Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Go West Young Man - North American Handmade Bicycle Show

Indianapolis, IN - Some would tell you that the art of framebuilding begins and ends in Oregon, and more specifically in Portland. With the number of framebuilders in the Portland area and with the great care in which each builder has taken to perfect his craft, it would be hard to argue the point.

In Part I of our look at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), we'll take a look at some of the framebuilders from the Portland area and others on the West Coast.


Headlining the Portland contingent of bicycle framebuilders at the 5th Annual NAHBS was Sacha White of the Vanilla Workshop. The 32-year-old White has been building frames since 1999 and has garnered many accolades along the way. With his custom-made Vanilla Bicycles and his race inspired off shoot, Speedvagen, White has already secured a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of framebuilders, if they ever decided to create one.


COURAGE Bicycles are built by Aaron Hayes, who uses his design and engineering background as an industrial designer to create racing, touring, and city bicycles of “exquisite detail and craftsmanship.” Last year, his creations earned him the “Best New Builder” award at NAHBS. And by the looks of his crowded booth this year, his reputation and his designs certainly preceded him.


MAP Bicycles' owner and builder, Mitch Pryor, creates bikes that “reflect the growing urge to make cycling a part of everyday life.” Pryor’s focus on randonneur, touring and commuting bicycles equipped with originally designed custom racks paid off handsomely this year. For his efforts, Pryor took home the NAHBS “Best City Bike” award. See other award winners.


Jordan Hufnagel
took John B.L. Soule’s charge, to go west, to heart and moved from his Indiana home to found Hufnagel Cycles. Although his framebuilding skills were on display, as you will note from his NAHBS biography, his creativeness also spilled on to paper.
“As a small boy, Jordan Hufnagel constructed miniature bicycles out of twigs, corn husks and paraffin wax in order to traverse the Indiana maize labyrinths in which he was raised. When steel was invented, Jordan spent long nights in the township fraidy hole teaching himself to weld. His family was unsupportive of his efforts, often force-feeding him lumpy and tepid gruel. When he was old enough, Jordan stuffed two pairs of jeans, a T-shirt and a broken music box into a satchel and hid himself in the cargo bay of a mail plane bound for Portland, Ore. An emaciated Jordan wandered into the rain and through the city streets until he passed out under a picnic table. A group of school children woke him and fed him apples and blackberries from their sack lunches. To show his gratitude, Jordan built them bicycles. He has been in business ever since.”

Signal Cycles are designed and crafted by Matt Cardinal and Nate Meschke. The bicycle obsessed “mechanics, artists, coffee consumers and cat lovers,” push each other to create bicycles with the goal of giving their customers “a heart attack…of sheer joy…of biking.” With their wine bottle holding custom rack in tow, I couldn’t think of better way to go.


Ahearne Cycles are handbuilt with “love and fury” by Joseph Ahearne. He creates “unique, intelligently designed steel bicycle frames, racks and other miscellany.” Of the miscellany Ahearne has created, none has stuck out more than the “Spaceman Bicycle Flask Holster,” a cage that attaches to standard water bottle mounts and securely carries a whiskey flask. With a Celtic knot inspired headbadge, my only question is, “would that be Jameson or Bushmills in yer flask, laddy?”


Well south of Portland, Ore. sits the town of Ashland, home to one of the NAHBS’ “original six,” Mike DeSalvo. DeSalvo Custom Cycles is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. As such, DeSalvo brought along the first bicycle he ever built (center), and a road frame he is currently offering to commemorate the occasion (bottom) to this year’s show. It may be surprising to some, but after 10 years of framebuilding DeSalvo has not taken on an employee and still builds each frame with his own hands.


Another member of NABHS' "original six" is Craig Calfee of Calfee Design. Based in La Selva, CA, Calfee was one of the pioneers of carbon fiber framebuilding. He has really expanded his repertoire by working with natural materials such as hemp and bamboo. At this year's show, two of his bamboo creations were on display.


