What's Cool In Road Cycling

NAHBS 2015: North American Hand Made Bicycle Show

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While I couldn’t make NAHBS this year without infecting some dear friends with whatever nasty organism that decided to take up shop in my lungs, I did get some cool on-site insight from industry vet Suzette Ayotte, who knows everyone and anyone. How lucky for me that NAHBS boss, Don Walker tossed us an email saying “hey, Suzette will be here!”.

Leading off for us is a stop at the Campagnolo booth…

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It seems a good place to start as I’ve recently used Campy’s EPS on a project that will run shortly and also because of the recent work with Sarto, who’s Lampo was sitting right out front…

As it turned out, Sarto took home Campagnolo’s award for the best Campagnolo bike at NAHBS this year.

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That’s NAHBS boss Don Walker, Enrico Sarto and Campy’s Tom Kattus

While it’s not a surprise that an Italian custom made-to-measure aero bike took home top Campy, it could very easily have gone to their other bike at the show, the super limited 18k…

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Venturing a guess that not many bikes were adorned in Solid 18 karate gold hardware and alligator bar skin and saddle…

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But look throughout the show floor and not many things on display feature the level of in-house manufacture that Sarto pull off. The saddle is well done, but they also make their own tube sets and fork (oh, and bottle cages).

And the frame’s details, like the pass through seat tube/split top tube were beyond everything else in carbon at the show…

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All that said, the price for the limited run of these frames will not be low. They can tune it down a bit and use 18k overlay on decals to trip the price, but you’ll be north of $20,000 for a build like this with Campagnolo SUPER EPS11 etc… If you want something more tame, Sarto’s full custom treatment for the Lampo is a lot more reserved at $5699 (it’s also made to measure with full in-house tubes, fork, seat post etc).

You can contact them at SartoAntonio.com for more information.

And it bares mention that there were a LOT of great bikes at Campagnolo’s booth. That contest was a great idea and a lot of praise for the support should to go Campagnolo.com.

Silca were also on hand and in several booths with some very cool custom colaberations with builders.

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My fave was a Martini Racing inspired skin that, had I been able to attend, would have come home with me regardless of police presence…

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A few of the builders went the extra mile. Shamrock Cycles for instance put down a nice heavy base plate of their own making…

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And the sonsabitches didn’t announce that they were going to do a limited run of Titanium Eolo inflator heads with enough notice that I noticed…

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These went up for sale at their website and sold out in 6 minutes while some of us were sitting, clicking like crazy for a while not realizing that the rush also crashed their website. If you’re one of the few folks that got one of these, please don’t tell me. I won’t like you anymore.

The nature of the Super Pista floor pumps is such that taking one apart for a little custom work isn’t really that tough to do… They’re simple, rock solid and pretty modular, so you might see my own version posted some time down the road.

If you want one of your own, You can see them at Silca.CC.

Super happy that Suzette stopped in at Abbey Bike Tools

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I’ve privately lusted after their gear for quite a while but I had never inquired as to the price as I thought that pieces like the bits Abbey make would cost insane amounts of money. I mean they would have to right? Even something as simple as a hammer is a version of bike jewelry…

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Titanium to cut the weight, this hammer has a custom silicone grip (from bike grip guys ESI) and a replaceable soft face side.

There are several tools in the offering that also feature construction that will live through decades of regular use… Another notable is their rear mech hanger gauge and adjuster.

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No picture of the chain whip or the one piece cassette tool (that looks like the hammer but has a lock ring remover at the end that fits over QR’s), but these make up the 4 items I’ll probably ring up in the future.

Jason Quade at Abbey is one of those guys that has deep mechanic roots and builds tools to suit (the cassette wrench is sitting in every team mechanic’s van that I’ve seen on the pro tour).

See em at Abbey Bike Tools.

Boyd Cycling were on hand with a slew of wheel shapes and rim options.

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But at the heart of their offerings is a slick new hub design that takes on load bearing and friction in what seems to be a really smart fashion.

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On the surface they look like what they are. A reasonably high / wide flanged hub with a little different looking freehub metal.

What you don’t see is that Boyd are essentially making the freehub more “free” while also placing a much wider bracing point on an axle that runs the entire length of the hub.

