By contributor David Rangel.
NAHBS is the ultimate bike porn showcase. Leave Interbike to the retailers; Sea Otter is for the racers. But the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is for the craftsman and innovators that forge the business from the ground up, not the lab down. Walking around the show floor it’s easy to spend three days and still not see every detail. Some bikes, however, jump out into the aisle, grab you and shake you around before you can move on. Usually those bikes are built by Erik Noren, of Peacock Groove.
More properly, I should say Erik Noren IS Peacock Groove. As the sole builder, fabricator, idea man, and sales department he is the epitome of the one-man band. Always ready to talk bikes or life or philosophy, he’s one of the highlights of the show for me. And his bikes always bring the bling. He’s been criticized for prizing fashion over function, but anyone who can see past the large-glitter candy coat can see that the pipes under the flashy paint are joined well and well thought out.
Details are the highlights of Peacock Groove, and the ‘Lunch Box’ bike in the booth this year did not disappoint. Erik deliberately refused to put pedals on it at the show for fear that someone would not be able to resist and ride it around the Denver snow. The Voltron Force track bike might have gotten a little more press, but I wanted to document, and get the story behind, the Lunch Box instead.
From Erik: “The Lunch Box bike came about after a talk with the Handsome guys after I swindled a coaster brake hub from them. They asked me what was I gonna do with it. I squealed and said “FAT TIRE COASTER BRAKE BIKE!!”
“I wanted all along a bike that could be ridden by just about anyone in the shop for small lunch runs, beer pick ups, runs over to the machinist, to the post office, or just to the closest garage sale. I didn’t want to have to pedal on clip-less on my normal shoes. Platforms was the way! I just wanted something with platforms that was still cool, ride-able anytime by anyone, and that was a monster to see. So it just popped into my head: LUNCH BOX!! I wanted to do a bike that was a throwback to 60′s choppers and Rat Fink it out. I had never seen that done on a bike, so why not? A fat-bike with a coaster brake and crazy paint, with a ‘lunchbox’ rack to put your goods in.
Pure fun and style. That’s all Lunch Box is to me.”
On top of all that Eric Baar from Ground Up Speed Shop hand striped the frame on Saturday at the show, making it impossible not to take photos of it.
Erik Noren is notoriously lax when it comes to online presence. His bikes speak for themselves and his website is seldom updated. But trust me, it’s not for any reason other than he’s too busy building bikes and thinking up the next crazy idea to turn into a workable, sensible (albeit sometimes disco) two-wheeled transportation machine. Contact him via Facebook or email, to get questions answered. Or just send him some money for a bike and let the magic happen.