Photo gallery: 2019 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, part four

by James Huang


You didn’t think we were done with NAHBS, did you? Our coverage of the world’s premier showcase of custom bicycles has obviously now intermingled with our tech coverage of the Sea Otter Classic, but there’s no reason why the two worlds can’t peacefully co-exist, at least temporarily. This fourth — and final — gallery from NAHBS focuses on the parts and accessories that turn those custom framesets into complete bikes.

Not surprisingly, many of the companies featured here offer their wares in a wide array of colors to provide the perfect highlight, but it’s not just about making things pretty. NAHBS has emerged as an early-season stage for plenty of new product introductions, too, including new wheels and rims from Mavic and White Industries, a lightweight redo of Onyx Racing Products’ venerable sprag clutch rear hub, some clever new bottle cages from King Cage, Silca, and Calfee, and even an ingenious belt drive from Veer that doesn’t require any dedicated frame modifications.

Next year’s show will be March 20-22 in Dallas, Texas — but you won’t have to wait that long to see more custom goodness. We’ll have dedicated features on a number of particularly interesting machines from this year’s show, and Dave Rome will soon be showing off Australia’s best and brightest from the Australian Handmade Bicycle Show, which will kick off in Melbourne on April 26.


Calfee Design now offers carbon fiber bottle cages. They’re admirably light at just 45g, but perhaps more importantly to the right buyer, it’s the first carbon cage I’ve seen that actually mimics the aesthetic of a metal cage. The tab at the top fits a Specialized bottle perfectly for a remarkably precise fit – and when I say perfectly, I mean it.

Calfee’s carbon cages can be finished in tinted clearcoats to match a desired frame finish, too.

The THM Mandibula carbon seatpost is silly-light at just 159g (claimed), and supposedly offers some extra comfort by virtue of how the upper section is designed to flex under load. Retail price is a whopping US$550.

Belt drives are nothing new, right? Gates may have the market mostly cornered, but the folks at Veer hold a big ace up their collective sleeves. Veer’s version offers the same benefits, but the belt can be split so there are no frame modifications required.

The key to Veer’s clever belt design is the way the ends can be riveted together. Veer claims there’s no sacrifice in strength, but there’s obviously a big gain in convenience.

Veer’s matching chainrings and sprockets look pretty neat, too, with the chainring featuring alternating extensions that keep the belt centered.

Mavic now has a very broad range of standalone rims available for custom wheel builders. Pictured from left to right are the CXP Pro Carbon UST Disc (450g, 19mm internal width, 45mm depth), the CXP Pro Carbon UST (425g, 19mm internal width, 25mm depth), and Open Pro Carbon UST Disc (405g, 21mm internal width, 32mm depth).

Mavic’s carbon fiber tubeless-compatible road rims are remarkably complex in terms of their shaping details. There’s a raised bead lock on either side for security, and the subtle hook is molded as is, instead of being machined after the fact.

Aluminum wheels aren’t dead! Mavic’s long-awaited Open Pro rim-brake and disc-brake rims look fantastic. Internal width for both models is 19mm, and claimed weight is the same at 430g. Both are offered in 28h and 32h drillings, and the rim-brake version is also available in 24h. Still missing from the lineup, though, is the Exalith version.

Also new from Mavic are two new carbon gravel wheelsets, one in 700c, and the other in 650b.

Mavic has a range of standalone hubs now, too. They may not be quite as pretty as the polished silver numbers Mavic sold in the late 1990s, but as someone who built up an awful lot of wheels around those hubs back in the day, this definitely gives me the warm fuzzies. The Instant Drive 360 internals are borrowed from Mavic’s complete wheels, and are a massive improvement over the problematic FTS-L design (which should have been retired ages ago).

The rim-brake version is particularly elegant-looking. Note the angled flanges, and how the edges are artfully beveled.

Enduro Bearings is expanding its collection of XD-15 ceramic rear derailleur pulleys. These supposedly don’t just spin with less friction and last longer than standard pulleys, either; the two-piece, hollow sandwich aluminum core is said to make for a much stiffer pulley, too, and better shifting as a result.

White Industries is making rims now? Yep, White Industries is making rims! The aluminum hoops are extruded off-site, but rolled and welded in-house, making these an instant hit for buyers specifically looking for something US-made.

