“The bike is just a vessel in a sea of play” is Machine Cycles’ mantra. Builder Kyle Ward is left-handed, an architect and an artist who happens to enjoy building bicycle frame. From the few moments we spent discussing design and custom bicycles, I could tell Kyle has that special spark that motivates people to do great things. Or at least really beautiful things…
This bike wowed me at first and continued to with each new detail that I discovered. That paint? Inspired by a pair of socks Kyle was wearing the day he painted the bike. The navy blue fork and saddle are beautiful touches and the turquoise notes accent the matte brown. For tubing, there’s a lot going on: True Temper OX Platinum with stainless stays and a custom titanium stem.
Days get long photographing bikes at NAHBS, but this one was a pleasure. That bike has a mean stance, yet a soft and playful demeanor. Machine Cycles has a really great website, so head on over and check it out.
Max Lundbeck brought a rather unique bike to NAHBS this year. A cross bike for himself, this vibrant rig represents his Swedish heritage. His family has a tradition, a heritage box, which represents each male in their family that has had a son. This box dates back to 1797 and its latest entry is Max’s own son.
These names are painted on the seat tube and the frame itself is adorned in the Swedish flag’s colors. For the build itself, Max wanted a cross bike that he could commute on. Hence the fender stand-offs, eating up some of that extra clearance.
Campagnolo Chorus with a Shimano top pull, Brooks Cambium saddle and bar wrap, along with Ruffy Tuffy tires mean this race-ready rig will be rolling smooth year round.
For it being LoveBaum Bicycles‘ first year at NAHBS, I’d say it was a successful one. Winning the “Rookie” award is quite the honor for the framebuilding pairing from Denver. While their curved seat tube track machine was very much about performance and style this bike is all about customization. Chad Lovings, the other half of LoveBaum, recently completed this build, an all-road bike that oozes that ever-present NAHBS panaché.
For starters, the client’s initials have been carved from the seat tube cluster lug. A bold, cursive KP with crisp lug lining is the highlight of the frame, while other details like the internal routing and custom stem are equally as pristine, yet flow so well, they disappear in the overall package.
Built from a True Temper S3 and Nova, Chad used Fillet Pro to create smooth transitions, tube to tube. Finally, a rust orange and forest green sparkle paint job makes this bike pop with gold lug lining and dropout cell fill. For the build kit, the client went with Ultegra Di2, ENVE, Challenge Almanzo tires and Chris King.
Does this bike deserve the “Rookie of the Year” award? Oh yeah…
Curtis Inglis’ company Retrotec is located in Napa Valley, California. Not exactly full fat territory, but as we all know, riding fatbikes can be fun in any terrain. For Curtis, building countless plump-tire bikes finally wore on him, resulting in not only the Best Mountain Bike award, but a new steed in his personal stable.
With a custom-painted Pass and Stow rack, PAUL Klampers, PAUL thru-axles and XTR, it has all the bling of a show bike and the stance of a trail beast. This is my personal favorite fatbike in the show…
I’m not even going to tell you what GRD stands for, because I’m sure you can guess. The newest prototype fork from ENVE is not what it appears to be. Cross fork? Nope. Road fork? Not really. The GRD is a new axle-to-crown dimension, offering a little more clearance than a road fork, yet not as much as a cross fork, at a rake more friendly for road bikes.
It’s that nuanced, middle ground that enough frame builders have requested from ENVE and after a good amount of internal discussion, they’ve finally responded to their demands. Thru-Axle compatible and an integrated, yet removable fender to keep your downtube, feet and legs clean while you’re tearing through muddy, wet roads.
This particular Moots has a few nifty prototype items on it, which I’ll be covering later next week. Detail oriented readers will spot that thru-axle, disc, Chris King hub though…
Aptos, California’s Black Cat Bicycles is a jack of all trades and a master of them all. Fit, frame construction and paint are all done in house by Todd Ingermanson, the self-described one man dance party. His bikes are purpose-driven with elegance. Todd will always fit a bend or two in one of his bikes.
Having been shredding a mountain frame from him over the past few weeks, I can attest to how they ride.
For NAHBS this year, Todd brought a couple of gems with him. An Operation Thunder Monkey rowdy 29’r hard tail and this all-road disc bike. Fitted with Clément X’plor USH tires, a Brooks Cambium, Shimano from head to toe and a custom fillet stem it’s hard to overlook this cherry red beauty. Oh and that paint, yeah…
While we’re on the subject, head over to Black Cat Bicycles to see Todd’s brand new website and follow him on Instagram!
