Tuesday, March 13, 2012

North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show

I had an AMAZING time at the show this year.  I may have to fly out next year when it's a bit less local.  Not only did I get to viddy some absolutely gorgeous bikes, but I also showed a few builders the head tube badge that I made with friends, and started investigating the prospect of selling them.  

It sounds like we fall pretty squarely between the two methods that most are using.  We can't compete with laser cut badges on price (they tend to be less than $5 each), but we'd most likely be a lot cheaper than the fancy cast-silver badges that are over $100.  If we can really streamline the process, I think we can make it work, and allow more customizability than is currently out there.  We're also looking at doing small runs of simple jewelry along the same lines.  

If anyone out there has a design or idea they'd like to try, let me know, I want to troubleshoot an idea for an order process, and see how quickly we can do small lots.  We'll give you a "early adopter" discount. 

Here are some bike shots, with minimal commentary:

 A horror-bike by Peacock Grove, inspired by the evil dead.  Note the chainsaw blades on the chain.  Hail to the king, baby.

Townies were all the rage this year.  Heck even this road bike was a townie.  It was made by Shamrock Cycles.  The water bottle bolts thread into beautiful little four leaf clovers.  It's that kind of attention to detail that makes you wonder where those magic bike builders are hiding their pot of gold.

This was, without a doubt, my favorite thing at the show.  The bike is amazing, but what really caught my eye was the trailer.  The canvas was an awesome idea, and reminds me of a World War 2 era motorcycle side car.  

Two details that you can't see in the photo:
1. The trailer hitch incorporates two Chris King headsets.
2.  At the attachment point to the bicycle, there is a small lever that you can kick with your heel.  This lever engages the disc brake on the trailer.

It was made by Ira Ryan.

This Wheel Fanatyk wheel is made of wood!  Do not expose to fire or leave unattended near bike nerds, who may try to gnaw on it to absorb some of it's unearthly power.

The Renovo frame on the right is also made of wood, and the same warnings apply.  I'll trade you a kidney for one of these bikes.  

Awarded Best in Show.  It's called Cherubim and was made by Shin-Ichi Konno.  The stem flows seamlessly into the frame.  Beautiful is an understatement.  If the alien from Alien wore flannel and had an ironic mustache, he'd ride this bike around town.  

I'm finishing my seat stays in a similar way.  Honestly, I can't remember who's frame this is.  From the bike in the background, it could be Rock Lobster.  


After talking to a couple of builders about the subject, I've decided to simplify my jig plans.  Instead of a bunch of struts, I'm just going to bolt two cradles to a bar of 80/20 aluminum extrusion and use that to keep the head tube and seat tube in the same plane.  I'll handle the rest with careful measuring and by assembling the main triangle in stages.  

That being said, check out this pro-level ANVIL jig.  It's designed to let you set up a build just by plugging the numbers in.  It even has integrated grounds for tig welding.  

If you ever get the chance to go to one of these shows, DO IT!

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