There are no eyelets on the White Industries G25A, but the gravel-friendly 25mm-wide (internal width) rims have offset drilling to help even out the spoke tensions from left to right, and tubeless-compatible profiles. Claimed weight for the 700c size is 490g, and 460g for the 650b version. Retail price is US$145 per rim. More models are pending.

White Industries has recently added a version of its colorful external bottom bracket for standard 24mm-diameter spindles.

Onyx Racing Products’ rear hub has always been an outlier thanks to its instant-engaging sprag clutch design. But it’s also been a lot heavier than competitors as a result. However, this redesign lops about 80g from the rear hub alone, making it a lot more appealing to riders who want the responsiveness, but haven’t been willing to make that much of a weight sacrifice.

Onyx’s redesigned hub still uses a sprag clutch design, but instead of machining the freehub body and inner clutch cylinder from a single chunk of steel like before, it now uses a splined attachment that allows for a much lighter aluminum freehub body. Another bonus of the design is that it’s totally silent. Sign me up.

Industry Nine’s new Hydra driver design offers an insanely fast 0.5° engagement speed. The secret is how each of the six pawls are slightly offset, so that only one is engaged under normal loads. I’ve been testing a Hydra-equipped wheelset for the past few months, and aside from the buzzy sound, it’s absolutely amazing.

Pre-built complete wheelsets are the norm these days, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good custom wheel builders out there left. Charles Wells of Jet Bicycle Wheels is still a big fan of tying-and-soldering spoke crossings (as am I).

King Cage doesn’t announce a lot of new products, so when something new does come along, it’s kind of a big deal. Coming soon is this variant of the existing stainless steel and titanium cages, built with an extra plate at the bottom to accommodate Specialized’s handy EMT multi-tool holder.

King Cage has also been playing with this side-access version of its legendary cage design. King Cage principal Ron Andrews insists that it works great – and it probably does – but sorry, Ron, it sure isn’t pretty.

Abbey Bike Tools’ new wheel dishing tool is truly a work of CNC-machined aluminum art. More importantly, though, it’s well made, it provides repeatable results, and it’s easy to use. To take a reading, just lay the tool on the rim and push the gold button on the side. The weighted indicator then drops down on to the end of the axle, and the spring-loaded button securely holds it in place. Abbey hasn’t released pricing or availability yet, but it’s bound to be fairly pricey – and highly desirable.

The Abbey Bike Tools Decade is a beast of a chain tool, substantial in both size and heft, and meant to last for at least ten years of thrice-daily use. It didn’t start out being compatible with SRAM’s new AXS 12-speed road chains, but thanks to a swappable mid-plate, it is now. Replacement plates will cost US$25.

Need to lighten your toolbox? Try Abbey Bike Tools’ new Team Issue pedal wrench. At 286g, it shaves nearly 150g from the standard version, while retaining all of the functionality.

One could easily make the argument that Derby Rims is singularly responsible for the rise of carbon fiber mountain bike wheels, seeing as how it was one of the very first companies to figure out how to make them survive in that environment. Other companies have obviously jumped into the fray since then, but these are still some of the toughest around.

Park Tool’s new HBT-1 provides an easy way to install barbed fittings on to the end of hydraulic brake hoses. There’s also a cutter built into the handle for quick trimming.

Santa Cruz Bicycle touts its Reserve line of carbon fiber wheels as being virtually indestructible. More recent additions to the range are the Reserve 22 700c (shown here) and the Reserve 25 650b, both of which are aimed at the gravel crowd.

Spoke holes are reinforced with additional layers of carbon fiber. As the name suggests, the internal width is 22mm, and naturally, they’re tubeless-compatible.

Not many people gave a lot of thought to custom painted floor pumps until Silca partnered with builders to dress up its SuperPista Ultimate. Now, the company is taking the same approach for its Sicuro titanium bottle cage. Practical? Inexpensive? No, and no. But damn, does this give me some ideas.

This one should at least retain its finish for longer, given how the inner surfaces are painstakingly masked off.

The Homage from SimWorks may recall fond memories of Michelin’s trademark green rubber from the late 1990s (oh, how I loved those…), but this one is actually made by Panaracer.

Wolf Tooth Components’ headsets aren’t entirely new, but they’re still super pretty.

Editors Picks