Every year, it seems like the competition at NAHBS rises to a new level. After all, it is the annual chance to shine for a lot of industrious builders who spend most of their time behind a torch, a welder, or a paint brush. This year was no different as an incredible array of glistening works of art were on display for decent crowds in Salt Lake City. And while much like art, the best bike is a subjective matter, that didn’t stop the NAHBS judges from sweating the details and picking their favorites.
The big winner this year had to be the Prince Tribute bike by Peacock Groove. Not only did it take home the trophy for Best In Show (which was recently updated with a tribute to Jeff Archer on the back), but it also took home the award for Best Theme bike which judge Patrick Brady said this was the last year for the award. Looking at the bike, it’s not hard to see why – the level of detail and custom work is insane…
The brunt of the work falls on Peacock Groove’s Erik Noren, but the Prince bike was a true collaborative effort between Erik, Anna Schwinn, and a number of sources for the components including Paul Component Engineering.
Yes, that is an actual Prince guitar pick incorporated into the Paul stem. Most expensive stem ever?
The Prince symbol is a repeating them from the head tube to the braze-ons, to the saddle, and bar tape.
You guys. Doves were actually crying on the bar tape.
Along with purple everything, the rims were painted with they lyrics to Purple Rain. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the frame also includes asymmetric seat stays with the non-drive side sitting farther back than the drive side. No detail was overlooked which is probably why this won both awards.
Moving on to another beautiful bike, this Enigma Exemplar took home the award for the President’s choice as chosen by Don Walker.
The Custom 6/4 titanium frame is a work of art in itself, but the finish is what really seals the deal. Every part from the frame to the wheels, to the derailleurs, and even bottle cages was refinished in a blue candy tint that makes it a show stopper. Enigma is actually producing these bikes, but they will be limited to 20 pieces.
The People’s Choice went to this custom high wheeler from Jon Tallerico.
The high wheeler was unique enough that it captured the crowd’s imagination with a unique construction and details like inset coins.
Best Finish was an award that went to Black Magic Paint out of Portland, Oregon.
The custom painted Bishop stole the show with variegated gold leaf lettering and a detailed wood grain pattern. Definitely one that you have to see in person to truly appreciate.
The Campy Award went to No. 22 Bicycles. This was one that we didn’t get a chance to photograph, but while running around the show I was able to check it out briefly and it was certainly a beautiful Campy equipped bike.
Another one I missed the chance to see in person, the Best Columbus build went to Breadwinner cycles.
There was some stiff competition this year for Best New Builder, but the winner ended up being Mathew Nelson from SaltAir Cycles. A local to Salt Lake City, Mathew draws inspiration from Saltair which he called Salt Lake City’s version of Coney Island.
The frame is a beautifully brazed steel frame with Columbus Spirit tubing for a local road racer who wanted a stiff bike. Because of that it has straight gauge stays but still offers clearance for 28mm tires, and was painted by Spectrum Powder Works.
Mathew even created his own seat mast topper with an ENVE clamp head. According to the judges, the reason this bike won Best New Builder is that it is exactly what you’d expect from any professional builder. A perfectly crafted bike to your specifications with a finish level worthy of any high end bike.