There was a lot of rad stuff to take in at the Philadelphia Bike Expo – here is a collection of some of our favorite bikes, parts, bags, and deadly weapons from the show.
Without further ado:
Kristofer Henry has been meandering towards Ti for some time now. He started dabbling as long ago as 2012, but his first titanium frames for public consumption only started manifesting in the last two. Over the past few months, aficionados of the brand were treated to hints of anodization in 44 Bikes’ social media feed. It was clear that Kris was up to something new… and if his record was any indication, it was going to be cool.
We were not disappointed. Designed for bike packing, this version of the Marauder features a steel 44-made unicrown fork with internal routing for a generator hub and reinforced mounts for Anything cages. This particular Marauder featured custom titanium front and rear racks with all sorts of mountain interfaces attached… as well as a very interesting set of bags.
Taught to sew by his mother at an early age and seeing opportunity enough to pursue his own set of bags for himself, Kris set to work to design a set of top notch bags for himself including a frame pack, roll top panniers, and a cockpit grab bag, made of Military grade VX fabric from Dimension-Polyant. They are lightweight. They are waterproof. They look pro – almost too pro. When pushed for further details, Kris volunteered that he had taken a lot of time developing the design and patterns.
Does this mean we can imagine a future where you will be able to order a complete backpacking custom set up entirely made under the roof of 44 Bikes?
Perhaps, actually – a prospect we find extremely compelling.
One of the big pleasures for me this show was getting to meet Nate Zukas in person. I’ve been following his brand for years for a few reasons. Nate’s work always includes a lot of really neat and clever little details. He’s a fabulous welder. When not welding, his fillets are beautiful. The man works in steel and aluminum and does beautiful work in both. He comes up with some super clean and clever routing solutions. He paints his own stuff and he does awesome work in styling as well. His wild, swoopy stays on otherwise pretty clean and straight bikes. I love his head badge – that bunny is freaking rad.
Big fan – I could go on and on, but you should just go ahead and give yourself the pleasure of following him yourself.
The Zukas booth had several interesting bikes. Nate brought the first bike he’d ever built, a lugged, gray singlespeed he’d recently put back on the stand and done some additional work to so he could put it back to use. Built up with track dropouts and fancy fenders, Nate modified a little quick release solution for his fender, eliciting a shriek of joy from your’s truly.
Front and center in the booth, and glowing in neon pink and teal, was a very, very nice aluminum cross bike, Nate’s personal race bike to be specific. Eagle-eyed viewers will immediately note that there is a Zukas-modified ENVE front fender acting as a rear to match the ENVE front fender, and both are painted to match the frame.
The construction itself is Zukas’ characteristic business up front with the straight-tubed front triangle and his party-in-the-back seat stays. “I think it’s an area that doesn’t get enough attention,” Nate commented regarding seat stays. His bends closely hug the rear tire creating, Nate says, a popular feature for, “people looking at the back of your bike going, ‘Ooh!’”
The routing is clean and fully internal from the downtube port in, running internally south of the spindle in the bottle bracket cluster, to the chainstay ports out. To combat rattling housing, Nate has installed little security bolts at the ports.
Bottom bracket detail – internal routing secured to bottom of inner shell via interior cable guide.
Calfee – Stoker stems, esoteric cages, tandem cases, and new bamboo
Lots of goodies at the Calfee booth, many modeled by a very glossy black carbon tandem, featuring custom S&S couplers made specifically for Calfee. The tandem itself came to the event in the Calfee-branded hard case used as a table at the event. That’s right – Calfee is in the case market. With sizes supporting everything up to full-size non-coupled tandems (serving competition tandems).
The tandem on display modeled Calfee’s new carbon stoker stem, made to measure in house at all lengths and rises, as well as their new cage.
To flex a new process he’s come up with for forming carbon, Calfee has gone to production with his new carbon bottle cage. “We pull carbon fiber through disposable vinyl tubing – there is a 3D printed form.” When the carbon is cured, they strip off the vinyl revealing a lovely surface finish and, what Calfee says, is an awesomely secure and functional bottle cage, “They actually work!” Outside of bottle cages, Calfee’s currently putting the technology to use in some fun non-bike contract work. “We were doing prop guards for drones. You could use the same process to make [bottle] cages, mic stands… eyeglasses.”
When asked if he would be patenting the process, Calfee said he researched it and found it was not really patentable. “It’s very esoteric… I don’t know who would make something else out of it.”
But wait… there’s more! Calfee has been working with a new bamboo supplier. His new source has a highly controlled drying process as well as a variety of bamboo species available with thinner walls than usual. The source compensates for this lighter structure with a reinforced carbon core. The result is a high-performance bamboo tube resilient to splitting. “So you can invest in an expensive bamboo structure and not worry about it splitting.”
Winter Cycles/Winter Cutlery – It Will Cut
Fans of Winter Cycles have noticed builder Eric Estlund’s new super cool side project – knife making. A year and some months ago, Eric started making little knives to build up his new craft. A few months ago, these knives started being available online.
Due to various time and cost constraints thanks a recent shop move, Eric’s booth was more knife-heavy than bike-heavy.
Eric is now selling a variety of handmade knives at Winter Cutlery – a line of product that shares the same level of creativity, depth of consideration and impeccable craftsmanship as his epic bicycles. Definitely keep Winter’s knives and cutting boards in mind for cool holiday gifts for folks who like nice, handmade things.
Paul Components – History and Culture
Hot on on the heels of celebrating their big 30 year anniversary a few weeks back, Paul Components brought a lot of history with them to Philadelphia for the whole expo to celebrate. Shown here are two iterations of the mechanical post mount Klamper.
Plus, in addition to the 30th anniversary, Paul celebrated his actual personal birthday while at the Expo.
Happy birthday to you, Mr. Price.