A Visit to Bilenky Cycle Works

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Earlier this month my wife Stacey and I were on a road trip with our son Otto.

We passed through several states visiting friends and family along the way using a trusty Garmin Nuvi.

This trip was not unlike our honeymoon 2 years ago except on that journey Stacey and I were on a tandem.

A tandem built especially for us by Bilenky Cycle Works. There was no doubt that while in Philly,

We would need to stop by this legendary den of lugged steel and coupled bikes for couples…

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Above two of the most famous track bikes built by Bilenky:

Alan’s Hetchins Tribute and last year’s NAHBS showboat originally built for Tim of Streetlocal.

Bilenky (@BilenkyCycles) has been building frames a year longer than I have been alive, since 1983…

Meeting the needs of the individual cyclist – this was the premise on which our company was founded. In 1983 BCW recognized the need for specially proportioned frames and components for female cyclists; this initiated our entrance into custom frame manufacturing. We broadened our scope to meet the sizing challenges for riders of all shapes and sizes. What followed was a series of targeted  products to answer the outfitting needs of recreational, fitness and utility cyclists. Our Metro 5 commuting  bike, featured in 1984 and 1986 issues of Bicycling magazine, incorporated all-weather functionality. We refined the geometry and construction of emerging mountain bike frame designs in the late 1980’s. In 1994 Bicycling magazine again recognized us as one of the nations’ top custom bike builders for our fully equipped expedition touring bike, “The Midlands”.  The 1990’s heralded us as the premier manufacturer of fillet brazed framesets. Reviews in Bicycle Guide, Bicycling and Tandem Magazine.

The frameshop is staffed is builders spanning decades of experience and numerous specialties.

Meet the framebuilders and staff of Bilenky Cycle Works here.

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Stacey & I arrived right at lunch time after making a morning drive from New Jersey to North Philly.

I brought a case of locally brewed Lionshead as a gift and as we had interrupted lunch time, we let the

crew continue eating as we slowing explored the workshop.  Above is supremely nice mixte.

Notice the drum brake front hub!  Such a smooth ride. Complete with hammered fenders!

Below is a Midlands Touring rig adorned with a well weather Carradice perched up a custom rack.

This steed was heavily used yet aged much like a a loved Brooks saddle. Only improving as miles add up.

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Below is a Viewpoint tandem in its final stages of creation. This ingenius Bilenky design is their own:

“unique semi-recumbent tandem with independent stoker pedaling, great view of the road for both riders.”

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The Viewpoint’s fork amid tools and devices all playing invaluable roles in everyday duties at Bilenky.

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I expected trove of meticulously organized bicycle building minutia but this shop still blew me away.

Everywhere I turned was another neatly packed stack of parts and pieces.

It was quote overwhelming, yet engrossing as I even tried to imagine the number bikes ever built here.

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Here is a nice shot of the Bilenky crew scarfing lunch. It also illustrates the shop’s atmosphere quite well.

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I turned another corner and noticed these tubes.  No doubt spanning decades of tube R&D and each

undoubtedly identifiable to the trained eye.  The process of going from what you see below to this is unreal.

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More photos photos from our visit are on my Flickr. For even more photos check out their collage here.

Keep up with the latest Bilenky news at their blog.  Lastly, if you are anywhere near Philly at the end

of October, head over the the Philadelphia Bicycle Exposition. Its going to be a last and worth the trip!

Thanks for having us guys! Next time I will try to keep my eyes open for the photo!

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