New Builders row is always an interesting part of NAHBS. Usually tucked to the side of the show floor, the simple tables covered in nondescript white tablecloths with a black curtain can be a big part of a builder’s career. Many of the big names have started on this row, and because of that you never know what you’re going to find. Sitting prominently in the first spot this year was this wild board track racer inspired e-bike. Modeled after the 1919 Excelsior Henderson, Kevin Ostrom built this bike for fun – he normally finds himself working on human powered vehicles, velomobiles, and a number of other bikes. Not only was the e-bike beautifully constructed, but it also had some clever tech to keep things legal…
One of the most interesting ways I’ve seen to limit an e-bike’s speed, Kevin built the motor mount in front of the bottom bracket so that the motor actually spins in its housing. Along with the gear reduction to the rear wheel, this keeps the 1000 watt motor from powering the bike to illegal speeds. Built around a Crystalyte 3540 e-bike motor, the bike can be powered by pedaling, throttle, or both. A machinist by trade, it’s clear that Kevin knows his way around the shop as the construction of this thing was impressive.
A small builder out of Indiana, Figment had a bike and frame on display as was the limit for new builders, which included a lugged road frame and a track bike with an integrated seat mast.
An active duty member of the U.S. Airforce, KC Cerreta of Cerreta Cycles spent nine years as an aircraft machinist and welder. While he says building bikes is currently just an outlet for him, there is no question that he has the skills with two incredible frames on display. KC says he went to NAHBS in 2014, and thought to himself, “hey, I could do this.” So he bought the tools, did his research, and built some bikes.
Considering that this is frame number 2 and 3, it’s pretty clear that KC has a future in frame building if he wants it. Both bikes uses a brazed steel construction, though KC says titanium TIG construction may not be far off given his experience welding insanely thin titanium on aircraft parts. He had a local guy (KC is in Layton, UT) do the paint for the black frame, but he did the blue paint himself. Pretty impressive.
Sixth Law Cycles started with the philosophy that there is a reason why people don’t ride as much as they should. So John Koutrouba set out to find those problems and get people on bikes. All of his builds are one off customs and he generally focuses on bikes that get people around, though this mountain bike cruiser above was built for a someone that was 6’8″ and wanted a 29+ cruiser.
His electric mixte is a perfect example of the bikes he likes to build as John said it was for a customer that works in the foothills. This bike allows them to commute to work up some steep hills, then pedal back into town at the end of the day.
Mathew also had this raw brazed travel plus sized bike packing frame on display to show off his handiwork with a torch.
Toresvelo was part of the Russian contingent at the show with their shop located in Astrakhan which is on the Caspian Sea near Kazakhstan. Building for 5 or 6 years now, this was Toresvelo’s vision of a Klunker, or a “bike for fun, but with modern tech.” Built with thru axles front and rear, a belt drive, and frame couplers, it also had a number of beautiful details like the hand crafted front brake post mount, a curved bridge at the stays so you could reach the chain tensioner, and raised details on the head tube and bottom bracket.
This bike from Rookey Bike Works was another with a ton of detail work. Stating that he wanted a bike for camping and spending time outdoors, Jeonghun Lee is from Seoul, South Korea and has been at it since 2013. From the Ghosted Columbus logos to the raised Rookey on the downtube, integrated pump peg, this bike had a lot going on.
One of my favorite bikes at the show had to be this stunner from Cody Leuck. New Builders Row might not be the place you’d expect to see perfection in carbon fiber, but times seem to be changing. This is only Cody’s fifth bike (only his third carbon bike), which you’d never believe by looking at it. But then again, he is an aircraft manufacturing engineer by trade. That seems to be how he decided on using a trapped rubber silicone mandrel for his carbon lug construction. When heated, the silicone expands, compressing the carbon and leaving near perfect tube walls with zero gaps or voids. The lugs are then bonded together with stock tubes using an adhesive injection technique (the blue dots on the frame) which results in more even bonding without excess resin.
Built with titanium dropouts, this flat mount, thru axle road bike was truly impressive.