In the past several years, bicycle builders have popped up in every major American city — a renaissance for an industry that had been moved almost entirely abroad. The majority of these builders are honing their craft on a range of materials including carbon, steel, titanium and aluminum, the pros and cons of which are hotly debated. These four bikes represent the pinnacle of each of those materials: the ultimate titanium gravel grinder; a steel commuter built for a madman; an aluminum mountain bike designed to take on the most challenging of trails; and a high-performance carbon road bike built by a brand many think moved all production overseas.
One man reigns as king over steel bikemaking in America: Sacha White, the owner of sister companies Vanilla Workshop and Speedvagen, both out of Portland, Oregon. His Urban Racer is a single-speed commuter bike with a coaster brake and geometry fit for a spirited sprint to the coffee shop.