NAHBS may be North America’s largest gathering of “hand built” bikes, but what exactly constitutes “hand built,” anyway?
Depending on your interpretation, even molded carbon fiber bikes, mass-produced in Asia, would qualify, as more sets of hands touch those than many of the metal frames produced by the most famous names in the business.
Perhaps a more accurate descriptor of the bikes on hand at the North American Hand Built Show would be “bespoke,” or “custom,” both of which better convey the sense that the bikes shown at NAHBS are typically built solely to suit the particular needs and wants of a single rider — often to the point where it might not even work well for anyone else.
Of all the bikes displayed at this year’s show, none more completely embodied that spirit of individuality than the “Purple Reign” Prince tribute bike built for Anna Schwinn (yes, that Schwinn) by Erik Noren of Peacock Groove. As expected, the frame was specially built for the project, but Schwinn’s obsessiveness in the dedication is more fully revealed in the similarly custom build kit — even going so far as to feature laser-etched crying doves on the single right-hand shifter housing.
I could go on and on about the thoroughness of this project in words, but ultimately, it’s one that’s best taken in visually. So feast your eyes for a few minutes, and also enjoy a few of the other bikes that were proudly on display at this year’s NAHBS, from Cherubim, Cio, Co-Motion, Cryptic, Leuck, Lightweight, Loue, Low, and Renovo — and don’t worry, there are still many more to come.