Boston Bike Builder Bash: The Art of the Bike

Boston Bike Builder Bash: The Art of the Bike

Reader Jeff Dieffenbach attended last weekend’s Boston Bike Builder Bash and sent us this contribution to help those of us who weren’t able to attend—Padraig.


The leafy Massachusetts town of Sherborn sits twenty-five miles west of Boston. At a shade over 4,000 residents, Sherborn certainly qualifies as a quintessential New England small town.

It may come as a surprise, then, that Sherborn sports not just one but two bike shops—perhaps the most per capita anywhere in the Commonwealth.

Steve the Bike Guy caters to roadies, cyclocross racers, and mountain bikers with medium- to high-end bikes, quality parts and accessories, high value service, and rides and other events throughout the year.

Ride Headquarters, by comparison, focuses on adventure riding—high quality bikes, accessories, rides, and events. One such event was the recent Boston Bike Builder Bash that I had the good fortune to attend. Here’s an excerpt from RHQ’s description of the event:

Join us for a celebration and appreciation of the local bike building scene…. Calling these builders “local” is a slight because they are each internationally known and have a global following. In fact, Boston has the most vibrant bike artisan landscape in America—maybe the world. Come check out why that’s so. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the country’s best builders all in one place!

I took photos as I made a clockwise pass around the showroom, stopping when I could to hear a description of the bikes. Then intent here is not to capture the bikes in their entirety, but rather, to show facets of their beauty.

First up, Geekhouse, instantly recognizable to everyone in the New England cyclocross community. They displayed two bikes: one cyclocross, one MTB 29er.

Their CX bike was at least a tacit shout-out to our armed forces—a steel frame powder coated with Army green and a Jeep-style typeface. 45c tires grace White Industry hubs laced to Stan’s rims. SRAM hydro completes the build.

On the MTB side, the hardtail steel frame sports a powder-coated matte desert tan. A Rockshox fork provides cushion up front while a dropper post lets the rider get the saddle out of the way for steep technical descents. SRAM here as well, plus Industry Nice wheels and Vittoria Goma Enduro tires.

Seven Cycles popped up second on my showroom circuit. Seven brought three offerings: two mostly white RedSky road bikes and a bare metal Evergreen gravel bike, all in their signature titanium with custom paint.

Royal H Cycles rounded out the first half of the rotation, affording a post-look trip back to the beer section of a second tasty IPA. They provided two handbuilt-in-Boston zippy touring offerings: a full bike in purple and a frame-only in blue, each capable of taking 32 mm tires with fenders and 38mm without.

The purple entry features traditional steel tubing diameters joined via a mix of fillets and lugs. Braze-ons for lights and cantilever brakes round out the design.

Royal H’s blue frame is of similar design and construction as its purple sibling, but with powder-coated finish for owner-requested maximum durability.

A fresh beer in hand fit perfectly with the first of Beardman Bicycles’ two custom-crafted steel bikes: the Boom Sauce fendered town bike.

Beardman is all about their team, from owners/welders Scott and Shanna Krawitz frame builder/mechanic Tom Gomes to wheel builder Jason Clutier, collectively responsible for this next machine with decidedly longer trips in mind if hydration capacity means anything.

Beardman wasn’t all about the bikes—this pint glass, cog, and votive exhibit extended their beer theme.

Firefly Bicycles brings us toward the home stretch with three gems: two titanium all-road bikes and one titanium cross bike.

At risk of outshining its all-road cousins, the cross bike pinned the cool meter—it’s one of the two (co-sponsored by Firefly and Tenspeed Hero) owned and raced by Boulder-based elite cross racer Dani Arman (15th at Nationals in the Hartford mud).

Honey Bikes takes us across the finish line with a trio of titanium beauties. Not shy about stating their frame material preference, they note “… that either material is better than carbon fiber or aluminum in almost every case. If you’re looking for a durable lifelong bike that won’t hold back your performance, look to steel or titanium.”

Special thanks to Ride Headquarters for the invitation and the excellent evening. Nothing photographs quite like a special bicycle bathed in professional lighting.

These special bicycles did not disappoint.

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  1. George

    Firefly makes some of the most beautiful bikes I’ve seen… now if only I could afford one! Thanks for the tour of this fine group of builders.

    1. Author

      I bet if you drop by their web site and send them an email they could probably hook you up.

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