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NAHBS 2016 – A beautiful variety of steel bikes from Mandaric, Don Walker & Equilibrium

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Don Walker has typically shown two things: Cyclocross bikes and track bikes. There’ve been variations of them, but those have been his bread and butter for years. They still are, too, but this year he brought a little more variety to the show with a brazed gravel road bike and several aero bikes, all fashioned from steel, of course.

Above and center, though, is a candy apple red ‘cross bike that keeps the traditional flame alive with cantilever brakes. Beside it is the gravel bike, which also sticks with rim brakes, but at least in a more powerful iteration. Regardless of the stoppers chosen, the bikes look as good as ever, as do some amazing steel road bikes from two other builders we’ve not seen before…


Perhaps the best ‘cross shirt at the show. Maybe the only ‘cross shirt at the show, too.


This steel fillet brazed gravel bike was simple, yet beautiful. It’s for one of the guys that was helping work Don’s booth while he was busy with other important work. You know, like running the NAHBS show, which was stellar this year.




You don’t see many aero steel triathlon bikes, but this one looked sharp in all black with deep/full carbon wheels from HED.



This colorful number was meant for beating the clock in the velodrome. Check out our pre-show interview with Don for the scoop on what he’s building now and more about NAHBS itself.



The Equilibrium Pegasus had us fooled at first glance. Does it look like a steel bike to you? The curved tubes and smooth, heavily shaped junctions looked more like carbon. Enough so that they even drew this sign that invited a second look:






It was entered into the Custom Campagnolo contest.


Equilibrium does mostly lugged steel bikes, but they’ll now offer this “molded” steel frame as a custom option, too.




Despite the exotic sounding name, Mandaric bicycles are actually from California. They build in a variety of steels, plus composite and scandium, and even blends those. The TIG welded Niobium shown here is a new model for them and made of Niobium Steel tubing from Columbus. It’s not just the tubing that made it special, there’s a lot of great detail work here.



Full internal cable routing enters the headtube for the rear brake and both derailleurs. The rear shift cable pops out on the lower third of the seatstay, just in time to form a clean curve into the derailleur. Hit the link to seem their studio shots of this bike for more.


This was the cleanest BB install at the show. Pressfit is nice, but when you can form the BB shell to fit stock Campagnolo bearings? That’s special. The cutaways to show the internal carbon sleeve is just icing on the cake.



That design makes for a very wide BB shell, which let them push the squared chainstays out to the limit for a massively stiff frame that still benefits from steel’s ride qualities. Note that you don’t see the front derailleur housing or cable anywhere under the downtube or BB shell, it only pops out on the backside just in time to run a clean line to the mech.

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8 years ago

Nice touches on the Mandaric! Rare to see a steel road frame that exciting.

Is the equilibrium just filleted with extra brass or are those some type of lug?

8 years ago
Reply to  traildog

I was wondering the same thing about the Equilibrium. Reminds me of some of the time trial bikes from the 80s such as LeMond’s Bottecchia or the Cinelli Laser. Neat looking bikes to be sure but also a lot of added material for no real purpose beyond looking aero.

8 years ago

That Mandaric is awesome! The squared stays look cool and cable routing is so tidy. I’ve got a MBA magazine from the early 1990’s with one of their MTB bikes. Great to see the brand still around.

8 years ago

That Mandaric is CLEAN

8 years ago

Time for Bikerumor to get a better photo viewing feature. 🙂 some hi-res with click/arrow-through and full-screen viewing would be really nice for this article.

Also would love to know more about the Mandaric and the builder/shop.
I know it’s a steel show (mostly anyway) but I am curious about weight. I’m sure potential customers are as well!

8 years ago

Thank you guys for kind words. I appreciate.
The bike is experimental. An effort with Columbus to see how far we can go in steel. Only Down Tube is stock, all others are prototypes. At the present Columbus is making first run of the new tubing, shapes and WT. It will be available in several months.
The bike as you see it is 15.6Lbs or 7100 grams. Bike like that, some $6,900 without fancy chrome on Enve fork. Of course, frame is custom, you know, “One size fits – only YOU”

7 years ago
Reply to  Ves

How did I miss this article months back?!? Ves, the bike looks fantastic. I still have my green beauty you built me 10 years ago and it’s still going strong. Glad to see you still wielding the torch!

Dave in CO… formerly CA.

4 years ago
Reply to  Ves

Veso. Svaka čast!!! Your bikes are awesome.

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