Some are cast from pewter, others stamped from sheet metal. Some have a long story, others simply look cool. Some are intensely personal to the builder while others represent location. Whatever the meaning, or lack there of, head badges at the North American Handmade Bike Show get a lot of attention. Here are a selection of our favorites and the stories behind a few.
Moots and their alligator reach back to founder Kent Eriksen’s childhood. A small alligator pencil topper that made a funny “moot’ sound when you squeezed its jaws became the star of the comic books Eriksen wrote as a kid. In 1981, after building his first frame, needing a name and head badge he turned to his alligator friend.
The original design has undergone some changes, most recently the light weight version created for the Vamoots RSL in 2010.
No longer with Moots, Eriksen builds under his own name and a new head badge.
One of our undisputed favorites comes from Demon Frameworks. Based on the builder, Tom Warmerdam’s, affinity for the original Japanese Rising Sun flag, the badge nestles menacingly in the fully lugged head tube.
Form Cycles head badge uses copper to represent their native Arizona and the three blades represent the three main men behind the brand.
Tom Ritchey built this frame to celebrate his 40th anniversary, a 60cm Road Classic frame and fork. Tom’s attention to detail means the head badge is vintage as well. Discerning Ritchey fans will notice the subtle differences between this and his current head badges. Want to ride it? Check it out on Ebay where it is being auctioned off for Team Rawanda. Hurry, Tom will make only 39 more, auctioning many off for other charities.
It was Ahearn Cycles out of Portland that first showed us Oregon is head badge capital of the world with this beauty.
DEAN’s usual painted head badge got the forged treatment on this road bike.
Oregon continued to impress and some of the builders, like English Cycles out of Eugene, even managed to make a simple painted logo standout.
The curved lines and double tubes of Retrotec are echoed in their head badge.
Another favorite, the radiotower from Signal Cycles out of Portland, the proof that your bike was hand made by Nate Meschke.
Soulcraft displays important info beyond their logo on the head tube. Serial number, date and the proud custom owner’s name ride up high.
When you’re the man behind the Handmade Show you can put yourself on your head tube - Don Walker.
Proving Oregonians are dominating the head badge game, Winter Bicycles and this gorgeous badge.
Displaying their philosophy with their head badge and their name, with Naked Bicycles you know what you get.