The bikes of the podium winners, as they appeared on stage and by height ©Josh Liberles

The bikes of the podium winners, as they appeared on stage and by height ©Josh Liberles

by Josh Liberles

Het Fairwheel Podium is a new concept store that just opened in the cyclocross hotbed of Portland, Oregon, and like any modern shop worth its salt, there’s some cool cyclocross gear in the house. Emiliano Jordan, a Tucson, Arizona, transplant who helped to build Tucson shop Fairwheel Bicycles’ online presence, opened the physical Het Fairwheel offshoot both to increase exposure for the high-end product lines which Fairwheel distributes as well as to serve as a bicycle gallery for a variety of cool two-wheeled creations.

By lucky happenstance, “podium” is Dutch for stage, and perhaps can be stretched to “gallery,” and that’s how the shop got its name. And the bikes of the three podium winners at this year’s US National Championships were on display for Het Fairwheel’s grand opening. I got a chance for an up-close look at Todd Wells’ custom Specialized, Ryan Trebon’s Kona Major Jake, and Jeremy Powers’ Cannondale SuperX. Check out the photo gallery below to get a glimpse for yourself, but if you happen to be in the area, I encourage you to go and ogle them for yourselves.

Powers chooses a cushy Prologo saddle with a cut-out ©Josh Liberles

Powers chooses a cushy Prologo saddle with a cut-out ©Josh Liberles

The bikes under Wells, Trebon and Powers have had plenty of attention already, but it’s hard to resist another look, and it’s interesting to look for patterns in the bikes of the country’s top riders. Trebon, who joined teammate Barry Wicks in riding custom Kona frames not available to the public in years past, also joined his Tower-mate on a stock production Kona this year now that the company started producing the stiff, all-carbon Major Jake. Wells, however, went in the opposite direction: he has a one-off aluminum bike, despite the fact that Specialized recently released its own lineup of carbon bikes this past season. Wells’ bike has the aluminum tubing from the company’s Transition lineup, but with custom geometry. One astute “Podium” visitor astutely pointed out that it’s a treatment not dissimilar to the custom Specialized road bike that Tom Boonen powered when his Quick Step team was sponsored by the company – except the Pro Tour Belgian’s rigs were super-expensive custom carbon frames. Powers – and his Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com teammates – have also made the move to a carbon frame with Cannondale’s SuperX, and they’ve all been extremely complimentary of the company’s new stock bikes.

The other thing that’s apparent, especially in the midst of all the surrounding super-light gear at Het Fairwheel, is that weight is definitely not the primary concern for these medal-winning cyclocross rigs. The saddles in particular are a place of comfy material over weight savings. And water bottle bosses were the norm – even on Wells’ custom setup. Apparently we’re not the only ones who enjoy long, romantic (and hydrated) rides in the woods with our bikes. Many more photos below.

Parlee Custom Cyclocross Build

The new Parlee CX bike, as seen at NAHBS ©Jason Prince

The new Parlee CX bike, as seen at NAHBS ©Jason Prince

Also on display at Het Fairwheel was a sweet bonded carbon Parlee cyclocross bike fresh from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). In addition to a beautiful all-carbon frame constructed of Enve tubes and an Enve cyclocross fork, the build boasted ultra-high-end Lightweight tubular wheels and a combination of one-off custom-made components and other bits and pieces that are part of the Fairwheel distribution catalog. The complete bike features a Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed kit, THM Rib compact cranks with 48/36 rings, a Tune headset, seatpost and saddle, and other small but attractive (and affordable) details like the new Parts of Passion headset spacers and KCNC anodized chain ring bolts for color coordination.

Fairwheel, which has gained notoriety at September’s Interbike for its 6-pound “lightest bike in the world” and its modification project to make Shimano Di2 shift sequentially on a mountain bike, has put together an impressive – and very rideable – cyclocross option that weighs in at an impressive 14.33 pounds.

Parlee Cyclocross frame ($5,500 Semi-custom, $6,500 Full Custom)
THM Rib
46/38 Compact Carbon Cranks
Lightweight Tubular
wheels
Custom bars:
one-piece bonded carbon handlebars/titanium stem
Tune headset
(63.5g)
Tune Komm-Vor Saddle
(97g)
Tune Starks Stuck
aluminum seatpost (180g for 340mm)
KCNC Skewers
(42g)
World Bicycle Supply
leather handlebar tape, cork bar ends
Parts of Passion
(P.O.P.) 10mm spacers (3.1g)
Additional custom design detailing by Geoff McFetridge, Champion Graphics
Weight: 14.33lbs as built. Cost ranges from $8-$9,000, depending on build specifics

Bikes of 2010 Cyclocross Nationals Photo Gallery:

Parlee Photo Gallery:

Find more info on Parlee bikes’ website and the Het Fairwheel Podium website.