2010 NAHBS News

2011 Show

Posted on 08. Mar, 2010 by Paul Skilbeck in 2010 News, Featured

Dates: 25-27 February, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas.

2010 Shimano NAHBS Award Winners

Posted on 28. Feb, 2010 by Paul Skilbeck in 2010 News, Featured

Ellis Cycles – Best of Show


Dave Wages, owner of Ellis Cycles, would like first and foremost to thank his wife for putting up with the hectic schedule completing his Best in Show-winning bike. “I had a similar bike in mind before last year’s show, but couldn’t finish it in time.” This year’s entrant and eventual winner was built for a customer from San Francisco, and the proud owner-to-be flew into Richmond to see his machine take top honors.

Asked for the secret of the bike’s success, Wages said, “It’s shiny but understated. I keep a classic look to my bikes and there’s no one element that draws attention to itself. The beauty is integral.”

Bilenky Cycle Works – Best Road Frame


Stephen Bilenky of Philadelphia has been building bikes for nearly 30 years, in the first 25 of which he focused on making tandem bicycles. His award winning model is an old French style tandem, using modern geometry and updated components. “It was built for a tandem review in a magazine. The frame is simplistic–a fillet brazed tandem–but it came out so well with the box pin-striping and luggage racks that we saw it as a show bike,” explained Stephen Bilenky.

Richard Sachs – Best Track Frame


Richard Sachs liked this bike so much that he told the customer he’d like to buy it back if it ever went up for sale. A few years later, the customer sold it back to him. Around the year 1990 Richard Sachs got to a point where some frames he makes get very close to his ideal of how a frame should be. “You never know if you’ll get there again, so I’d like to keep a couple of these frames. This is one of them.” It is a 1970s style frame, with narrow (by modern standards) sized tubes, juxtaposed with 2009 components.”

Crumpton Cycles – Best Carbon Fiber


Nick Crumpton denies he’s rigid. “I’ve heard from people I’m not flexible,” he said. His custom, scratch-made full carbon fiber frames are built using measuring tape and discussion — and a little intuition. Show him how you sit on a bike and then give him freedom to work, and, he says, he will build the best bike he can build. Having built for about 6 years, he got a call to participate in the first NAHBS show in Houston right after quitting his day job in 2004. Crumpton taught himself how to work with his unusual material. Cracking books, surfing the internet and experimentation led him to a place where he’s comfortable crafting a very different kind of bike.

Kent Eriksen Cycles – Best Titanium


Kent Ericksen chooses each tube set according to the physique, riding style, and intended use of each customer, and he builds in titanium only. The winning bicycle was chosen as a show model because of its clean, simple, elegant and functional design–which represents Kent Ericksen’s values.

Kirk – Best Fillet Brazing


Dave Kirk won the fillet-brazing prize with a 55cm frame with Reynolds tubing (725 front triangle and proprietary seat and chainstays)and standard road racing geometry built for a customer. “It’s a stuck-in-the-rack model, similar to many others we do,” Kirk said.

Asked about his experience at this year’s show, Kirk said, “Every year it gets better. It’s the only trade show I go to, and I’m proud to be associated with it.”

YiPsan – Best City Bike


Renold Yip is all alone in his bike shop, although he credits his wife with making his business possible. Yip came from Hong Kong, a city with no real bike culture, he said, to Fort Collins, Colorado, an extremely bike friendly town. Yip’s bikes are beautiful. His winning bike features a flower patterned wood mosaic on the front carrier, yet he doesn’t claim any visual design skill, however. He trained to be an engineer, not an artist. “I should have had a career in management,” he said. Yip says he’s not as nerdy as one might expect an engineer to be. And building bikes? “It is more fun.”

Aaron Dykstra/Six Eleven – Rookie of the Year


Six-Eleven Bicycles is named after a famous steam engine built in Roanoke, Virginia, the base of this company. “This bicycle is inspired by the aesthetic of the six-eleven steam engine, which is the pride of Roanoke. It seemed fitting that I should make it a track bike, and I’ve added a small grille to the top of the head tube, and the serial number plate is derived from the train too,” said Dykstra.

Engin – Best Off-Road


Drew Guldalian of Engin Cycles won the Best Off-Road prize with a 29er bike of the same basic design that won at NAHBS in Portland in 2008. Guldalian makes not only the frame, but also the stem, seatpost and fork. “It allows me to tailor everything to the rider,” he says. The show winner was destined for a lucky customer.

Guldalian was happy to have the show relatively close to his Philadelphia base and just a few hours’ drive down Interstate 95. “There’s a nice vibe here in the Mid-Atlantic and it’s great to be in an environment where more people are familiar with my bikes,” he said.

