NAHBS 2019: Awards, Part II

NAHBS 2019: Awards, Part II

The construction categories for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show are tough to judge. The only way to do it and know that we (Tom Kellogg, Nick Legan and myself) are coming to the correct conclusion is to see the bikes without paint. There’s just one hitch: most builders can’t bring all that many bikes/frames with them and to bring one unpainted is to bring something most folks won’t find all that interesting. So, it’s a dilemma for the builders, but those who want to have their work recognized make the sacrifice.

In the case of best lugged construction and best fillet construction we didn’t have enough entrants to justify having finalists. We just awarded winners based on the fact that even in a stacked competition these two builders would likely have come out on top anyway.

Mark DiNucci won best lugged construction with this front triangle. Yes, it is unfinished, but we know the level he works to and this frame is no different.

Todd Ingermanson of Black Cat won with this fillet-brazed mountain bike; though it’s a finished bike, he simply put a clear coat over the otherwise bare frame, allowing us to see his fillets.

Our finalists for Best TIG welding included No. 22 with this very impressive frame …

Seven Cycles with their Best Road Bike-winning road frame …

But as usual, Brand Bingham, of Bingham Built, won the Best TIG category … yet again. I thought this might be the year that No. 22 or Seven would knock him off his veritable throne, but he’s still the standard by which we judge.

In the Best Layup category, we had previous winner Nick Crumpton …

This monocoque front triangle from Hope …

But Pursuit by Carl Strong won with this beauty which was built in his shop in Bozeman, Mont.

The Best City/Utility bike category is one that may not have a huge number of entrants, but the quality of the submissions routinely surprises us. This city bike from Tim O’Donnell at Shamrock Bikes was impressive …

And this cargo ebike from Ti Cycles called the CarGoAway blew us away …

But this townie from Steve Rex took the day. I look forward to getting into why.

The Artisan category is especially tough to judge because we never have a reasonable basis of comparison. This “righty” from Rob English had loads of really original thinking …

And this wacky creation from Bicycle Pubes is unlike anything I’ve seen before; truly it qualified …

And then we saw this bike from James Bleakley of Black Sheep Cycles with a titanium suspension from that he can customize for each rider. For the second third year in a row, Bleakley won the Artisan category.

Bleakley also made the finalists for the Experimental category with this travel bike. It’s a substantial refinement of a design we saw the previous year.

And we had to consider Rob English’s “Righty” for this category as well …

And then we saw what may be the only really intelligent full-suspension (100mm) road bike. It was made for a rider who has some limitations and so it was a very real-world answer to an equally real problem.

I’ll cover the Judge’s Discretionary Award in a separate post.

For Best In Show, we had a tough time narrowing down the filed to three finalists. We could have argued this all day and not reached a resolution, but there were a handful of bikes that really did grab us.

The Mosaic bike-packing rig that won Best Mountain Bike wasn’t easily chosen from the great many bikes Mosaic had on display, but we agreed that it was a bike that could wow anyone.

Similarly, ti bike maker Seven Cycles had a number of truly memorable bikes, but this gravel bike had each of us drooling.

The win, however, went to No. 22—also a maker of titanium bikes—with this road bike with titanium fenders. That all three finalists were titanium surprised even us; I’m reasonably certain I’ve never had a short list where all of the bikes I found rising to the top were made from titanium. There will be a separate post on Best in Show, just not yet.



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    1. Author

      Yeah, that was a total fail on my part; I plead mind-numbing fatigue. I’ve updated the construction categories post with details of his frame. I believe the frame would have had a level top tube, but it’s not uncommon for DiNucci to do a very slight slope from head tube to seat tube.

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