I am beat and tired of NAHBS coverage, as I’m sure you are. This year’s event was lot of fun but still, I need to find a better way of cataloging it. Already, I’ve got new ideas for Denver. While I recover from this coverage, here’s the last group of builders, beginning with Ventus and their polished and engraved modern Campy group. DeSalvo‘s nice road bike, Peacock‘s booth and a few shots from Ellis. I wanted to get more from Ellis but every time I went by, his bikes were being photographed or the booth was swamped!
This grouping just worked itself out without any planning on my part. Turns out, I met all three of these builders when I was in Portland attending the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race and Steve Rex isn’t even from Portland. You might recognize Tony Pereira‘s magenta machine from this year’s Oregon Manifest. He took home first place there, partially due to his use of an electric-assisted drivetrain and at the 2012 NAHBS, it was the center piece of his booth. Tony had a great point, saying most electric-assisted bikes aren’t designed by bicycle designers, so it leaves a huge gap in the industry. Also on display was a touring bike, a MTB (which won best MTB I might add), new lights he designed and a raw frame. Overall, it vibed!
Steve Rex‘s booth had the fortunate location of being right by the front door. Good for him, bad for me. I could barely get enough time with a bike without someone coming up and squeezing the brakes, dinging the top tube or lifting it up to see how light it was. This one guy must have been squeezing the brakes for 5 minutes straight on Steve’s gorgeous touring bike. Meanwhile, I was trying to get a shot of his shiny stainless track bike with front AND rear brakes. It’s not every day you see something as practical as that displayed on a track bike.
Ira Ryan‘s cargo town bike for Ned Ludd was insane. I counted four Chris King headsets and four Chris King hubs. It was detailed everywhere and took up his whole booth. I couldn’t stop staring at it and had to force myself to look elsewhere in his booth, particularly at his cross and road bikes. But still, just check out the cargo bike already. He won best city bike with it and I still can’t stop thinking about it. See for yourself below.
I’m always interested in seeing what the component and accessory crowd is like each year at NAHBS. When it comes to made in the USA parts, Paul Components have doing their thing in Chico, California since 1989. This year, their line had a few new additions, including their new assymetrical MiniMoto v-brakes. These are perfect for cross racers who may not want to run cantis. Another long-awaited product were their road hubs, which are now slated for summer orders. More information on those as events warrant.
Burro Bags returned for yet another year of mayhem. I am still amazed that other messenger bag brands don’t show up to NAHBS. But I doubt they’re complaining, because they cleaned shop. This year, the guys killed it with the release of their Grinder and a 6-pack carrying strap dubbed the Party Belt. Also on display were their new strap models, the Mudflaps and Santos Straps. When I needed an extra pocket to carry a lens around in, their Gordo hip bag proved to be the perfect size for my 24-70mm.
Over in the Brooks booth, there was quite a bit of attention being given to the 611 Bicycle Co touring bike, built with Brooks bar tape, B-17 saddle, bag and the new Brooks panniers. Aaron lent it to them for the show and between the bike and the gorgeous bags, it became the booth’s center piece. Of course I don’t need to mention that just about every city or touring bike in the show had a Brooks on it. Why bother with anything else?
Year after year at NAHBS, one of the crowd’s favorites is Independent Fabrication. Since leaving Somerville for greener pastures (literally) in New Hampshire, the crew at IF has been busy setting up shop and settling into their new digs. This year, they displayed the same caliper of bicycles as they had in years past but I wasn’t interested in the flashy MTB, road and cross bikes. I wanted to check out the porteur that was getting swarmed with people every time I walked by it. How funny is it that the porteur and city bikes ruled so hard this year? See for yourself below.
Mitch from Map Bicycles‘ work was some of the nicest at the 2012 NAHBS. Every last detail on all of his bikes was well thought out and constructed with care. My favorite was his French-fendered, triple triangle, porteur city bike. I could spend all day with out outdoors, giving it lens love but unfortunately, every time I went by the booth, it was being swarmed with people. Other bikes in the booth included a full-loaded touring bike and a gorgeous road frame, complete with barcons and Mafac-brakes. It was great to finally put a face to a name and a company. Next time I see Mitch, hopefully it’ll be on his home turf. Till then, be sure to check out the gallery.
Nate Meschke and Matt Cardinal are Signal Cycles, a framebuilding company, nestled in Portland. Their booth was filled with all kinds of brightly-colored eye candy, right down to their incredible bike stand, holding a shiny red Di2 road bike. Others included a step-through city bike with racks, a fendered road bike and probably my favorite, a commuter with a Edelux lamp and robin’s egg blue paint.
