by Janet Bressler-Bilenky
Each member of the Philly Bike Expo exhibitor community has a personal tale to tell, but many custom bike brands follow a story arc that goes from hand building one frame for oneself to building for others and then and then. I noticed right away that No.22 Bicycle Company’s history was unusual, and not only because their operations cross the US-Canada border. Founders Bryce Gracey and Mike Smith came together to establish their company from very different backgrounds.
Says Mike, “Bryce and I started No. 22 in 2012 with the goal of making titanium bikes that could compete with modern carbon bikes in terms of ride quality, performance, handling and value. Bryce was an architect and I was a lawyer.
Neither Bryce nor I weld: when we started No. 22, we designed the bikes and outsourced our manufacturing to other builders. Around 3.5 years ago we started our own No. 22 production facility, bringing all of our production in house. Our production team at that time was drawn from former Serotta builders after Serotta closed its doors. This left us in a fairly unique position: we are a young brand with a fairly modern approach to how we want our bikes to look, feel and ride, but our construction is done by true industry veterans. Frank Cenchitz, our head welder has over 20 years of titanium frame welding experience alone, and our frame design, and finishing employees have similar pedigrees.”
No. 22’s 5 person full-time production team works out of a creativity-inspiring restored historic mill in Johnstown, NY. The company’s sales and marketing operations happen in Toronto, Canada. They sponsor all-women’s adventure, cyclocross and gravel racing team, This Team Saves Lives as well as their own No.22 CX team.
Continues Mike, “One of the great things about the current framebuilding scene is that there are so many extremely talented people making some really innovative, well thought out bikes. It's great to walk a show like the Philly Bike Expo or NAHBS and see clever details or novel ways of approaching a particular problem on bike after bike. Having great brands in our space consistently pushes us to improve, and I hope that we are able to drive the industry forward in the same way.”