By contributor Parker Feierbach.
Before anything else, a grand round of recognition and applause to Josh Culbertson of Avery County Cycles (http://www.averycountycycles.com/) from the NAHBS host city of Denver for having won Best New Builder. Look forward to this one.
If you didn’t have a chance to get out to the NAHBS this year, you’ll likely be hearing in the next few weeks, months, or year just how much there was to miss out on. The wealthy wave of continual innovation that sprang forth from the builders meant that over the three days, there was never nothing to look at and always something to have missed. Walking into the stadium-sized conference hall to the low din of 200 exhibitors and over 6000 visitors who made it to the show despite inclement weather, a person could be nothing less than impressed by the diversity of attendees.
The New Builder’s tables were lined up all against the east-facing wall, ensuring that they received first glance over previous exhibitors. Among these showstoppers was Harvey Cycle Works, sporting a comfortable all-steel built randonneur outfitted with a Schmidt SON28 SL Centerlock Connectorless front hub on stainless dropouts made by Kevin himself.
Bicycle Watanabe granted visitors to their stall with the clean lines of a white steel sportif. Gängl Custom Cycles, a Golden, CO builder with a history since the 1980’s brought forth a selection of notable frames made of all modern building materials from carbon to steel, outfitted with an utterly timeless finish. A significant display was also devoted to the Masi bike ridden in the 1979 Peter Yates film Breaking Away.
Among some of the more intriguing bikes seen at the NAHBS was the selection of machines built from alternative materials. There was a grand group of bamboo machines, but Sanomagic’s pure mahogany bicycles attracted many onlookers who didn’t expect the material. Sueshiro Sano has been building wooden frames since 2008, and in the racing world, he’s been getting results. His city bike and his race-ready road bike (with mahogany seats, mind you) were both equipped with Campagnolo Super Record 11 components.
Dean Cycles out of Boulder, CO came to the plate with a motley group of titanium cycles. I think the build quality speaks for itself when you can look at nothing more than a head tube and it looks like an oil painting. That picture is all the bike, folks. I just took the picture of it. Next, we have the gorgeous handlebars on Cherubim’s winner for Best City Bike.
The gleaming, anodized ‘King’ logo is almost a standard on custom frames these days, so Chris King got center stage at the convention, also showing off King’s line of Cielo frames, one of which we already featured here. Speaking with Kyle von Hoetzendorff, I found out that the Cielo line was actually King’s original line of frames, but in the shadow of the Chris King bearing company success, Cielo went dormant for a while. It was introduced experimentally at the 2008 NAHBS and so well received that they continued building. This year, they brought the whole variety, including an custom-built adventure bike ready for anything the world can and probably will throw at it on this years 2013 Tour Divide, and a cool, clean cyclocross frame built for mud and beer.
The darling of the NAHBS was almost indisputably Rob English’s TT frame, which ended up winning best in show. When it comes to talk about making a handmade bicycle, there are few that can call to definition the commitment that English Cycles can bring to the table. Though Rob did bring other machines with him including another custom-built adventure bike for the 2013 Tour Divide, the TT kept everyone’s attention with its almost alien-like design and ‘surprise’ button shifting on the aero bars. We’ll be seeing more of this bike, but for now get your juices flowing with pictures from the show itself.
Stay tuned, there’s still much more to be seen!