A few weeks ago I read a post by Velouria of the Lovely Bicycle! about city bikes with mountain bike heritage. Velouria always looks for beautiful bicycles and her main interest seems to be in city or touring bikes. Her blog is always fun to read and thought-provoking. In the above-mentioned post she wrote: "contemporary mountain bikes are rather ugly", which made me search for beautiful mountain bikes.
Mountain bike is certainly a very different pair of shoes. Unlike city bikes, MTBs are usually designed with performance in mind. Using always-favorite car analogy, mountain bikes are Land Rover Defenders of cars. These boxy, raw, rugged vehicles may not appear beautiful, but once you drive off that paved road you will quickly realize that they are unbeatable in their natural habitat. So while it is unlikely to find lugged steel frames, hand-hammered fenders, chrome-coated headlights or cream tires on mountain bikes, we have to find beauty elsewhere.
Beauty of simplicity
Beauty of simplicity
Moots YBB MTB. (Source: moots.com)
This Moots YBB bike beautifully solves the problem of adding a rear suspension to a MTB frame without disrupting its classic shape. Also, its natural titanium color (greyish-brownish-purplish-whatever) makes it look clam, simple, and... beautiful.
Sure, this bike is handmade of titanium so it will cost you an arm and a leg but hey, it's Moots.
Beauty of power
I hesitated which bike should belong to this category as I considered two of them. Eventually, I decided to include both: Intense M1 and Foes DH1. Both represent a true beauty of power.
Foes DH1 (tube). (Source: Google Images)
Foes DH1 shown above is the original tube version of DH1 designed for Foes Racing Team. Some would say that the later monocoque version looked even more killer-like, but I somehow like the older tube frame better. The monocoque version was used in professional downhill racing by the "devil in the saddle" herself - iconic Missy "Missile" Giove.
Intense M1 with Hanebrink fork. (Source: Google Images)
If you need the ultimate downhill bike, Intense M1 is the answer. Or actually was, since it is not being made any more. It was replaced by some newer, lighter-looking models. But in terms of pure looks, M1 is still the winner, which must be due to its heavy, tank-like frame. Hanebrink fork is a beauty of its own. Large diameter tubes, upside-down design - it is essentially a scaled-down (although not by much) version of a motorcycle fork. The complete bike looks, well... intense.
A quick look at NAHBS website reveals more MTB beauties. These bikes are custom-made and often present some very unconventional design.
Black Sheep Fabrication, Inc.
Rosene Hand Built Bicycles