The Art of the Bespoke Bicycle

Built on the premise that high-end bicycles should be as unique as their riders, Boulder's Mosaic Cycles makes each bike from scratch, with no two the same.

A serious cyclist can average 100 miles a week, or more, in the saddle. That’s a significant amount of time to spend on a piece of equipment designed to fit an “approximate” rider, with no one person’s specific biomechanics in mind. After all, each cyclist is different in dozens of meaningful ways—from weight, posture, and torso length all the way to favorite frame color.

This is the problem Aaron Barcheck set out to solve when he founded Mosaic Cycles in Boulder in 2009. Each Mosaic bike (frame sets start at $3,900) is tailor-made to its owner, designed from scratch to fit a specific rider. “I think about frame building more as frame design,” says Barcheck. “I take a scientific approach to it.” Ten years into production, the business is thriving, and Barcheck couldn’t be happier about his mission to introduce riders to their “forever” bikes.

How did the business begin?
“It started out of my passion for cycling and frame building and my desire to see more hand-built bikes out in the world. I’ve been a cyclist my entire life. Before Mosaic, I had been building frames for another company, but I always knew I wanted to start my own brand. I did a little bit of engineering in school but ended up with a degree in integrated physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and that education— learning about exercise physiology and biomechanics—definitely helped. I started making steel and titanium bikes on my own in 2009. From there, we gradually grew the business.”

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What goes into making a Mosaic cycle?
“We work with bike shops all over the world. When people come into a shop looking to get a Mosaic, the staff there will guide them through a process. They talk about what kind of bike the customers want, where they’re going to ride it, what they want it to look like. Typically, they’ll do a fit as well, assessing the customer’s body geometry and how they move. They’ll take all of that information and send it to us, and we design the custom geometry of the frame. Once it gets the signoff from the dealer, we make sure the customer is 100 percent on board with it. After that, it takes us about six weeks to produce the frame in our machine shop.”

What is the real difference between “bespoke” and other options?
“We call them bespoke bicycles because they’re tailor-made. Every bike is made to order, one at a time for each individual customer. There’s a pretty big difference between that and, say, just painting your bike a special color. It’s customized all the way down. Not just the colors, but the performance characteristics of the bike, the aesthetic, and of course the body geometry. It’s definitely not something you’re just going to pull off the shelf.”

Any exciting company news recently?
“Our challenges change as the business grows—bringing in more people, learning new processes, implementing new products. One of the biggest things we’ve done in the last few years was acquire a paint shop, Spectrum Paint and Powder Works. We started painting our own frames in-house, which was a big deal for us. It really helped our finished work.”

Mosaic Cycles
Bespoke, hand-built bicycles
2450 Central Ave. 1, Boulder