Look at any fine bicycle frame head on, and one thing probably stands out more than anything else: the headbadge.
Like the hood ornament on a fine automobile, the headbadge is one bit of identifying bike jewelry that offers the builder a chance to quite literally make their mark. A headbadge will not make a bicycle lighter, faster, stiffer, or more comfortable. But a beautiful headbadge can add value beyond those metrics that we typically associate with bicycle performance.
I am particularly fond of the Seneca Cycle Works headbadge. Thanks go out to Ryan Jacobs who designed it, with some of my input. I looked at classic headbadges for inspiration, especially those that combine simplicity, artfulness and a sense of polish and quality. For me, the mountain-top sunrise scene on this badge lends a sense of hope and opportunity to each bike that it adorns. My hope is that these bicycles will take their riders to new and wonderful places.
The badges themselves are cast from a custom die, formed, plated, enameled and polished by hand, all by a specialized badge company here in New England. Each is affixed to its frame with a pair of stainless steel screws once that particular frame has passed its final quality inspection. In a sense, the badge is the last step of the build process for a new frame. It is my own stamp of approval.
EDIT October 17, 2014: A well-known bicycle blogger wrote a piece about headbadges just a week ago! Check it out here.