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NAHBS 2015: Zen Fabrication’s new road, cyclocross & mountain bikes roll out

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Zen Fabrication has been one of only a handful of domestic frame builders available to anyone who just had and idea but needed someone to make it, and they’ve been behind some well known names over the past few years. So much so that they’ve built up a bit of a name for themselves and recently decided to launch their own line of bikes. The full tech specs are in our original story, but when they’re right in front of us, we gotta take pics. So, here’s a little gallery of some frame highlights plus a killer, unobtainable-unless-you-build-and-paint-it-yourself version of the hardtail expedition bike… Zen-fabrications-AR45-gravel-road-bike02

The AR45 gravel bike is steel, hence the lithe top tube.

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As the name suggests, there’s clearance for 45mm tires.

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The 6061 alloy XCX cyclocross bike is more race oriented.

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It, and the race road bike, share a very clean Di2 wire port on the headtube. The head badges shown here are some near-final tests of a dual layer paint and masking technique that’ll look similar on final models, but probably a bit more refined.

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The matte black finish over polished metal should be virtually maintenance free…a good thing for ‘cross bikes.

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The road bike is Columbus HSS Spirit steel tubing, and it gets a more svelte head tube than the gravel grinder.

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The bikes come equipped with modular dropouts, letting you swap axle standards as things progress.

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In addition to the more trail-oriented hardtail, they offer the EXP as an all-day, all the way out there style adventure bike. The stock finish is a raw alloy silver, but for the show, they put this bad boy together with dark camo and safety orange bags from J.Paks!

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Any guesses how well this would sell? Zen.bike

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denver
denver
7 years ago

Might want to correct who made the bags. Those are in fact from J.Paks.

http://www.jpaks.com/

Joe
Joe
7 years ago

The blaze orange frame bags are from http://WWW.JPAKS.COM not apidura.

Kristi Benedict
Admin
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Sorry about that, J.Paks. Fixed.

jPAcks
jPAcks
7 years ago

Those paks are from JPAcks!

AdventuresAnonymous
AdventuresAnonymous
7 years ago

Those bikes look pretty cool, glad that Zen is putting their own name out there!

On another note, why are there so many J-packs on NAHBS bikes? The guy rips off designs, often verbatim, from other bag builders, and touts them as his own. Sorry, I’m just getting tired of seeing his blatant copies everywhere (check out the “DanCan” or “TomCan”, or whatever it was before Eric called him out on the JerryCan copy; also see the almost stitch-for-stitch copy of a Viscacha/Pika on a Black Sheep this year). Just goes to show that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. C’mon, builders, find yourself some bag manufacturers who match you in innovation and quality!

Mr. Subjective
Mr. Subjective
7 years ago

@AA: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

Also @AA:

J.Paks is putting out some pretty awesome and innovative stuff. I’ve personally never seen any Revelate Design products that are integrated into the frame itself (note the lack of straps on the frame bag). I have a lot of experience with J.Paks bags and they have never let me down. Definitely top notch products.

Haters gonna hate.

Denver
Denver
7 years ago

@AA, pretty sure JPaks only had bags on two bikes at this years NAHBS. Two.
Boo bicycles and Zen. Not a single bag on a black sheep.

Nice try.

AdventuresAnonymous
AdventuresAnonymous
7 years ago

Sorry, guys, “innovation” means coming up with something new, not making something exactly like someone else’s design but in louder colors. Or making something that such an exact copy that it’s difficult to tell it’s a copy. @Denver, you’re correct, I have seen so many NAHBS bikes over the last several days… I was thinking of the seat bag on the Boo. That is a direct copy of the Viscacha to the eye, down to the stitching colors, with the exception of a few important structural details that obviously weren’t caught by the “designer”.

I’ve been doing this a long time – long enough to remember the days of only a couple bag manufacturers. Everyone takes basic ideas and design cues from those that came before; that’s how creativity and progression work. But putting out a bag that’s exactly like someone else’s, then crowing about how your design is new and different, rubs me the wrong way, and that’s happened multiple times with this guy.

You like Joe? Cool. I don’t know him personally. But his business ethics are shady to say in the least.

Denver
Denver
7 years ago

@AA, you must have been at NAHBS, right?
You must have seen these bags in person, right?
You held one up to the other to scrutinize the details, right?

Otherwise, you’re all speculation.

AdventuresAnonymous
AdventuresAnonymous
7 years ago

Oh brother… look, if you want to support the copycat fellow, that’s fine. Just know that there are multiple people out there that created specific, detailed designs that have been blatantly recreated by this company. Do a little research and find the originals (several different manufacturers!). They deserve the recognition that the imitations are getting – that’s all I’m saying. I’ll take the low-key original over the self-aggrandizing imitation every time.

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