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.
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.
Brookyln’s Weis Manufacturing first made an appearance here on the Radavist not too long ago. With their asymmetrical seat stays and robust dropout design, the look and feel of their framesets felt very unique to me. After seeing their bikes in person, it further solidified this. While their construction is top-notch, I couldn’t help but be drawn into their Splatter Track finish, which was executed perfectly, in my opinion anyway, by the paint shop at Horse Cycles.
The team from Stinner Frameworks brought one of their most outrageous paint jobs to this year’s NAHBS. I always find it ironic that disruptive patterning attracts so much attention, but that’s what happens when you cover a single speed mountain frame entirely with Splittermuster 31-inspired graphics. It was an all-hands-on-deck situation leading up to NAHBS at Stinner, with the paint job alone taking four days to complete. Each layer of patterning took 5 hours to just peel and apply the mask. I’m not usually one for fancy paint jobs on a mountain bike, but this bike is complete insanity. Then, to up the ante, the same pattern was used in the custom Yanco bags.
Let’s not get too caught up on the finish, however. Even though this bike is shown with a rigid fork, it can be converted to a hardtail configuration with the Cane Creek Angleset headset, which adjusts the head tube angle between .5º and 1.5º, enough to allow the use of an appropriate travel fork. For now, however, the Whisky fork and cockpit, Whisky rims, Chris King hubs, along with the Thomson dropper makes this a lightweight and completely capable single track assault vehicle.
NAHBS isn’t always about $3,000 paint jobs, expensive carbon components, and electronic shifting. For Squid Bikes, their paint jobs cost more in time than they do in materials and the sky’s the limit for their designs. This year at NAHBS, the bike that jumped out at me was this tracklocross fixed gear built with Paul Components and White Industries, using their ‘cross bike frameset. There’s even a nifty little stash container built-in to the handlebar end to keep things even sketchier… but still safe. This bike beckons for some #RubberSideUp action.
We’re kicking off NAHBS this year with a unique build by Kentucky’s Stanridge Speed. A client in New York City contacted Adam about building a him a unique track bike, prompting Adam to design and construct an homage to the 3Rensho Broad Axe, a frame from cycling’s heyday of experimental design. For the build, Adam used various tubing specs and construction techniques, a custom-manufactured Phil Wood left hand hub, ENVE hoops, FSA Olympic-spec Vision Metron cranks, FSA Metron 5d bars, and paint by Jordan Low. As far as track bikes here at the show, this one takes the cake…
For many, a New Year means time for reflection, and time for prospectives. For cyclists, this often includes planning out a build for a planned ride or perhaps updating your favorite bike with new gear. Perhaps that’s the motivation for many of you to visit this site. For us at the Radavist, we look at all the data from the past year’s content and begin to understand more what you, the readers, love to see here on the site.
Every bicycle on this list should come as no surprise. It was one of the most difficult selections in the history of this site, as almost all of these Beautiful Bicycles delivered similar metrics. We pulled these from the archives based on traffic, social media chatter and commentary. They’re displayed in no particular order. Omitted are bicycle reviews and completely bone stock production models – like the Jim Merz Sequoia and All-City Cosmic Stallion.
Thrown in, making it a baker’s dozen, is our top 2017 NAHBS pick as well. Without further adieu, here’ the Lucky 13 Beautiful Bicycles of 2017! (more…)