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The custom frame builders at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show rightfully take center stage, but even they will acknowledge that they need outside help, specifically with the wheels, components, and other parts necessary to make the bikes whole. As a result, the halls of NAHBS are filled with a variety of parts suppliers and accessory labels just as much as they are with complete bicycles and gorgeous bare framesets.
For sure, the major players were all present in some form, and just about every bicycle at NAHBS was fitted with some variety of Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM groupsets. But outside of that, the customization theme still carried through, with many builders opting for color-anodized bits from smaller companies such as White Industries, Paul Components, and others. Adding color in that way allows builders to expand their palettes beyond just the frame and fork, and when done right, makes for a more cohesive overall look.
Finishing things off in many cases were carefully chosen accessories, with frame bags playing a noticeably more prominent role this year as bikepacking and adventure riding continue to gain in popularity. Not just any off-the-shelf vessel would do, though; whereas all frames already vary greatly in size, custom bikes also vary in shape, so most of the bags at NAHBS were custom-built to suit.
In the end, it all just goes to show that beautiful bikes aren’t the result of just one piece of a puzzle. It’s only after all of those pieces are fit together that the full picture comes into view.
This photo gallery — our sixth, and last, from this year’s show — features the work of Abbey Bike Tools, Bingham Built, Brooks, Calfee, Clever Standard, Fat Bike Skis, Industry Nine, Lightweight, Panaracer, Parlee, Pedro’s, Rolf Prima, SeaSucker, Silca, Simmons Racing, Sinewave Cycles, T-Red, VéloColour, and White Industries.
Abbey Bike Tools’ new four-way multi-tools are compact, yet offer plenty of leverage. The four bits are (semi-)permanently bonded into the aluminum handles, but there are multiple configurations available depending on your hardware needs.
The German-sourced hex-head bits use an unusual Torx-like profile that is said to be less likely to round out bolt sockets.
Abbey Bike Tools’ chain keeper is now available with a Phil Wood skewer. The company will soon add a lower-cost version made with its own skewer, too.
Abbey Bike Tools has gotten into the habit in recent years of bringing a handful of limited-edition tools to NAHBS. Here, the company shows off its pedal wrench made with three different types of hardwood.
If the standard Abbey Bike Tools HAG derailleur alignment isn’t good enough for you, there’s a titanium version, too.
As if it weren’t bad enough that there are countless bottom bracket standards currently in use, most of them also use their own proprietary notch patterns for the cups. It’s annoying for customers and shops, and companies like Abbey Bike Tools have no choice but to constantly keep up.
Industry Nine recently announced an all-new line of aero carbon road wheels, featuring progressively wide profiles and tubeless compatibility. According to Industry Nine, wind tunnel testing has shown its new wheels to be even more aerodynamically efficient than top mainstream players.
As always with Industry Nine, the new road wheels are available with a wide range of hub colors.
Lightweight’s updated Meilenstein Disc wheelset increases in width (now 24mm-wide external, 19mm internal), but remains a phenomenally light 1,380g for a set of clinchers thanks to its new hub design. As for the price? This is definitely a case of, “If you have to ask…”
Lightweight previously used a full-length aluminum insert inside the carbon fiber body to keep the shell from separating from the rotor splines under hard braking. That insert now only goes through half the hub shell, however, saving precious grams.
The new Lightweight Meilenstein Disc still uses the company’s trademark carbon fiber construction technique. It’s light, yes, but what’s arguably more noticeable is how incredibly rigid and responsive Lightweight wheels are.
SeaSucker showed off a handful of one-off racks, made from a variety of non-standard materials. Will any of them make it into production? Likely not, but they sure looked cool.
What we will see, however, is SeaSucker’s new fork mount design, which now uses interchangeable end caps for better compatibilty with the wide range of axle types now on the market.
The SeaSucker Komodo single-bike rack is still outrageously expensive, but it’s also easily the coolest-looking rack available.
Each SeaSucker Komodo rack frame is fully CNC-machined.
SeaSucker machinist Sandor Kormos also has his own line of custom engraved headset caps. Unlike the more common laser-etched caps, these are physically carved with a sharp bit, not unlike how parts are machined.
The caps require special bases that take the place of standard headset top caps. A small set screw on the back of each cover holds it in place.
SeaSucker machinist Sandor Kormos also makes a range of GoPro camera mounts. You know, basically just for fun.
Silca had a very strong presence at this year’s NAHBS, with scores of custom painted floor and frame pumps scatterered throughout the Connecticut Convention Center.
