This year’s NAHBS may not have featured quite the same level of incredible creativity (and occasional downright wackiness) of some earlier editions, but that doesn’t mean it was at all lacking in individuality. Anything but, in fact, largely owing to the fact that most builders — at least the ones that manage to survive their initial years — have figured out that it makes a lot more sense to bring bikes to the show that belong to clients, rather than dedicated showpieces that are mostly just good for a flash in the pan.
As a result, most of these bikes come across as somewhat left-of-center, but they don’t stray all that far from the norm.
That said, it also doesn’t take that much to make something your own. Be it custom geometry, a unique paint job, or even a handful of carefully chosen accessories, the beauty of all of these bikes is that they’re matched with someone who feels at one with the machine they commissioned from the builder of their choosing.
This is my final gallery of complete bikes from this year’s NAHBS, but stay tuned for a round of parts and accessories still to come. And better yet, I’ve also selected a number of bikes that will be featured in more detail in Bikes of the Bunch showcases.
This gallery features the work of
Alliance, Baum Cycles, Black Cat, Calfee Design, Cerreta Cycles, Columbus, DeKerf, DeSalvo, Don Walker, Gaulzetti, Hope, Hunter Cycles, Isen, Lightweight, Olivetti, Panasonic, Simple Bicycle Company, Squid Bikes, Steve Potts, Sycip, and Weis Manufacturing.
One of my favorite bikes of the show was the “Travel Truck” from Rick Hunter. The unusual format is designed to break down and fit into an airline-compliant travel case so its owner is never without practical two-wheeled transportation.
The upturned stem saves space in the case, and the front rack is attached with simple hardware that allows for easy folding or removal.
The singlespeed drivetrain makes packing and unpacking much easier.
The 20×2.60″ tires easily fit in a case and provide plenty of traction in varying conditions.
The rear end attaches to the front triangle with just four bolts, all of which are easily accessible for quick installation and removal.
Black Magic Paint showed off the scope of its talents on this custom finished Seven titanium disc road frame.
The frame is a mix of Cerakote ceramic coating and color anodization. The carbon fork is painted in a more conventional fashion, but it all ties together very nicely.
The paint job on this Black Cat hardtail was incredible.
Black Cat builder Todd Ingermanson says he rarely gets orders for these awesome tubular stems, mostly because they require almost as much work as a complete front triangle, and are priced accordingly.
This Black Cat all-road bike looks subdued enough at first glance…
…until you take a closer look at the finish. Oh. My. God.
Baum wasn’t at NAHBS officially, but this Orbis+ nevertheless made an appearance courtesy of the SRAM booth.
This tribute to the glory days of Schwinn (bass boat paint!) from Idaho Builder Alliance Bicycles certainly brought back memories. Look for a deeper dive on this particular machine here in the coming weeks.
Columbus is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a special steel tubeset called – what else – Cento. European builders can contact Columbus directly as usual, and American builders can find it via Nova Cycle Supply.
The tapered head tube is sized for 1 1/8″-to-1 1/4″ steerers, and features a classy Columbus logo engraved at the bottom.
The thinwalled seat tube requires a reinforcing sleeve up top. Columbus naturally supplies this, of course, complete with the company’s iconic logo cut out of the lower edge.
I’m digging this skeletal brake bridge.
The tapered chainstays are mostly straight in this case, and subtly crimped for a bit of extra tire clearance.
The bulged bottom bracket shell supposedly provides additional weld area for the adjoining tubes, while also presumably leaving enough space to feed Shimano Di2 and Campagnolo EPS wires around the spindle – a major hurdle with standard threaded shells. Your guess is as good as mine, however, regarding how builders are supposed to miter the tubes for this thing.
Matching fittings are included in the new Columbus Cento family, too.
Calfee showed off a front-wheel-drive e-assist retrofit package that he’s now offering for currently frame owners. The battery is housed inside the top tube bag.
The cadence sensor is hidden behind the crank, providing properly proportional assist when pedaling.
Geo-camouflage somehow still manages to look good, as shown on this road racer from Cerreta.
Simple, purposeful lines.
The seatmast topper is made in house by Cerreta, and uses Enve guts.
Mike DeSalvo offers a Builder’s Special each year, and he’s gone with a steel gravel model this time around.
