WARNING! The following post contains questionable off topic material. This post includes and is not limited to the following: non-old, non-crappy, non-10-speed. Please proceed with caution.
Saturday morning, me and my Old Ten-Speed family put on our Sunday best, loaded up the Family Truckster and headed south on I-65 to Indianapolis for the 5th annual NAHBS (North American Handmade Bicycle Show). As you all know by now I like my bikes old, crappy, and 10-speeded, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t see how the other half lives.
The venue, Indianapolis Convention Center, is a large convention center in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana (as the name cleverly implies). However large the facility was, the NAHBS was relegated to a smallish hall and when we arrived at around 1 o’clock Saturday it was nearly shoulder to shoulder down every aisle. As for the crowd, this was perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the entire event. I’ll leave the task of skewering to BSNYC, but from my perspective the crowd consisted of 40/30/20/10 mix of “Quasi-Urban Squatter Types”, “Serotta Boomers”, “Premium Outdoor Sportswear’s Consumer Base”, and “Freds“. The distribution of the aforementioned groups depends on which you’re a member.
Themes and Trends:
Not having visited the NAHBS in the past, I really have nothing with which to compare. It did seem to me that the overriding theme of this year’s show was Brevet and Cyclocross. When you think of it, these are two cycling disciplines that still embrace steel as viable, if not preferred, material for construction.
I’m currently in the market for a cyclocross frame, so I took a special interest in them at the show. Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.
Finally, some OTSG caliber material. There were a number of exhibitors with OTSish bikes on display but most were Italian collector pieces. I wonder if next year they’ll find their way to the UJBBTS*. The Zullo was by far my favorite of the vintage and vintagesque. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything old AND crappy!
Lots of Fenders
Fenders of all shapes, sizes, and materials were represented at the show. When I was a kid, I went to great lengths to remove the fenders from my Sears 3-speed. Silly kid, fenders are cool!
Lots of Wood Fenders
Fenders are cool, but wood fenders are really where it’s at. Or at least that’s what they would have you believe. Don’t be coming round here sporting your Freddy Fenders,or you’ll be shown the door. Unless you are Freddy Fender, in that case you’re cool.
Retro Wire Bottle Cages
Nitto bottle cages were the cage of choice for most builders. I don’t blame them, these are great looking cages. But seriously, $60for a bottle cage! I’ll just keep making my mine out of coat hangers.
I have to admit, I don’t get out much, so Paul’s components are completely new to me. I’m only sorry I didn’t take more pictures of his work.
Vincent Dominguez Cycles from St. Paul, Minnesota, super nice fellow with great looking bikes. For some reason I failed to get a whole bike shot of his personal randonneur bike, but you can see his clever solution for routing his cyclometer wire.
Cherubim bikes: creative, elegant, disturbingly phallic—a crowd favorite.
Ahearne Cycles from Portland had a clever flask cage, just in case your ride partners are growing dull.
Nobilette Cycles had some gorgeous paint and lug work. I wonder if he would build one with 120mm rear spacing for me?
Ellis Cycles from frame building mecca, Waterford, Wisconsin, won Best Lugged Bike. I love this frame.
Single speeds and fixed gears were fairly prominent at the show, but I’ll leave that coverage to someone else. But if you insist, I’ll tide you over with this rig from Alchemy Cycles.
Talk about a sweet alternative to the tassel laden girls bikes out there! Get her racing career started early with this offering from Independent Fabrication!
Just a random picture of some lugs.