SO GOOD. SO FREAKING GOOD! Thank you Chris. Also brings up a good segue into that Thomson 27.2 dropper conversation…
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!
Don’t adjust your handheld or desktop computers, those are indeed indexed downtube shifters… This bike is a throwback to Ira Ryan’s personal history as a bicycle racer and frame builder. Ira is no stranger to gravel, or dirt road riding and racing. Years back, in the early years of the Rapha Continental, Ira was on 23c tires tackling some of the US’ most picturesque roads. Maybe that’s what inspired this ride? That and classic road frames, with an edge. Think of this B Road as an homage to the bikes of yesteryear, with modern upgrades.
Breadwinner‘s bikes this year absolutely slayed and this tangerine B Road “gravel” bike had so much zest. The project began with Ira and Tony modifying Dura Ace downtube shifters to fit 11-speed bar end internals (yes, it shifts like butter). From there, a tapered head tube with an ENVE CX fork and 32c Pasela tires provide more than adequate clearances for true all-road riding and racing. Then, Breadwinner added a third bottle cage and fender eyelets to the ENVE fork!
TRP’s Hylex hydro disc brakes (with custom drillium levers!) will provide the stopping power and modulation. The internal cable routing ensures the lines of the frame stay clean. I don’t know why I love this machine so much, maybe it’s a combination of it truly being unique or the color? For whatever the reason, I enjoyed photographing this in the morning light at this year’s NAHBS.
See more of this mind-boggling machine in the Gallery!
Alchemy has been through a lot over the past few years. Originally from Austin, the shop moved to Denver in 2013, prior to NAHBS. While they’ve gone through a few hiccups in the process, the shop is cranking out some incredibly nice steeds.
Cody’s cross bike is a prime example. There ain’t no ISP on that baby, the topper is welded onto the seat mast. The internal cable routing is clean, CX1 with custom painted Rotor cranks, and damn that paint job. This is one of my favorite bikes in the show and it doesn’t hurt that the owner is a damn great guy.
See more in the Gallery!
Two production bikes that I was rather keen on at this year’s NAHBS came from the Ritchey booth. The Swiss Cross received what seems to be an industry-wide upgrade for cross bikes: disc brakes and a new addition to the family: a carbon Breakaway road bike.
Both come in black paint (not safe for non-metal heads) and aren’t too far off for production. I don’t recall what the MSRP was on the Swiss Cross but the Breakaway will retail for $3,199 – frame, fork and headset included. For the weight-conscious, the Breakaway comes in at exactly 15.10 LBS as shown.
One note: the Breakaway was made by Tom Ritchey and production will have clearances for a 28c.
See more in the Gallery!
Inspired by the Audi Group B rally machines from the 80′s, this Avery County Cycles Cross bike is for Eli Cox, owner of Berkeley Supply in Denver. Josh from Avery, Eli from Berkeley Supply and Tyler from Pearl Velo make up the Tennyson Collective. They’re all good friends who have found Denver as their home.
Eli is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, but that doesn’t mean he’s with the occasional heckling from Josh and Tyler. When he got serious about his health and wanting to ride a bike, he told Josh he wanted a cross bike with a wider gear range, that would be inspired by an Audi Rally car from the 80′s.
Josh usually does powder in-house, so for this one, he sent it off to Jordan Low, who in my opinion is killing it right now!
Each year at NAHBS, I love how much Geekhouse steps their game up. From brightly-colored fixed gears and track bikes to classic tourers and race-ready cross bike. This year, Geekhouse is unveiling their new Hopedale Disc. By partnering with SRAM, Vittoria and Selle Italia to lace out the builds.
Since it is the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, Geekhouse chose 100% made in the USA tubing, with a mix of True Temper’s S3 and OX Platinum, along with Paragon Machine Works “Low Mount” disc dropouts.
For me, the most notable detail on the bikes are the paint jobs. The paint uses a two-step process. All three show-bikes have a powder-coated base, and then Jordan Low masterfully applied wet paint in geometric patterns. The artwork, done by Adria Klora, was inspired by the Geekhouse HQ (yellow), dazzle camo (blue), and the Zakim Bridge in Boston (red).
The yellow Hopedale Disc will be heading to the owner of Cooks Paint Works in Japan, via Blue Lug Bicycle Shop after the show. The red Hopedale Disc belongs to Kyle B., in Texas, which he gave as a 30th present to himself. The blue Mudville is an extra special bike though, aside from the paint and HED wheels, SRAM Force, and Thomson components, this machine is going to someone close to Geekhouse.
View these bikes this weekend – Geekhouse Bikes is exhibiting at the North American Handmade Bike Show at booth #400.
For those who won’t be in attendance at NAHBS, each bike is highlighted in details through the lens of Heather McGrath. See all three of Geekhouse’s offerings in the Gallery!
I’d like to think the kind of riding my friends and I enjoy would be considered “dumb”. From the freestyle on track bikes, all the way to the trail riding on cross bikes (even road bikes), sometimes, it’s just more fun to use the lesser-capable tool for the job. When Sean from Team Dream asked if Ty, Eric, Kyle and I wanted to ride Backbone trail during my last trip in LA, I said hell yes. Then I asked “which bike should I bring to LA?” The answer was what I had hoped for: cyclocross.
My bike has been through the ringer and it’s still one of my favorites to ride. Climbing some serious mountains, both on sealed and gravel, blasting trails in Texas, Vermont, California, Australia, Minnesota or where ever my travels take me. It’s been the most diverse beast in my stable. This ride however, this ride outdid just about everything else.
The day would be big. 60 miles and 7,500′ of climbing. 85% on dirt. Most of it on legitimate / illegitimate singletrack. There were very few chill spots. This was a MTB ride on 33c tires and drop bars. Even as part of our group passed a guy on a full sus MTB riding a downhill section, the dude had the audacity to label our cross bikes as “cheater bikes”. Ok Mr. fullface helmet and pads.
For as many fire road climbs, there were 1-track descents. Nothing was too technical or difficult to ride down, but some parts were too steep to climb with a 34/28. To top it off, I broke my fucking pedal in half at mile 20, Eric was just getting over a serious injury from a car hitting him and we were grossly unprepared for the lack of water.
High points: finding water that had been stashed in the bushes for months (the labels were bleached out, condensation formed at the top – i.e. it had been forgotten), the damn Coke machine at the Malibu Creek State Park (make sure you have plenty of $1 bills – I had 10), the subsequent swimming hole and wearing a hip bag, stuffed with a mushy breakfast burrito from Pedalers Fork.
THE HERO OF THE DAY WAS CARLA, SEAN’S GIRLFRIEND FOR DROPPING US OFF AND PICKING US UP!
We started at the Yerba Lot trailhead (one, 10 mile section is closed to bikes, so we had to re-route around that) and ended at the Santa Monica pier inside the photo booth.
I know I post a lot of ride photosets, but this one is not one to be missed! Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!
Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Kodak Portra 400
Aaron Stinner’s work with Mudfoot and Geoff McFetridge might have been one of the raddest collaborations last year. For those of us who grew up skateboarding, Geoff’s name resonates with unique design and seeing it translated to something we all love – cycling – was both exciting and frustrating. The latter because, well, we couldn’t buy a piece of that pie for ourselves! Seriously, the bikes came out sick!
The most important thing to walk away with from this conversation is that you too can make rad shit happen in your town, with your local artists and your local builders. It just takes initiative.
For more what went into this collaboration, head over to Stinner Frameworks’ blog!
As for more 35mm shots from this ride, they’re coming…
Tuxedos, Jello Shots, Jeff Frane DJing. It was a great time. But damn was it cold….