Out of all the new-to-me brands at NAHBS, I was most impressed by Dublin, Ireland-based Fifty One and their carbon road bikes. Everything about the brand was dialed, from the paint to the geometries, and the overall stance of the bikes. Take this Fifty One road, coated in a matte peach color, with bold, white branding, it looks almost uncomfortable just sitting still in a convention center. The overall package and presentation distracted me from the frame construction and the unique seat stays, which are made in-house at Fifty One’s facilities.
Whoaaaaaa there, pardna’, you’re rollin’ into 36’er territ’ry. This is NAHBS, the place for over-the-top, artisan, balleur bicycles and no one does it better than Black Sheep Bikes with their Colorado-made swoopy titanium frames. This year, the team brought one of the most extravagant builds I’ve ever seen from their shop, this giant 36’er all-rounder. Just about everything on this bike is handmade, down to the Leh Cycling leatherwork, titanium fenders, and titanium pannier baskets. No detail was spared when it came to the design, construction and the final build. I’m actually at a loss for words, so I’ll let the photos do the talkin’.
Where do I even begin here? DiNucci is a damn living legend in the frame building world and anytime I can get my sweaty palms on one of his bikes, I take extra time documenting it. Case in point: this beautifully-lugged classic road bike with Campagnolo Super Record. I love everything about this build, from the lug work, to the Enduro headset, right down to the bright, sparkly arrow reminding you to keep pushing forward. With a bike like this, however, I doubt the owner will need any motivation. Mark, if you’re reading this, it’s always a pleasure to be in such great company.
The Olivetti namesake comes from an Italian typewriter company. That was Peter’s grandfather and he is carrying on the Olivetti name, but with bicycles. This Thunder Pig rigid mountain bike was an experiment in making a robust, fun and practical frame, with clearances for a 3″ tire and a rigid fork. It was the first time Olivetti had made a segmented fork and I’d say his experiment worked wonderfully, down to the pure silver coin caps. As a side note: every Olivetti customer gets to select a silver coin to be brazed onto their frame if they so choose. These coins were passed down to Peter and it’s nice seeing them live on with his art…
Baltimore’s Chris Bishop of Bishop Bikes hasn’t been to NAHBS since 2013 and this year, he brought what he’s known for and then some. You can always count on Chris for the finest fillet and lug construction, but I was completely surprised to see him soft-launch a production line called Item 4, named after the substrate specification used in gravel roads in the North East. Item 4 is a collaboration with Vicious Cycles, who is tig-welding the front triangle of these frames, with Chris fillet brazing the rear and all the accoutrement needed for a rim brake or disc brake road bike. Chris really wants to expand the Bishop Bikes lineup, to get more people out on bikes that he’s designed and to be honest, I can’t wait to see more of these roll out of his Baltimore workshop…
When a frame builder has access to an in-house graphics department and paint booth, great things happen. Thomas from Horse Cycles‘ partnership with Ben Falcon has really paid off. Ben’s paint mixed with Horse’s frame design and construction delivers show-stopping road bikes like this.
No matter how high tech the road bike gets, nothing beats the lines and elegance of a classic road bike. For this year’s NAHBS, Bryan of Royal H Cycles brought this beautifully-lugged road bike with equal parts practicality to functionality. At first, I didn’t even notice the Di2…
Remember that DeSalvo dream bike NAHBS contest? Well, here’s the winning bike concept. Mike’s offerings each year are usually clean, minimal road bikes but this year, it was a special treat seeing a bike like this in the DeSalvo booth. This dirt drop frame features the Fox AX “gravel” fork, a KS LEV dropper, Sim Works To Smile dirt drops, color-matched PAUL and White Industries. A few builders brought bikes like this to the show and personally, I’m into it.
I say this a lot at NAHBS, but when I saw this big and beautiful Northern Frameworks single speed MTB in their booth, I exclaimed “HOT DAMN!” This bike is for a tall rider and I love seeing how builders balance the proportions of large bikes with modern MTB geometry. The client spec’d all brown anodized PAUL and White Industries, to complement the rich, copper paint.
A few weeks back, around the time of the Giro x Radavist collection drop, Mosaic reached out, saying they had the perfect bike to display the goods with at NAHBS. I was into it, Giro was into it and I think you’ll be into it. This GT-2 build by the Colorado-based builder features a geometry more tuned for long day dirt rides and lightweight bikepacking, custom Spectrum-powdercoated decals with matching OD green King Kages, and a set of custom bikepacking bags from Colorado’s JPaks Bags. The beauty of the JPacks frame bag system is the nesting frame bag that fits under this partial frame bag, allowing you to either run bottle cages, or an additional bag for storage. You can see this bike for yourself at Houston’s Bicycle Speed Shop.