There are several cities in North America that can claim to have a riding scene as beautiful and varied as that of Santa Cruz, CA, but I’ve never called any of those places home. In my town, its just as common to run into a group of world cup riders prototyping new equipment or filming in the woods as it is to see one of these builders out riding along the beach.
Visiting NAHBS for the first time this year felt like home, because tucked away in several corners of the show, I ran into bikes I’ve seen so often I regard them as friends. It wouldn’t be a normal day in Santa Cruz if you didn’t run across Josh Muir peddling his puppy into the sunset or see someone killing it on a robin green Rock Lobster cyclocross.
Check past the break to meet more of my friends…
The frame on the left is a classic Frances cycles cargo bike. This bike uses mechanical discs for braking and incorporates some trick cable routing along the outside of the cargo basket for braking and steering purposes. To the right was one of the cleanest old school inspired fixies at the show. The chain stays are so short the rear wheel protrudes through the split seat tube.
All of the bikes on display at the Frances booth belonged to customers. Unlike many of the other bicycles at the show, these were real working steads, so everything was functional. Several other exhibitors had similar steering setup but this was the only one that felt road worthy and didn’t have any play.
This year Paul Sadoff brought a collection of bikes documenting his progress as a builder. The red road bike buried in the background above was the first frame he ever built. It features an Italian threaded bottom bracket he explained because it was free.
This freestyle fixie made its debut at NAHBS. The frame has grind gussets and plenty of tire clearance for bar spins. This frame wasn’t build for Sadoff to trick but to further the progress of what he sees as a relatively new sport. His inspiration stemmed from a local freestyle fixe rider who walked into his shop looking for help in repairing his cracked frame.
Several of the road bikes in Rock Lobsters booth featured down tube shifters on the same side of the frame. When Paul was still racing bikes with index shifters he found he preferred his bikes this way as the number plate interfered otherwise. He moved away from this design in the very early 90s when he felt the improvements in indexed shifting and braking were ready for prime time.
Black Cat Bicycles
These steel racks, built by Todd Ingermanson, were stunning. The racks were indented to carry enough gear for short camping trips.
All of the Black Cat mountain bike frames featured attractive curves and this trick headtube gusset.
Frames begin at $2,000.