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By bicyclebluebook April 4, 2014

Specialization. It’s the watch word in the bike industry right now. Road and Mountain bike categories have been diced into ever finer categories, from endurance to race, downhill to cross country and everything in between. Even the humble commuter now has categories based on distance of commute or type of terrain in between your home and work place. Within those distinctions are enormous options. Peruse the Bicycle Blue Book marketplace for used bikes for sale and chances are you can find exactly what you need, but as cycling fanatics we know for some riders only a custom bike will do, road, mountain or commuter, and while those bikes can end up on the used bike market, they were made for someone else. Sometimes you just need, or more likely just want, your own custom bike.

You can go to one of the many well known custom builders and get a beautiful bike, but if you want to get something a little rarer, something you won’t see another rider on in the peloton, check out some of the smaller builders that displayed at the recent North American Handmade Bicycle. There was a small section away from the bigger names, where bike builders had one bike on display. They stand there humbly, behind a table and wait to be asked about their craft. This section exemplifies why NAHBS is so inspiring. It reminded us why we love to ride bikes and why people leave secure jobs and begin the dream of making bicycles. Meet Nate Zukas of Zukas Cycles.

Zukas CyclesHistory: I started building three years ago.  It’s a part time gig for me. I am a full time shop mechanic at Andy Jordan’s Bicycle Warehouse in Augusta, Georgia and that’s where I’m based out of. I’ve been there for 23-years.

Start: I got into frame building because I wanted to build my own frame. I have long arms and legs and a short torso so finding a stock frame size was difficult. So, the lure of building my own frame started it. A friend saw it and asked me to build him one, I got insurance and a business license and Zukas Cycles began!

Scope: I’ve sent bikes to Australia, Canada and many to the East Coast and Southeast area. I build road, cyclocross and mountain bikes.

Bike: This is actually my personal bike. I love internal cables, and not really big on internal cables with full-length housing. You don’t see any exposed cables even at the bottom bracket shell. I’m also really big on cables not rubbing against the frame. There’s an integrated seat post because I love the look. It gives it more of a custom feature. I like to do the S-bend on the seat stays. It’s elegant looking. This is a lugged-frame, but I do fillet-brazing as well.

Education: I am self-taught. I’m just one of those guys, put a book in front of me and ask me later I’m scratching my head.  But, if I see it done and actually do it with my hands on it, I’ll know it forever.

Where: I build at home in a 250 square-foot workshop. I do my own paint. Make my own stencils. There are no decals on this frame.

Amount: I can produce about 8-10 frames a year, so I  can maintain attention to detail. From start to finish, they own me for a month and then I start on the next one!

Name: My great, great-grandfather was Lithuanian and “Zukas” means “White Rabbit” in Lithuanian.

As Bicycle Blue Book has evolved, we have adapted our used bike valuation guide to provide accurate quotes for more and more real world bikes. You can already get a specific value for your bike that takes into account any upgrades you have made over the years, from carbon wheels to an upgraded drive train. Maybe you already have a custom bike from a small builder and it’s time for a new one. Don’t worry, Bicycle Blue Book can help. If you can’t find your brand listed, just ask for a custom quote. Tell us the details on the contact form on our home page, or hit us up at We have decades of experience in the cycling industry and data on millions of transactions to pull from. Whether you ride a stock Trek or a custom Nate Zukas, Bicycle Blue Book is the only place to get an accurate quote and then list that used bicycle for sale on the web’s safest, most reliable marketplace.

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