As trends within the cycling industry ebb and flow, so too do the types of bicycles on display at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
There was a confluence in trends this year’s show, as 650B wheels (which were embraced by custom builders long before they ever made their way onto production bikes) and enduro-inspired geometry converged into a plethora of long-travel hardtails.
Click through the gallery at right for detailed images of the bikes.
Previous 2014 NAHBS coverage on BikeRadar
- The mountain bikes of NAHBS – Part I
- Gates custom eBike showcase
- Jaw-dropping showstoppers
- Traditional road bikes
- Gravel grinders and endurance road bikes
- The fat bikes of NAHBS 2014
Colorado-based Reeb bicycles is owned by Oskar Blues Brewery, (hence the name: "beer" spelled backwards). The small frame-building outfit offers mountain bikes, fat bikes and cyclocross bikes in steel and titanium. Reeb’s latest creation is a steel 29+ model designed around the 18-speed Pinion gearbox. (What's 29+, you ask? We explain 29+ here.)
The bike is still in the prototyping stages, though Reeb feels strongly that 29+, belt drive and the Pinion gearbox are an excellent combination for adventure touring.
Jim Kish has been building bikes from titanium since 1992 and has previously ‘Best Titanium Bike’ at NAHBS.
Like many of his peers, Kish was showing off a slack 650B hardtail. In addition to the impeccable welds, what really set it apart from the other 650B bikes in display was the custom Ti waterbottle cage designed to hold Mason jars.
We figure you could haul preserved tomatoes or peaches with you, but for optimal performance, fill it with moonshine.
Mosaic had a booth filled with handcrafted steel and titanium bikes. This particular mountain bike was created for a cause.
Mosaic partnered with up with Shimano, Fox Racing, fi’zi:k, Continental and crankbrothers to create a steel 650B hardtail that will benefit The National Inclusion Project, a charity whose mission is to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them.
The bike will be auctioned on eBay through Pro’s Closet. The auction is live and ends Sunday March 23rd. (Click here to visit the eBay listing.)
Curtis Inglis of Retrotec and Inglis Bicycles had a pair of eye-catching mountain bikes on display. The matte-black and pink 650B ‘funduro’ bike features the twin, arched top tubes that transition into seatstays Retrotec is known for.
Inglis won ‘Best Mountain Bike’ at the 2013 show with his Schwinn-inspired 29+ bike. He built another for 29+ year, though without a geared drivetrain and with a yet-to-be-released 142x12mm Paul Components hub.
Lugged and fillet-brazed road frames make up much of Rich Adams fare, though he also enjoys hitting the dirt on occasion. He built this 650B bike for his personal use.
“I find 650B to be much more manageable on the trails I frequently ride,” said Adams. He also noted that, from a framebuilder’s perspective, that 650B wheels are present fewer design challenges.
Not every bike at the show was a new custom creation. This 1987 Steve Potts was on loan from the Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology, located just up the road in Statesville, North Carolina.
While 29ers and 650B were well represented at NAHBS, mountain bikes with 26in wheels were in short supply.
This ‘26+’ build from SyCip was one of the most interesting. It’s not quite a fat bike, though it sports larger than average tires. Much like Surly’s new Instigator, this frame was designed to take Surly’s 26x2.75 Dirt Wizard tires.
Just because 650B ‘trail’ hardtails were on display at nearly every booth does not take away from the craftsmanship of each of the creations.
This bike on display at the SRAM booth was kitted out in the company’s finest.
Jeremy SyCip has long been known as a steel builder, but he is ventuing into titanium construction as well.
He built this 20in Ti mountain bike for his seven-year-old daughter. Phil Wood helped to complete the build with purple anodized hubs.
The University of Iowa is one of a small but growing number of US colleges and universities offering frame-building classes.
The Hawkeyes booth had a diverse collection of handcrafted titanium bicycles built by students — everything from a trials bike to a 36in-wheeled tandem.
Xprezo may not build custom bikes, but the small Canadian company based in Bromont, Québec, prides itself on the fact that it still build each of its bikes in-house, by hand.
The company used NAHBS as an opportunity to showcase its new 650B range.
The AdHoc is billed as an enduro race bike. It has 150mm of rear travel a 66.6 degree head tube angle and comes with the standard features one would expect on a bike in this category such as an internal-routed dropper seatpost and ISCG-05 tabs for a chainguide.
Moving down in suspension travel is the WUUU. It’s a trail bike with 115mm of rear wheel travel designed to around 120-130mm suspension forks.
All of Xprezo’s bikes use single-pivot rear suspension designs with a steel swingarm.
Xprezo’s new cross-country racer is the S-650B. It has 100mm of rear suspension travel and is designed around 100-120mm forks.