Down on Rando Alley at NAHBS this year, a few booths from the J.P. Weigle randonneur and the Chapman randonneur, was this Johnny Coast. It’d been a while since I’ve seen Johnny, or his work but I began my Saturday morning documenting this bike before the crowds descended upon the show. Everything about this bike was a pleasure to photograph and it’s one of my favorite drive-side shots from the entire weekend.
Admittedly, I was bummed when I didn’t see Japan’s Cherubim‘s name on the list of exhibitors of NAHBS bikes but was thrilled to find one in the Rolf Prima booth. This particular bike is Cherubim’s first ever “all road” bike and was made for Blacksmith Cycles. It features clearances for 38mm tires, fender mounts for matching Honjo fenders, flat mount brakes and custom-selected Kaisei steel tubing.
No22 may be known for their razor-edge precision road and track bikes, but their XC mountain frameset, the Old King, is the one that grabbed my attention in their booth this year at NAHBS. These 29’er XC frames are designed to maneuver and track in tight, technical terrain, as well as offer a smooth ride for full-on, all-day excursions. It was nice to see so many XC-oriented frames this year at the show, especially ones that are this beautifully executed.
You know what I love about this bike? It’s been out there, getting dirty and living it up in the randonneuring trenches. It was built for the Concours de Machines, which you can read all about at Jan Heine’s blog. This competition is used to determine the best lightweight randonneuring bike and adheres to very strict rules. While this feat may sound intimidating, for Peter Weigle, it’s just another day in the shop. You see, Weigle is a master of his craft and it’s the details you can’t see that make his bikes so extraordinary. His construction techniques are second to none and his bikes are meant to get ridden, not to be hung on a wall in someone’s personal bicycle gallery. A Weigle wants to live its life to the fullest and luckily for the owners of his bicycles, the pleasure is shared between the two. To top it off, this bike, as shown here weighs 20lbs (9.1kg) on the nose and can be broken down easily to “Rinko Parts,” or the Japanese method of breaking down bikes for train travel.
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.