag of $5500 USD for the chassis only, it's definitely not the cheapest bike out there. Cute but pricey.
We have had a crush on London-based Fairlight for a long while. The Fairlight gravel lineup, the Secan and Faran are stunning gravel grinding machines. However, we can't help but be drawn to their Holt hardtail. With its sleek, clean lines and multiple mounts, the Holt epitomizes the perfect all-terrain bike that can handle anything you throw at it.
Fezz Cycles, the first ever builder from Malaysia on the list, is gaining attention for their beautiful all-road bikes. Founder Faritz, a trained industrial designer, uses his brazing skills to create stunning designs. Fezz recently completed the design of their new touring bike, the Capuccino, which combines modern techniques with a classic vibe.
Based in upstate New York, Horse Cycles is the creation of Thomas Callahan, whose work we have come to serioulsy admire. The all-road and gravel bikes Thomas produces are truly stunning, but the Hell Cat has really caught our eye with its slack geometry and massive tire clearance. This 650b rig is a hardtail that can handle just about anything. In addition to bikes, Thomas also crafts knives, axes, and other handmade items. All in all, getting a bike from Horse Cycles is a no-brainer.
Hot Salad Bicycles is based in Portland, Oregon, and run by a builder named B Vivit. B was an instructor at the renowned United Bicycle Institute and has a fascinating story about how she came up with the name 'Hot Salad' for her company, which you can read about on their website. B specializes in creating bikes made of steel and titanium that are designed to be versatile and fun to ride. In addition to their main brand, they also produce small batch runs under various white label brands, such as Lunchtime Bikes, which is definitely a brand to keep an eye on in the future.
Hudski Bicycles, based in California, takes a unique approach to bike building. They offer only one model, the Doggler, which comes in three different builds: gravel, mountain, and city. Each build is priced the same but tailored to specific riding styles. The Doggler frame is covered in mounts with an option to add Hudski's Itzarak rack. The Doggler's versatility and attention to detail have us drooling, and we're not alone in thinking this could be the one bike to do it all. There's just something about it that makes us smile.
Alright, It's no secret that we are huge fans of Landyachtz Bicycles, a Vancouver-based company that was spun out from one of the largest longboard manufacturers in the world. They specialize in adventure and custom titanium gravel bikes and over the past year, we have fallen in love with their AB-ST (check out our full review here). Not only are the bikes top-notch, but the people behind Landyachtz are also excellent. I have no doubt that we will remain fans for a long time to come.
Manivelle Cycles, based in Strasbourg, France, specializes in crafting custom bikes for city, touring, gravel, and mountain adventures. In addition to their beautiful bikes, Manivelle also produces racks, baskets, and bags, making them a great one-stop-shop for bikepacking gear. The Manivelle Unirack, which clamps onto a seatpost, is a standout product with its simple and clean design. Overall, we love everything about Manivelle Cycles and their commitment to creating high-quality, adventure-ready bicycles and accessories.
Oddity Cycles is based in Fort Collins, Colorado, founded and run by Sean Burns for the past decade. Sean designs and creates unique frames, forks, and handlebars with an emphasis on timeless style and modern performance. Sean is continuously experimenting and pushing the boundaries of what defines a bicycle. His work is highly regarded by many independent builders and has set a bar for the industry. If you can, get one.
While there isn't much information available about Okay Bicycles, we do know that they are handbuilt in Northern Idaho. After reaching out to Okay on Instagram, we discovered that the builder's name is Tanner Welch, although we could not find much additional information about him either. However, the lack of information surrounding Okay only makes us more intrigued about their story and what they stand for. Regardless, one thing is abundantly clear by looking at Tanner's Instagram feed: he has a talent for putting together gorgeous bikes. Okay is definitely on the right track, and we can't wait to see more.
UK-based Pipedream Cycles was founded in 2005 and produces stunning steel bikes, including a full-squish called the Full Moxie, the Moxie Mx3 hardtail enduro, and the Sirius S5 for trail and bikepacking. Recently, Pipedream released the A.L.I.C.E, an acronym for <em>All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment</em>, designed specifically for bikepacking and longer gravel rides. The Sirius and A.L.I.C.E make us wish to be somewhere else, doing what they were created for. We would love to get our butts on these two bikes!
