Fat bikes and gravel grinders may be the hot new categories at this year's North American Handmade Bicycle Show, but in terms of numbers, the show floor is still dominated by traditional road bikes. Check out the first round of some of the ones that caught our eye in the image gallery at right, plus details on a few select models below.
Alchemy put its Helios model on a major diet to create the Helios SL. While it uses the same mold as the standard model, changes to the underlying materials and lay-up have brought the claimed weight down to just over 700g for a 54cm frame – a decrease of more than 25 percent from the original Helios.
Even more exciting, though, is the all-new Aiolos titanium road frame, which was designed for Alchemy by Ben Serotta. Alchemy builds the Aiolos with an oversized main frame for a responsive feel and tapered stays for a comfortable ride. Other features include a 44mm-diameter head tube, a PF86 or PF30 bottom bracket shell, custom titanium dropouts.
Calfee's latest Manta Pro carbon road frame is easily the company's highest-performance model – and perhaps its most radical. While the main tubes' huge cross-sections and ovalized shapes scream stiffness, they're coupled with a suspended rear end that provides comfort and traction.
The system is similar to Moots' long-running YBB system with a small spring tucked inside a telescoping, tubular seatstay wishbone assembly. Down below, titanium struts are used beneath the chainstays to provide additional strength. Calfee offers five different spring rates to adjust for rider weight and ride preference, and the company can also build the Manta Pro with a fully rigid rear end for those that want a more traditional feel.
Rim brake and disc brake configurations are available, too, along with thru-axle dropouts and optional braze-ons for racks and fenders.
Craig Calfee also displayed his custom chops with a wild modular carbon fiber road tandem. A clever arrangement of bolt-on stays and S&S couplers allow the bike to quickly and easily convert to a single as needed. As for the price… don't ask.
Cielo – the frame division of Chris King – launched a new Road Racer model built with oversized chromoly steel tubes, stainless steel accents, a PF30 bottom bracket shell, a 44mm-diameter head tube, and specific routing for mechanical or electronic drivetrains.
Buyers will also have the option of painted-to-match steel stems, too, which also feature aluminum faceplates that are color anodized to perfectly coordinate the company's headsets and hubs.
Nick Crumpton says his latest Type 5 road frame represents the pinnacle of everything he's learned about building carbon fiber frames. Whereas other models use tubing produced by other companies, the Type 5 features bi-ovalized tubes that are now molded in-house and joined using Crumpton's exquisite tube-to-tube wrapping process.
Pricing starts at US$6,500 with an Enve Composites 1.0 fork.
Best known for his titanium and ExoGrid frames, Bill Holland is now branching into full-carbon road frames with the new flagship HC, designed in cooperation with composites guru Mike Lopez. The HC will be built with custom carbon fiber lugs and gorgeous shaped carbon tubes that will be molded in-house.
Lopez designed the HC's modular construction with multiple lug configurations that can each be machined to allow for custom geometry, too. Tubes will also feature custom lay-ups so that each frame can truly be built to order. Complete frames will weigh right around 1kg.
Standard frames will start at US$6,400 and limited-edition anniversary models – to celebrate Holland's 42nd anniversary – will run US$7,700 with special graphics and a numbered plate. Keep in mind that neither of those prices include a fork.
Remember Delta 7's wild IsoTruss carbon fiber 'tubes'? The technology is back, only now the patents have been purchased by Utah-based Razik Bicycles. Razik says it has refined and greatly improved Delta 7's original concept to produce a new road frame called the Vortex that's far more reliable than before – not to mention much better looking with far better cable routing and finish work. Rear ends are molded in-house, too.
Claimed frame weight is around 850g and yet Razik says the Vortex is "stronger, more rigid and more compliant" than any frame built with traditional carbon tubes. We hope to find out for ourselves soon.
Ritchey unveiled at this year's NAHBS a new carbon fiber version of its popular Break-Away travel road bike. The new carbon chassis is, as expected, lighter and stiffer than the current titanium and steel versions. However, Ritchey has also opted for slightly smaller-diameter tubing and thicker tube walls so that the bike can still be easily packed – and survive the journey.
Retail price will be US$3,199 for the frame, fork, headset, and soft-sided travel case when it goes on sale in August.