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…

All portrait photos c. NAHBS

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.


    • HDManitoba on

      To be fair to Eric Noren/Peacock Groove, he builds what you want. I have a P.G. frame that is black. No shiny bits and bobs or artsy details, just black. That’s what I wanted, that’s what he built.

      But this is a custom bike show so the builders show something that illustrates the level of skill and creativity they have and the effort they will go through to build you what you as a customer want.

  1. Beat_the_trail on

    While I think the Peacock Groove bike is well executed, I worry that bikes like this will lead to a slippery slope where custom bicycles will be the next “Orange County Choppers.” You’ll have a reality show where Erik Noren will be fighting with some other bearded builder about their latest theme bike.

    • Pete on

      Tom Ritchey is spot on about using the bicycle as art. Seems no one wants to discuss technical ride qualities anymore. To each his own.

      • Muchachos on

        Because technical ride qualities are subjective, and have been bastardized a billion times over by the vertically compliant and laterally stiff marketers. We should call those people a n a l l y compliant and mentally stiff.

  2. Papi on

    It seems appropriate to award this bike ‘Best Theme Bike’ – but best in show? That seems a little disingenuous to the the builders who let their skill show without all the dangly bits of flair. Surely Anna Schwinn’s reputation in the handbuilt bike community had some influence in the bike taking best in show, whether it was conscious or not.

  3. PsiSquared on

    I love the Peackock Grove/Anna bike. It’s a deserving champ. With that said, there isn’t much I’ve seen from this years NAHBS that I haven’t liked. Methinks NAHBS is the premier bike show here in the US, the place to go drool over bikes. From bare bones to ornate, the variety in the bikes seen and in the builders is as wide as the variety of cyclists. The show just seems to scream, “Fun!”

  4. Jesse Edwards on

    The Prince bike is very impressive, but not in good taste at if you ask me. Builders like Stinner & Breadwinner make bikes that are so beautiful top to bottom and seem far more sophisticated. While I love the Album Purple rain and definitely appreciate the dedication to theme, I find that bike to just be a dump of detail that doesn’t result in something beautiful as whole. The OCC reference is very apt.

  5. Thor29 on

    It’s the purple anodized parts… If they could have matched the same shade of purple as the frame, then they would have executed the concept perfectly. I say that as someone who absolutely loves colorful anodized parts. Heck, I want a pair of Paul disc brakes just for the orange bits. But mixing two different shades of purple doesn’t really work. Use a painted stem that matches the frame and keep everything else silver.

  6. Mike D on

    I’ll throw a vote of ‘FOR’ toward that Prince themed bike from PG. The concept and execution are spot on. Over the top, one of a kind? Absolutely, just like the person who inspired it. Is it my style? No, not at all. But the level of detail is fantastic. It is a beautiful tribute piece.

    Side note to whomever was lighting that portrait set–wtf. Why would you set your lights so low and make all the people’s faces look ghoulish? Horrible shots, ha.

    • Michael on

      The guy taking the pictures said he’d been having issues all day with the lights. One would kick off before the other and was creating shadows. I should know as I was in one of them. You can tell which booth was used cause of the lights. And yeah, horrible pictures from the one booth.

        • Michael on

          It is what it is in the end. The bike still looked awesome and won the PC Award. Super happy with the show. Can’t wait for Hartford. Should be huge. Already planning out the bikes for next year. Glad Zach was able to get some good snaps of the bike though.

  7. Muchachos on

    I love the people that come on here any get down on the Prince bike, and applaud builders like Stinner and Mosaic. No soul, just modern trendy paint jobs that instagram well.

  8. Beat_the_trail on

    Bikes, like cars, motorcycles, etc have no soul. As much as you may care about them, they don’t care about you back. A bike is a conveyance.


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