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North American Handmade Bicycle Show – Award Winners

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Naked Bicycles from British Columbia once again won the heart of the NAHBS crowd and took the People’s Choice award. Wooden components are used for the seat post, hand grips and pedals, and the frame features particular curves that builder Sam Whittingham states he has a liking for. Bicycles should be more feminine as it softens their lines, he says. The Mountain bike uses the 29” wheel, which Whittingham says is well suited to the BC riding conditions.

Read “more” to see the rest of the winners and their sweet, sweet bikes (insert Homer Simpson drooling sound here)…

Click on the pics to enlarge them.

Best Track Bike & President’s Choice
Shin-Ichi Konno is continuing a family business that has made Cherubim one of the most respected handmade bicycle brands in Japan and a builder for keirin racers there. According to Shin-Ichi, the current design of track/keirin racing frames has been in place since the 1960s. The award-winning Cherubim Pista is made with due respect to the long tradition of track bicycle frame building. (Read our prior post to see an odd little Cherubim fixie bike.)

Best Road Bike    
About nine years ago Roland Della Santa purchased the last 23 sets of Nervex lugs from Geoff Butler Cycles in London, intending to save them for a special project. This project became a limited edition set of 20 bicycles to celebrate his 40th anniversary of frame building. Using old Columbus tubes and offering only three braze-ons (and one waterbottle cage) Della Santa created an Eddy Merckx period piece that the awards jury simply could not resist.

Best Off-Road Bike
Curt Goodrich has always wanted to outfit a cyclocross team, and that that was the inspiration for the bright blue machine on display the weekend of the show. Goodrich started out as an apprentice, and then built bicycles on contract for Rivendell, and began focusing solely on his own creations in 2008. He worked to incorporate classic features like a level top tube on the bike he brought for display, as well as modern features like carbon forks, and a striking blue paint scheme.

Best City Bike
Mitch Pryor of Portland, Oregon’s M.A.P. cycles built a beautiful city bike for a customer in Colorado who wanted a commuter cycle. The bike, of a timeless style, is done in a cream color with cork accents and a Brooks saddle. Pryor used selections of Reynolds tubing for its construction and took inspiration from the drawings of French artist Daniel Rebour for the commission. “It’s cute,” said one observer. “I’ve heard that a lot,” replied Pryor.

Best Carbon Bike
Nine months of work went into the design of the prototype carbon fiber bike by Independent Fabrication. The crown-themed lugs, which were made with the assistance of Edge, arrived at the IF workshop on Thursday a week before the show, and everything fitted together first time around. For Independent Fabrication, this is a learning journey into a new material as the company continues to expand its knowledge base.

Best of Show
Dan Polito of Cicli Polito credits former frame builder Norm Taylor with the inspiration for the Jack Taylor tribute bicycle he brought to the 2009 NAHBS. Polito, who sees making one’s own bicycle as the mark of a true cyclist, honored Taylor, who passed away recently, by including elements in this particular bicycle of original grass-track racing bicycles. Laura Long, an associate of Polito’s since the shop opened, pointed out cyclists used to compete on horse fields, which explains the wider tires. 

Best Fillet Brazed Bike
Mark Nobilette designed this bicycle to be “the anti-Herve.”  He wanted to create a non-traditional touring frame, capable of carrying a full-load, “without compromising it.” Various parts of the frame deviate from the traditional—a wishbone-shaped seat binder, double-bend chain stays, a threadless steerer tube, and fillet brazed joints instead of lugs.  The racks, which Nobilette made himself, were powder-coated black instead of the traditional chrome.

Best TIG Welded Bike
Black, red and white is Carl Strong’s favorite color scheme for a bicycle, and that’s what he chose for this all-business road stage racer. The bike is also made to fit Strong, a precaution he says he took in case he couldn’t sell it. Much of the thinking centered on a new Chris King head inset head tube, which provides a large surface area to connect tubes to, as well as a low stack height, which enhances the aesthetic. With a liquid paintjob by Spectrum Powderworks, the headtube of this titanium frame is left as clearcoat to show of the fine welding of this show display bike, which is a prototype for further models.

Best Lugged Bike
David Ellis Wages of Ellis Cycles in Waterford, Wisconsin, takes his inspiration from classic bicycles of the early 1980s.  Bicycles with intricate lug work and chrome forks and chain stays were the ones with which he first became familiar when he started riding, so, to him, in a way, those features still define classic bicycles. “…kind of the bike I always wanted to have,” Wages said of one of the fine machines he brought with him to the 2009 NAHBS in Indianapolis. Wages incorporates a modern aesthetic with the classic craftsmanship of lug work in his cycles, adding that using lugwork allows for more artistic detail.

Best Paint Job
Toronto painter, Noah Rosen works closely with Mike Barrie, father of the Canadian pro road rider, and a former builder for Mariposa. Barrie wanted Rosen to restore his old 1951 Cinelli to something closely resembling its original condition. They had to go by black and white photos, but Barrie was confident the paint color was a close match. One of the main challenges, says Rosen, was matching the proportions on the seat tube bands. Getting clean lug edges on a 60-year old bike took a lot of work, since the metal had roughened over the years. Rosen put some 20 hours into the restoration job.

Best Tandem Bike 
“I want a lugged tandem, what can you do?” This request from a customer led Stephen Bilenky to create the tandem that won the NAHBS Award. The customer was interested in a tandem with a classic European look and sent him some lugs from Rivendell, who does not make tandem frames.  Several parts needed to be made from scratch, since fabricated lugs for tandems do not exist. To create a classic looking headtube, a bi-laminate piece was created as a substitute for one of the lug.  The blades on the fork are original Jack Taylor’s from the 1960s, so a fork crown had to be fabricated too.

Best Titanium Bike
Kent Eriksen featured numerous bicycle frames made of titanium at the show. Eriksen, who originally invented the softail mountain bike suspension, always wanted to incorporate titanium with that feature because of the metal’s durability. “It’ll last for generations,” he said, of the more modern bicycle he brought to Indianapolis, adding that titanium makes for an incredibly rideable bike. Eriksen added that titanium is also “green” in that it doesn’t require painting and so leaves less of a carbon footprint in its production.


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