I can’t count the number of times I walked past this thing without realizing just how cool it was. From a distance, this cargo bike in the Rock West Composites booth looked fairly normal, and it seemed that the Shade of Pale beer was drawing in just as many people as the bike. However, when I finally got a chance to check it out up close, I finally understood what was going on – and why this bike was worthy of an award…

A collaboration between Sam Garfield, James Lyons, and Rylan Hayes, the bike uses a number of readily available parts from Rock West Composites plus a number of custom pieces to create the frame and controls. Best Experimental Bike could mean a lot of things, but I think this cargo bike certainly qualifies.

Called CARBONNect, the frame is constructed from a modular carbon tubing system with various main blocks, brackets, adapters and connectors to create a rigid frame that is riveted and bolted together rather than using typical joining methods. The design also allows for a unique front wheel steering method where the frame pieces actually pivoted with the wheel.

Almost completely made from carbon, the bike is propelled with a Gates Carbon Drive and a NuVinci hub.

As Anna pointed out, there was so much going on with Shamrock’s winning bike, it’s hard to know where to begin. Taking home the award for best City/Utility bike, Tim O’Donnell’s super commuter was one of my favorites at the show due to the level of detail.

Portraits c. NAHBS

Every little detail has been stressed from the dynamo hub that powers the Shimano Di2 system through the Sinewave charger – as well as the battery pack at the back for the lights which are both integrated into the top tube and the more traditional dynamo lights. The frame lights can be flashed using the button on the left side of the bar which actually integrated into the bar. The push button shifter on the right side is a leftover from one of Tim’s motorcycle projects where he hacked up a Shimano Di2 shifter and junction box and retrofitted it into the motorcycle shifter. And that chain link cup holder?


This bike had everything – a built in U-Lock holder, front and rear rack for two bottles of wine and a 6-pack, and all the little details that make a Shamrock a Shamrock.

Best Road Bike went to David Kirk along with Best Fillet Brazed frame, with his super clean lugged stainless Onesto road bike.

Just as you would expect from the builder who took home the award for best fillet, David’s brazed lugs are just as on point. Everything is so clean, with gracefully swept seat stays, down to the little details like the custom stem.

Best Mountain Bike ended up going to Sklar Bikes for an impeccable plus build.

From the custom fork (those post mounts!) to the curved tubes of the frame, it was a stunner.

Best CX Bike went to a builder from across the pond, Tom Donhou for his DSSX.

The Donhou Signature Steel Cross bike featured thru axle dropouts, tidy cable routing through the frame, and a gorgeous seat tube/top tube/stay junction.

Splitting the awards this year into Best CX and Best Gravel, Mosaic Bicycles took the award for best Gravel Bike for their GT-1.

Indicative of Mosaic’s attention to detail and incredible paint, the GT1 looked good with matched fenders and a Silca frame pump.

Fully deserving of Best Track Bike, Low Bicycles took home the award for their MKii Gen 2 Track Std. Low’s bikes look like they’re nearly production, in a good way. Their in house shaping of aluminum tubes stands out, and the custom powder coated finishes for the show really popped.

Best Tandem went to Santana which from a distance looked like your average titanium tandem…

However, get up close and you realize that this is actually a traveling tandem with four custom made Z-Coupler joints to allow it to come apart behind the captain and in front of the stoker’s seats. Rather than use S&S couplers which would require round tubes, the bikes uses custom puzzle like joints which bolt together and maintain the look of the ovalized tubing.

Lastly, Best Artisan Bike went to Black Sheep for their racked out fat bike.

This thing was loaded with swoopy Ti bits everywhere you looked from the custom racks, to the little internal housing guides poking out of the frame.



  1. Great lookers all around. The tandem – mind blown, what an awesome coupling system. Skylar’s mtb looks great but the rear brake hose just ruins it for me! And why the heck is there an ‘artisan’ category??

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.