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In the picture above you’ll note the solid axle (yellow running end to end). You will also note the load bearings (carrying bike and rider) are nearly at the end (red) of the load axle. The freehub bearings (blue) sit in between the load bearings and they actually ride on their own axle (green).

This puts all the bike/rider weight on larger bearings, placed closer to the drop outs ( where the weight meets the axle) and leaves the smaller freehub bearings basically load free. It also means that the freehub bearings are only spinning when you’re coasting rather spinning (and creating drag) all of the time, like most all other hubs.

Damn smart in theory and there is no reason not to believe that these benefits will not play out in use.

As for the freehub itself, it’s a darn slick piece of hardware.

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Most freehubs are Aluminum where Boyd are using 6/4 (harder) Titanium.

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And rather than machining it like virtually everyone else, they’re injection molding it to create a part that requires very-very little machining / clean up.

It’s already very light, but given it’s 6/4 ti and the freehub runs fairly separate from the rest of the load bearing, I’m wondering if Boyd may not be able to make this part several grams lighter with very little risk to durability.

The front hub’s bearing placement and flanges are also quite wide and well finished and, like the rear, everything is US sourced and made for these hubs.

This is the slickest new hub design I’ve seen in a long time. They should be available now-ish and disc versions are on the drawing board. Ah, and Boyd have a lot of nice rim stock as well!

You can see more at BoydCycling.com.

Mosaic were on hand with the clean looking GS-1 (G for gravel and S for steel).

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This is True Temper S3 in custom geometry (custom kinda goes without saying at Mosaic). An Enve 1.0 fork, internal cables and Ultegra Di disc. Plenty of clearance for larger tires, very nice rear drops.

They also brought the RT-1 (R for Road, T for Titanium)

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This is custom butted 3/2.5 Ti tubes made to measure with Enve’s tapered fork in a 44mm head tube and can be made to different BB and Seat post dimensions to spec.

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It’s also wearing a tire set that I really want to try in Clements Strada LGG. They come in 23-25 and 28 and in 60 or 120 TPI Clincher (and 25 tubular). The way to go is 120 TPI with a harder center compound and softer sides.

Mosaic will paint to spec, but this model came with reserved etched graphics that suite well.

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Mosaic are a bit of a family affair with Aaron Barcheck starting the company after working at Dean Ti. You’ll find a couple more Barchecks in house now, along with a few others as the company has grown a little. Lead times are still fairly manageable (versus the bullshit moving-wait-list-thing that some builders now almost announce as a sales feature).

You can grab more info at MosaicCycles.com.

No22 Bicycles have had quite a buzz over the past several months.

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Crazy coincidence, this just happened to be the 22nd picture in this article.

The company has been around a little longer than most people think, as their frames were fabricated in North America by VERY good builders, but their recent switch to some key former Serotta people for production in Upstate NY seems to have been a good move for both the bikes and the brand buzz.

For the past year or so, they’ve refined things and the latest offerings are very nice.

The bike grabbing a lot of the eyes on the floor was the “Reactor”.

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Titanium with a carbon seat tube, it’s a minimalist look with great symmetry…

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The welds are what you would expect…

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And the finish detail from head to toe was exceptionally good.

Off the floor, the crew were a little busy with another bike…

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Walking away with “Best Cyclocross” at NAHBS is a particularly tough nut to crack, as it’s a category that seems to attract everybody that’s ever made anything you could attach two wheels to.

The Reactor and the cross bike are not “special” relative to what No22 are doing every day. The lineup is small, but it’s stacked and the work all looked like the guys have been building tip-top of the line bikes for a long time (as their builders have…). This is a good place to spend your money.

Catch em at: No22Bicycles.com
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HUGEGIGANTICMASSIVE thanks to Suzette Ayotte for having and great eye at the show. It should be expected after her developing some of the best brands in the business for the past 15 years (seriously, there’s roughly an 98% chance that you’ve owned multiple products from companies she’s handled the PR for). If you’re hunting PR support, especially for a developing brand, you should drop her a note at [email protected].

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Have Fun,
Charles Manantan
[email protected]


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