2023 MADE Bike Show Hype: John Rowley’s Custom Neuhaus Metalworks 29er

Visually speaking there are few bikes as wonderfully simplistic as a rigid singlespeed mountain bike. There’s something both minimal and pure about this permutation of the mountain bike genealogy. Across the rigid singlespeed spectrum, certain phenotypes vary, depending on the terrain and are mostly related to tire and gearing selection but when it comes to a bare bones mountain bike, there’s nothing more pure.

John Rowley owns Rowley Farmhouse Ales here in Santa Fe. He’s a chemist by trade and has several custom bikes, all designed to address a various niche within the cycling spectrum. This bike, a custom Neuhaus Metalworks rigid 29er, has been on my radar since John took delivery of it and I finally got to document it so let’s check it out as a pre-cursor to our 2023 MADE Bike Show coverage below.

A Super Custom Neuhaus Metalworks

We’ve spent a lot of time this year covering Neuhaus Metalworks. If you aren’t up to speed on the California-based framebuilding duo, check out our archive stories first:

The TL;DR: Neuhaus manufactures steel and titanium drop bar road and hardtail mountain bikes. While offering base models and an impressive range of sizing options, Daniel and Nick will always take on fully-custom frame designs. The latter being the case, of course, for John Rowley’s bike featured here.

I reached out to Nick from Neuhaus to ask about this bike. Here’s what he had to say:

“I think the story behind that bike is that John “needed” a Hummingbird based on his use, but wanted something unique and special. Our processes and the engineering allowed us to create the unique bike that he wanted but with all the same qualities and known outcome of the production Hummingbird. “

The Hummingbird is Neuhaus’ XC mountain bike, designed around a 80-130mm travel suspension fork and 29er wheels. Upon first glance at the drive-side photo, it might appear that this is a standard Hummingbird but with a rigid fork. Don’t let your eyes deceive you.

A Twin TT Custom Hummingbird

What’s cool about Neuhaus’ framebuilding process is that if Daniel (the 3D modeling/design/engineer half of the brand) can model it, the facilities they use for the 3D sintering can make it. Meaning, for John Rowley’s custom, Daniel could take the angles and tubing profiles and 3D print a bespoke seatstay cluster to accommodate the twin top tube design. Neuhaus’ standard cable mounts were then run along the underside of the top tube, one for the brake and one for a future derailleur.

So why do this detail? Well, there are a few reasons. Bikes as far back as the 1800s used twin top tube designs. Yet they are most common in the klunkers and cruisers of mid-century Schwinns. Later, this vernacular was applied to modern klunkers and cruisers, which is where this bike clearly took inspiration. Nick from Neuhaus laid it all out for me last week:

“The twin top tube uses straight gauge chromoly. There are very few options for butted tubes below 1” and even those are scarce. Most 7/8” and below would be a tapered tube intended for a seat or chain stay and wouldn’t be a good fit for use as a top tube(s). For a bike John’s size we wouldn’t want any more flex than we got with the configuration the frame has. If we were to build this frame for a smaller rider the first step would be to adjust the tubing diameter and then adjust wall thickness for some fine adjustment of ride quality and front-end feedback, but we would still stick with a straight gauge chromoly tube. “

This bike fits me perfectly, save for the saddle height being a little too low but I was able to mash it around en route to documenting it. The ride quality—in terms of rear-end stiffness—is very similar to my Retrotec which dons a twin top tube made from bent straight gauge as well.

A Build Kit With a Lot of MUSA Goods

The standout feature of John’s Neuhaus is the rigid fork, which he bought from a UK bike company called Bird. Now, Bird doesn’t have these forks in stock anymore, but a Facebook post from December 2021 lays out the specs:

“They have a 505mm A2C which is equivalent to a 160mm 27.5″ fork and a 130mm 29″ fork at 30% sag… They weigh a mere 1320g with the included axle and come in gloss black to suit all frame colors.”

John had the fork and frame powdercoated by Prismatic Powders in Albuquerque at Absolute Powdercoating; Illusion Violet for the fork and Pearls 1 and Pearls 2 for the frame.

While the fork is made in Taiwan, the components on this bike are mostly Made in the USA by brands like Endless Bike, Paragon Machine Works, Wheels MFG, Wolf Tooth, Sensus Crue, BTCHN, Paul Component Engineering, Chris King, ENGIN, and White Industries, who custom anodized these cranks for John. What I giggled at was the AXS dropper, which is appropriate for our terrain here but is by far the most high-tech component on the bike. For gearing, John selected 32:22, perfect for our mountainous terrain.

It’s hard to deny the appeal of rigid singlespeed mountain bikes. John’s custom Neuhaus began as a Hummingbird but quickly evolved to something unique from the Neuhaus shop. Through utilizing 3D-printed/sintered components, Neuhaus was able to incorporate some clever design details on the bike, while still incorporating a stunning chainstay yoke to allow for up to a 2.8″ tire clearance (depending on the tire and rim combo).

Thanks to John from Rowley Farmhouse Ales for letting me document this bike and to Bailey at Sincere Cycles for facilitating the hand-off! By the way, how good are Bailey’s new bottles? Designed by Bicidelacruz in ABQ. Call Sincere Cycles to order some. ;-)

Build Spec:

  • Frame: Neuhaus Metalworks 29er
  • Fork: Bird Rigid 29er / PMW Thru-axle
  • Stem: Paul Component Engineering Boxcar
  • Bars: Ti BTCHN (16º x 4º upsweep)
  • Headset: White Industries
  • Brake Levers:  Paul Short Pull
  • Brake Calipers: Paul Klamper
  • Grips: Deity
  • Shifter: N/A
  • Dropper Post: SRAM AXS
  • Dropper Lever: SRAM AXS
  • Seat Clamp: ENGIN
  • Saddle: Ergon SM Enduro Pro
  • Cages: King Cage
  • Cranks: White Industries
  • Chainring: Wolf Tooth CAMO
  • Pedals: Sensus Crue
  • BB: Wheels MFG (custom T47 Dub BB swapped to 30mm bearings)
  • Derailleur: N/A
  • Cassette: Endless Bike Co 22t
  • Chain: SRAM PX
  • Hubs: Chris King MTB
  • Rims: Race Face ARC30
  • Tires: Maxxis


We’ll be featuring more Neuhaus at the 2023 Made Bike Show this week so stay tuned!