NAHBS 2012 may have been a week ago, but we’ve got a ton of profiles of handmade cyclocross bikes and builders from NAHBS still to come. Check back often for more eye candy and new cyclocross products, and view our recent NAHBS 2012 cyclocross coverage.
by Kevin White
This year’s eighth running of North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Sacramento didn’t disappoint, and if you’ve been following our site since the show, you’ve certainly already seen plenty of beautiful handmade cyclocross bikes. Examples of work being done all over the country were on display and while the majority of the bicycles were indeed built in North America, a number of overseas builders made the trek to give the crowd a taste of what is being produced abroad.
Baum Cycles, located just outside of Melbourne, Australia, was one such producer, with examples of road, track, mountain and cyclocross builds. Darren Baum, owner and frame builder, began making bikes in 1989 as a self-described “16-year-old that didn’t know any better.” Baum recalled how teen finances and the desire for a bicycle was an early incentive to begin custom fabrication: “I really couldn’t afford one of them, I reckoned I could do just as good, so I’ll just build it. No one told me you couldn’t.” After a career as an aircraft engineer and TIG welder, Baum returned to building bicycles and has now been doing so full-time for 11 years.
The Turanti, Baum’s cyclocross bike featured at this year’s NAHBS, is the company’s new fully-butted and TIG-welded titanium dirt-riding machine. Steel and plain gauge models are also available. Baum admitted that cyclocross racing in Australia hasn’t experienced the same boom as in the US yet, but there is a demand for a dedicated dirt bike capable of tackling both road and trail applications.
“We’ve got awesome, awesome dirt roads, unbelievably great terrain, and it’s what this bike is really designed for,” said Baum. “We run a little bit of a lower bottom bracket and it handles a bit more like a road bike.” For those that prefer a more traditional cyclocross geometry, the company can take the base design and tweak it to suite the individual rider’s needs. An oversized down-tube, disc brakes, Press Fit 30 bottom bracket or a specific diameter seat post are all no problem either. “We can really spec it to whatever your needs are,” said Baum. “Our customer base is everything from world champions to 75-year-old grandmothers and I’m happy to build anything in between as long as its got two wheels.” Painting is done in-house as well and the Turanti on display showcased the possibilities with a nicely matching stem, seat post and fork.
Baum’s titanium and steel bicycles are distributed in the US through Above Category Cycling in Mill Valley, California. If you happen to be in Australia, tours are available of Baum Cycle’s shop, complete with its fabrication and painting facilities. The company also offers a complete in-house fitting service, but you will have to make the trip to Australia to take advantage of it.
Check back for more eye candy and new cyclocross products from Sacramento, and view our recent NAHBS 2012 cyclocross coverage.