This Builder’s Edition is particularly special, given that it’s Mike DeSalvo’s 20th anniversary in the business. Here’s to 20 more, Mike!
The graceful S-bend seatstays finish down below at Paragon Machine Works thru-axle dropouts.
NAHBS organizer Don Walker always brings an impressive fleet to the event. But hey, Don, how about redoing your display stands so the driveside crankarm is facing forward, eh?
Lightweight’s Urgestalt ultralight carbon road frame is still stunning several years since its introduction. The purple paint doesn’t hurt, either.
UK builder Isen arrived in Sacramento with a fleet of beautiful steel rigs, such as this 650b all-roader.
If you live in a wet climate, fenders aren’t just a matter of convenience; it can mean the difference between riding and not riding.
Another favorite of mine from this year’s NAHBS was this three-wheeled cargo machine from Sycip. Jeremy Sycip has long been a masterful builder incorporating a wealth of neat touches, and this rig only furthered that reputation in my mind.
The U-lock is integrated directly into the front rack. Just remove the crossbar, wheel the bike up around the post, and lock it all up. Note the front light tucked underneath the deck, too.
The steering linkage is its own work of art.
And yes, if you get hungry while running your errands, just pull over and cook yourself a burger!
New York builder Weis Manufacturing showed off this track bike built with Allite’s new “Super Magnesium” tubing.
This asymmetrical seatstay is somewhat of a Weis trademark.
Squid Bikes is quickly gaining notoriety for its hand-drawn finishes. It’s as close as you can get to graffiti in bicycle form (and I mean that in a good way).
One dirty little secret of the handbuilt world is that the frame isn’t always built by the hands of the person whose name is on the down tube. One of the people whose skill is hidden behind the scenes is Oscar Camarena of Simple Bicycle Company in Portland, Oregon, who has built some of the most widely publicized boutique machines out there.
Might Simple now be branching out into bikes under its own brand name? It perhaps goes without saying that building behind the scenes for someone else is a lot different than running your own front-facing label.
Steve Potts is a living legend in the mountain biking world, and he says business has never been better, likely because his craftsmanship is second to none, and because he’s been smart to keep up with changing tastes in bikes.
One signature Potts item is this rigid fork, which uses a full-length reinforcement on the disc side to prevent torsional wind-up under hard braking.
This 29-plus steel hardtail from Olivetti Bicycles looks like it’d be an awful lot of fun in the builder’s Rocky Mountain backyard.
One signature feature of Pete Olivetti’s frames are these coins brazed on to the seat tubes. Each one comes out of a box of old coins Olivetti’s father kept, and each client gets to pick which coin goes on their frame.
The head tube badge depicts the iconic Flatirons rock formations that overlook the city of Boulder.
Pete Olivetti built this bike for an old buddy of his from college. Back then, there were apparently too many “Petes” in their friend group, so the trio gave them wholly inappropriate nicknames.
Pete Olivetti is a relatively new builder hailing from Boulder, Colorado. This steel all-road bike is fairly simple in terms of construction and design, but that emerald green paint – and the matching finish on the stem, seatpost, and fenders – really help it stand out from the crowd.
Panasonic isn’t a name normally associated with high-end titanium bicycle frames, but perhaps that might change someday.
British CNC specialist Hope is slowly expanding its range of made-in-house carbon frames, which now includes this 29er full-suspension trail bike.
The front triangle may be molded carbon fiber, but the chainstays are machined from aluminum.
The finish work is very impressive. There’s a reason why you see very few raw carbon fiber frames in the wild; rarely do the manufacturers want you to see what the carbon actually looks like, especially in tricky areas like the head tube.
Like the original HB160 model, Hope’s new HB 130 uses a custom 130mm-wide rear hub instead of the industry-standard 142mm spacing. In addition, Hope’s setup uses a 17mm-diameter thru-axle instead of the usual 12mm one.
Not many people would be inclined to think that this jumble of colors would come together, but looking at it in person, it somehow does. Enjoy your new Gaulzetti, Anna!
Canadian builder Chris DeKerf has quietly been producing some of the finest hardtails in the business. I’ve owned three of them over the years – a Team SL, a Team ST, and an Elysium – but none were painted like this one.
It’s no surprise that a lot of bicycle paint jobs are inspired by iconic race cars.