Michiel Burgerhout from the Netherlands, also known as Project 12, transitioned into custom bike building in 2017 after working for ten years as an architect. We find the stories of people pivoting into their passions especially compelling, as they often create some of the best bikes. Michiel's custom-built bikes span from all-road to steel single-pivots. The Victor, a beautifully understated XC bike that requires more than one look to appreciate fully, caught our eye. Additionally, Michiel plans to introduce small-batch production frames under the brand Unpaved Bikes.
RollingDale Cycles is the brand of Dale Marchand from Alberta, Canada. In 2016, Dale established his company after graduating from the prestigious United Bicycle Institute alongside some of the best builders in the world. Dale's bikes are built to last and consist of a range of adventure-ready titanium machines, designed to handle the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains. Dale frequently shares his fabrication process on Instagram, and we thoroughly enjoy examining the intricate details of his builds. We appreciate Dale for doing what he does, as there are few builders in Canada creating bikes like his.
Matthew Nelson, based in Salt Lake City UT, founded Saltair Bikes in 2014 and produces modern bicycles with a traditional touch. Saltair offers a range of bikes, from all-road to hardtail MTBs, that are both beautiful and of excellent quality. The bikes boast of clean lines, beautiful paint jobs, and excellent craftsmanship, showcasing Matthew's attention to detail.
Soda Cycles is a Montreal-based cycling brand founded by Pier-Alexandre Molaison-Houde and is still very much in the experimental phase of its lifespan. Despite this, we are impressed with what we have seen so far. The bikes feature clean filet brazing and custom cradles, which are a testament to Pier-Alexandre's exceptional craftsmanship. We are eagerly awaiting more from Pier-Alexandre, and we encourage others to follow him on Instagram to stay updated.
Tor Bicycles is a bicycle brand founded by Shane Flint from Beechworth, Australia, that initially started with custom handmade steel hardtails, gravel and road bikes, and full suspension steel bikes. Shane's bikes are known for their clean and elegant design, yet they are also incredibly durable and versatile, able to handle any terrain. Currently, Shane's website displays a notice that he will be shifting his focus from custom frames to something new, leaving many excited to see what he will come up with next.
Tulipp Bicycles is a Montreal-based bicycle company founded by Mathieu Latulippe, a mechanical engineer who also works in the aerospace industry. Mathieu's bikes prioritize quality, durability, and accessibility, and the company places a strong emphasis on personalization, offering options to customize not only the geometry but also the color and build of their bikes. This commitment to personalization has won the company a devoted following. Overall, we love everything about Tulipp Bicycles and their approach to building bikes.
Velouria Bicycles is a Spanish bicycle company based in Alicante, founded three years ago. Initially, Velouria started as an enduro titanium MTB brand, but in the past few years, they have expanded their product range to include stunning titanium gravel and hardtail machines for the adventure bike market. The company has impressed with their range of bikes that cater to the dirt, from enduro to adventure bikes.
From London, Ontario, Wake Robin Cycles is a bespoke bicycle brand founded by Dickson Bou. Bou is known for his elegant and modern all-terrain bikes that combine contemporary design with classic lug construction. Recently, one of Bou's builds was featured in a spotlight article that provided a glimpse into his approach to building and the future direction of the Wake Robin brand.
Woodpecker Cycles was founded by Daren Eric and Bruce Rolland and is co-located between Iowa and Washington states. Their 29er Billy Boy model is an excellent example of a hardtail bikepacking rig, while the Dirty Bird is a sleek drop bar gravel bike. However, what caught our eyes and our hearts was a bike built by Daren for his daughter, which we recently featured. No matter if it's a serious bikepacking rig or a kids shredder, Woodpecker is dealing in cool.
Zukas Cycles is the brainchild of Nate Zukas, a former mechanic turned bike builder based in Augusta, Georgia. After starting to build TIG-welded steel frames in 2011, Nate has expanded his repertoire to include titanium and alloy frames as well. His more recent adventure bikes are nothing short of stunning, with curved seat stays that seem to be his signature touch. Additionally, the use of carbon seatmasts instead of traditional seatposts not only gives the bikes a unique and eye-catching appearance, but also ensures a stiff and responsive ride. Ooof these are hot, hot, hot.