Our intrepid reporter, Jesse Pisel, was on the ground at the 2013 North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) and spotted a few new rigs from Alchemy Bicycle Company, Engin Cycles, Geekhouse Bikes, and Cielo Cycles.
We’ve profiled Nationals bronze medalist Nicole Duke’s Alchemy bikes before, but we wanted to snap a few more shots of it today, all cleaned up and kitted out at NAHBS. Complete with Zipp wheels with Clement PDX tires, a Chris King headset, ENVE fork, and a SRAM Red groupset, the Alchemy bike designed for Duke weighs in at 17 lbs. The front end is stiffer than a normal cyclocross bike, taking into account Duke’s background as a downhiller.
In this video, Alchemy Bicycle Company President Matt Simpson gives us a tour of the bike:
The Engin titanium frame with Di2 shifting and custom built Rol wheels had one more trick up it’s extremely custom sleeve: the newest brakes from TRP, the HyRd. The double-piston hydraulic hybrid is making its debut at the show, and in a big way. Cable runs from levers to the brake, and the hydraulic cylinder is on the brake itself. Check the gallery below for a closeup, but we’re expecting to see these brakes popping up a lot more next season. The bike itself is equipped with Rols wheels with Schwalbe Racing Ralph HT tires, and its brushed finish with polished logo (reminding us of our recently reviewed Mosaic frame) leaves it looking clean and modern.
We spoke with the builder, who told us that the rig has all hidden wires: “The wires go in the stem and that’s that.” It has a 135 rear end to accommodate the disc brakes but has a road crank. “It’s a workhorse. We designed it to be kind of stealthy, but it’s a bike meant to be ridden.”
The bikes at the show are all for customers, and while they normally do primarily steel, they’re premiering the titanium frame at this show. “We literally finished assembling it this morning, so we didn’t have a chance to weigh it,” he said of the cyclocross rig. “It was made for a customer. It has our new dropouts, exclusive for my bikes. We wanted a dropout that did everything I wanted: stiffen the rear end, give clearance, and have the replaceable rear derailleur hanger be a completely separate entity. That was the starting point. I wanted to do a disc brake cyclocross bike because of the dropouts, and the customer wanted a titanium bike with electronic shifting.”
He’s a fan of disc brakes: “You can hard brake before a turn with the utmost confidence and just rail the turn … This, you’re going to apply less braking because they’re going to work.” From now on, Engin will be focusing primarily on hydraulic brakes, now that TRP has introduced the HyDr.
And for wheels? “The IronCross tubless setup is going to be very popular.”
Components-wise, he didn’t pause. “Shimano. 100% Shimano. They’ve hit a home run in every category for the past three years straight.”
Want one for your bike quiver? There’s a one year wait time, and the steel frames are $2,500.
New England is a hotbed for singlespeed cyclocross racing, so it’s no surprise to see Geekhouse bringing out their singlespeed disc brake and carbon belt drive-equipped rig to the show. They also brought the Mudville out to play, and on both, the Chris King components (equally bright in color) are easy to spot.
Chris King’s frames may not be as well known as his colorful annodized headsets and components, but his Cielo frames are built in the same shop in Portland, Oregon. ENVE wheels and disc brakes complete the build. Stay tuned for a photo gallery of a tour inside the Chris King Studios that we did back in November.