The San Diego Custom Bicycle Show

The second annual San Diego Custom Bicycle show took place this past weekend at the Town and Country Resort north of downtown San Diego. The show was a bit bigger this year, with more exhibitors overall and the organizers (builders Dave Ybarrola, Chuck Schlesinger and Brian Baylis) sold out the available booth spaces. All good things, but for the devoted, there was a detail that made the show much, much cooler this year. More builders.

The number of builders in attendance jumped noticeably and there were more builders who you couldn’t call local by any means. Brent Steelman, Sean Walling of Soulcraft, Mike DeSalvo and many others made the trek down from NorCal and Oregon. Mark Nobilette made it out from Colorado. Dave Bohm of Bohemian came in from Arizona and Serotta and Bilenky helped represent for the East Coast.

Dave Ybarrola says next year’s event will have to be held in a larger facility to accept its growth. No matter. This year’s show was terrific. It reminded me of the second year of NAHBS, when it was held in Palo Alto and the attendees were by and large custom bike fans.

In this and another post I’ll present some of the show’s highlights.

This shot and the one above are from a frame built by the super-talented and little-known builder Peter Johnson. He’s known for ultra-thin points and fillets that bring a gentle sweep to his lugs.

Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster showed this single-speed ‘cross bike with beautifully cut lugs and a killer head tube badge.

The rear triangle on this Rock Lobster features these very trick adjusters to make proper chain tension easy no matter what gear you run.

Sadoff is not without a sense of humor.

Funniest bike of the show award goes to Keith Anders for his satirical take on a classic Eddy Merckx.

Not the Cannibal, but the neighbor.

Anderson made this amazing boy’s bike with disc brakes, wood fenders and chain guard.

Yes, Virginia, that’s mother-of-pearl inlay.

Most furniture stores I go to don’t feature woodwork this nice.

Not everything was handmade bikes, though. This cabinet was stuffed with NOS parts, and plenty of it was Campy.

Custom, lugged stems are becoming more common and this chromed unit from Greg Townsend was one of the prettiest examples at the show.

, , , , , , ,


  1. louis


    “It reminded me of the second year of NAHBS, when it was held in Palo Alto”

    It was actually in San Jose for the 1st 2 years ( ~15 miles from Palo Alto ).

    1. Author

      Louis: You are absolutely right about it being in San Jose. I was having a brain lapse. But if memory serves, wasn’t it there for the second and third years? I wasn’t at the first edition and I think it was in Texas. Guess I could call Don.

  2. MattS

    Nice sampling Padraig. Each photo captures beautiful attributes of the bikes. I can’t get over how awesome these roadster kids bikes are; they look so incredibly fun to ride. I think my daughter would go nuts over a bike like that. Johnson’s frame solicits me; I can imagine grooving with it.

  3. Pingback: 2010 Sea Otter Classic and more | Bicycle Design

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *