The Best of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2012
NAHBS 2012 may have come and gone, but we’ve rounded up all of our galleries, interviews, sneak peaks and other goodies from our coverage of the show in Sacremento. If you missed any of our coverage, now’s the time to catch up (and maybe start thinking about ordering a new frame for September!)
Biggest Year Yet for NAHBS
The North American Handmade Bicycle Show continued its increasingly successful run with what many exhibitors at the Sacramento Convention Center for the annual show, March 2-4, regarded as the most vibrant and well attended in the event’s eight-year history. NAHBS showcases the talents of bicycle frame builders around the world whose functional art form is the bicycle. It aims to be a meeting point– both online and in person– for frame builders and consumers looking for custom-made bikes, for the sharing of ideas, and the promotion of a special industry with a rich history dating back to 1819.
DeSalvo Custom Cycles Shows Off Titanium, Talks Cyclocross
Cyclocross is a big portion of his own frame building at DeSalvo Custom Cycles, and the Ashland, Oregon-based builder said the majority of his builds are from titanium or steel, with titanium surpassing steel recently. His teal blue and pink-accented titanium cyclocross bike featured S-bend titanium seat stays, top tube-routed full rear derailleur cable housing, down tube front derailleur cable routing, and an oversized head tube with a 44mm Chris King Inset headset. The over-sized head tube allows adoption of a tapered steerer fork in the future if the customer desires.
Appleman Bicycles’ Carbon Cyclocross Bike
Matt Appleman’s show bike was his personal machine: a versatile cyclocross creation with mechanical disc brakes and internal cable routing for the brake and shift systems with a raw carbon finish and a neat, textured cut-out graphic applied directly to the raw tubes. Appleman uses custom tube layup for every customer based on application, customer weight, and desired ride quality, all made to order by Enve composites for Matt, and then assembles the frame via tube-to-tube construction.
Tim O’Donnell and Shamrock Cycles’ Steel Cyclocross Bikes
Tim O’Donnell, the owner of Shamrock Cycles in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been building frames since 2003 and uses steel exclusively. He brought some prime examples of his handiwork to the show including a commuter bike that shared the award for best city bike and a custom cyclocross race bike. “I started building steel bikes because I liked riding steel bikes,” said O’Donnell. “When I wasn’t paying attention my hobby became self-funded hobby … and it became a career. I don’t really know when that happened.”
A Different Approach to NAHBS – Interview with Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster Cycles
Sadoff is proud of his work and experience, but doesn’t celebrate aesthetics over function. Instead, he’s proud that bikes have won national championships (including Aaron Bradford’s singlespeed title in 2012 in Madison) and seems to take more joy in having more cyclists be happy customers, rather than the length of his wait list, the hours spent painting the frame, or a sky-high price tag. With his experience, reputation and so many repeat customers, he certainly could charge quite a bit more for his frames (aluminum cyclocross frames start at $1350) and make fewer frames in a year, but chooses not to. Whether that makes him a poor businessman, a builder who has stayed true to his roots, or both, simply depends on who you ask.
Ira Ryan Cycles of Portland, Oregon
It’s no secret that Portland, Oregon, has a thriving bicycle community. The city consistently ranks among the top of the “US most bike-friendly cities” lists, bicycle commuting numbers are up and starting fields at the local cyclocross races are often 100 participants deep. It’s no wonder that the state is turning out some great handmade bicycle frames, and several of the Oregon builders were on hand at this year’s NAHBS showing off their work. We caught up with Ira Ryan, one of the Portland-based builders who, in addition to bringing an example of his custom cargo bike offerings, had on hand a fully race-ready cyclocross bike just completed for Catherine Moore (Bicycles Outback), the 2011 Women’s Texas state cyclocross champion.
Baum Cycles of Australia and the Turanti Titanium Cyclocross Bike
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.
Independent Fabrication’s Titanium Factory Lightweight Cyclocross Bike and Gary Smith Interview
Independent Fabrication has long been building cyclocross bikes, ever since company was founded by former Fat City employees in 1995. They launched the steel Planet Cross just a year after the company was formed, and riders like Tim Johnson and Johs Huseby have ridden them to countless victories, including a National Championship by Johnson on a steel Planet Cross. Perhaps the most eye-catching bike at the show was Independent Fabrication’s disc-brake equipped Ti Factory Lightweight Cyclocross bike. The bike is the newest model of the company’s “Factory Lightweight” series that includes titanium and steel road, mountain and cyclocross bikes designed specifically to race. The series is what owner Gary Smith calls an “homage to the 60′s era muscle cars where you strip out all the unnecessary weight and get it down to a pure race machine.”
An Interview with Richard Sachs on NAHBS, Cyclocross and the Return of Dan Timmerman
Richard Sachs has been building bikes as long as anyone, and remains one of the the “Original Six” (now “Original Five”) builders who have attended the show each and every year. For a passerby, you might think he drags the same beautiful lugged bikes to the show every year, but there certainly have been some changes and improvements over the years. One such change has been his move to the PegoRichie tubing that he began using in 2005, developed in conjunction with Italian builder Dario Pegoretti after their dissatisfaction with the tubing that was available. Another change he’s made has been his switch to vertical dropouts for his cyclocross team bikes, for faster accurate rear wheel changes. These are part of the continuing evolution of a builder’s bicycle that he discusses in part one of the video interview. He’s also changed his componentry, adopting the wider rims of Cole wheels, and switching to SRAM drivetrains from Campagnolo.
Moots Cycles’ Winning Titanium PsychloX RSL Cyclocross Bike
NAHBS judges in Sacramento finally got an opportunity to appreciate the same bike you’ve seen, and came to a similar conclusion — it’s a stunning, well-executed race-worthy cyclocross bike, worthy of the Best Cyclocross Bike award along with Six Eleven Bicycle Co.’s brazed steel cyclocross beauty. Moots’ 2012 NAHBS build featured an even higher spec of components than our test bike, with a SRAM Red drivetrain, TRP Magnesium EuroX cantilever brakeset, Moots titanium seatpost and stem, a Moots carbon cyclocross fork, a 3T Team Ergonova carbon handlebar, and Zipp’s 303 Firecrest carbon tubular wheels dressed with Challenge Grifo tubulars.
Bruce Gordon Re-Releases Rock ‘n Road Tire, Shows off Mixed Terrain Bikes
Bruce Gordon said he only made the Rock ‘n Road tire for about a year, but fast forward twenty four years, and with the incredible popularity of the 29er, wide 700c off-road capable tires have nearly become extinct. While there still are tires like the Panaracer Fire XC 45c tire and some narrower Specialized and Bontrager 29er tires, Bruce Gordon has recognized an opportunity and commissioned Panaracer to recreate the original Rock ‘n Road tire.
Paul Components Unveils New MiniMoto Mini V-Brake for Cyclocross
Paul’s Components introduced a new mini-linear pull brake, the MiniMoto, at NAHBS. A beautiful alternative to cantilevers for cyclocross and competing directly with the TRP CX 8.4 mini V-brake, the new MiniMoto brake has asymmetrically curved arms that are about 84 mm from the pivot to the cable anchor and use Paul’s famous sealed pivot bushing and adjustable spring tension on each arm. They come complete with a special cable noodle with a barrel adjuster at the top. The pivot for the noodle is manufactured for Paul Components by Paragon Machine Works in Richmond, California.
Six Eleven Bicycle Co.’s Winning Steel Cyclocross Bike
Six Eleven Bicycle Co., from Roanoke, Virginia, has attended the North American Handmade Bicycle Show for just three years, and in those three years, Aaron Dykstra has won three awards, beginning with the Rookie of the Year in 2010, Best Track Frame in 2011, and now in 2012 in Sacramento, Dykstra has tied for first place with Moots’ Psychlo-X RSL in the Best Cyclocross Bike category. It’s an impressive record for the relatively new builder.
Custom Cyclocross Bike Gallery: Peacock Groove
Minneapolis’ Erik Noren builds custom steel bikes under the name Peacock Groove. He chose the name because he likes the way a Peacock struts through a field, and like a Peacock, Noren strutted his stuff with his three stunning cyclocross bikes on display at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
Shimano Unveils New CX75 Cyclocross Mechanical Disc Brake, Cyclocross Gearing and Wheels
As seen with the introduction of the CX70 cyclocross component group in 2011 (reviewed in Issue 16), the Japanese component giant Shimano has started to take cyclocross seriously, and today at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the company has unveiled a new mechanical disc brake for cyclocross racers that is scheduled to be ready for this fall.
Custom Cyclocross Bike Gallery, Part 1: Zullo, Mosaic, Richard Sachs, Caletti
Nearly every builder at the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show had at least one cyclocross bike on display, with many builders bringing two or three bikes to showcase. It’s almost an overwhelming amount of eye candy for a cyclocross bike geek, regardless of whether you are a steel-barcon-shifting retro-grouch or a hydraulic disc brake and electronic shifting dreamer. Here, we have galleries featuring bikes from Zullo, hailing from Verona, Italy, Mosaic from Boulder, Colorado, Caletti Cycles from Santa Cruz, and Richard Sachs from Western Massachusetts.
SyCip Bikes’ Cross Dresser Cyclocross Bike, Jeremy SyCip Interview
Clifford Lee of Cyclocross Magazine caught up with Jeremy SyCip of SyCip Bikes at NAHBS 2012 in Sacramento for a quick interview. Jeremy has building bikes since 1992 after apprenticing with Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster, and certainly has picked up the art of welding quickly, building his own brand into a well-recognized NorCal name. Sadoff certainly isn’t surprised by SyCip’s success, and had nothing but accolades for his former protégé, even going as far as to say Jeremy is the “new master” due to his creativity.
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