Photos by Dominique Powers
Max began building and selling frames under the eponymous Pratt Frameworks brand in 2018 before starting a track team in 2019. Nice Bikes is the latest chapter.
"We've been running a team for a lot of years," Max says. "I got to a point where the part of my job that I like the most is running a team and building bikes for people who are going to create influence and impact with them, rather than just building them for profit."
The team's 2022/23 roster includes six women, three of whom placed in the top 10 at last year's U.S. National Championships: Taylor Kuyk-White, Caitlin Bernstein and Austin Killips, who was part of Pratt Racing last season. Also joining the ranks are Samantha Fox, Rachel Rubino and Dani Morshead.
"The most notable thing is that we have the flexibility to be a nonprofit organization, and our primary mission as a nonprofit is to support women and non-binary athletes in pro cycling," Max says. "That means the number one goal is to create really good working conditions and good jobs for people in the bike racing industry and then fill those jobs with women, non-binary individuals or anybody who is typically underrepresented in the cycling our outdoor industry. That extends to mechanics, administrative staff, director sportifs, soigneurs, etc."
Together, the team plans to compete in the U.S.-based World Cups and major UCI races before December's National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. Then they'll head to Europe for a block of World Cups and January's 2023 UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands.
"Each of the athletes have individual goals, and my goal as the technical director and framebuilder is to make sure the athletes can meet their goals without any sort of mechanical or equipment-based issues," Max says. "I also would love to see the bikes being raced in the World Championships, and the goal for a lot of our athletes is just that—to race Worlds and World Cups."
"Each of the athletes has a vision for how they want to create impact in the industry. We, as the staff—the admins, the mechanics—want to raise the standard for what a staffed position looks like in the bike industry. You can see it happening in the crit scene in the U.S.; people are creating teams that are raising the standard and setting a new bar for what support looks like. We're just trying to bring that energy back into cyclocross."