Naked CyclesSam Whittingham stole last year’s NAHBS. The Quadra Island, BC based framebuilder swept the top three NAHBS awards with a crazed fixie creation that presently resides in Austin with Lance Armstrong. This year’s offering, a 29er named Cherry Bomb, was also a show-stopper and earned Whittingham the “People’s Choice” award. See the other award winners.


The Watsonville, CA based company, RR Velo, has been manufacturing and repairing carbon fiber bicycles for other brands for more than 14 years. But now, builder Edgar Chavez has teamed up with former professional rider "Fast Freddy" Markham to produce bicycles under their own label using the "best and most labor-intensive way to make a full-carbon bicycle."


Jeremy SyCip has been building frames and components since 1992. Based in Santa Rosa, CA, SyCip Designs, Inc. product line includes “steel, titanium, aluminum and carbon road, mountain, cross, track, singlespeed, full suspension and cruisers.” So basically, everything. SyCip also designs custom forks and stems.


A bike designer, a graffiti artists and a high-bicycle fabricator get together in Oakland. No this isn't the precursor to a joke, but rather into Broakland Bicycles. The "two Jasons and a Steve" have been building quality track frames since 2006. Each is designed, crafted and painted in Oakland, CA.


Sillgey Cyclery, Inc. is based out of Irvine, CA. Working exclusively is steel in order to bring "high quality bicycles at affordable prices," their fabrications are an amazing kaliedoscope of colors.


Last but not least of the West Coast contingent that I visited with is Inglis/Retrotec Cycles. Based in beautiful Napa Valley, Curtis Inglis has been building bicycles for more than 15 years. And judging by the level of detail in his offerings at the 2009 NAHBS, you could tell he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.


Photos: © Leonard Basobas

2 comments:

Pip said...

killer lugs..amazing paint jobs...steel..detail..and I freakin' missed it. I am sitting on my bed with yoga ad bike books all over the place..and then you send the bike porn!!..hey did you get my voice mail the other day?>?

Granny's 30 said...

Yup and am already counting you in for next year. Read your latest post...great stuff as usual.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Go West Young Man - North American Handmade Bicycle Show

Indianapolis, IN - Some would tell you that the art of framebuilding begins and ends in Oregon, and more specifically in Portland. With the number of framebuilders in the Portland area and with the great care in which each builder has taken to perfect his craft, it would be hard to argue the point.

In Part I of our look at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), we'll take a look at some of the framebuilders from the Portland area and others on the West Coast.


Headlining the Portland contingent of bicycle framebuilders at the 5th Annual NAHBS was Sacha White of the Vanilla Workshop. The 32-year-old White has been building frames since 1999 and has garnered many accolades along the way. With his custom-made Vanilla Bicycles and his race inspired off shoot, Speedvagen, White has already secured a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of framebuilders, if they ever decided to create one.


COURAGE Bicycles are built by Aaron Hayes, who uses his design and engineering background as an industrial designer to create racing, touring, and city bicycles of “exquisite detail and craftsmanship.” Last year, his creations earned him the “Best New Builder” award at NAHBS. And by the looks of his crowded booth this year, his reputation and his designs certainly preceded him.


MAP Bicycles' owner and builder, Mitch Pryor, creates bikes that “reflect the growing urge to make cycling a part of everyday life.” Pryor’s focus on randonneur, touring and commuting bicycles equipped with originally designed custom racks paid off handsomely this year. For his efforts, Pryor took home the NAHBS “Best City Bike” award. See other award winners.


Jordan Hufnagel
took John B.L. Soule’s charge, to go west, to heart and moved from his Indiana home to found Hufnagel Cycles. Although his framebuilding skills were on display, as you will note from his NAHBS biography, his creativeness also spilled on to paper.
“As a small boy, Jordan Hufnagel constructed miniature bicycles out of twigs, corn husks and paraffin wax in order to traverse the Indiana maize labyrinths in which he was raised. When steel was invented, Jordan spent long nights in the township fraidy hole teaching himself to weld. His family was unsupportive of his efforts, often force-feeding him lumpy and tepid gruel. When he was old enough, Jordan stuffed two pairs of jeans, a T-shirt and a broken music box into a satchel and hid himself in the cargo bay of a mail plane bound for Portland, Ore. An emaciated Jordan wandered into the rain and through the city streets until he passed out under a picnic table. A group of school children woke him and fed him apples and blackberries from their sack lunches. To show his gratitude, Jordan built them bicycles. He has been in business ever since.”

