Our friend Lance Armstrong graced the show with his presence in 2008. Unable to make it to Richmond this year, he remains interested as always in the world of handmade bicycles. http://twitter.com/lancearmstrong/statuses/9715309283
This frame comes from the mind of an engineer who wanted to develop an incredibly light, full suspension road bike that is built for someone of a smaller stature, and what he came up with will blow your mind.
The tiny diameter steel tubing is set in a truss design with two small bolts that allows the entire frame to articulate through the suspension movement. A stack of elastomers provide the bump support behind this bike. With a folding-size bike comes the issue of gearing, but that is covered by the builder’s own handmade 64 tooth chain ring. This ride is custom, and focused on the customer.
If you are able to get past the bike, you would also find that they are making some stems that have more rounded edges and steers away from the traditional square edge stem design. Want to jump into the track word but you don’t want to build a new wheel? Kimori has designed and built a cassette hub replacement that will turn any cassette hub into a fixed hub. All you have to do is replace the carrier and spin your favorite cog size on and you are rolling fixed.
- Patrick Engleman
Oregonian built Rolf wheels are taking the cyclocross world to task with their new carbon wheel set. The deep dish, white industry hub laden hoops have Rolfs proprietary high tension spokes and are offered with either red or yellow decal options which they feel can give the customer a little bit of customization on a carbon wheel set, which is often one aesthetic that is lacking at that price point and performance level.
While talking with Brook Bauer, she explained how Rolf is offering a greater range of their innovative and well-loved wheel sets at this year’s hand built bike show. She also expressed how the company was really focused on expanding the selection of wheels that they offer to the track, city, and woman’s specific cycling crowd.
The woman’s specific wheel is tailored to the lighter rider and not necessarily woman specific, but it focused at the lighter rider who can and wants to ride a lighter wheel. Rolf believes that no rider should need to suffer with a heavier wheel.
Rolf also services the larger rider with an offering of the Echelon and Aspen wheels. These wheels give the same Rolf aesthetics and ride quality, but the tension of the spokes is ramped up to 3xs the normal spoke tension. This equals plenty of force that can be put into those wheels.
Their wheels can be seen under some bikes on the showroom floor including Coletti and Ground Up.
- Patrick Engleman
A fashionable take on cycling apparel is what Twin Six co-owner Ryan Carlson wants his company to represent. The Minneapolis based cycling apparel company was formed from two riding buddies with a background in design, and a disdain for the billboard apparel culture that is so pervasive in the bike industry. T6 fits right in here at the handmade bike show.
They have a bunch of new product to offer that are for sale on the floor of the convention center this weekend, featuring long sleeve wool trainers as some of their more innovative products. They are looking to combine a functional jersey style garment that can also be worn on the street as part of a regular wardrobe. The integration of tech and function which you can feel comfortable in really drives the design decisions of T6.
Sponsorship support of their local bike races and organizations help to not only continue to get their name out there, but it also serves to support their local scene. On a national level, T6 has been involved in raising big time money for cancer research through their collaboration with team Fat Cyclist and the Lance Armstrong foundation.
In the spirit of collaboration, the company looks to partner with other companies on many of their designs, and has been looked to by some of the custom bike builders such as Moots to provide a new view on their branding.
- Patrick Engleman
Cherubim’s Speedmaster gets the nod from Shimano for Friday’s Bike of the Day. The speedy machine makes elegant use of the Di2 shifting system, with the battery attached low underneath a seat stay and tidy internal cable routing.
The rear brake is neatly tucked behind the bottom bracket.
Frame builder Shinichi Konno says he breaks new ground with the integrated head system and fork blaze.
The integral seat post is fully customizable, and Kasei tubing is used, including 31.8 for the seat tube.
Konno says, “It is a very modern design, which is why I have used the Dura Ace Di2 components.”
Doriano DeRosa started building frames in 1975 as a teenager under his father’s severe gaze. Thirty-five years later, he’s the craftsman in charge.
In the opening seminar of this year’s NAHBS, Doriano explained how the family model of demand and nurture employed by his father in his own upbringing is applied to his craft as DeRosa’s head titanium and steel framebuilder.
Attention to detail and a critical eye produce a superior product. “Doriano is completely involved with the whole process of producing a custom steel or titanium frame, from start to finish,” explains Trey Henderson of Trialtir USA, DeRosa’s American importer. “From measuring the customer to testing the strength of the frame, he’s totally committed to the process of building a masterpiece.”
DeRosa explained the eight steps on the path to building a frameset that bears his family’s name. First, the customer is meticulously measured. Second, these careful measurements are converted into customer-specific tube lengths and frame geometry with the aid of CAD software in a process he calls “projection”.
The next two steps are the most critical, especially for a titanium specialist like Doriano DeRosa. The raw tubes are “mitered”, or cut angularly, with the help of precision machines. Next, the tubes are fitted together on alignment tables in the “positioning” step. This is a crucial and exacting step for the lugless Ti and steel frames in which DeRosa specializes, because there is no room for error to produce a solid, strong tube joint.
Next, the tubes are cleaned and welded in a pristine environment – again an especially important step to get right for a titanium specialist like DeRosa, and one at which many less experienced builders stumble.
Finally, the frame’s alignment is checked, and its durability and quality are tested in a rigorous process that again employs a combination of cutting edge technology and the immeasurable intuition of a craftsman.
“For me, weight is not as important as durability and strength” says DeRosa. That those two latter ideals are emphasized is shown by the results of DeRosa’s in-house stress test. A DeRosa frame constructed from 6/4 blend titanium tubing has been shown to be theoretically capable of withstanding 200kg (440 lb.) dynamic force cycles repeatedly and constantly for 400,000 years before fatigue will cause breakage!
Much as keeping the business a family affair is important for DeRosa and his two brothers, having a strong relationship with titanium tubing supplier Reynolds is strongly valued and has been cultivated over 10-12 years of working together. DeRosa built his first Ti frame in 1993, and in 2002 made the switch to 6/4 alloy titanium – stronger and stiffer than its more popularly used 3/2.5 alloy brother – all sourced by Reynolds.
“The testing I do gives me important data on optimum tube thickness and shape parameters”, says DeRosa. “Reynolds is a great partner and takes pains to develop and give me exactly what I need to produce a strong, durable and elegant frame.”
So there you have it: invest some (serious) cash in high-tech frame design tools and follow the eight-step process and you’ll have your own version of a DeRosa, right? Not so fast, Doriano cautions.
“Being a framebuilder is not just about making the frame. It’s about putting your philosophy behind the design. It’s about developing and making your own tools if the right ones don’t exist. It’s about being open to new technology. It’s about…” DeRosa’s hands grasped at an imaginary frameset in the air as he struggled for words in his highly self-underestimated English.
It’s about heart and soul. You’re born with it; it’s not earned. So if you want to build a DeRosa, you’d better be a DeRosa.
- Matt Butterman