Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The North American Handmade Bike Show is an annual showcase for frame builders to show off what they can do and get a little bit of well-deserved recognition. Each bike is full of details, but no single thing tells as much about a frame builder as a head badge. Some come standard on any frame a builder makes. Some are one-offs, as custom as the bikes they adorn. And some of those one-offs are so good that they become a frame builder’s new standard offering. Each has a story behind it.
In Aboriginal Australian art, dots tell stories. For Mooro Cycles based out of Perth, Australia, the dots on its head badge represent cyclists meeting (top cluster), going for a ride, then arriving at their final destination like a café (bottom cluster). Every frame gets its own unique badge with its production number and year.
Black Sheep Bikes
Many of the Black Sheep Bikes at the North American Handmade Bike Show often feature fully customized head badges. That’s the case with this “sugar skull” design which was originally commissioned by a client. However, Black Sheep’s James Bleakley liked this one so much he turned it into a standard option.
“I wanted to come up with something to rival a Rolls Royce,” said Brooklyn based builder Tom Porter about his design. He also took inspiration from old stamps, money and other emblems to represent a divine connection between the heavens and Earth.
Man’s best friend: The Wolfhound name and head badge design were inspired by builder Fred Cuthbert’s own wolfhound dogs.
The Sacramento, California rattle can paint job experts stay true to their roots with their head badges. The painted cut pieces of aluminum are “totally do-it-yourself—like everything else we do,” said Squid Bikes’ Peter Knudsen.
This head badge depicts Oregon’s iconic Heceta Head Lighthouse which is about 70 miles from Co-Motion’s Eugene factory. This design is new within the last year and shows an iconic site you would pass on a bike tour in Oregon—an appropriate choice for a brand that makes a lot of touring bikes.
Emory Bikes founder Clayton Smith spent time apprenticing as a frame builder in Sweden. Now in Jacksonville, Florida, he uses the horse logo of his mentor with his permission.
“Fatti con le mani” means “made by hand” in Italian. For Dario Pegoretti bikes, whose iconic namesake sadly passed away last year, it’s about a quality product made by skilled hands. Hence the hand on the head badge and the brand’s incredible reputation at the North American Handmade Bike Show.