No. 22 is a newcomer on the custom bike scene. The company was founded in 2012 by Bryce Gracey and Mike Smith on the idea that titanium just rides better. After working with a couple of different contract shops that produced prototypes for them, they settled on Saratoga Frameworks—the operation that rose from the ashes of Serotta Competition Cycles—for their production. Just one problem: the operation shut down a week after No. 22 placed their deposit.
Some people would have been discouraged enough to give up. Not Smith and Gracey. They believed in their idea enough to hire the core employees from Saratoga Frameworks, buy some mills and other machines, and set up shop in Johnstown, New York.
This year at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, No. 22 arrived with a show-stopping bike. The Aurora is a performance bike with the manners of an Italian stage-race bike—capable of standing up to anything you can deliver to the pedals, but without the nervous handling found in many race bikes. It features a carbon fiber seat tube with a titanium seatmast topper. The exclamation point to the bike was a set of titanium fenders anodized in a gold/purple fade. In my many years of attending and judging the awards at NAHBS, it was one of the most impressive bikes I’ve ever seen, and that’s no small feat when displayed in a room full of everyone’s best work.
I wanted to learn more about the company and how they’ve gone from a concept based on outsourced production to one of the most sophisticated manufacturers of titanium bikes on the market, and did it in only seven years.
The Pull is brought to you by the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the world’s premiere gathering of frame builders and frame building enthusiasts. The 2020 show will take place March 20th to 22nd at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas Texas. We hope to see you there.