Silent Cycles, out of Chattanooga, TN, builds only with steel, and they had three very different bikes on hand. Above, a cyclocross bike with a very unfinished looking finish that was absolutely beautiful.
The frame was left looking very raw, with discoloration of the metal used to give it great depth and character. It’s a thru-axle design front and rear that, despite the rough look, was quite polished in the details. Sleek internal cable and hose routing, fender mounts and a bit of ornate detailing at the head tube and fork crown showed what they could do.
Plenty of pics, plus a massive front-loading cargo bike for fellow Tennessean Velo Coffee, below…
Very sleek little cable ports. With smaller steel tubes (and most alloys, for that matter), anything running inside the downtube generally has to pop out to go around the downtube since there’s no room inside the frame to send it directly into the chainstays.
Similarly, rear brake cables or hoses that run inside the top tube have to pop out before the seat tube, otherwise they’d interfere with the seatpost. Some builders use integrated seat masts to get around this for more clever routing. Here, Silent kept the housing outside the seatstay, clipping it to the underside to make it all but invisible.
Despite having been ridden plenty prior to the show (and getting very dirty many times according to the builder), this finish made it look good as new. Love it.
This bakfiets cargo bike was built for the owner of Velo Coffee, who’s developed a new nitrogen charged ice coffee. Similar to Guinness, the nitrogen infusion provides a creamy, frothy finish. That means it’s only available on tap for now, which is what that large box is in the background. It sits inside the frame and lets him deliver deliciously smooth iced coffee. He’s working on getting into restaurants and bars, too, with eventual plans for single serve cans that’ll have a widget inside to create the microscopic bubbles required to create the creamy foam.
The steering mechanism uses a rod connecting the steering column to the fork.
Flip down kickstand keeps it stable even with a load.
The steerer tube is straight and long, running vertically and holding cleanly routed shift and brake cables that split in either direction at the bottom.
Side note: These things are incredibly unwieldy. I’ve always wanted to ride one, thinking they were a very cool way to get kids, groceries, etc., and I got my chance on this one. And I almost crashed into more than one booth and person. Someone suggested, as they darted out of my path, that it’s easier to steer when there’s a load on the front, but the massively extended front wheelbase tends to exaggerate every little movement and send the bike off course all too easily. As with anything else, I’m sure it gets much easier with practice, and I still want one!
They also had this hardtail, which showed off the paint quality when they do decide to finish a frame properly.