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by James Huang
November 8, 2017
Photography by James Huang
The Philly Bike Expo just wrapped up its eighth edition, and after its humble beginnings at the 23rd St. Armory in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the show has since grown up and moved into more appropriate digs at the city’s main convention center. Although the event is not specifically centered around handmade builders, the custom industry is certainly the main draw, with many of the area’s top builders — and others traveling from far away — showcasing their wares here.
I’ve covered the North American Handmade Bicycle Show for eleven straight years, but this was my first trip to the Expo; needless to say, it won’t be my last. There are far too many images to share with you in a single gallery, so the full collection will be split into four installments over the next few days.
Feast your eyes on some of the incredible work that was on display at this year’s event, and be sure to mark your calendars for next year.
And want more? Follow this link to find all our coverage from the Philly Bike Expo.
Chris Bishop stunned the crowd at the Philly Bike Expo with this gorgeous steel all-road bike.
The graphic design was actually supplied to Chris Bishop by the client, who works in the animated movie industry in California.
The iridescent paint, the neat geometric patterns, and the transition to raw stainless steel makes for an incredibly striking final product. Paintwork is by Bryan Myers of Fresh Frame.
Chris Bishop’s brazing work is second to none. The way this chainstay end is shaped to meet with the dropout is simply incredible.
It’s unusual to see steel road forks these days, but the lugged crown makes for a nice visual pairing with the frame.
The integrated seatmast features a modified Syncros seatpost that secures inside the frame with an expanding wedge.
If you still think disc brakes are ugly on road bikes, this may help shift your perspective a bit.
Bishop often includes artful seatstay bridges, and this frame is no different.
The owner of this Bishop Bicycles steel disc road bike saw his new machine for the first time at the Philly Bike Expo, and needless to say, he was blown away by the end result.
Chris Bishop is widely regarded as one of the top steel frame builders in the industry.
Two trademark Bishop Bicycles feature are lug points that taper to practically nothing, and fully custom-built seat binders that are built into the seatstays (and hidden from the non-driveside).
The ovalized frame tubes required Chris Bishop to craft custom lugs that were brazed to the tapered head tube.
Some neat detailing is tucked away on the insides of the fork legs.
Paragon Machine Works will soon offer direct-mount hangers for Shimano’s latest road rear derailleurs.
Another beautiful seatstay bridge.
Chris Bishop may be the man behind the torch, but Bryan Myers of Fresh Frame is the man behind the paint gun.
Another trademark Chris Bishop feature is internal routing with full-length stainless steel guide tubes. The polished edges are always stunning.
Engin Cycles founder Drew Guldalian is one of the most widely respected builders in the industry. Now working exclusively in titanium, he only builds about twenty bikes per year. Each one is a masterpiece.
This Engin road bike wears an ultra-durable Cerakote ceramic surface treatment. It looks cool, and is also incredibly resistant to wear and scratches.
Guldalian forms the 1″-diameter titanium chainstays in-house. In fact, he does nearly everything himself, thanks to a shop that’s chock-full of machinery.
Every dropout is machined by Guldalian, using Engin-exclusive designs. Note how the replaceable derailleur hanger attaches on this one, bolted to the rear of the dropout instead of being sandwiched with the skewer as is normally the case.
Yep, you guessed it: the 44mm-diameter head tubes are milled in-house, too, complete with integrated reinforcement rings and neat machined-in accents.
Never one to settle, Guldalian not only machines his seatpost collars himself, but also the titanium bolts. Total claimed weight for the collar and bolts is just 29g, and Guldalian says only 4Nm of torque is required thanks to the tall shape and opposing bolt layout.
Engin Cycles built this 27.5+ titanium hardtail for Mark Norstad of Paragon Machine Works, who supplies a huge proportion of the handbuilt industry with dropouts and other frame fittings. Ironically, the only parts on this bike made by Norstad’s company are the cable guides.
Norstad was inducted into the mountain bike hall of fame just this year.