Chatting with and hanging out with Nate and Matt just solidifies their company for me. It’s easy to support a company when it’s backed by two talented, humble people. Check out more from the 2012 NAHBS Signal Cycles booth below.
This year, more than any other year at NAHBS, I got to talk face to face with the builders and their assistants. I took more time listening to their process and their pains. It’s not easy building bicycles in the States and sometimes, things get a little rough financially.
Earlier this year, Bruce Gordon put out an SOS (shop on stress) and the framebuilding world responded. Now, I’m not saying their shop is slammed, but business picked up and Bruce has some new products on the way. Cantis, toe clips and even a nice, 700c gum wall touring tire, made by Panaracer in Japan. It looks like Bruce Gordon is doing a lot better. His booth’s pride was a carbon road bike with details for days.
The townie and commuting bike contingency was rather large this year. More and more people are ditching their cars for handlebars and Ahearne Cycles showed off a few recent builds. My favorite was the blue townie, complete with bamboo lock box and rotating child seat. It even has foot pegs. Other goodies included his Sheldon Brown flasks and shirts.
DiNucci Cycles‘ bikes included a raw road frame and a classic road bike with Curtis Odom tri-arm sport cranks. Sharing the same booth was Vendetta Cycles, who returned with their ever-so-popular Columbus MAX track bike. This bright green beast had everyone drooling. I always love seeing how people use MAX on track bikes and this bike’s custom pinstriping just takes it over the top!
See all this in the Gallery.
Billy Souphorse keeps the social media side of the cycling industry ticking. He’s got his hands in more companies than the Illuminati so when he decides it’s time for a custom bike, he goes right to his boys at Ritte (pronounced Rit-ttttttaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy). But he didn’t want just any bike. Billy wanted to go custom. Luckily for him, Spencer and the crew started offering fully custom bikes.
Each are hand made in California by the Ritte team and tailored to their customer’s specific needs. In Billy’s case, he loves dirt and gravel so he went with a KVA Stainless road bike. It’ll fit a bigger tire and still ride like a road bike, not a cross or a MTB. The Wound Up fork gives him extra clearance and the Ultegra group ensures he won’t be stranded out in the woods with a busted shifter. In general, this bike is hot. So hot that it gave some 2012 NAHBS on-lookers a bit of a chub.
Back to the 2012 NAHBS coverage here on the site. These three builders really killed it this year.
611 Bicycle Co displayed some very original bikes as well. Aaron’s cross bike, with its brazen mud splatters won best cross bike in show and his commuter with its almost zenomorphic lugwork was stunning. And for everyone who loves track bikes, he delivered a delicately-curved race machine. The thing to note here is that the seat tube mimics the curve of the fork: it bends almost right from the seat tube cluster. 611 always has the best merch and this year, they delivered on that front. Patches! EVERY BUILDER SHOULD HAVE PATCHES.
Anderson‘s stainless road bike and touring bike were, as always, top notch but the booth favorite was his orange grass track bike. It was one of my favorites in the show (I keep saying that, don’t worry, there’s more). A customer races grass track and got Anderson to make one, just in time for the show. The 73 head tube angle, 74.5 seat tube angle enables the bike to achieve stability while still being able to sprint like a track bike. So sick.
Finally, Naked really stole the show with their bikes. While some people put show bikes on a pedestal, Naked, um, ride theirs. They rode the bikes hundreds of miles to the show from their facilities in Heriot Bay, BC, Canada. The long-reach caliper road bike and off-road dirt cruiser were dialed in every definition of the word. Integrated lighting, internal wiring and just plain style. These bikes were beautiful in their birthday suit.
See the Gallery below.
You know what? This is hands down the most creative and expressive bike I saw at the 2012 NAHBS. No bullshit, no gimmicks, just an homage to a true auteur and the director of some of my favorite movies: Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Drag Me to Hell, Spiderman, ok, maybe not the latter. Sam Raimi’s campy horror flicks are filled with catch phrases that have echoed through my lifetime. Groovy! How fitting?
Erik Noren of Peacock Groove has always been an outsider, a misunderstood craftsman who’s been building for much longer than most. His bikes are ostentatiously-outlandish and sometimes, crude but that’s Erik. A builder’s work should reflect their personality so I took Erik to the bathroom for some reflection time and lens love. This dual-disk track bike was my favorite bike in the show and not just because he used real blood to paint it. See for yourself why below.