A bout 15 years ago, Boulder's Dean Bikes founder John Siegrist said he built an even 50/50 split of custom bikes and stock bikes. Now, Siegrist said, 95 percent of the 150-250 bikes he builds each year are custom made.
In the bike business, run-of-the-mill, status quo rides are no longer cutting it -- and local cycling manufacturers are taking note. Cyclists want something unique, built specifically for their bodies, preferred terrain and style.
"People are tired of getting the same old, 'www-dot-com,' watered down stuff that's all the same," said Chad Melis of Oskar Blues Brewery and REEB Cycles. "With the economy being rough, people are really coming to appreciate something that is handmade by a neighbor, by someone who is a part of their community and doing positive things in their community. We've seen an increased awareness of that across the country, in beer and bikes."
Dean Bikes and Oskar Blues/REEB Cycles are among several local companies attending the ninth annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show, a custom bicycle trade show hosted in Denver this year. Since its inaugural year in 2005, the show has grown from 23 exhibitors and 700 attendees to 170 exhibitors and 8,100 attendees in 2012 -- a sign that custom bikes are becoming more popular in the cycling community.