The more I dig through the photos from ENVE’s Builder’s Roundup, the more impressed I am with the state of contemporary frame building. When I think back on what the top builders were doing in the late 1990s and compare that to what we see here in this collection, I can tell you for certain that there is no better time in history to order a custom frame than today.
There’s never been more creative work done in steel. Yes, in the 1970s they had to work harder to make a great frame, and some builders succeeded, but the tubes, lugs and jigs weren’t as good. Similarly, titanium frames are better than they were in the 1980s and today there are more choices in tubing and fittings than there ever were before. Same goes for aluminum. And carbon fiber? Well the beams of custom and carbon fiber didn’t even cross until well after Don Walker founded the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, which is the spiritual forebear to this event.