It seems that there’s one breed of bicycle that stands out each year at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). In years past, fixies, fat bikes, disc road, and 27.5+ mountain bikes have all stolen the spotlight.
This year, the depth of interest in gravel riding was evident not only by the sheer number of bikes on display but also the range of materials used — steel, titanium and carbon builders were all showcasing their latest interpretations of this broad category.
Here’s a look at eight of the most interesting gravel bikes on display at this year’s show.
- Four funky mountain bikes from NAHBS 2018
- Gallery: the weird and wonderful bikes of NAHBS 2018
- Three stunning road bikes from NAHBS 2018
- 4 types of gravel, 2 types of fun
Mosaic’s GT-2 is the second-tier gravel bike in the company’s arsenal. Unlike the top-end GT-1, which is constructed from double-butted 3/2.5 titanium tubing, the GT-2 is assembled from a straight-gauge 3/2.5 tubes.
Depending on the build, the GT-2 is a bit heavier, but also more affordable.
Moots endurance gravel prototype
Moots Routt series of gravel bikes has been a hit with riders (and BikeRadar staffers). They are currently the best selling bikes in the company’s line.
The Steamboat, Colorado-based brand is developing a new model that adapts the company’s YBB softtail system to road use.
So what is this bike for?
According to Moots marketing director Jon Cariveau, this yet-to-be-named prototype is designed for ultra-endurance gravel events.
The Chebacco is based on Parlee’s Z series and Altum road bikes with gravel-centric features such as longer chainstays with more tire clearance and a slacker head angle.
This particular Chebacco was covered in an elaborate custom paint scheme that made it resemble a circuit board complete with microchips.
Naturally, this bike was outfitted with a Shimano Di2 drivetrain.
T-LAB Bikes X3
T-LAB Bikes is a new brand that draws from a wealth of knowledge from former employees of Guru Cycles. The Quebec-based company plans to stay small and fast, with the ability to produce custom frames in as little as four weeks.
The X3 stands out from other titanium bikes thanks to its heavy use of tube shaping. The top tube is slender for compliance, the down tube is ovalized to increase stiffness, and the seat tube is shaped for improved tire clearance with short chainstays.
T-LAB uses a modular bolt-on dropout system. According to the company, this improves stiffness. It also allows for future-proofing against whatever brake and axle standards the cycling industry may cook up.
Former professional road and cyclocross racer Chris McGovern has shifted gears and now builds custom carbon bikes.
Like many one-off carbon builders, McGovern uses tube-to-tube construction, which allows for a wide range of custom geometry possibilities.
This year, McGovern brought a single bike to NAHBS, a fast and light gravel bike shod in 27.5x2.1in tires.
John Slawta of Land Shark Bicycles paints many of McGovern’s frames, including this desert-inspired paint job.
Matt Appleman isn’t afraid to push the envelope with his carbon creations (as demonstrated by the ‘doughnut bike’ he displayed at NAHBS in 2017.)
His FR-213 was designed for a customer who plans to do the 2,745-mile / 4,419 km Tour Divide Race.
This drop bar adventure bike checks off nearly all the things that could be included in an ultra-endurance bike designed for mixed surface expeditions.
The carbon frame has S&S couplers for portability, a belt-driven Rohloff hub for low maintenance, and a Lauf fork to absorb impacts that the 29+ tires don’t soak up.
Minnesota-based Northern Frameworks was also showing off a drop bar adventure bike.
The build also features rocker dropouts that allow for adjustments to chainstay length and singlespeed compatibility.
No. 22 Bicycle Company Drifter
In case you didn’t commit the periodic table to memory in chemistry class, 22 is the atomic number of titanium. It’s also the name of this custom company founded by former Serotta employees.
The Drifter is a performance-oriented gravel bike with clearance for 40mm wide 700c tires.
No. 22 doesn’t skimp on the details. This Drifter is decked out with an anodized frame fade with a matching stem, seatpost and fork. Even the titanium bottle cages feature matching finishes.
Did any of these bikes strike your fancy? Let us know in the comments section.