We’ve seen some spectacular bikes appear on the pages of Cycle EXIF this year, with a variety ranging from finely tailored frames from the best builders in the business to eccentric assemblies from some very creative cyclists. As the year draws to a close, it’s a good chance to look back on the most popular bikes of 2013.
The Cycle EXIF Top 10 were selected by traffic figures, social media shares, comments and the number of incoming links. These were balanced with the age of the post, so that more recent bikes are not disadvantaged.
1. Mcfly Custom Prototype [top]. While it’s no glamour queen, this rudimentary piece of construction was no shrinking violet, completely melting our servers for a week after it was published. Antoine Hotermans is a Belgian who built this frame from industrial steel sections, door handles from a Citröen 2CV, stained Ghisallo rims and engraved Campagnolo cranks.
2. Proposal: Russian Olympic Cycling Team [above]. No-one really knew what to make of Daniel Bragin’s creation. It’s actually a work of art, not designed to be a ridable bicycle. It’s based on a Chesini TT resprayed in Black Gold Pearl and graced with a Campagnolo 24 karat-plated Chorus group set. The Mavic Challenger disc wheels depict Russian Orthodox icons, the whole ensemble is a statement about “the rebirth of the new Russia and the dictatorship that we remember from the past.”
3. Bike-Be-Que [above]. Antoine Hotermans blew us away twice this year, first with his Mcfly Custom Prototype and then with his Bike-Be-Que, another roughly-hewn construction designed to perform as a mobile caterer for his local alley cat races.
4. A-Train Cycles NAHBS 29er [above]. Alex Cook of A-Train Cycles debuted at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show with this 29er. I’m sure it blew the judges away, just like it did the readers of Cycle EXIF.
5. Stoke [above]. Canada’s Martin Aveyard was onto a good thing when he combined his passion for motorcycling and bicycles, with a beautifully finished wood and steel machine that would be equally at home on Bike EXIF.
6. English Cycles Time Trial Mk2 [above]. The sculptural time trial frame by English Cycles won the 2013 NAHBS Best in Show award, with good reason. It’s design is one of the most evolved TT bikes, with features that only reveal themselves upon closer inspection.
7. Donhou Bicycles Flying Miler [above]. The video of Tom Donhou making an attempt on the British Land Speed Record by Bicycle continues to be shared virally, exposing more people to Tom’s work and engineering creativity. The other bikes in his portfolio are just as astounding.
8. Marc Jacobs Bamboo Bike [above]. Fashion designer Marc Jacobs one-upped many luxury brands with his collaboration with Colorado’s Panda Cycles. The bamboo bike impressed our readers, which is more than what can be said about brands like BMW, Gucci and Porsche’s attempts to break into the bicycle market.
9. Division 1 Cinelli Vigorelli [above]. John ‘Prolly’ Watson’s brilliant photography only heightened the visual explosion that is this Vigo, co-ordinated by Austin’s Division 1 bike shop for the Red Hook Criterium. It’s a pedal-powered NASCAR, designed to stand out in a very fast-moving crowd.
10. Bishop Bikes Pista [above]. One of the most beautiful bikes I’ve seen this year was this Martini & Rossi-liveried pista by Baltimore’s Chris Bishop. As always, Chris’s filed lugs and finishing, combined with components worked over by Drillium Revival and perfect paint and lug-lining by Fresh Frame astounded us all.
So that’s a wrap! There’s some surprises in there, but some that shouldn’t be a surprise at all. It’s a pretty good summary of what Cycle EXIF is all about: the world’s best custom, classic and handmade bikes. After more than three years, we’re just starting to hit a good cadence, just in time for 2014.
I’d like to express my deep gratitude and thanks to all the builders, photographers and, especially, the readers who have contributed to making Cycle EXIF the amazing collection it is today. I’m looking forward to doing it all again next year, bigger and better than ever. Hope you’ll join me, it’s going to be a great ride. See you on January 1st, 2014 — happy holidays and stay upright!
PS: Enjoy the best of Cycle EXIF even when you’re not at your computer with the 2014 Custom Bicycle Calendar — the best addition to the office or workshop.