NAHBS - News NAHBS News en-us Fri, 17 Sep 2021 22:11:37 UTC (Todd Heckeler) (Todd Heckeler) NAHBS 2011 Guest Blog: The Cool Pool of Creative Talent Mon, 28 Feb 2011 20:32:04 +0000 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. There are the aesthetically edgy concepts (sexy curves of steel snugged around rear wheels; twisted top tubes and head tubes that look like old-fashioned candy sticks) and there are classic, clean lines). There is the experimentation with different materials (mixing and matching steel alloys; carbon fiber and titanium; composite woods and bamboo). There are exquisite lugs, sophisticated welds, and colorful components. Even the tools that framebuilders use are cool.

The engineers/designers in this industry have invested a huge amount of creative capital in their work. The payback is a new customer and sometimes even better, accolades from a fellow framebuilder.

Whether the designer is more into the artsy side or utilitarian end or combines the two, the heart of the hand-built industry is within the answer to that original question: What would it take to come up with all this stuff? And it still comes back to a simple answer: A love of bicycles.

]]> NAHBS 2011 Guest Blog: Labor of Love Mon, 28 Feb 2011 19:55:35 +0000 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. Yes, you would like to own one. But there were hundreds of beautiful bikes on display in Austin over the weekend.

What made this bike the standout of the show for me is the fact that King constructed it as a gift for one of his valued staff—a very personal recognition of hard work and dedication. “Someone is going to be really surprised, he told me just hours before presenting it.

I found this to be the ultimate expression of the custom bike experience the builder’s heart, soul, experience, imagination and dedication all poured into one singular, special project. Custom bikes are so much more than an assemblage of tubes, parts and paint, after all.

]]> NAHBS 2011 Guest Blog: The naked truth Mon, 28 Feb 2011 04:02:32 +0000 James Huang is the technical editor at and

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.

]]> NAHBS 2011 Guest Blog: It's no thing Mon, 28 Feb 2011 03:55:09 +0000 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. I’d call it an ocean of collaboration. It’s intangible but it drives the innovative spirit of these artisans and ultimately makes them all better.

One example would be the prevalence of 40mm headtubes on many of the steel and titanium bikes at this years show.

In 2009 larger manufacturers began producing mountain bikes with tapered steerer tube forks: 1-1/8 inches up top and 1-1/2 inch below. It was a slam-dunk; improving the ride by stabilizing the front end without adding any weight and it was quickly adapted on aluminum and carbon bikes throughout the industry.

Having ridden tapered steerer tube bikes in July 2009, I asked Rob Mitchell of Moots if they would be able to adapt the design to their titanium bikes, especially on 29ers where the benefits are amplified. His answer was “it’s not going to be easy but we’ll find a way”.

40mm headtubes were the answer but it was not so simple to implement. Moots has the facility to produce the headtubes on-site but not all builders have an in-house machine shop. That’s where Paragon Machine Works steps in. The California based machine shop has been supplying machined frame set kits (including bottom bracket shells, dropouts, brake bosses, stem clamps, and headtubes) to framebuilders since long before NAHBS came about.

Paragon’s Mark Norstad recognized the need and knew he could produce the oversized headtube without a problem but there was another hurdle to get over before bringing the adaptation to market: The existing tapered steerer tube bikes used a 1-1/8 headset cup on top. For titanium or steel, tapering the headtube isn’t a feasible option so the cups would need to be 40mm top and bottom but made to be compatible with the tapered steerer tube on the forks.

A quick call to Cane Creek solved that. “I called up Cane Creek and asked them if they would produce a headset for the 40mm headtubes,” says Norstad. “They said no problem, and that was that.”

The result is that many of the ti and steel mountain bikes at this year’s show have these beautiful, burly 40mm headtubes. It’s one of those no-brainer items that I look at and think: why didn’t they do that 20 years ago? It’s stiffer, stronger, and leads to a better-riding bike.

It’s this type of collaborative effort within the framebuilding community that gives the competitive edge, and a powerful, cloudlike melding of minds that ultimately makes the coolest of ideas – the coolest thing at each show – something that is eventually available to all the framebuilders and therefore to us. And that’s cool.

]]> NAHBS 2011 Guest Blog: The Joy of NAHBS Mon, 28 Feb 2011 03:33:19 +0000 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. CCP, from Japan, showed a beautiful array of custom printed cycling-themed fabrics. White Industries introduced a quick release crankset that frequent flyers were drooling over.

Austin is a great town and has done a hell of a job entertaining the thousands of handmade bicycle fans. NAHBS couldn’t ask for a better city. See ya in Sacramento in 2012!