Trina Ortega is an editor at Mountainflyer magazine
Two guys saunter down a row at NAHBS, chatting about all of the great things they’ve seen so far, when one questions the other: "What would it take to come up with all this stuff, man?"
It made me think about the creative talent packed into the convention hall this weekend, which is by far the coolest "thing" I saw at NAHBS.
Joe Parkin is the editor of Bike and Paved magazines
Chris King spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 hours building his beautiful, all-stainless bike. Adding to the build time, King took on the task of making each of its lugs by hand. And accordingly, meeting the NAHBS deadline was a nail biter that involved pushing workdays into the wee hours of the morning.
Yes, the bike is beautiful.
James Huang is the technical editor at Cyclingnews.com and BikeRadar.com
My favorite thing at this year's NAHBS wasn't a bike, or a frame, or even a paintjob – but rather the fillet brazed seat cluster on a bare frame by David Kirk of Kirk Frameworks. In my mind, that seemingly insignificant nugget epitomizes all that NAHBS is supposed to be: the ideal pairing of form and function, a beautiful tribute to an ageless style of construction, and the embodiment of that endless search of utter perfection in a craft. It's just one small example of what sets these bikes apart from ones coming out of a factory and why an increasing number of discerning cyclists are opting to go with a custom builder.
In fact, it's almost a shame to cover up such workmanship with paint but it's satisfying nonetheless just to know that it's there. After now wrapping up my sixth straight NAHBS, you can be certain I'll be back for number seven.
Brian Riepe writes for Mountain Flyer Magazine
In the tech business they call it open source. In music it’s a jam session. Bill Gates wants to call it The Cloud, but simply put, it’s collective thought and shared ideas: the symbiotic melding of minds, resources, techniques or technologies. And it’s powerful.
The coolest thing at this show is something I see each year at NAHBS.
Kevin Sparrow writes for COG
For the fourth year in a row COG has tagged along with North America’s largest handmade bicycle show. This year’s bike were hot like Texas salsa. Some of the show stoppers where Cherubim’s track bike from the future, Bilenky’s Shelly Horton step through, and Bishop’s super clean track bikes. This year’s booth’s showcased nostalgic hometown mementos and refreshingly tasteful simplicity.
One noticeable addition to this year's show was the increased amount of cycle clothing and component booths mixed within the builders.
Jessop Neal writes for Out of Print magazine
NAHBS is always a myriad of activity and "AMAZING" around every corner, and this year in Austin, TX is no exception. It is, needless to say, hard to pick just one thing that was the coolest thing I saw at NAHBS today, but I have to say that the Sampson Aluminum cassette coated in a titanium nitride was pretty impressive.
The real beauty of this piece is brought to light when you pick it up and realize that it weighs in at a massive 88 grams, in case that did not drive the point home, it felt about like holding the cork of a wine bottle in your hand. The second wave of "wow" is introduced when you realize that it is made from a single slug of aluminum which aside from being impressive in itself, it also improves the stiffness of the piece. Looking at the back of it you can see that it is hollow and all connected rather than stacked cogs. Being hollowed out also helps in keeping the weight down. Durability is not lost in the quest to cut weight, you should get about 1,500-2,000 miles out of this cassette.
Rob Jones is the co-owner of CanadianCyclist.com
Picking the one 'coolest thing' at any show is always hard; there's stuff that jumps right out, but then there are the more subtle concepts, the ones that sneak up on you. What immediately comes to my mind is the Brett Horton custom bike project.
Brett Horton is a passionate collector of cycling memorabilia; the owner of one of the largest collections of cycling artwork, rider jerseys, bikes, catalogues, etc., in the world - www.thehortoncollection.com .
Last year, he decided he wanted to build a special bike for his wife, Shelly, and that it would be unique.
Christophe Jobic is the director of Riverside Publications and writes for the French magazineVelo Vert
I've seen a lot of amazing creatures on the NAHBS floor, and have been impressed by many bikes like Engin, Naked, Speedhound… But a bike at the Krencker booth took my breath away. This young French builder, which I didn't even know before this show, is doing top notch & high luxury bikes.
Zapata Espinoza is an editor atRoad Bike ActionSo many jewels are found within the treasure chest known as the NAHBS; Bishop, Calfee, Shamrock, Yipsan and all the others. But one guy brought not only his product and passion to the aisles, but his actual craft work as well - Ron Andrews at King Cage. Ten minutes spent at the one-man-run booth brought not only repeated tales of complete customer satisfaction with the cages, but best of all, a wide-eyed sense of wonder as attendees would watch Ron take some wire and bend it into a water cage.
Bob Cullinan owns CycleTo.com
The coolest thing I saw at the North American Handmade Bike Show is something that probably traveled the farthest to get to Austin, Texas.
Shin-ichi Konno of Cherubim Bicycles in Japan, the son of one of the three brothers who started the company back in 1965, brought the single-most eye-catching design to the show.
To say this bike is radical is like saying, "Oh, yeah...it's gonna get a little dark tonight." Konno-san's concept track bike is like nothing you've ever seen before.
With a swooping top tube that curves upward into a seat tube, this Cherubim is as much about pushing the envelope as it is pushing product.
Will something like this ever be sold and raced? The better question to ask is, "Would the staid, stoic old UCI ever approve a bike like this for competition?" Don't bet on it.
But we can all dream, can't we?