LoveBaum is a framebuilder pairing from Denver, Colorado started by Chad Lovings and Bryce Baumann. The two initially met in Rifle, Colorado at Yamaguchi’s framebuilding school. Shortly after leaving, they decided to begin building together under the name LoveBaum.
The two bikes at NAHBS bearing the LoveBaum name immediately caught my attention in the rookie builder hallway. The first being this curved seat tube track bike. Made from a mix of True Temper and Columbus Life tubing, Bryce intends to put its stiffness and design to the boards at his local velodrome.
White Industries hubs laced to no-name carbon rims and Challenge Pista tires are powered by the AARN chainring and Dura Ace cranks, polished to a shine. With custom leather work by Carson Leh, the contact points on this bike are different than your average track bike.
A Leh top tube protector keeps the custom fillet brazed bar and stem from chipping the top tube’s beautiful pearlescent paint. This is probably one of the most elegant track bikes at the show and has won me over.
He’s back. Eddy’s back. Well, Fat Chance is back and the by-product of a successful Kickstarter launch, Yo Eddy! has returned as well. The spirit and soul of Fat Chance has been resurrected and the modern rendition will leave you all antsy.
A lot has changed since Chris Chance shut down his company. Full suspension, dropper posts, disc brakes, hell, steel has been forgotten by the industry – for the most part. When beginning to understand what the market wanted, Chris kept the modus operandi the same as it’s always been: build bikes that are fun to ride and still highly shreddable.
That’s where we’re at with the Yo Eddy!
Dropper post, 44mm head tube, tight rear end and ample tire clearances. This model in particular is 1x thanks to SRAM and is stiff at the feet with WTB’s first ever carbon, tubeless rim. I’m in heaven! Fluoro, trail illuminating heaven. I don’t know about you, but I’m stoked to see this brand making a comeback.
A few notes: this bike is the first sample. The 433mm chainstays are the same as the 27.5 bike. For production, they will be lengthened. Also, Fat Chance is waiting on custom drawn stays for production, so they’ll change a bit as well.
Hopefully you guys got on that pre-order… I’m kicking myself!
Say, for argument’s sake, that you’re the owner of Henry James Bicycles, the main supplier of True Temper tubing, various lugs and tools. You know just about every framebuilder in the USA and have seen their work in great detail. So when it comes to select a builder to construct your dream bike, who do you call?
For Hank from Henry James, he looked to Santa Barbara’s Stinner Frameworks. When he found out about the beloved Mudfoot cyclocross bikes, he wanted in, but not being on the team, Aaron and painter Jordan Low designed Hank his own paint job.
Arguably my favorite from Low, this bike has pizzaz. With matte and glossy notes, a pearl top coat and yes, stripes with fades, Hank’s bike is a show stopper. SRAM Red 22, Chris King, ENVE and cyclocross tires with minimal tread will take on the fire roads, trails and tracks surrounding Henry James’ facilities in SoCal.
In fact, this bike looks so damn good, I might have to visit them to see it in the wild… If you’re at NAHBS, swing by the Henry James booth at #636 to see it in person.
Each year, NAHBS presents challenges. Both to frame builders and believe it or not, me. As “media” it’s my job to document these bikes and deliver delicious galleries to you, the readers. Now, don’t interpret that in a negative light, because truthfully, it’s my favorite time of year.
Over the past few years, there have been plenty of spaces to photograph bikes, especially outside. This year however, mother nature dropped a blanket of ice and snow on NAHBS’ host city of Louisville, Kentucky. Which presented me with a problem…
Backtracking a bit… For the past few weeks, I’ve been checking out Google street view and photos of the convention center only to realize, I’d spend a lot of time photographing bikes indoors. Luckily, I’ve come prepared and while I don’t think everything is completely dialed in just yet, I’m a lot more confident with my setup.
Tonight, the kind people at Henry James allowed me to experiment some on their two beautiful Stinner Frameworks Disc Cross Bikes. The first one being Ryan from Henry James’ wife’s bike. Jenny’s an avid mountain biker and this will be her first “drop bar” bike. To give her confidence, Ryan decided to go with disc brakes and SRAM’s CX-1 group, the closest thing to her MTB kit. From there, Boyd‘s disc cross rims and Chris King’s components topped off this bike with ease.
As for the paint, there’s only one man who paints bikes like that: Jordan Low. His paint design and execution really brought Aaron from Stinner Frameworks’ craftsmanship… and those colors!