NAHBS 14, Part III

NAHBS 14, Part III

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Cykelmageren is a Danish outfit that is best known for bikes aimed at everyday transportation even if they aren’t ho-hum everyday bikes. The builder, Rasmus Gjesing has been building since 1994. In 2012 he entered an eye-catching bike in the city category that was narrowly edged out for an award. This time, he didn’t suffer the same fate.

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Cykelmageren bikes start with plenty of normal parts, but Gjesing repurposes plenty of parts for his style, such as this Campagnolo rear derailleur.

IMG_8106If all Gjesing did was re-badge other parts, his bikes wouldn’t be that interesting. However, he finds plenty of opportunities to give the bikes unusual and even unique touches, such as this shift lever. It’s not your dad’s down tube shift lever, is it?

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Another most unusual touch to this bike was the top tube that narrowed in the middle of the tube but maintained standard diameters at either end. This is one of those occasions that left us judges scratching our heads and muttering, “This guy has too much time on his hands.”

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He fashioned his own grips from wood and anchored the brake cables in these custom holders. To brake, all you do is squeeze the housing.

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He fashions custom head tube badges to denote the year the bike was entered at NAHBS. IMG_8110

And while the rear derailleur may have been borrowed, he designed and machined these calipers for the bike.

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Even the pedals get his stylish treatment.

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Independent Fabrication has had its ups and downs. However, in its 20-year run, the company has managed to maintain a reputation for knowing how to make a bike look good. The award for best finish went to the New Hampshire-based company this year.

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Indy Fab won with this mountain bike sporting muscle-car stripes. When I think of muscle cars, I think of metal-flake paint that’s deeper than a grad school seminar on Jung. This beauty was covered in a paint that ranged somewhere between orange and root beer, depending on how bright the light was and the angle at which the light hit. Too often, paint renders a bike monochrome.

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Of course, Indy Fab could have used a bunch of decals for the white bits, but this was what paint, immaculately masked off, and then an orange pearl was added to the clear coat to make the white resonate with the orange/root beer. It was a genius touch and one that was so well done we had to ask whether we were looking at decals or paint. IMG_8129

The addition of the fork fender added to the muscle car motif and really gave the painter a chance to make the stripes sing.

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Because this mountain bike is titanium, painting the entire bike would have been a travesty. leaving the chainstays bare along with some of the seatstays and seat tube gave the natural luster of the ti a chance to shine. Truly, this finish was the best of both worlds; it’s rare that you find a bike where both halves of a split finish complement each other.  IMG_8133

We didn’t present an award for best lugged construction or best experimental bikes, but for different reasons. With best lugged, there were simply no entries. Bringing along a naked bike could be a liability, especially if it doesn’t win anything, so its a bit of a gamble. With the best experimental award, we didn’t pick a winner because there was no rational basis to judge one bike better than another. There were a couple of cool bikes, bikes that were fun to look at, but no way to judge one of them superior. The best theme bike was another matter, though.IMG_8142

Even though I don’t much like this category, a few bikes did emerge has having convincing, cohesive themes. Top among them was this bike from SyCip Cycles. IMG_8141

Builder Jeremy SyCip envisioned a picnic bike with everything you need to roll up with your own cookout. He started with a cargo bike design. The rear rack holds huge panniers to carry lots of food and drink. He chose Ortliebs because they are impervious to elements both within and without. IMG_8138

The cargo rack up front contained a small gas grill and propane tank with enough propane for one long day at the beach. IMG_8137

Removable rods help to steady the rack when the bike is not moving. IMG_8140

SyCip used the SRAM e-matic hub for an electric assist. Fully loaded, the bike will weigh more than 100 lbs. IMG_8139

The best part? He hid the battery beneath a functional cutting board.IMG_8136

SyCip also integrated a bottle opener and …IMG_8134

a knife with braze-ons to hold the sheath in place. It’s fair to conclude that the owner of this bike will be invited to all the parties.

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12 comments

  1. Rocket

    How could any bike that requires you to remove your hand from the bar to shift gears win an award? It is not 1972….

  2. brian ledford

    The other Cykelmageren bike was the one that had me staring. The additional rings with identical outside diameters on the same kind of of pinched top tube was really neat.

  3. jorgensen

    I like this stuff. That said the industrial designer in me questions the utility often in the show bikes I see. I have to temper that view with acknowledging the urge or need of an exhibitor to do something “Grand”. Like an automaker’s latest concept car or Oakland Roadster Show entry.

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