In the past, naysayers argued that spending so much moolah on a street bike is a fool's errand for gearheads and overgrown kids whose cash burns a hole in their messenger bags. But that was before gas hit $4 a gallon. Now it makes as much sense to shell out for a bike you love as it ever did to do the same for a car.
And these designers are making sure their products are worth it. "Our bikes have to live up to our standards," Montano said. "If we build a bike we like to ride, then other people will like to ride them too."
The Broakland crew unveiled their first design in San Jose just over a year ago at the 2007 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the four-year-old exhibition of the nation's top designers and bikemakers. In February, the Broakland crew set up a display, including the cream-and-magenta-marbled Meat Wagon, now on exhibit in the window of Montano Velo, at the 2008 NAHBS in Portland, Ore.
When asked what these bikes mean to him, Jason Grove just laughed. "It's nice having a solid ride."
Check out Broakland's designs or pick up some gear at Montano Velo, 4266 Piedmont Ave., Oakl., (510) 654-8356, or at www.myspace.com/broaklandbicycles