Handbuilt bikes in pro racing today
What hand built bikes and builders are active in pro racing today (road and mtb)?
I am sure some other hand built carbon bikes are being used but for the most part it seems that factory bikes are the norm. Many riders need to hide their custom bikes (i.e. under different paint but this seams hard with molded carbon frames).
It seems that at least a few of the bikes at this year's Roubaix were TIG welded scandium; My understanding is that in 2006 a custom built steel bike was actually ridden to third place.
Many smaller builders support/sponsor/build for racing teams. However, most of this is at the local level. By the time you get into national and international races, there is so much money involved that all you see are the Corporate Guys. Look at Carl Decker before he rode for Giant, ie.
Most Paris-Roubaix bikes of the past couple years are just slightly modified mass-produced carpet fiber bikes. Seems like the biggest modifications they get are longer dropouts at both ends to make the wheelbase a tad longer and give a bit more clearance. There are a few 'cross bikes that get raced (i.e. Lars Boom this year) and a few frankenbikes, but custom made aluminum (or steel) are getting very rare. A few years ago Boonen raced an aluminum specialized, but that was because they didn't make a carbon frame that suited his size at the time...
I remember Cervelo produced a steel frame for Paris-Roubaix several years ago too. Though they were most likely made by someone else.
All bicycles are built by hand!
Last year we had the ClifBar pro MTB and CX teams on our bikes.
When it comes to CX there are tons of bikes from small companies being raced competitively at the front of domestic fields. In a few regions of the country Sachs and Spooky are almost always in the top 10 and Vanilla and IF certainly see the front of the field a lot.
I build lots of them
On the mountain bike scene, there are still a decent number out there. I've built frames for pros (including myself) that have been raced in/won various Colorado pro races (ie Mountain States Cup, Spirit of the Rockies, Winter Park series, etc, etc), NORBA nationals (back when they still existed), USGP races, national championships (my team was 2nd at 24 hour Nationals last year), world cups (admittedly, at Angel Fire, which was a pretty lame world cup...), and world championships (Eszter Horanyi was 3rd at 24 hour worlds on a Waltworks last year).
At the very top level, of course most racers are going to be on bikes from the bigger companies. But it is always the human that has to push the pedals, so steel (or aluminum, or bamboo) bikes will always be raceable at any level with a strong rider.
Mary McConneloug's done pretty well the past decade on a US handbuilt bike...2x US Olympic team member
Don't forget about Collin ripping up the East Coast these days on a Waltworks.
Originally Posted by Walt