Kris at 44 Bikes has been making some killer 29+ platform MTBs, the most recent being Victor’s Rohloff-equipped ride. I loved the cream and black paint by Jay Nutini at Circle A Cycles. See more at the 44 Flickr.
See more below.
Going into NAHBS this year, one builder I was very interested in chatting with was Kris from 44 Bikes. I’ve enjoyed watching his brand gain so much notoriety over the past year and wanted to find out more about what made him tick.
We chatted a lot, went over all his bikes, talked about New Hampshire life, dirt, trails and what inspired his insane DIY workshop project. At the end of the show, I realized that I shot all three of his bike, essentially giving more coverage to him than any other builder.
There’s no real reason for that, other than since Kris was new to NAHBS, I really wanted to give him some exposure because I really admire his work.
Case in point: this 1×8 Retroshift Cross Bike. Kris used the Retroshift system on his TRP Hylex hydro disc brakes, Industry 9 wheels, along with the Retroshift BURD rear derailleur. Tech aside, this bike has stance. Bright red, crisp lines, no-nonsense language and yes, as I like to say, it’s utilitarian art. See more in the Gallery!
This NAHBS I learned two things about 44 Bikes. The first being Kris and I are the exact same size – which comes in handy for any planned trips to New Hampshire I might have to make. Second, Kris doesn’t build anything that he can’t or wouldn’t ride himself. Although, I suppose if someone really wanted a road bike, he’d make an exception.
Regionally, the roads surrounding Kris’ shop and home are quite shitty. Rutted, washboarded, washed-out and rocky, the tracks and trails take quite the beating throughout the winter, so his bikes are tailored to this terrain. For NAHBS this year, Kris brought all three of his own bikes to show off, because, well. It just makes sense.
Here’s the show favorite from his booth: a murdered out singlespeed 29′r with a nice, fat Whisky Parts fork, Industry 9 wheels and a rear end so tight that it’d be hard to… No, wait, it’s so black metal that… Anyway, I digress.
Check out more in the Gallery!
The thing I appreciate about Kristofer Henry’s work at 44 Bikes is that each model represents a different New Hampshire season and it just so happens that the New England winter is unforgiving (especially this year), which is why most of his bikes have big tires. Winter thrashes the roads, the tracks and trails, so over time, he’s designed his bikes to accommodate those conditions.
At the 2014 NAHBS, Kristofer brought his own personal bikes to display. Why? Because they’re all purpose-built and besides, he doesn’t want to make his clients wait any longer for a frame. If the bike was done pre-NAHBS, he sent it out.
This Big Boy Fatbike was an obvious first choice for photos from the brand but it won’t be the last. I really can’t wait to shoot his disc road and his rigid 29r. Using the 5″ platform and a 1 x 10 drivetrain, this thing will motor through snow with ease and the carbon components shed some weight off the total build, which comes in around 27 lbs.
See more in the Gallery!
I don’t know why, but I love seeing how different builders tackle these beasts. 44 Bikes even went so far as to shoot photos of their newest creation with both 26″ full fat and 29+ half fat wheels. Personally, I love the reinforcement at the seat stays.
Check out more photos at the 44 Bikes Flickr!
The D.E.B., or the do-everything-bicycle is that one bike you have to have, or you think you want, to hold you over, or to replace the somewhat repetitive members of your stable. It’s a gravel bike, a road bike, a cross bike, a touring bike and yes, even a grocery getter. When Richard Sachs contacted 44 Bikes to design a bicycle for his wife, the guys took it very seriously.
Follow the progress of the D.E.B. at the 44 Bikes Flickr!