Calfee – Best Tandem


Craig Calfee won with a “Dragonfly” – his 23lb., carbon-framed, belt-driven flyweight tandem that will go to a lucky customer. “It’s built to be light and high performance, yet comfortable,” Calfee said.

Calfee enjoyed the “new territory” of the Mid-Atlantic visited by NAHBS this year, but noted, “I think it’s good that the show moves to new venues. There were so many here in Richmond that had never been to NAHBS before, so we end up getting the show before new faces every year.”

Spectrum Tandem – Best Steel Frame


Fillet brazed joints with fabricated lugs make this frame an outstanding piece of work. Jeff Duser, who works for Tom Kellog, did most of the work on the frame. “It takes a lot of experience before you’d want to even think of a project like this,” he said. Kellog and Duser wanted to make a lugged tandem frame, but “You can’t buy lugs to make a tandem frame, nobody makes those angles, explained Kellog. Fillet brazing raises the temperature much higher than silver solering, so we wanted to make a frame with silver soldered, lugged joints wherever we could,” said Kellog.

Di Nucci – Best Lugged Frame


Mark DiNucci won with a rust-orange colored city bike designed for and ridden by a friend. Every tube is unique and tailored to the bike’s function. The lugs are all custom designed and engineered for stiffness. The bottom bracket shell was designed by DiNucci when he worked for Specialized, and it predates a nearly identical design from Cinelli. The chainstay bridge is a prototype: beefy and designed for stiffness. The fork crown came off an old Masi but was retrofitted with Columbus blades by DiNucci. The gradual bend of the fork blades makes the ride comfortable while maintaining stiffness.

DiNucci visited NAHBS in 2008 as a vistor when it was in Portland, close to his Oregon workshop. This year was his first as an exhibitor. “It’s a fantastic group here. It’s great to come and feel the pulse of the handmade community” DiNucci said.

De Salvo- Best TIG welded Frame


“This is a bike I built for the show. It’s my personal style, rather than what a customer might want,” explained Mike De Salvo about a bike that he believes most accurately represents his approach to frame building. The TIG welded frame has steel tubes and carbon forks. “It’s a good example of how far steel has come. The frame weight has decreased, while its performance has increased.”

Llewellyn – Best Paint


Darrell McMulloch of Llewellen hails from Brisbane, Australia, but had been to Richmond before – in 1995 as a mechanic with the Australian National Team in the Tour DuPont.

McMulloch’s friend and business partner Joe Cosgrove painted the award-winning frame in candy-apple red over a gold metallic base from House of Kolor. “The gold base really comes through the red if you look at it in direct sunlight,” McMulloch said.

McMulloch said of his first NAHBS: “It’s a love-fest for frame-builders. An absolutely fantastic time.”

Cherubim – President’s Choice


Shinichi Konno’s classic/modern bicycle is built with old parts and narrow cro-moly diameter tubes from Kaisei, but it manages to assume a modern look thanks to Konno’s careful design. The bicycle is in fact redolent with clever design features, and Konno expects that on return to Japan he will keep it and possibly ride it himself, but he would consider selling it to somebody for a museum collection.

YiPsan – People’s Choice


Renold Yip is all alone in his bike shop, although he credits his wife with making his business possible. Yip came from Hong Kong, a city with no real bike culture, he said, to Fort Collins, Colorado, an extremely bike friendly town. Yip’s bikes are beautiful. His winning bike features a flower patterned wood mosaic on the front carrier, yet he doesn’t claim any visual design skill, however. He trained to be an engineer, not an artist. “I should have had a career in management,” he said. Yip says he’s not as nerdy as one might expect an engineer to be. And building bikes? “It is more fun.”

Banjo Bicycles – Strumming Along

Posted on 28. Feb, 2010 by Paul Skilbeck in 2010 News

BanjoBikesA crew of builders and their friends dressed to the nines in their best tweed
duds were taking it all in with their musical instruments in hand and
displaying nothing less than a piece or two of multi-medium artwork.

Banjo cycles hails from Madison, Wisconsin and brought with them both
a pugsley style bicycle and this beautiful randonneur. Ahren Rodgers
began honing his building skills at a shop in Massachusetts
and before that courses at the United Bicycle Institute.

Massachusetts is also where he met up with Leah Stargardter who has
built the racks for this bike. Between the two they have created a
stir amongst attendees at the show. Not only has banjo made a piece of
art that is wonderful to look at, but they have done so incorporating
functionality that can only be attributed to a serious understanding
of the needs of serious riders.

While the randonneur incorporates a coupler system for breakdown while traveling, additional measures have
been taken to go beyond this well established system for transport.
Leah’s racks are able to be completely disassembled into several flat
pieces that pack flat for storage and transport.

