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NAHBS 2012 – Santa Cruz, CA Builder Round Up

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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

Frances Cycles

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.

The steering cables are silver soldered for extra durability.

The owner of this bicycle actually totes his four year old daughter in this canvas bag.

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.

Rock Lobster

This robin green Rock Lobster Cyclocross is a Santa Cruz institution. You can't go anywhere without seeing one come smashing down a trail (even the DH trails.) Paul has built at least fifty of them.

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.

Previously covered Santa Cruz Builders include: Caletti Cycles and Calfee

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teh persons
11 years ago

Rick Hunter was at the show as well. His bikes are a fixture in Santa Cruz cycling…if you have pics add them to this post?

11 years ago

As were John Caletti, and Calfee, but what are a few builders among friends?

11 years ago

“Unlike many of the other bicycles at the show, these were real working steads, so everything was functional.”
I’m confused as to what you mean by this. Were the other bikes at the show non-functional? How did you certify the non-functional ones as being so? And how many is “many?”

“Several other exhibitors had similar steering setup but this was the only one that felt road worthy and didn’t have any play.”
And this was confirmed how? By actually riding it?

I’m not saying that the Frances stuff isn’t stellar, but you’re judging all the other exhibitor’s bikes as less relevant due to experiences you had in a showroom setting and I don’t believe that’s fair.

11 years ago

Needs a comma or semicolon in this sentence: “peddling his puppy into the sunset or see someone killing it” Should be “pedaling”, too.

Sounds like someone’s trying to sell their puppy, and then you see someone else murdering said innocent puppy.

11 years ago

@ Mo- I was at the show and agree that Frances cable steering didn’t have any ‘play’ or ‘lag’ in comparison to the Calfee ‘kid in front’ tandem (super rad design!) that had an obvious delay in turning… I understand that some of the bikes were finished right before the show and hadn’t been fully ‘dialed’ in or tested out on the road yet

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