In the first installment of NAHBS by the NUMBERS 2019, we took a high level look at a set of data gathered from bicycles at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show this year. Today, we break down that data by discipline to take a closer look at the three most popular types of bikes at the event and paint an informationally descriptive picture of what these bikes were.

Buckle your seatbelts, nerds, it’s about to get informational. 

NAHBS by the Numbers 2019, Analysis by Discipline Category, overview

You may remember this little fella from the first installment. Gravel/All-Road bikes were the most commonly documented in this analysis at 96 bikes, with Road and Mountain trailing behind at 73 and 52 bikes each, respectively. For the sake of this piece, I chose to focus on these three popular categories.

NAHBS by the Numbers 2019, Analysis by Discipline Category, Overall Summary

For full effect, I created a summary of the overall data here for individual category comparison.

Remember when I talked about personal biases yesterday? No? Okay. So.

Everyone has their personal area of high-fidelity in bikes – a focus area where they have great personal interest, awareness, and understanding. Sometimes that’s within a genre of bike, a material, a form of racing, a tire size, styling, or a point in time where your favorite flavor of bike existed and thrived (I see you out there, “Golden Era” roadies).

The easy trap to fall into is to live within that focus area and compare and/or dismiss categories beyond your personal scope. This bias can become harmful or detrimental to a product category when those sentiments are held by folks making product decisions on larger scales. I’ve worked with product managers who, for example, didn’t understand road, who were coming at road product from a heavily biased off-road personal focus area, and who then tried to bend road product designed for road riders to their personal preference and will. The result? A product and spec that resonated with the product manager but one that didn’t resonate with the customer they served.

But at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, there are no product managers – only individual customers. Each bicycle represents a set of personal preferences, rather than the preferences or assumptions of someone making bikes for the masses. These are the road, gravel/all-road, and mountain bikes that customers specifically wanted.

So check into those biases you have for a moment… long enough to be aware of them so you can to tune them way out. Peruse the data with a fresh mind and appreciate each discipline as a snapshot.

NAHBS by the Numbers 2019, Analysis by Discipline Category, Road Bike Summary

In the world of road (from the 73 bikes documented), quick releases and center hole-mount, cable actuated brakes were alive. Campagnolo was prominent in drivetrains and dominant in brakes.

Also fun to note, carbon was a more popular frame material than titanium in this category thanks to brands like FiftyOne, Montenegro, Exept, and Pursuit kicking out the skinny carbon jams.

It’s when you compare road and gravel that you really start to see how profoundly different these two disciplines are from one another.

NAHBS by the Numbers 2019, Analysis by Discipline Category, Gravel and All-Road Summary

To reiterate, I drew the distinction between road and gravel/all-road at mixed surface use intent. While it seemed like a difficult line to draw at the outset of the event, after attending the show and looking at this data – it’s clear that that these two categories of bikes are very different animals.

Disc brakes are overwhelmingly popular in this segment, with flat mount brake interfaces being the frame builder’s weapon of choice. Hydraulic brakes and thru axles are also dominant in this arena.

NAHBS by the Numbers 2019, Mountain Summary

Last but not least, we have the mountain bike data (from 52 bikes). Hydraulic disc brakes, thru axles, and cable actuated drivetrains were dominant… and I.S. tabs were the most popular standard for fitting brakes up (with post mount interfaces coming in second).

No, that isn’t an error, there were several mountain bikes with flat mount interfaces on the frame – that fit to post mount adapters. Brands who did this, like Seven Cycles, had a great flat mount solution (and probably a solid process around building with that solution) they were using in other product categories.

Titanium was a close second to steel in this discipline – though we will explore more of the potential reasons why in an upcoming installment.

Stay tuned, kids.

Like what you’re reading? Check out other pieces in NAHBS by the NUMBERS 2019:

Part 1: NAHBS by the NUMBER 2019: The Overalls

Part 3: NAHBS by the Numbers 2019: Fashion and Style

Part 4: NAHBS by the NUMBERS 2019: Regional Themes, Steel Construction

12 COMMENTS

  1. The graphs made it much easier to see the stats as I am a visual learner. The breakdown was really good. Thanks Anna.

    • According to my documentation, I counted one FSA drivetrain. I filed it under “Other” here.

      It was a Bamboo Bike, gravel purpose, bamboo tubes with carbon joints, 28-33c tires, carbon fork.

    • There was an FSA booth. As I prioritized bikes in builders’ booths due to time constraints, it could be that there were more bikes with FSA drivetrains in that booth.

      Also, I missed new builders row and a few other booths.

    • You’re absolutely right! Something was amiss.

      On one “Campy” shifter entry, I accidentally imported a set of gravel data. And the other one appears to be me fat fingering the entry (that bike is documented as a full sus mountain bike with Shimano brakes – the photo I can find of that one suggests a Shimano RD as well).

      I’ve updated the graph.

  2. Great stuff! Your graphs have really challenged my conceptions on gravel bikes — and convinced me that I need one! Can I request a couple non-radial graphs?
    – A histogram of tire size (with a dual c/inch X-axis?) so we can see the groupings / overlaps?
    – Scatter plot (or something cleverer?) of drivetrain vs brake brand so we can see how people are mixing and matching shifter bits to braking bits?
    I can’t express how surprisingly fun this data is! Good work!

    • Non-Radial graphs are not only possible… but in the works! We didn’t know how folks would respond to data, so we’ve been rolling this out slow and easy.

      Let me see what I can whip up in those areas. The drivetrain v brake brand thing is something I was meditating on at the show.

  3. Loving the second installment as much as the first! It’s so cool to see the trend breakdown compiled in such a clear manner. Also great to have explanations of the data such as that weird aberration with post mount/flat mount brake tabs among the MTBs.

    • There were two mini-fat bikes with 20in tires I documented that fell into that tire width category. Due to criteria I set out, they were filed under “experimental” here. It’s also worth noting that I didn’t cover the whole show – I prioritized established builders and the complete bikes in their booths. There may have been a billion fat bikes on new builder row, but they weren’t documented if they were.

      I was pretty surprised that there were so few – I had space dedicated to yoke construction in my notes in anticipation of more (in past years, fat bikes have at least felt much more popular and yokes are always cool to talk about), but there just weren’t many there.

      I’ll cover this more in an upcoming installment. There are several reasons for why there were so few.

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