Signal Cycles are designed and crafted by Matt Cardinal and Nate Meschke. The bicycle obsessed “mechanics, artists, coffee consumers and cat lovers,” push each other to create bicycles with the goal of giving their customers “a heart attack…of sheer joy…of biking.” With their wine bottle holding custom rack in tow, I couldn’t think of better way to go.


Ahearne Cycles are handbuilt with “love and fury” by Joseph Ahearne. He creates “unique, intelligently designed steel bicycle frames, racks and other miscellany.” Of the miscellany Ahearne has created, none has stuck out more than the “Spaceman Bicycle Flask Holster,” a cage that attaches to standard water bottle mounts and securely carries a whiskey flask. With a Celtic knot inspired headbadge, my only question is, “would that be Jameson or Bushmills in yer flask, laddy?”


Well south of Portland, Ore. sits the town of Ashland, home to one of the NAHBS’ “original six,” Mike DeSalvo. DeSalvo Custom Cycles is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. As such, DeSalvo brought along the first bicycle he ever built (center), and a road frame he is currently offering to commemorate the occasion (bottom) to this year’s show. It may be surprising to some, but after 10 years of framebuilding DeSalvo has not taken on an employee and still builds each frame with his own hands.


Another member of NABHS' "original six" is Craig Calfee of Calfee Design. Based in La Selva, CA, Calfee was one of the pioneers of carbon fiber framebuilding. He has really expanded his repertoire by working with natural materials such as hemp and bamboo. At this year's show, two of his bamboo creations were on display.


Naked CyclesSam Whittingham stole last year’s NAHBS. The Quadra Island, BC based framebuilder swept the top three NAHBS awards with a crazed fixie creation that presently resides in Austin with Lance Armstrong. This year’s offering, a 29er named Cherry Bomb, was also a show-stopper and earned Whittingham the “People’s Choice” award. See the other award winners.


The Watsonville, CA based company, RR Velo, has been manufacturing and repairing carbon fiber bicycles for other brands for more than 14 years. But now, builder Edgar Chavez has teamed up with former professional rider "Fast Freddy" Markham to produce bicycles under their own label using the "best and most labor-intensive way to make a full-carbon bicycle."


Jeremy SyCip has been building frames and components since 1992. Based in Santa Rosa, CA, SyCip Designs, Inc. product line includes “steel, titanium, aluminum and carbon road, mountain, cross, track, singlespeed, full suspension and cruisers.” So basically, everything. SyCip also designs custom forks and stems.


A bike designer, a graffiti artists and a high-bicycle fabricator get together in Oakland. No this isn't the precursor to a joke, but rather into Broakland Bicycles. The "two Jasons and a Steve" have been building quality track frames since 2006. Each is designed, crafted and painted in Oakland, CA.


Sillgey Cyclery, Inc. is based out of Irvine, CA. Working exclusively is steel in order to bring "high quality bicycles at affordable prices," their fabrications are an amazing kaliedoscope of colors.


Last but not least of the West Coast contingent that I visited with is Inglis/Retrotec Cycles. Based in beautiful Napa Valley, Curtis Inglis has been building bicycles for more than 15 years. And judging by the level of detail in his offerings at the 2009 NAHBS, you could tell he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.


Photos: © Leonard Basobas

2 comments:

Pip said...

killer lugs..amazing paint jobs...steel..detail..and I freakin' missed it. I am sitting on my bed with yoga ad bike books all over the place..and then you send the bike porn!!..hey did you get my voice mail the other day?>?

Granny's 30 said...

Yup and am already counting you in for next year. Read your latest post...great stuff as usual.