It’s no small feat to fit plus-sized tires and a chainring into this space, especially on a metal frame, so Drew Guldalian of Engin Cycles makes his own custom-designed titanium yokes. These are machined in hollow halves, and then welded together, which not only provide sufficient room for everything, but also allow for unusually short chainstays.
Very few frame builders build every little part on their frames, but Drew Guldalian of Engin Cycles is one notable exception. Everything seen here was machined in his workshop in Wissahickon, Pennsylvania.
This flat-mount, thru-axle dropout is one of the nicest-looking I’ve seen.
Guldalian is insistent on keeping rear disc brake calipers mounted inside the rear triangle, which he feels makes for a cleaner-looking and more integrated final product.
No. 22 continues to grow its collection of stunning titanium drop-bar bikes. This Drifter gravel frameset is now its top seller, and the company will soon add stock configurations and geometries for its three most popular models for faster deliveries.
Stock bikes from No. 22 will be sold in standard media-blasted finishes; anodized graphics like these will be optional.
The carbon forks on all of No. 22’s frames are custom made for the company, and painted by VeloColour.
The anodized graphics can be applied to the made-in-house titanium seatposts, too.
Gorgeous seatstay bridge detailing on No.22’s Drifter gravel bike.
Yep, No.22 will even anodize King titanium bottle cages to match.
If all-out racing is your cup of tea, No.22 offers the Reactor, which features sharper and more agile geometry, a stiffer rear end, and a bonded-in carbon fiber integrated seat tube.
The chainstays on the No.22 Reactor are not only huge, but also shaped to further stiffen up the rear end.
The ovalized ends on the No.22 Reactor chainstays required special dropouts to match, which are machined in-house from solid 6/4 titanium billet. Note the reinforcing ribs, too.
No.22’s new setback seatmast topper is absolutely stunning. Made of cast titanium, it can be anodized to match the frames.
More great detailing on the No.22 Reactor.
That isn’t a head tube badge on this No.22 Reactor; that graphic is machined right into the head tube.
Even No.22’s standard dropouts are wickedly cool (and expensive to make). The one-piece design is stiffer than using a separate bolt-on hanger, and since it’s made of titanium, it’s much less likely to bend than an aluminum one.
This vintage machine was a sight to behold.
One-inch pitch on this vintage drivetrain.
Check out how the chain is constructed.
So you think the idea of suspension on the road is new? Think again.
The crankset slides fore and aft to tension the chain.
There’s a full range of saddle adjustment on tap, including height, setback, and tilt.
Rod-style brakes are always fun to see.
Check out the dates on these patents. Needless to say, the first two numbers are not “19”.
If you’re going too fast to comfortably keep your feet on the pedals, just prop them up on the pegs instead.
FSA wanted people to focus on its new WE electronic group, but it was hard not to pay more attention to the Stanridge frame on which the groupset was installed.
The lobed tubing is similar in concept to what Colnago uses on the Master.
Wooden bicycles are nothing new, but a wooden e-bike? Now that’s something you don’t see very often. This one is made by Sojourner Cyclery.
Somec’s heritage dates back to the 1970s, but this Iron model is thoroughly modern, built with Columbus Life tubing.
The masked-off driveside chainstay is a classic touch.
Does this prancing horse look familiar? According to Somec, its origins date back to the same family in Italy.
How big is gravel riding getting? Even an old Italian company like Somec is getting into the game with the new Multistrade. This aluminum frame and carbon fork looks very intriguing (and we’re working on bringing one in for a review).
Many Italian brands make a lot of references to Italy, but the bikes aren’t actually made there. Not so in this case, according to Somec.
Royal H offers quite a range of different lug styles from which to choose.
This Holllingworth (made by Royal H) is a retro-styled masterpiece.
The classic lug shapes harken back to an era gone by.
Chromed cages are augmented with leather wraps.
That’s no NOS crankset; it’s available now from Velo Orange.
Way classier than a strip of adhesive vinyl, no?