The Pull: Bryce Gracey of No. 22

The Pull: Bryce Gracey of No. 22

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.

 

Show links:

No. 22 Bicycle Company

My post on No. 22’s Best in Show Aurora

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12 comments

  1. Bryin

    I called No. 22 to buy a frameset… I found out it would be “about” 8-12 weeks before I could get a stock geometry frameset BUT if I wanted a whole bike I could get one in 3 weeks. I bought a Moots. I understand selling a whole bike is more profitable but a 3x longer waiting period is unacceptable.

    1. Mike - No. 22

      Thanks Bryin. We make the vast majority of our bikes to order, meaning production begins on your frame when your order is placed, with our lead time of around 12 weeks. We call these our “Made to Order” bikes.

      We started a limited program of “Ready Made” bikes last year: for our three most popular bikes, in our most popular builds, we make those frames ahead of time and inventory the parts to build them. When somebody orders a Ready Made bike, we take the already-welded frame from inventory and finish it with the customer’s requested finish, assemble it with our standard parts, and can ship in approximately 3-4 weeks. For those buying our most popular complete bikes, this is a great way to get an off-the-rack bike in less time than something made to order.

      We’re a pretty small builder though, and we just don’t have the ability to carry deep inventory in all frames, sizes, and configurations: that’s why we make most of our bikes to order, with a still very competitive lead time of approximately 12 weeks.

    2. Bryin

      Mike-

      If you can supply an entire bike in 3 weeks, so should you be able to supply a frameset in 3 weeks. The fact that you offer a greatly reduced wait period for those buying an enitre bike rather than a frameset is certainly your right but to me it is unacceptable.


    3. Author
      Padraig

      I’m just trying to wrap my head around a consumer telling one of the more impressive bike makers on the planet that 12 weeks for delivery on such an amazing bike is unacceptable. Can I make a plea for perspective?

  2. Neil M Winkelmann

    Geek question on your CNC butting process. The tolerances are obviously tiny, machining thin-walled tube to even thinner walls. Does the CNC machine automatically adjust for increased displacement/flex in the mid-tube area caused by the tool pressure? Do you stiffen the Ti tubes with an internal steel mandrel? Do you run multiple passes until tool pressure is negligible and the tube stays dead straight during the process? Or is it not actually an issue? Why not?

    Your welds and the general aesthetic of your bikes are to die for. I just love them.

    1. Bryce - No. 22

      Hi Neil –

      Thanks for the question and the compliments. You’re correct with your former assumption – the tubes are supported with an internal mandrel through the butting process.

    2. Mike - No. 22

      Thanks Neil, and good questions. You’re right that we’re dealing with tiny, tiny changes in wall thickness here: changes of tenths of a millimeter at the most severe. We have a custom set of internal steel mandrels to internally support each tube through the CNC process. Without the mandrel, I don’t think the process would be possible at all.

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