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!
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!
At NAHBS, themed bikes are usually hit or miss and by that I mean, people usually get it or they don’t. If you can’t see the theme in this bike, then you probably didn’t grow up on the 80’s watching reruns of Smokey and the Bandit… Or… You just don’t get it.
Josh from Avery County Cycles went way over the top with this homage bike. Built for himself, as his new touring rig, everything was thought out and executed with precision. Down to the choice in tire: Michelin’s Country Rock. The stem is custom and Josh even got Coors-themed water bottles for the show.
For the saddle, Mick Peel from Busyman hand-embossed the firebird logo from Bo Darville’s Trans Am. Other details include PAUL Racers, hand-made carbon fiber racks – with Paragon ends (Josh isn’t 100% sure the front rack is structurally sound, these were mostly for show) and the exquisite Trans Am-inspired wet paint by Jordan Low.
I can almost hear the theme song playing as I’m typing this! See more 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!
I know when I come to NAHBS, I can always count on Aaron at Six-Eleven to have a track bike on display. In years past, he’s had some of my favorite bikes at the show and out of his entire fleet (the dude brought like 12 bikes, seriously), this one was my favorite.
Built in Virginia, to be raced in Portland, this machine has some pretty jamming details. Personally, I love the color and the Chris King bits, but the seatpost topper and fork crown are next level!
See more in the Gallery!
After I got done shooting these photos of Erik Noren and his Peacock Groove Minneapolis Moline Cargo Bike, I realized that he’s the only builder I ever do portraits with at NAHBS. There’s just something about his playful execution and less-than-serious themes.
That’s not to say his craftsmanship isn’t serious. The dude is an artist. Each year he makes two-wheeled artwork that stands out from the rest of the crowd.
I’m not from the Midwest but when he told me this was a Minneapolis Moline tractor homage, even I had heard of that company. This bike is rolling a 29+ rear, 20″ front, has two generator lamps, custom racks, a “hand shifting” front 2x Wolf Tooth setup and best of all: chains.
I can’t get over how thoughtful Erik’s work is. Peacock Groovy, baby. See more in the Gallery!
Yep. Everyone thought this project was shelved, but it’s alive and ready to roll out in Summer of 2014. The Thomson Elite Dropper Post will ship with both a cable and switch mechanism or this handy, under rail switch. Run it on your hardtail, rigid, or even *shudder* your cross bike.
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!