Canadian Cyclist


February 26/10 23:09 pm - North American Handmade Bicycle Show Opens

Posted by Editor on 02/26/10

The 2010 North American Handmade Bicycle Show opened Friday in Richmond, Virginia, and Canadian Cyclist was there to bring you lots of images of all the cycling eye candy. Now in its sixth year, NAHBS was expanded from a regional northwest show to one that attracts builders from all over North America, plus Europe and the Far East.

The show is a cross between a computer geek gathering and a bike messenger rave. Lots of wool jerseys, carefully preserved 70s and 80s cycling caps, enough beards to make you think that you had run into a gathering of Amish, tattoos galore and body piercings make for an interesting mixture.

However, despite the clash of cultures, it works. Gorgeous paint jobs and lug work, innovative designs, high enthusiasm and some true genius, combined with a clear love of the bike by all present, make for an event where any bike aficionado would feel at home.

In addition to the photos, here are our comments:

Urban Bikes - Lots of urban and commuter bikes, with integrated baskets and racks, fancy lighting systems and lots of attention to detail. This is the bike as functional art. A sub-category was the ultra-light, straight bar, single speed courier-style bike.

Steel - Steel is still the material of choice, since it is light, easy to work with and vastly open to customization. Lugged, unlugged, brazed, welded, straight tubes, curved tubes, shaped tubes, cut-away tubes ... you name it, and someone was doing it. A distant second was titanium (although there were some gorgeous examples), and there were a number of interesting examples of wood-based frames (including bamboo).

Paint - There is a noticeable return to classic solid colour schemes, in rich, luscious tones with accents. The other extreme was complex airbrushed designs (including a Serotta that looked like wood), and even a gold-plated 29er. The award-winning painter at the show last year was Toronto-based Velo Colours, and they were back this year with samples of both repainted trick carbon bikes and a superbly restored Pogliaghi.

Belt Drives - A number of designers were showing off belt driven bikes, and they make a lot of sense for single speeds or commuters. A few of the majors have introduced belt drives, but this is a segment that really works for the small and custom builder.

Clothing - The show is moving beyond just framebuilders, and one of the biggest segments is clothing-related. Besides the obligatory retro-wool jerseys, there is a modern version of the old leather Detto Pietro's, that anyone who started cycling in the 60s or 70s will know. These new ones from Dromarti are definitely lust-worthy. There is also a movement to what I would call preppy commuter wear, that wouldn't look out of place on a golf course, or even in an office.


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