It seemed as though pure-bred aluminium race bikes had altogether disappeared from the market, just like the steel machines they so quickly eradicated from the scene during the late 80s and early 90s. San Jose’s VYNL Bikes look set to change all that, with a range of US-made models that pick up where Klein and Cannondale left off.
Considering how many of us are so enamoured with the fat tubes and chunky welds that those ‘Dales and Kleins were known for, the thought that there’s a new kid on the billet block creating all-US aluminium frames should be an encouraging one. VYNL Bikes’ slogan is “Honest Race Bikes’, so it sounds like their heart is in the right place.
VYNL Bikes are made by hand by American craftsmen highly experienced in bicycle frame building. Just like in the days of our youth, the stock material is 6061-T6 aluminium, a heat-treated tube with custom butting. They’re assembled with two-pass welds that, although not as smooth as a Klein or a Cannondale, sure are sturdy enough.
Their “Honest Race Bikes” are also kitted out with as many US-Made components as possible, “from the included ENVE fork and DKG seat clamp down to the decals”, which should placate the purists. Thankfully, those decals are also subtle enough not to scare off those who prefer to let the frame be the focal point.
Custom geometry is not offered at this stage; they do, however, come in five standard sizes that will accommodate a wide range of bodies. Custom paint is an option, as VYNL Bikes have a close relationship with a local San Jose finisher. The wait time for a stock colour is about a week, while a custom paint job takes 2-3 weeks.
The bottom bracket is a traditional threaded shell, which goes a long way these days in making component selection a simpler matter. Everyone on the VYNL team currently races or has done so in the past, and from the look of their Instagram feed, they’re out riding every day — so they speak from well-ridden experience.
VYNL Bikes are stocked at a couple of US-based dealers: Red Lantern Cycles in Menlo Park, CA, and Sugar Cycles in Missouri City, TX.