From Issue Four of Gear Patrol Magazine.
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In the past several years, bicycle builders have popped up in every major American city — a renaissance for an industry that had been moved almost entirely abroad. The majority of these builders are honing their craft on a range of materials including carbon, steel, titanium and aluminum, the pros and cons of which are hotly debated. These four bikes represent the pinnacle of each of those materials: the ultimate titanium gravel grinder; a steel commuter built for a madman; an aluminum mountain bike designed to take on the most challenging of trails; and a high-performance carbon road bike built by a brand many think moved all production overseas.
The Commuter Bike
One man reigns as king over steel bikemaking in America: Sacha White, the owner of sister companies Vanilla Workshop and Speedvagen, both out of Portland, Oregon. His Urban Racer is a single-speed commuter bike with a coaster brake and geometry fit for a spirited sprint to the coffee shop.
Urabn Racer by Speedvagen $4,895+
The Road Bike
Trek still makes all of its Project One carbon road frames in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The Émonda is the lightest production road line the company has ever made — a capable climber and a confident descender, comfortable enough to ride all day.
Émonda SLR 8 Project One by Trek $8,000+
The Mountain Bike
Based in Denver, Colorado, Guerrilla Gravity is committed to producing a highly customizable bike for the same price as the big boys. Owners can tweak everything from paint and graphics to groupsets. The Megatrail can be switched from 150mm to 165mm of travel by swapping out one bolt — trans- forming it from trail ripper to downhill slayer in less than five minutes. It’s like having two bikes in one.
Megatrail by Guerrilla Gravity $3,295+
The Gravel Grinder
Aaron Barcheck is currently making the best American-made titanium bikes. Detail, finish, paint, ride quality — it’s all there. This example of the Mosaic GT-1 won the Best Gravel Bike award at the North American Handmade Bike Show this year thanks to upgrades like a jaw-dropping paint job and an ENVE carbon cockpit.
GT-1 by Mosaic $9,000+