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by Matt Wikstrom
February 26, 2013
The North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) has been celebrating the craft of framebuilding every year since 2005. The 2013 show was held over the weekend providing another opportunity for custom framebuilders to exhibit their wares for the appreciation of their peers, members of the industry, and the general public.
NAHBS travels to a new city every year, and this year it was in Denver, Colorado after Sacramento, California hosted last year’s event. Shifting the show to Colorado coincided with a significant increase in the number of exhibitors (199 compared to the previous record of 172 in 2011). There was a strong local presence at the show with almost 20% of exhibitors being from Colorado but there was also a substantial group of international visitors (30 companies from nine countries outside the US).
Over the course of the weekend, judges picked winners for a range of awards for different types of bikes (road, cyclocross, mountain bike), construction materials (carbon, titanium, alternative materials), and construction methods (lugged and TIG).
Alchemy bikes won the award for best carbon construction, Kent Erikson was awarded best Ti construction (road bike), Chris Bishop took home another NAHBS award for best road bike, Cherubim was awarded best city bike, Bilenky Cycle Works won best lugged bike, and Rob English was given best of show. You can see the full list of award-winners here.
In previous years, it was easy to spot emerging trends, such as disk brake mounts for cyclocross and road bikes, or new standards for bottom brackets and head tubes. The 2013 show demonstrated that there continues to be strong support for 44mm head tubes among custom framebuilders, but otherwise it appeared to be a year of consolidation for construction methods.
In contrast, the craftsmen devoted to finishing the frames on show seemed intent on pushing their work to a new level, virtually outshining the efforts of the builders. But, curiously, no award was given for best bike finish in 2013.
Visit the NAHBS website for more information about the companies and bikes on show this year including contact information for all exhibitors.