Not everything at NAHBS is gorgeous, completed bikes. It mostly is, but there’s plenty of other interest to take in. For instance, Dave Bohm of Bohemian Cycles teaches a carbon fiber layup class. And right there, on the floor of the show, he was walking people through the steps to build a frame in an ongoing demonstration. He even invited me to take part. I declined out of respect for the health of others.
That he’d do this right on the floor of the show was beyond cool. I loved that it was a different take on what a booth could be.
There were plenty of VIPs in attendance. I saw mountain bike pioneer Charlie Kelly hanging with Joe Breeze. Chris Chance stopped by and above Tom Ritchey (center) chats with Olympian Rory O’Reilly (left). The only guy missing here is the Cheetah, Chris Huber, but I saw him on Sunday.
And then Campagnolo’s Tom Kattus introduced me to Valentino Campagnolo and snapped a photo of me chatting with him. It was apparent just how much he loved the bikes present and seeing all the creativity on display. Mark DiNucci told me Campagnolo eyed the white bike from down the aisle, walked over, inspected it and ran his fingers over the paint to judge just how smooth it was. He then looked up at DiNucci and announced, “Prego.” Campagnolo’s presence was very much having Elvis in the room.
This was my first chance to see the Gevenalle cyclocross shifter up close and after a brief demonstration I had to grant just how smart a solution it is for someone who really races ‘cross and needs to keep his equipment outlay budget-minded.
One of Charlie Cunningham’s last bikes was on display at the Abbey Tools booth.
The brakes look as original now as they did in the 1980s.
United Bicycle Institute has expanded its frame building class to offer the opportunity for someone to build a fat bike. And while it used to be that most of their students aimed to hang out their own shingle after completing the class, I’m told that the hobbyist or one-time builder is becoming a more accepted part of their student body.
Between Anvil and Sputnik, tools for the frame builder were in strong evidence. Abbey Tools had the other end the tool environment covered with their latest offering, a derailleur hanger alignment tool that is compact enough to fit in a travel case.
Paul Components showed a cutaway version of their new Klamper cable-operated disc brake. We’re hearing good things about the power of this brake and will be reviewing them soon.
In addition to showing off the six sizes Silca offers the Impero frame pump, they showed off some of the custom painted Super Pistas.
This was my first chance to see the new wheels from Knight Composites, led by industry veterans Jim Pfeil (Reynolds and Enve) and Beverly Lucas (Felt and Enve). The designs are smart and the workmanship is very impressive. I look forward to riding some soon.
Erik Noren over at Peacock Groove, as usual, showed up with some of the most original-looking bikes, but also showed up with unfinished bikes that we couldn’t consider for awards. My response, technically, is, I think, called “giving him shit.” While we killed the theme category, this evocation of Brach’s Candy was inspired. One of the really interesting things Noren did was to build some mountain bikes around 24 x 5-inch fat tires. A mini-fat, if you wheel. The interesting thing he pointed out was that you are able to build around mid-1990s 26-inch wheel mountain bike geometry. The upshot is that you get familiar geometry with all the traction of a fat bike that is easier to accelerate.
Conceivably, there was one entry for a theme category. This bike used the mountain bike’s top tube in a rather, uh, unique fashion.
I’m not sure if you bend down or pick the bike up to use it. Picnic table?
Builders tend toward the hippie end of the spectrum. San Diego builder Rob Roberson fabricated a collection of pipes, all lugged, and all evoking a different style lug. This one recalls the old Nervex lugs.
We were able to procure a couple of Brian Baylis’ bikes to show off and remind the attendees just how good his work was.
Monday morning, after the show was over, Mark DiNucci and I went to breakfast. Baylis came up in conversation and I asked him about their relationship. He then revealed that they’d had significant contact back in the ’70s, that he had taught Baylis the techniques to thin points and add brass fillets to lugs to smooth the curves. Baylis portrayed himself as a loner, which is why when you hear how he learned from others and often mentored others you realize the man had unplumbed depths and was his own worst advocate in PR. Or maybe that was just modesty. Either way, he’ll be missed.