Silca recently introduced a redesign of the original Pista, maintaining the classic aesthetics of the old version, but adding modern functionality.
Silca also added a larger version of its popular Boa-equipped tool roll, dubbed the Grande Americano. Made in the United States, the new pack has more capacity for higher-volume inner tubes than the original one’s more road-oriented dimensions.
VeloColour is best known for its incredible paint work, but is rapidly gaining a strong following for its well-designed bags.
Instead of spreading multiple pockets across the width of the roll, VeloColour instead uses a single divided pocket for its Dynamite Roll, which supposedly makes for a tighter and cleaner bundle when it’s all packed up.
The VeloColour Bidon Stuff Bag is designed to fit perfectly in a bottle cage, and has enough room for a tube, tools, and other sundries. Weatherproof materials and a water-resistant YKK zipper help keep Mother Nature from ruining your things.
VeloColour recently went into partnership with Bishop Bikes and Metal Guru (the brand name of Carl Schlemowitz’s contract shop) for a new range of semi-production bikes. Schlemowitz – of Vicious Cycles fame – TIG-welds the front triangles, Bishop brazes the rear ends, and VeloColour covers it all in one of several pre-configured paint schemes.
This paint design has been used by Bishop Bikes before, and to great effect.
Three great pieces of the puzzle, one great bike.
White Industries has been adding color nearly everywhere possible, even on singlespeed freewheels.
White Industries cranksets may not be able to go head-to-head with some of the bigger brands in terms of stiffness and weight, but few can touch these for classy good looks.
Sinewave Cycles has an extraordinarily colorful collection of dynamo-powered lights.
Panaracer is one tire company that has experienced incredible growth in recent years, largely fueled by the exploding gravel market.
Parlee’s carbon fiber front derailleur clamps aren’t new, but their ultra-thin profile is finding newfound interest from riders looking to gain every last bit of tire clearance.
Parlee Cycles is continuing to stick with its PF30 press-fit bottom brackets. However, the stringest tolerances the company keeps and the use of unusually deep sleeves on the bearing cups supposedly keeps things quiet.
Pedro’s will soon begin shipping a revamped collection of multi-tools, complete with more compact shapes, more functionality, and handy snap-on tire levers.
Pedro’s also offers a collection of clutch-limited preset torque wrenches, complete with magnetic holders in the handle for extra bits.
Calfee will soon start producing its own carbon fiber bottle cages, which will be wholly made in-house. The US$60 target retail price is inline with other carbon cages, but with a far more classic aesthetic than what you usually find in this category.
Calfee Design still does a brisk business making custom one-piece cockpits, combining standard components, but replacing the conventional bolts and clamps with a carbon fiber overwrap.
Titanium seatposts are very thin-walled as compared to aluminum or carbon fiber, so most of the mounts for Di2 batteries won’t work. Instead, Brad Bingham (of Kent Eriksen Cycles and Bingham Built) offers this custom machined aluminum insert.
Colored Brooks Cambium saddles, anyone?
Brooks once based its entire business on leather saddles. These days, the product range is much more diversified.
For the rider who already has everything.
These compression-molded carbon fiber 1x chainrings – from the people behind the Clever Standard brand of bicycle tools – are said to be 25% lighter than equivalent aluminum parts, but still very long-wearing given how the composite teeth are compacted during the manufacturing process.
Fat bikes are sometimes the only people can ride throughout the winter, but even 5in-wide tires can’t always provide enough float in fresh powder. The Fat Bike Skis retrofit might make riding in those conditions possible, however.
Rolf Prima has produced just 45 sets of these polished aluminum Vigor road wheelset. Get ’em while you still can, because there are few aluminum wheelsets on the market right now that are as beautiful as these.
Rolf Prima introduced last year a new brand of standalone rims called Astral.
Simmons Racing specializes in custom carbon fiber cycling shoes, and track shoes in particular. They comprise little more than carbon fiber shells formed around molds of your feet, which makes them as shockingly lightweight and rigid as you would expect. This one is shown without the closure system.
The single cable-and-reel closure is similar to Sidi’s Tecno design. The embedded custom aluminum cleat plates are offered for either three-hole or Speedplay-specific pedal systems.
T-Red touted the safety benefits of its Donchischiotte disc brake cover. Carbon fiber construction keeps it lightweight, and it supposedly will work with virtually any disc-compatible hub. Hole patterns are varied depending on the application, too.