Laminated wood fenders, made of four layers of laminate further incorporate
additional mediums into the build. Banjo Bicycles is making great
looking bike in an artistic tradition that is clearly a representation
of the strength of a strong fabrication and design community at their

- Will Jacobs

Photography:  Erik Lokensgard


ANT – Marching On

Posted on 28. Feb, 2010 by Paul Skilbeck in 2010 News

DSC_0003Mike Flanigan from ANT Bikes has redeveloped how we look at the bicycle as transportation. ANT is short for Alternative Needs Transportation, and Mike with his partner Betsy Scola are reviving the pre-century concept of cycling as a proper blend of fashion and function. The simple lines of the bikes draw your eyes into areas normally unnoticed, where you start to see the artisans’ touch on normally mundane bits. The Light Roadster is a contemporary interpretation of a 1940’s era French Delivery bike, with some elegant yet subtle accents. A closer look reveals that all the accessories are purpose-built, fully custom and express strength combined with style.

Betsy is yet another voice here at the NAHBS who speaks not as an exhibitor in another trade show, but as a happy member of a builders’ community. Listening to her talk of Mike’s devotion to the industry and his customers, I realize the meaning of being in the catbird’s seat. A one man show takes a special approach to be able to successfully cover all aspects of a custom build (not to mention complete bike options),keep the customer happy AND not go insane. Many small builders choose to farm out various aspects of a custom bike to maintain quality, yet looking at the ANT all I see is quality tip to tail and a smiling frame builder next to it. Mike is happy with the business size and is able to complete 50 bikes per year.

On a lame note, Mike had a beautiful blue folding bike stolen from his hotel here at the show and has pictures on the website. Look for it! Karma will reward anyone who returns it.

- Tim Richardson

Photography:  Enrique Dominguez


Bamboosero – Bamboo Heroes

Posted on 28. Feb, 2010 by Paul Skilbeck in 2010 News

BambooseraThe bamboo is a beautiful, dark hue. The bamboo tubes are immensely round and the bike doesn’t even protest.

It would be redundant to say that these bikes are organic, but besides being visually obviously made of bamboo, some of the bikes looked almost like they had vertebrae – particularly one of the bikes made in the Philippines by John Climaco for Bamboosero. The joints are svelte, and bamboo bikes today range from cargo bikes to competitive race-winners.

The goal of the Bamboosero is to provide livelihood for people in developing countries and to establish an ongoing business. Bamboo grows both in the Philippines, where John Climaco worked, and Ghana, where Suzanne worked. Suzanne heard about the bike project, and was extremely enthusiastic to draw it to her region.

- Erik Lokensgard

Photography:  Enrique Dominguez


Ruegamer Sports – In the Game

Posted on 28. Feb, 2010 by Paul Skilbeck in 2010 News

RuePrescott, AZ based Ruegamer Sports boasts some of the lightest frame sets at this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

On display are an outrageously light race frame that tips the scales at 720g and- get this-  an 1800g tandem.

One of the key elements of Bre Ruegamer’s low weight frames is her use of defense grade MS-40 mil-spec high-tech carbon fiber — the stuff typically reserved for spacecraft.  But she warns that some of these super light climbing bikes, or “Überlights,” don’t make the best bikes for riding down hill.  “It’s not that they’re noodly,”  she clarified, ” It’s more that they’re too whispy.  You can have the stiffest bike in the world, but if it’s too light, it just won’t handle well on a descent. There’s really a physical limit to how light a bike can be and still feel right.”

So for her customers, Ruegamer works to build each bike frame right at the edge of that physical limit to ensure maximum performance.  Still, this hasn’t stopped Ruegamer from creating climbing-specific bikes with frame weights as low as 550g.

Other standouts at the Ruegamer booth include their blended ti/carbon frame that features an innovative mix of these two high end materials and a mountain bike frame with stunningly unique cable routing.

Rue1Ruegamer Sports has been selling these creations since 2005, but Bre Ruegamer has a lifelong passion for bikes and has been experimenting with carbon fiber since 1997.  She’s even built a tandem that can easily make the transformation from gears to fixed gear.  By incorporating couplers into the frame and building two unique rear ends, the tandem can easily make the switch between road and track.

And Ruegamer’s innovation doesn’t stop with frames — more products are on the way, including Ruegamer’s full carbon crank set.  It will be about the same weight and price-point as other high end carbon cranks, but will allow the rider to micro-adjust crank arm length between 150 and 180mm.  This creates an entirely new dynamic in bike fit, and riders with different length legs will rejoice at the ability to perfectly dial-in each crank arm.


- Matt Shields

Photography:  Dave LaMay