Editor’s note: This post was written by Paul Skilbeck and Alan Davis. Photos are courtesy Brad Quartuccio/Philly Bike Expo
Handbuilt custom bicycles are back in style, not only in North America, but all over the world. About 10 years ago the renewed appeal of these bikes started to radiate from the U.S., with expo events stoking the fire first in North America and then in the U.K., with Continental Europe following close behind. In recent years, significantly increased interest has spread throughout Asia and Oceania, too.
Many countries such as Australia and Japan have long established frame building traditions, as do the U.S. and most European nations. And with the spotlight now on the artisan sector of the cycling industry, cycling fans are visiting expos and online sites in unprecedented numbers.
With all that said, here is the first of five best bike selections for singletrack from the last Philly Bike Expo. First up is Engin Cycles.
Philadelphia-based builder Drew Guldalian of Engin showed a sweet titanium hardtail mountain bike he made for Donna Norstad, who helps her husband Mark run Paragon Machine Works in Richmond, California.
The head tube is made by Paragon and it arrived in Drew’s workshop pre-etched with his company logo. Drew then stenciled the Paragon logo onto the top of the matte-finish top tube paint.
A little curve was applied near the bottom of the seat tube to provide extra clearance for the rear tire. It’s a 1 ⅜” tube bent around a 6” radius. Up at the top, there’s a 120mm dropper post.
The part of the bike he’s most proud of though is the rear dropouts. “Mark asked for Engin dropouts, I’m honored by this,” said Drew. His pride is understandable given that Paragon makes a hugely popular rear dropout that sells around the world. “I bought a CNC machine two years ago instead of going to NAHBS.”