HOW A COLORADO BIKE BRAND TURNS METAL INTO RIDEABLE ART
Mosaic and its beautiful bikes from Boulder
HOW A COLORADO BRAND TURNS METAL INTO RIDEABLE ART
Since its founding in 2009, Mosaic Cycles has taken an artful approach to building its bikes. You won’t find any carbon fiber bikes in their lineup, because founder Aaron Barchek prefers to work with metal. It’s been that way from the start.
Mosaic’s precision fabrications are the work of Aaron and his small team of nine in Boulder, Colorado. Their bikes are meticulously handcrafted, and even their batch-made bikes are built with the rider in mind during each step from design to production. Their bikes are not the kind you’ll find in stock at your local bike shop. Rather, Mosaic starts with your vision and utilizes their expertise to craft the ideal machine to suit the riding you want to do.
The beginnings of Mosaic go back to 2002 when Aaron took a frame-building class from the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, Oregon. After honing his skills with another builder for seven years, he felt there was an opportunity for a new approach to the craft of frame building.
“I started Mosaic with the notion that handmade metal bikes had so much to offer the cycling world, and I wanted to see more riders considering them.” Says Aaron. “If we could help people get past some of the stigma associated with handmade bikes, Mosaic could bring the experience of metal bikes to more riders. We believe that handmade bikes can and do keep up with modern versions of carbon frames. They can be performance-oriented, lightweight, and accept the latest technology in componentry all while maintaining the amazing ride quality they are known for. They can also be delivered in a reasonable amount of time. We’ve aimed at making Mosaic a viable option in the bike world that meets many riders’ needs.”
Aaron is a believer in metal bikes for a number of reasons. His first preference for frame-building material is titanium. While the material is relatively unforgiving to work with, it yields a frame that’s lightweight, strong and feels responsive yet has a highly comfortable ride quality.” Barchek continues: “Titanium is a very versatile material, especially for hardtail mountain bikes. Its durability means you can beat it up without worry. It’s a bike you should have for years to come. It provides a compliant ride without compromising performance.”
The material is also quite versatile for all types of bikes, from road and touring to performance mountain. From a sustainability standpoint, it’s preferable to other materials with a long life cycle and relative ease of recycling. Mosaic still dabbles with steel and still has a road bike in its catalog built with this material, but for Mosaic’s mountain bike frames, like the MT1 and MT-2 we reviewed here, titanium is the preferred medium.
THE MOSAIC EXPERIENCE
Procuring a Mosaic is a custom, made-to-order experience that begins in one of their partner shops. The conversation starts with the type of riding you want to do with the bike, and it may include what you’ve liked and not liked about bikes in the past. It will include where you will ride the bike most and where you’d like to be able to take it. Each Mosaic is built to your preferred spec, and that includes much more than just the parts that will be bolted to the bike.
The Mosaic dealer network brings a high level of expertise to helping you choose your next bike, and Mosaic believes that goes hand in hand with making the most of your cycling experience. Making connections with people in our cycling community will help develop a lifetime of resources that can guide you on where, how and what to ride. These are all things you may be able to pick up online, but the human connection is important to our social sport. And, of course, leaning on years of shop experience and expertise to help dial in your fit, make the right component choices, and keep you riding for years to come with professional service doesn’t hurt, either.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Mosaic’s turnaround is roughly eight weeks for made-to-order frames. While that may seem like an eternity to wait, it’s truly impressive in the custom frame-building world. Mosaic strives to keep lead times as short as possible, understanding that most riders don’t want to wait to ride. More customized bikes will always take longer than stock ones, and this holds true with Mosaic. Riders who want to minimize the wait time can select one of the available batch-built frames in standard geometry sizing, with most models available in as little as two weeks. Mosaic says this can make the time from ordering to first ride as short as a few weeks. Custom bikes are available through the normal build process and typically carry an eight-week lead time.